The Inspiration and Influence behind the Poem Manners for a Child of 1918 by Elizabeth Bishop

Reading poems can be really relaxing at times, especially when it is good. Sometimes

poems can be long, others short, but what they all have in common is an overall message. Take the poem “Manners” For a Child of 1918 by Elizabeth Bishop. This poem was created to help people to understand about morals, beliefs, and to be nice to everyone you see when you are young. It consists of 32 lines and 8 stanzas. Elizabeth was born in Worchester, Massachusetts in 1911. Most of her life was spent with her grandparents because of her father death and her mother’s hospitalization. She graduated Walnut Hill in 1934 and became a successful writer. The time period of this poem was in 1918, during World War 2. This was an era in which people where very humble and accepting toward others, and if not followed, people were handled in a bad manner because it was disrespectful not to speak.

One of the main symbols in this poem is Bishop’s grandfather. He is the teacher in this poem. He has been taught the form from 1918, to be nice to everyone he meets with respect, (Lines 3-4) regardless who the person is. (Line 5) Bishop emphasized through her grandfather that such customs must evolve, and later change as time passes. When Bishop and her grandfather meets Willy and his crow, grandfather shows how much he believed and hold on to his beliefs on manners. When the crow answered the boy in Line 19, grandfather responds in line 20-23 “A fine bird and he is well bought up. Man or beast, that is good manners.” The Crow in this poem is the product of good manners. By product, it means the years of obedience. The Crow and grandfather have submitted to their training of obedience without no one having to say anything or why. Grandfather do because its good manners. The crow does it for the same reason, he was just taught.

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