Loss in Bishop’s “One Art”

The main theme of Bishop’s “One Art” seems to be that loss is something everyone must come to terms with even though it may be hard to handle. It teaches us valuable lessons in life no matter how small or large the loss. In the first stanza, Bishop states, “so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.” If ‘things’ will be lost, why have things you value or create meaningful relationships if you know they will be lost? One answer could be Bishop is telling the audience you never had ‘anything’ in the first place. Another answer may be loss is inevitable and something you should expect to deal with in order to move on in life. In addition, the word ‘disaster’ connotes both catastrophe and failure. Also, the opposite of ‘disaster’ is a blessing. By making it clear loss is not a ‘disaster,’ Bishop lets the audience know loss is not a catastrophe nor a failure, but a blessing. It is part of life. This would therefore connect back to the main theme of loss being a lesson and something everyone has to face.

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