Summary and Analysis of A Miracle for Breakfast by Elizabeth Bishop

INTRODUCTION TO ELIZABETH BISHOP-

Born on 18 February in the year 1911 in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Bishop did not get much appreciation in the literary world until after her death. Known as a perfectionaist, this American poet, story writer and painter is famous for her ability to create magnificent scenes and situations through her words.

A MIRACLE FOR BREAKFAST-

“A Miracle for Breakfast” by Elizabeth Bishop portrays the differences among the rich and poor, and expresses the poet’s belief that those who are underpriviledged are always more appreciative of miracles of life.

SETTING OF A MIRACLE FOR BREAKFAST-

The poem is set outside the house of a rich man with the narrator waiting among with many underpriviledged people for the charitable morning breakfast. Then the setting of the poem shifts to a huge mansion when the narrator imagines herself being rich.

POETIC DEVICES IN A MIRACLE FOR BREAKFAST-

SYMBOLISM-
“Coffee” and “sun” are symbolic of warmth and comfort, both notions stand in contrast to the cold day and the unhappy life of poor. “Miracle” is the symbol of hope for better future. “Crumbs” has a religious reference of church and mass. “The high balcony of the rich man” is symbolic of his high status that stands in contrast to the status of a poor man.
ALLITERATION-
“At six o’clock we were waiting for coffee”
“waiting for coffee and the charitable crumb”
“It was so cold we hoped that the coffee”
SIMILE-
“that was going to be served from a certain balcony
–like kings of old, or like a miracle. “
PERSONIFICATION-
“One foot of the sun”

Also Read:  Analysis: A Pretty Day by E.E.Cummings

SUMMARY OF A MIRACLE FOR BREAKFAST-

The narrator starts by saying that at 6 in the morning, she and some other people were waiting for coffee and some charitable crimps that were going to be served to them by a rich man from his balcony. The balcony has been described as being like that from king’s palace or a miracle. The narrator tells that it was still a little dark, the sun was just rising. She informs that the first ferry has just crossed the river and since it was the winter season, the mornings were bitterly cold. The narrator and her companions were hoping for warm coffee since the sun would not be able to provide enough warmth. They hoped that by some miracle the crumbs will be a loaf each, enough to satisfy their hunger, and buttered and at seven, a man finally stepped out on the balcony.  The man stood on the balcony, ideally watching over the river. He was then handed by the servant “the miracles”, one lone cup of coffee and a single roll of bread. The rich man then broke the bread into little crumbs and distributed those crumbs among the poor. Each man received just one crumb and one drop of coffee. Many of them threw the hard crumbs in the river while the other along with the narrator stood under that balcony hoping for a miracle to happen. The narrator then starts imagining her own beautiful villa standing under the sun with marble flooring and doors open, she imagines smelling hot coffee and seeing buttered crumbs ready to be eaten. This mansion of the narrator would be built in ages by birds, insects and the river. She imagines sitting in the balcony everyday under the sun drinking gallons of coffee. The narrator is then brought into the reality, she and her companions lick the crumbs and swallow the coffee. The narrator notices the sun shining on the window of the balcony realizing that the miracle is happening on the wrong balcony.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF A MIRACLE FOR BREAKFAST-

This beautiful poem by Elizabeth Bishop portrays the reality of life, the one with everything is least appreciative and the one with nothing is always hopeful of a miracle.

TONE OF A MIRACLE FOR BREAKFAST-

The tone of the poem is calm and quiet yet strong enough to express the poet’s message. The poem has been composed in the form of a story being told with a rhythmic musical pattern.

CONLCUSION-

“A Miracle For Breakfast” is a beautiful composition that reminds the readers to be grateful for what they have in life, to be hopeful, optimistic no matter what the current circumstances are and to be helpful selflessly.
Contributor: Radhika Goel
 

Also Read:  The Soldier Summary and Analysis by G.M Hopkins

Testbook India's no 1 Online Test Series for Railways, SSC, Bank, Gate, Delhi Police Exams. Practice Free Mock Test for Competitive Exams Online.
Enjoy extra cashback & deals from your favourite stores whenever you shop online, book a hotel, flight, and more! Also avail secret welcome bonus.