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by Elizabeth Bishop

Sestina Isolation Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #1

laughing and talking to hide her tears. (6)

Wait a minute—they're laughing and joking together, but the grandma is secretly sad and isn't letting the child in on why.

Quote #2

but only known to a grandmother. (10)

Again, whatever is eating at the grandma seems to be a private pain. We can't help but wonder if the kid knows what that pain is, and maybe even shares it… just separately.

Quote #3

[…] but the child
is watching the teakettle's small hard tears (13-14)

The grandmother is talking to the child, but the child has gone off in her own, daydreaming world. Is it a happy world or a sad one? How can we tell?

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