One Art Questions and Answers
by Elizabeth Bishop

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Would this be considered a thesis for a critical essay based on the poem "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop? This was my idea: The art of losing isn't hard to master,  it's up to you if it's a disaster. OR The art of losing isn't hard to master, what you lose is what chooses the level of disaster it brings.   Then I was going to follow with how at first the speaker loses small things and thinks it's no big deal. Then she loses things of more importance and shows it might be closer to disaster. She then ends with how maybe losing a certain loved one or relationship is afterall a disaster and she is realizing it through writing the poem.

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James Kelley eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I would vote for the first, shorter possible thesis that you present: “The art of losing isn't hard to master,  it's up to you if it's a disaster.” Your follow-up discussion inside your question shows that you’re thinking a lot about the speaker’s reflection on the significance of each loss and about the speaker’s/writer’s new awareness at the poem’s end, so I think that a thesis stating that “it’s up to you” is right on target. That person in the poem who loses things is the one who assigns the significance of each loss, and that person may not always be honest with herself or with us until the losses have really piled up.

You explain how you are going to walk through the poem,...

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