Analysis Of The Shampoo

analytical Essay
1385 words
1385 words

The Intersection of Human Love and Eventual Mortality in “The Shampoo”
“The Shampoo” by Elizabeth Bishop was written near the beginning of Bishop’s residence in Brazil and is a direct homage to her lover Lota. Even though Lota is not directly addressed in the poem, an earlier draft of the poem reveals a connection to her longtime lover. Bishop uses the mundane act of washing a loved one’s hair as the basis for a brilliant meditation on the nature and progression of time. In “The Shampoo” Elizabeth Bishop uses imagery of nature, metaphor of time, and deliberate diction to compare the gradual movements in nature over time with the process of aging. Bishop draws a contrast between the process of aging and the timeless relationship she has with …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how elizabeth bishop's poem "the shampoo" is a direct homage to her lover lota.
  • Analyzes how bishop's description of lichens meeting with the moon allows time to reconcile with eternity.
  • Analyzes how bishop escalates the metaphor in nature to one found in a higher cosmic power.
  • Analyzes how bishop highlights the complexities in her relationship with lota and the space and time in which it exists.
  • Analyzes how the passion between the lovers roots itself in an earthly way towards the end of the poem.
  • Analyzes how bishop focuses on her lover's gray hairs in the poem’s final stanza to affirm that love can transcend the passage of time and the process of aging.
  • Analyzes how elizabeth bishop's "the shampoo" is often overshadowed by her brilliant villanelle "one art" and highlights her best poetic qualities, including her deliberate choice in diction and her emotional restraint.

They have arranged to meet the rings around the moon, although within our memories they have not changed.
Bishop begins by admiring not her lover, but lichens, described as “still explosions on the rocks.” The lichens’ growth records the passage of time, and yet “they have not changed”. Lichen is a type of fungal organism that grows very slowly and gradually. Over time, the lichen can spread and overtake the surface it grows on. A metaphor describes how the lichen “grow by” means “spreading, gray, concentric shocks” in a pattern that can be compared to an “explosion[s]”. The idea of “gray” is used here to describe the pattern of lichen growth; it is repeated throughout the poem and echoed in the third stanza. Bishop uses a whimsical hyperbole to describe the meeting of the lichen with the “rings around the moon”. Lichens cannot actually grow far out enough to meet with an object in space, but Bishop exaggerates their growth to emphasize that they are …show more content…

At a glance, the poem seems simplistic – a detailed observance of nature followed by an invitation to wash a “dear friend’s” hair. Yet this short poem highlights Bishop’s best poetic qualities, including her deliberate choice in diction, and her emotional restraint. Bishop progresses along with the reader to unfold the feelings of both sadness and joy involved in loving a person that will eventually age and pass away. The poem focuses on the intersection of love and death, an intersection that goes beyond gender and sexuality to make a far-reaching statement about the nature of being

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