Study Guide

The Man-Moth Perseverance

By Elizabeth Bishop

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The titular hero of "The Man-Moth" will continue to pursue his dreams, no matter how much that climb to the hole in the sky may make him wig out like Scooby Doo and his buddies when they see a ghost. The Man-Moth is betting on there being a giant Scooby Snack on the other side of that hole, and that keeps him from chickening out on his quest. Whatever obstacles stand in his way, The Man-Moth will push through them because he keeps his creepy, black, moth-eyes on the prize. The signs of perseverance that run through the poem keep a little light shining underneath all the gloom and doom. Without that sense of perseverance, the whole poem would probably be a huge downer.

Questions About Perseverance

  1. Do you think the Man-Moth's perseverance is a good thing or a bad thing?
  2. Do you think that Man-Moth is fully aware of the obstacles and chooses to ignore them, or do you think that he's completely ignorant of the big picture? Does it make a difference? If he's ignorant of the challenges ahead of him, what do you think will happen if he were to figure them out?
  3. What do you think will happen if the Man-Moth succeeds? 
  4. Why does the Man-Moth push so hard to achieve his goals? What makes him so determined?

Chew on This

As his name suggests, the Man-Moth's perseverance is superhuman. No regular man could pursue a goal with such focus and reckless abandon.

Sometimes the Man-Moth's efforts seem less than what it really takes and possibly less than what he's capable of. Since he always remains unhurt, perhaps he is not pushing hard enough. Step it up, MM.

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