Analysis of the Metaphor in the “Fisherman” Poem by Kurt Brown

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13 November, 2011
Analysis of the Metaphor in the “Fisherman” poem by Kurt Brown Life is a fishing ocean. This reveals the activities of man on a daily basis, where man has to go in search of his daily bread and the obstacles that he encounters. Brown’s poem, “Fisherman,” illustrates the sad condition of man and life’s struggles through the metaphor of a fisherman. Reading the poem makes me observe how life is in this period of recession, where man’s ego is far seen but his contentment is appreciated. Life is known not to be easy, and man still existing, hoping that he wakes someday and life is better. Brown uses the fishing and ocean metaphors to convey these key meanings and emotions: broken ego, envy, hope with perseverance and contentment.

Brown considers the important relationships between a man’s ego and his contentment, and he uses the “shadow” metaphor to symbolize the separation between them. Although man’s ego and contentment are two different characteristics in the life of a man, yet they are very closely related. These qualities are suggested by the action of the fisherman as he observes his struggles and how it overwhelms him. “Is it the ocean or the little puddle of his tears? / Is this his dinghy or the frayed boards of his ego, scorched by storm?” (18-22). A man’s ego is his pride, his unwillingness to compromise his opinion and embrace change. The poem never defines storm, but it can be seen as what contributes to the broken ego of a man, affecting his status and standard of living. This relates to a man being brought to his lowest point of adversity and vicissitude which lead him to become envious of his colleagues and contemporaries. The feeling of envy can be self destructive and counter productive if allowed to fester the mind. Brown illustrates this in his shadow metaphor: “he’s only felt the shadow of something enormous darken his life. Or has he? May be it’s the shadow of other fish greater than his, the shadow...
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