Personal Response to 'the Fish, 'Filling Station' and 'the Prodigal' by Elizabeth Bishop

Topics: A Great Way to Care, Poetry, Epiphany Pages: 4 (1265 words) Published: November 2, 2012
Elizabeth Bishop is a woman full of memories and extraordinary stories to tell about her travels. Her poetry is based on everyday experiences. However, the way Bishop observes and meditates on these experiences makes them extraordinary, unique and fascinating experiences. The poetry of Bishop reveals a fascination with places and things that would not ordinarily be considered beautiful or poetic. In The Fish for example, she describes 'The Fish' in what I think is a horrifying way with grotesque images such as the insides of the fish. She describes the boat as rusty, something that seems ugly and unpleasant to look at and far from picturesque. The Prodigal is particularly unpleasant and the stench is sickening. The imagery used in the Filling Station is also vivid and dirty. Bishop also has moments of insight where she reflects back on the topic of the poem and realizes the moment of epiphany. What I find interesting is the excellent way in which Bishop creates a story with a moment of insight and an incredible eye for detail.

The Fish is based on an actual experience the poet had when fishing at Key West, Florida, and catching a huge Caribbean Jewfish. The poem is written as one long narrative with a beginning, middle and end. I think this is a great way to connect with the reader because it sounds almost like a fairytale that the reader might have read at a younger age. The unrhymed structure also creates an expression of a speaking voice, with the exception of the last two lines which rhyme and give a sense of closure to the poem. Her use of colour and vivid imagery makes it even more realistic- "fine rosettes of lime" , "white flesh" etc.

I loved her use of repetition because it puts emphasis on the point. The fact that "he didn't fight/ He hadn't fought at all." is a huge contrast to hi "five-haired beard of wisdom". The fish was a survivor who had survived five battles and has the "five big hooks, grown firmly in his mouth" to prove it. I find it...
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