Filling Station

The poem Filling Station is a poem about a person, possibly the writer, who visits a small town gas station. At this gas station she notices different aspects and describes how the look of the gas station gives its own personality. One example of this is when the poem states, .”..-this little filling station, oil-soaked, oil-permeated to a disturbing, over-all black translucency. Be careful with that match!” This gives an image of a dark and gloomy area with black patches of oil sitting all around the gas station. She makes the image clear by stating that the oil is translucent black, which means it is fresh or recently used. When lighting a match near oil spots, fire will ignite.

“Father wears a dirty oil-soaked monkey suit that cuts him under the arms, and several quick and saucy and greasy sons assist him (it’s a family filling station), all quite thoroughly dirty.” The writer describes the stereotypical filling station worker, who in this case is a father, in a family establishment. When the writer writes “Father wears a dirty, oil-soaked monkey suit that cuts him under the arms…” it gives an image of when people are done working. Their shirts are dark and soaked with sweat. However, in this situation, it is dark and more soaked with oil rather then sweat stains all over the clothes. Later she states that his sons come out to help.
Another imaginative picture given to the reader is when the Elizabeth Bishop states, “Do they live in the station? It has a cement porch behind the pumps, and on it a set of crushed and grease-impregnated wickerwork; on the wicker sofa a dirty dog, quite comfy.” This gives the reader a sense that the father and kids use the station for lounging and maybe for living. Since the house has dirty wickerwork sofa, and a dirty dog makes it seem like the family is too busy and does not have time to tend to the house chores. The she also states, “Some comic books provide the only note of color–of certain color.” This shows that the area the writer was looking at behind the pumps was also dark and gloomy. The comic that has the only prominent color in the room which creates an image that it is the only type of entertainment that is available.

The writer ends the poem by saying “Somebody arranges the rows of cans so that they softly say: ESSO–SO–SO–SO to high-strung automobiles” suggesting the calm help the station provides travellers and the family is too busy to work inside the house, since they have work to be handled outside.  Elizabeth Bishop ends the whole poem by saying “Somebody loves us all.” With this, it is like driving away and looking back at a happy family.

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