Analysis Of The Poem 'The Fish' By Elizabeth Bishop

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“The Fish” by Elizabeth Bishop is full of brilliant imagery and abundant description, that enables the reader to visualize the action occurring. At first glance, the poem is simply about a fishing trip. However, through imagery, paradox, and similes, Bishop proves that beauty and triumph can be found in the most obscure of places- like struggle. The imagery in this poem is essential in proving the theme. As the poem starts, it seems that bishop is simply recalling a days’ worth of fishing. She begins by describing her catch as being “tremendous.” Then says, “He didn't fight… He hadn't fought at all” as though Bishop experienced some type of astonishment. Nonetheless, she continues to paint a picture of the fish by describing it as being “battered,” “vulnerable,” “homely,” and “infested with White Sea-lice” these all being conjuring images of a horrible “creature” depicted in the minds of the readers. But as she views his “frightening gills” describing them as being…show more content…
At first the fish is seen as ugly, even scary. As Bishop observes the fish, with its large eyes, “sullen face,” and “five big hooks grown firmly in his mouth,” she begins to empathize with it. It is in this empathy that's she begins to view the fish as beautiful. To many others it may have been a “trash fish,” but the untold journey of this creature triggers a deeply personal connection with the fisher or Bishop. The repetition of “rainbow” is also used to symbolize the taintedness of the water from the oil of the rusted engine but gives a beautiful image of the rainbow. It is in the most obscure of places, like a fish, that the Bishop becomes triumphant for herself and the fish. She releases the fish because she realizes that the fish was not the ultimate prize, it was becoming one with herself and accepting her hardships in life not as hardships but as obstacles that allowed he to truly understand who she really

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