She is considered one of the most important and distinguished American poets of the 20th century. This was also where she developed into a first-class fisherwoman.
Analysis of The Fish Seventy six short lines in one lengthy slim stanza with occasional trimeter lines but no set rhythm or beat and little regular rhyme make this quite an exercise in reading down the page. The syntax is skilfully crafted, the imagery vivid.
Note the use of the occasional dash, - which causes the reader to pause - as if the speaker is interrupting their own thought process.
Similes occur and help intensify the imagery - so the skin of the fish hung in strips like ancient wallpaper together with the coarse white flesh packed in like feathers.
On the boat a thwart is a crosspiece used for a rowing seat, an oarlock a metal holder for the oar, the gunnel or gunwhale is the top edge of the boat, whilst the bilge is dirty water pooling on the boat bottom. These nautical names, along with the names used to define the actual physical fish, bring authenticity to the idea that this is very much the world of fishing.
All kinds of associations come to light through multiple uses of simile. This fish has a complex anatomy, reflected by the speaker's use of the figurative language of awe. Awe turns to admiration and the acknowledgement that this is no ordinary fish, it has the scars of battle to prove its worth.
Surely such a prize fish deserves another chance? The poem ends in a revelatory fashion as the rainbow takes over, which tips the balance.
Further Analysis This poem shifts in subtle fashion from the initial pride of the fisherwoman hooking a tremendous fish, on into intense observation and admiration of the catch before finally concluding with an epiphany of sorts as the fisherwoman lets the fish go.
Written in an intimate first person style the reader is taken directly into the action from the first line, with I caught. As the poem progresses the speaker's identification grows and develops, with the additional I thought, I looked, I admired, I saw, I stared, I let.
The hunter, the fisherwoman, gradually comes to change her way of thinking as she focuses in on the fish, the battle hardened fish, its venerable status confirmed as the speaker begins to anthropomorphize her catch.
Venerable means to show respect to an older person or thing, so early on in the poem there is acknowledgement that this particular fish is deserving of more attention.
The fact that it didn't fight perhaps put the fisherwoman off at first - every angler loves a fish that battles to survive - and it's only when it's hanging on the hook, grunting, does she become aware of its age and history. As the close observation continues, the wonder increases.
Here is a creature from the deep with skin like wallpaper; faded full blown roses adorn it, rosettes too, and even the swim bladder, that most incredible internal organ, resembles a peony, a flower.
The speaker is choosing these familiar, domestic images in an attempt to understand better the creature she's just caught. It's appearance reminds her of home and despite the presence of sea-lice and weed, and the sharp gills that can cut, the pleasing aesthetics come to the fore.
The reader is taken on a guided tour through the fish's anatomy as the eyes of the speaker scan and meet the words of the poet, bringing the whole experience to life. Intimacy increases as the speaker looks into the eyes of the fish - the windows of the soul traditionally - and a rare alliterative combination, tarnished tinfoil, helps paint a unique picture of the inside of a fish eye.
As the guided tour continues the speaker subtley distances herself from the fish momentarily by stating that it does not return her stare, it isn't looking back at its captor, it's merely like a thing reacting to the light.
At this point there could well have been a change of mind on behalf of the fisherwoman speaker. The fish is not conscious of her, so why not simply get the job done, remove the hook, kill it and save it for eating later on?
One final observation proves to be the tipping point. This fish has got five big hooks in its mouth; they're souvenirs from previous battles with other fishermen and women. Who knows how long they've been there? The speaker implies that the fish is a wise old warrior, that the hooks are like a veteran's medals.
It has survived five attempts on its life and so is deserving of a reward - freedom. This raises a bigger moral issue - that of the dominance of the human over the animal kingdom. The speaker holds life and death in her hands - what shall she do with this power?Elizabeth Bishop was born in in Worcester, Massachusetts and grew up there and in Nova Scotia.
Her father died before she was a year old and her mother suffered seriously from mental illness; she was committed to an institution when Bishop was five.
Elizabeth Bishop was an American poet and short-story writer. She was the Poet Laureate of the United States from to , a Pulitzer Prize winner in and a National Book . The Fish is a free verse poem all about the catching and landing of a big fish, which Elizabeth Bishop probably did catch in real life during one of her many fishing trips in Florida.
This one stanza poem stretches down the page and is full of vivid imagery and figurative language, the poet going deep into the act of the capture and coming up with a wonderfully evocative end. Elizabeth Bishop. Elizabeth Bishop () was a poet whose vivid sense of geography won her many honors.
Elizabeth Bishop barely knew her parents. Her father died of Bright's disease eight months after she was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, February 8, "The Fish" invokes folk narrative, specifically the great American "fish tale" sublimely parodied in Moby-Dick.
Bishop’s anecdote, like Melville’s tale, challenges the official narrative drawn from the Bible: that man will have dominion over the fish of the sea. Bishop catches an old, heroic-looking fish without a struggle, but lets it go. In "The Map," Elizabeth Bishop records her thoughts on the nature of a map's relationship to the real world.
Implicitly, the poem asks why maps fascinate people so much. Implicitly, the poem asks why maps fascinate people so much.