Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

MANNERS, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"Manners" is a poem written by Elizabeth Bishop that explores the themes of class, society, and the complex rules of behavior that govern human interaction. The poem is characterized by its use of irony, its exploration of social conventions, and its questioning of traditional notions of manners and etiquette.

The essential poetic elements of "Manners" are:

  1. Form: The poem is written in free verse, with no consistent rhyme scheme and a variety of line lengths.
  2. Theme: The central theme of the poem is manners and the complex rules of behavior that govern human interaction.
  3. Imagery: The poem uses vivid and evocative imagery to create a sense of irony and humor, such as the comparison of the speaker's manners to a "coat of mail" and the use of color imagery to create a sense of richness and depth.
  4. Tone: The tone of the poem is ironic and humorous, as the speaker questions the traditional notions of manners and etiquette.
  5. Sound: The poem uses rhythm and repetition to create a musical effect and help to unify the poem.
  6. Language: Bishop's language is simple and direct, with an emphasis on exploring the complexities of social interaction through metaphor and symbolism.
  7. Figurative language: The poem uses metaphor and symbolism to create deeper meaning and layers of interpretation, such as the comparison of the speaker's manners to a "coat of mail" and the use of color imagery to create a sense of richness and depth.
  8. Structure: The poem is structured as a series of reflections on manners and the complexities of social interaction, leading to a humorous and ironic conclusion.
  9. Symbolism: The complex rules of behavior that govern human interaction serve as a symbol for the larger themes of society and the relationship between the individual and the group.
  10. Emotion: The poem evokes a sense of irony and humor in the reader, as the speaker questions the traditional notions of manners and etiquette and reflects on the complexities of social interaction.

"Manners" was first published in 1935, and it reflects the changing artistic sensibilities of the early 20th century, as writers and artists began to question traditional notions of manners and social conventions. The poem is a humorous and ironic exploration of the complexities of social interaction, and it continues to be widely read and studied today.


Copyright (c) 2024 PoetryExplorer





Discover our Poem Explanations and Poet Analyses!


Other Poems of Interest...



Home: PoetryExplorer.net