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In the Waiting Room

In the Waiting Room


by Elizabeth Bishop

Analysis: Sound Check

"In the Waiting Room" has short and clear lines. When you read the poem out loud, it sounds pretty clipped and matter-of-fact. Even the big emotional moments of the poem (when Elizabeth is asking all of those deep, unanswered questions) are pretty straightforward. And though the speaker is no longer the six-year-old Elizabeth in the poem – she's narrating from a future point in time and looking back on this experience – the poem has some of the simplicity of child's speech. A really smart child's speech, that is. The older, speaking Elizabeth does a great job of recreating her experience as a young girl.

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