Monday, September 8, 2014

Filling Station

Elizabeth Bishop was a little more hidden or discrete in these poems than the other authors we have read so far.  The poem I liked the best was Filling Station.  I interpreted it a little differently than the presentation hinted at, but there were still similarities.  I like how different the poem ended, compared to its beginning.  "Oh, but it is dirty!" changes to "Somebody loves us all".  I like how it basically went from "this is a crappy station with disgusting workers" to "it's kind of nice here".  The first glance made this station seem not properly maintained, and the workers themselves were gross.  But by the end when the viewer had seen it all and realized "this is how it is", they realized it wasn't as bad as first thought.  Is the filling station a way that people look at other people? Instead of judging someone within 5 seconds of meeting them, take the time to get to know them and you might have a different opinion.


  1. Landon,
    I like this one too! I wonder if we could compare the description of the filling station in this poem to the description of the fish in "The Fish"? There seems to be a similar tension at work...

  2. I think it's also interesting how we romanticize things. Just because the people who live there love each other (or seem to, we don't actually know) it still is a run down gas station. Suddenly just because we imagine a loving family, it's charming and sweet. Like Bob Cratchit in 'A Christmas Carol', his family lived in poverty with a sick child and barely enough to eat - but they are full of love and kindness and thereby we cast them in a loving light, no depiction ever shows them as truly destitute. Bill Sikes in Oliver Twist however is a cruel, sadistic man, also on the brink of poverty and he looks it. Each version of Oliver!/Oliver Twist seems to show Sikes worse and worse, practically in rags and covered with filth.
    I'm not saying that there isn't a "richness" that comes from a loving house or that these people weren't necessarily anything but happy, but it is interesting how something previous seen as barely more than a hovel is now charming and quaint.

    1. I find this to be a really interesting and charming quality of Bishop's writing. She is able to re-cast the ugly and everyday into something more. She does this with the fish and with the filling station, and it sets up interesting tensions in her work that I enjoy...