Poetry is one of the types of literature that can be analyzed as it is read to get a better understanding of what is happening. Elizabeth Bishop uses a number of elements of poetry to enforce the central theme of her poem “Manners.” The title of this poem suggests that it will be about learning how to act right and what is expected out of an individual, but as readers read into the poem and start analyzing it, the central theme becomes a little bit different. As a reader of this poem, I started to realize that individuals in todays society no longer act as they did in the past. To me, the central theme of this poem becomes simply realizing that even though society has changed, there are still ones out there that care.

In the opening stanza of the poem readers of “Manners” are promptly hit with images. The image of the wagon seat with a man whose whip taps his hat helps readers recognize the day and time of the poem and realize that things were a little bit different then. In todays society we do not see wagons with old men parading down the road. We also do not see the kindness and respect of people recognizing others with simple gestures. Towards the end of the poem readers are greeted with another visual; a visual of cars driving by and creating dust in others faces. I think here Bishop used this visual along with the previous visuals to represent the change that has already occurred and the change that is to come in society.

Throughout the poem, there is a rhyme scheme. The scheme of abcb is carried throughout the play. I believe that Bishop was using this scheme so that the change that was taking place is not as noticeable. By the end of the poem, as previously stated, there is a rude individual that creates a dust cloud. Reading through the poem, readers do not expect this change to come up so fast because the rhyme scheme that Bishop chose aloud the poem to flow on while keeping readers focused on the lines they were at instead of trying to figure out what would happen next.

The punctuation in this poem is not like that of an ordinary poem. Usually poems are filled with long sentences only containing commas at the end of lines, but this poem is written much like a short story in that there are sentences within the stanzas instead of the stanzas just having one sentence. This helps the main theme be expressed because it becomes so much easier for the reader to understand what is happening and they do not really have to worry about the complexity of poetry.

The setting or time of Bishops poem holds great significance as far as the theme is concerned. In 1918, the United States was just getting out of World War I. This was a time the society was changing and the world would be different. Things that were common before the war would no longer be found and things that were

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Central Theme Of Her Poem And Title Of This Poem. (April 16, 2021). Retrieved from