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The Man-Moth
The Man-Moth
by Elizabeth Bishop

The Man-Moth Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Free VerseBishop can write some mean structured poems when she feels like it, but this one is a true free verse poem, since it doesn't follow any consistent rhyme structure or meter. The poem...

Speaker

So who is this person that knows so much about the Man-Moth? The voice speaks to us like the narrator of a National Geographic documentary. She has all the information, but she, herself, is not par...

Setting

New York, New York—so nice they named it twice. Bishop doesn't come out and say that this poem is about The Big Apple, but based on her own biography (check out "In a Nutshell"), it's a good bet...

Sound Check

Bishop is a master of words, writing with such control that it's easy to believe that every single syllable was planned. The sound of her poems has a dramatic and dreamy quality, and the subject ma...

What's Up With the Title?

As we've said before, the title came from a misprint in a newspaper, and Bishop notes this on the published version of the poem. Though it was clearly informed by the word "mammoth," the order of t...

Calling Card

Words Polished to a High SheenElizabeth Bishop is not the most prolific writer, and though she often complained about this to her literary friends, she just couldn't allow a poem to go unpolished....

Tough-o-Meter

(5) Tree LineLet's face it, this poem is pretty wacky right from the beginning. It's fairly obvious that Elizabeth Bishop's "The Man-Moth" isn't about some exotic hybrid creature, but there are a l...

Trivia

Though Elizabeth Bishop's preference for women has never been in doubt, she actually dated men in her early college years, and she had a thirty-year intellectual romance with fellow poet Robert Low...

Steaminess Rating

GIt's true that you can see all kinds of crazy, naughty things in the city, especially on the subway. However, this one is a particularly uneventful ride.

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