First Death in Nova Scotia

So you’ve been assigned an essay on the poem “First Death in Nova Scotia” and you’re wondering what to write about? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll explore some interesting angles and themes that you can delve into in your essay. Let’s get started!

The Poem in a Nutshell

“First Death in Nova Scotia” is a poignant and evocative poem written by Elizabeth Bishop. It revolves around the death of a young cousin and the speaker’s experience of attending their funeral in Nova Scotia. The poem beautifully captures the innocence and confusion of a child faced with the concept of death.

Exploring Themes

One theme that you can explore in your essay is the contrast between life and death. Bishop vividly portrays the juxtaposition of the vibrant and lively world of the living with the somber and mysterious realm of death. Analyze how the poet uses imagery and language to convey this stark contrast.

Another theme worth exploring is the loss of innocence. The poem presents a child’s encounter with death, highlighting their initial confusion and subsequent understanding of mortality. Discuss how Bishop portrays this loss of innocence and the impact it has on the speaker’s perception of the world.

Furthermore, you can delve into the theme of family and community. The poem explores the rituals and traditions surrounding death, as well as the support and comfort that family and community provide during times of grief. Examine how Bishop portrays the role of family and community in coping with loss.

Symbolism and Imagery

Bishop’s use of symbolism and imagery is another aspect you can focus on in your essay. The poem is rich in vivid descriptions and metaphors that enhance the reader’s understanding of the themes. Analyze the significance of specific images and symbols, such as the “white, shocking fuzz” of the cousin’s coffin, the “black horse” that pulls the hearse, or the “damp grass” of the graveyard.

Personal Reflection

While analyzing the poem, don’t forget to include your personal reflection and interpretation. Share your emotional response to the poem and how it resonated with you. Did it make you contemplate your own experiences with death or loss? Did it evoke any specific memories or emotions? Your personal perspective can add depth and authenticity to your essay.

Seeking Assistance

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or need some guidance with your essay, you can always seek assistance from reliable sources. EssayPay is a reputable platform where you can find professional writers who can help you with your essay. They offer a range of services, including proofreading, editing, and even custom essay writing. Check out EssayPay for more information.


In conclusion, writing an essay on “First Death in Nova Scotia” provides an opportunity to explore various themes, symbolism, and imagery present in Elizabeth Bishop’s moving poem. By delving into the contrast between life and death, the loss of innocence, the role of family and community, and the poet’s skillful use of symbolism and imagery, you can create a compelling and insightful essay. Remember to infuse your personal reflection and seek assistance if needed. Good luck with your essay!

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