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/ Should we have stayed at home and thought of here? ” While in a location that others might daydream of within the confines of their domestic homes, Bishop finds herself fantasizing of a day in which the trip was nothing more than an idea.She then goes on to another one of her common techniques in which criticism of others includes herself, as she asks, “What childishness is it that while there’s a breath of life / in our bodies, we are determined to rush / to see the sun the other way around?
The poetry of Elizabeth Bishop is bursting with readjustment, reconsideration, and fluidity.
She weaves through consciousness in her poems — many of them autobiographical — frequently contradicting statements made lines prior or, at times, earlier in the line itself, as she navigates towards some sort of conclusion.
”), and it is in this moment the painting evolves from something merely made into something alive.
Anonymous homes become “Miss Gillespie’s house,” and what may-or-may-not have been a steeple a few lines earlier matures into the Presbyterian church.
The preceding poem to “Questions of Travel” in her collection, “Brazil, January 1, 1502,” dramatizes the colonization of Brazil by Portuguese explorers, and without condoning or celebrating their actions, she discloses that she too shares the same impulses the explorers must have had in their “old dream of wealth and luxury” (90).
At this point in “Questions of Travel,” Bishop has yet to decide if travel is a positive or negative concept. Bishop muses, “But surely it would have been a pity / not to have seen the trees along this road, / really exaggerated in their beauty” (91).
Each pair there would have identical pitch.)(92)What may be an insignificant, unnoticed detail to others is, to Bishop, the confirmation in the value of an experience unique to that location.
The unmatched pitch of the clogs provides a means of grasping a moment in time and ascribing meaning to it.
Making these inquiries and working through them is how she gives her experiences meaning, always unsettled and without attachment to any one answer.
In “Questions of Travel,” Bishop elevates this technique and approaches ambiguity head-on, asking questions she is keenly aware she may not have the capacity to answer. The poem begins with Bishop in an environment she finds intense and, more importantly, overwhelming.