Elizabeth Bishop's poetry often goes beyond description to reveal valuable insights about people's courage and resilience. Discuss this statement in relation to "The Prodigal."

This statement applies to "The Prodigal" through Bishop's use of a reflective and sympathetic tone. This tone allows us to move beyond the stark descriptions of the man's current condition and hope that he may one day overcome his many problems and achieve salvation.

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Although Bishop does use quite vivid description in "The Prodigal," that's not what primarily interests her. As she wants to elicit sympathy for this broken-down alcoholic, she goes beyond mere description to give us an insight into the man's extraordinary courage and resilience in the face of addiction.

She does this by employing a sympathetic tone. Bishop doesn't want us to wag our fingers at this man; she wants us to understand what he's going through. To this end, it's notable that at no point in the poem is the speaker trying to...

(The entire section contains 292 words.)

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