Analysis of Poetry “Fish” Written by Elizabeth Bishop

Sometimes, certain moments that happen in our daily life make us reflect on our existance. Such an important moment occurred in the life of fishermen described in the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop "Fish".

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One day, a fisherman caught a fish. When he pulled her from the water and put in the boat, he was surprised by the appearance and behavior of the fish. The fisherman realized from the appearance of the fish that he was old and suffered much. For example, hooks that fishermen saw in the mouth of the fish made him think how many times that creature had run away from death. They symbolize fish’s strength and victory “like medals with their ribbons frayed and wavering.” That time, the fish was not fighting; he seemed to know what would happen. I think the author wanted to show the compassion, admiration and respect for the fishermen who caught the fish.

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In poetry, narrative is the first person. Therefore, I think this fisherman is the author herself or a person who is not involved in the case professionally. The fact is that a person who is engaged in daily fishing does it automatically, without thinking. It is unlikely that a fish caught by a professional fisherman could cause so many thoughts and emotions, as in the author's poetry.

Throughout the poem, she uses the detailed images of the fish to help create a vivid image in the minds of readers. For example, “brown skin hung in strips like ancient wallpaper” or “his eyes were shallower and yellowed.”  Bishop used successfully such literary devices as metaphors, symbols, comparisons, visual imagery and rhythm.

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The impression after reading the poem is very strong and realistic, as the author describes in great detail the appearance of the fish. The writing is extremely profound and makes us think of many life problems.

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