The Fish Poem

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"The Fish"

The poem, “The Fish”, written by Elizabeth Bishop is filled with descriptions and deeper, significant meaning. The title of the poem it is very straightforward. “The Fish” is singular leading the readers to believe that the person who caught the fish will never forget their experience. The fish that was caught must have made a significant, long standing impact for the angler catching it. In the beginning of the poem it states, “I caught a tremendous fish”. Knowing from personal experience, there is a sheer thrill and memory created by reeling in a big fish! The strike and fight of a fish is extremely exciting while reeling it in to examine it. The fisherman in the story seemed very anxious to get their catch out of the water, but in the fifth line the poem takes a surprising turn. The fish wasn’t what the fisherman expected! “He didn’t fight. He hadn’t fought at all. He hung a grunting weight, battered and venerable and homely”. It seemed like the fish realized it's ultimate fate and knew that fighting the line would be of little use. The fish gave up! The words venerable and homely are great descriptors showing how the fish regretted biting down on the hook. Upon pulling the fish out of the water, Bishop further describes the fish in

detail. The fish’s age and wisdom is evident in the poem when she said “He was speckled with barnacles” and later on saying that he had "five old pieces of fishing line in his mouth". The pieces of fishing line in his mouth showed the “trophies” that the fish acquired during his younger more agile days when he was able to tear the line and escape capture. When the fisherman described the fish’s eyes, it showed how the fish realized this could be terminal. “Irises backed and packed” showed the scared and nervous nature of the fish. When looking in its eyes she wrote, “They shifted a little, but not to return my stare. It was more like the tipping of an object toward the light”. The fish now realized its fate and is...
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