The Waiting Room Forces The Reader Of View The World Through The Eyes Of Young Elizabeth

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Bishop’s In the Waiting Room forces the reader to view the world through the eyes of young Elizabeth. “The moment is a coming of age, but without any of the social ballasts required for a seven-year-old child, however precocious” (Lensing, 1992). A brilliant piece of literature, the cultural awakening that Elizabeth experiences, through the exposure of the photos in National Geographic and through her surroundings, is captivating. Like Bishop’s visual artistry, her poetic artistry captivates the reader. Her words through In the Waiting Room paint a picture of human-kind and subtly coax the reader into thinking about one’s place in the world. Written in prose, In the Waiting Room is a story of self-discovery and a journey to understand humankind. Young Elizabeth, just seven years old, suddenly sees the world beyond her sheltered existence in Massachusetts. A visit to the dentist’s office with her Aunt Consuelo leads Elizabeth on quite an exciting and terrifying journey. As Elizabeth studies the pages of a National Geographic while waiting in the waiting room, she is met with images of a world and cultures that she has yet to experience in her short life of just seven years. As Elizabeth also feels the dental procedure pain that her Aunt is feeling, she begins to discover the similarities and differences in each of us. This discovery leads her to question whether we are all connected. What is our place? I chose Bishop’s work because it is a fascinating view of the world through the eyes of a young girl. Bishop’s imagery is compelling. Elizabeth’s innocence and new discoveries are clear in Bishop’s narrative. Bishop, through her narrative, causes the reader think about one’s place in the world. As the poem is “told” during the fina... ... middle of paper ... ...w where they will “fit” in their career goals. It also allows one to be aware of what it takes to succeed in their respected field. Through an understanding of both humankind and human nature, one is more apt to be successful. Elizabeth Bishop, throughout her life, tried to find her place in the world. This is evident in her poetry as “…her underlying themes include the struggle to find a sense of belonging, and the human experiences of grief and longing.” (Poetry Foundation, n.d.). It is through these themes that reader is coaxed into the awareness of the individual’s connection to humankind. We are all part of something bigger. As young Elizabeth “…experiences a kind of existential shock of identity” so too will the reader of In the Waiting Room. (Brown, 1980). Ms. Bishop makes the reader question how we got here, where we belong, how we are all connected and why.

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