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In the Waiting Room

In the Waiting Room

by Elizabeth Bishop

Language and Communication Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

and while I waited I read
the National Geographic
(I could read) and carefully
studied the photographs (13-16)

The National Geographic has a hand in sparking Elizabeth's penetrating questions that come later in the poem. Elizabeth seems just as interested in the photos as in the articles, if not more so: the poem says that she "studied" the photographs.

Quote #2

And then I looked at the cover:
the yellow margins, the date. (34-35)

National Geographic is famous for its yellow margins. After being overwhelmed by the photos, Elizabeth looks at the cover, as if to remind herself that everything she's seen is contained in the magazine. It's not part of her real life if it stays within the magazine's covers, right?

Quote #3

I—we—were falling, falling,
our eyes glued to the cover
of the National Geographic,
February, 1918. (50-53)

Elizabeth just can't stop thinking about the magazine. Even as she imagines herself falling, she still can't even look away from it.

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