Lynn Keller: On "The Armadillo"

… Humans lack control over even human inventions; a single lightning bolt obliterates the electrical power, lights and telephone upon which we depend. Similarly, in "The Armadillo." Winds suddenly transform lovely man-made lanterns into deadly apocalyptic flames. People’s homes are vulnerable as owls’ nests, humans as helpless as fleeing armadillos; our very hearts, like fire-balloons, beat, expire, or explode at nature’s whim. (That nature’ s power is murderous is similarly suggested in "Electrical Storm" by the appearance three times of the word "dead.") The armor that [Marianne] Moore so often admires seems in Bishop’s poem anachronistic; it effectively protects neither armadillos nor humans, who can only cry out and stand with "a weak mailed fist / clenched ignorant against the sky."

From Lynn Keller, "‘Reality, dissolved … in that watery, dazzling dialectic’: Bishop’s Divergence from Moore’s Modernism," Chapter 4 in Re-making It New: Contemporary American Poetry and the Modernist Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 111 

Details

Criticism Overview
Title Lynn Keller: On "The Armadillo" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Lynn Keller Criticism Target Elizabeth Bishop
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 04 Jan 2015
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication Re-making It New: Contemporary American Poetry and the Modernist Tradition
Printer Friendly PDF Version
Contexts No Data Tags No Data

Rate this Content

Item Type Criticism
Average Rating 0/100
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Total votes: 0
Use the above slider to rate this item. You can only submit one rating per item, and your rating will be factored in to the item's popularity on our listings.

Share via Social Media