PAPER NUMBER 1 EXAMPLE (A)
Grace Chua’s poem, “(love song, with two goldfish)” describes a basic love story that yields no happy ending. In this “song”, male wants female, but the female wants more than what the male can provide. A difference in desires is established. Although the characters of this song are both goldfish, I believe this story represents and can act as a metaphor for numerous relationships in which a female feels trapped or closed in and the male that loves her if not capable of satisfying her desires. Through Grace Chua’s use of punctuation and hints of theme, the reader can sense why this “song” has no happy ending. It can be seen through the perceptions and desires of the characters involved.
In this passage, I think the use of parenthesis have several meanings. Each of the meanings pertains to one of the two characters. My initial assumption was that the parenthesis supported the idea of the male fish’s shyness. Chua does not let the reader whether or not the male fish has told his love of all he would do. “He would take her to the ocean, they could count the waves.” By doing this, I receive the impression that his fish does not have a robust personality. Also, through phrases and sentences like “He wishes she would sing, not must just the scales; or take some notice,” and “swallows his charm hook, “ I see a timid male fish. By saying “take some notice”, it’s almost as if the female fish doesn’t know he exists. In addition, by the use of the work “hook” in the second phrase given, not only is he trying to catch her, but he also attempts to catch her at a distance. When casting a sinking line, the hook is very far from the fisher. When using parenthesis in the text, the words enclosed are normally just side notes not meant to be said aloud or not as important as the other text. Seeing that this poem is mostly the male fish’s thoughts through third person, I took the sue of parenthesis as the male fish’s thoughts that he felt were not worth saying aloud and only thoughts to keep to himself.
On the other hand, I feel the parenthesis symbolize how the female fish felt in the bowl. She felt enclosed and trapped. The parenthesis enclose words just as the wish bowl does to her. The shape of the parenthesis also support the idea of the shape of the fish bowl. In the poem, the goldfish are “bounded by walls” and in this poem the words are bounded by round brackets.
There are only four words unbound by the round brackets, “a life beyond”. These words are not closed in and that is where the female goldfish wants to be. After analysis up to this point, the desires of each goldfish has been made clear. The male loves the female, but the female just wants to get out. She is ready to move up and explore what is beyond her boundaries. “He’s a drifter, always floating around her . . . “and seems content with where she is. Here is a conflict in desires. He wants her, but she wants someone who can offer her a way out. These conflicting interests are also shown through a theme of dimension. Numerous times up and down are referred to. Up represents the female and down represent the male. In the poem when referring to the male or his thoughts, the following phrases are used: “submarine silence,” “dive for pearls, “and “his heart sinks.” All these phrases involve some form of going deeper into the water, deeper into the bowl in which they live. However, when the female is mentioned, words like “darts” or “belly up” are used. “Darts” implies that she is ready to move fast into a new life, moreso than a “drifter” and although “belly up” in context refers to her love towards the male (that has died), it still means moving upward.
This story has no happy ending because the two characters in this “love song” do not end up together. Neither of the desires each goldfish has is satisfied. The female has not found a way out and the male does not get the female. Through Chua’s use of...
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