One Art Critical Summary

One Art Critical Summary: this beautiful poem is written by Elizabeth Bishop. “One Art”, the poem by Elizabeth Bishop, leads us to several conclusive statements that are the indirect lessons taught by the poetess. The lesson is that one must be contented and thankful to God Almighty in all circumstances. We are always striving either for one thing or the other; we often fail to achieve in life, such failures hurt us and cast gloom over us. The poetess wishes to communicate that life is yet another name of continuous decay and losing; therefore, the best plan is to resign before fate. This would earn contentment in return. The poem is a direct comparison with William Shakespeare’s “All the Worlds A Stage”. Another such cross reference may be The Old Man and the Sea with One Art Critical Summary.

The poetess tells us that “the art of losing isn’t hard to master” because she has a step by step guide in explaining the path to successful losers. Well, ‘successful losers’ means the ones that don’t grudge against fate and always keep a distinction between what can be saved and where one must not waste one’s energies in mere grumbles and complaints before the Almighty. The lesson is that of being suppliant without showing any sort of resentment at events that are doomed to be.

One Art Critical Summary

The poetess asks us to treat our day to day losses and frustrations without any panic and confusions. She relates that she began by losing smaller things. Similarly, she advises us to “lose something every day” and accept the “fluster of lost door keys”. Doesn’t it sound strange to advise somebody to lose something regularly and then “practice losing farther” and practice “harder”. Well, it is not the real advice ‘to lose’ rather the advice is not to take your losses to the heart.

Man is born to lose no matter what level of efforts he tries to put in. William Shakespeare’s “All The World’s a Stage” is an excellent demonstration of the same theme. Man is the ultimate loser if he is sensitive to the losses. The poetess relates that she lost her mother’s watch, her beloved houses, her country and even the continent she lived. She lost it all but she does not seem to take them as losses to her life. She knows that time is very cruel and we cannot but add to our wounds by scratching them.

The message by the poetess is loud and clear i.e. be contented and thankful to God Almighy and be peaceful. We cannot do anything when the fortune has taken our precious valuable things and beings without our consent to it. We may weep and cry to no avail. Our grief may only hurt ourselves in the long run. Therefore, the only thing advised by this religious-social poem is to remain thankful to God in all circumstances. The poetess has described the minutes to the grandeur of losses in losing her “mother’s watch” to the loss of her mother.

She says that her attitude of gratitude and obedience to the God Almighty have earned her a strong temperament that even while losing her love, “a joking voice, a gesture I love” she has not lied. She does not want to treat it as a disaster though it “might look like a disaster”.

Read More Summaries to One Art Critical Summary:

  1. Poetry
  2. BA English Notes
  3. BA English Syllabus
  4. Text of the poem
  5. Leisure Full Text.
  6. Tartary
  7. New Year Resolutions
  8. Woman Work
  9. Rebel
  10. The Huntsman
  11. All the Worlds a Stage
  12. Solitary Reaper – Summary
  13. Solitary Reaper Text
  14. One Art
  15. Departure and Arrival – Summary
  16. Departure and Arrival – Text
  17. After Apple Picking – Summary
  18. After Apple Picking – Themes
  19. After Apple Picking – Text
  20. Lights Out
  21. Because I Could not Stop for Death
  22. Hawks Monologue
  23. When I have Fears
  24. Kubla Khan

References and Further Reading:

  1. One Art Critical Summary – Text
  2. Elizabeth Bishop – Life & History

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