The mental pictures created are, in fact, so brilliant that the reader believes incident actually happened to a real person, thus building respect from the reader to the fish. Next, Bishop compares the fish to familiar household objects:
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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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?
The crucial point to understand is that this fish has now become one with the latent ideals of the fisherwoman.
Even the boat agrees; a rainbow spreads out from the oily bilge and seems to cover everything, reminding the reader of the biblical story of Noah, the Flood and the rainbow covenant, the agreement humans made with God.
In the end, mercy is shown to the fish, who appears wise, tough yet beautiful, who has gained the hard won respect of the speaker after surviving previous struggles against adversity, on the end of a line."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. Man and the Natural World theme in The Fish, The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop. Home / Poetry / The Fish / Themes / Man and the Natural World ; What is the result of this man vs. nature confrontation? In what ways is the fish like a human?
Which of its characteristics are extremely un-human? In Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “The Fish,” a fisherman catches a fish, likely with the intention to kill it, but frees it when he sees the world through the eyes of the fish.
In Theodore Roethke’s poem “The Meadow Mouse,” a man finds a meadow mouse with the intention of keeping it and shielding it from nature, but it escapes into the wild.
Get an answer for 'In "The Fish" by Elizabeth Bishop, is the narrator sympathetic to the fish from the start?' and find homework help for other The Fish questions at eNotes.
Elizabeth Bishop was awarded an Academy Fellowship in for distinguished poetic achievement, and served as a Chancellor from to She died in her apartment at Lewis Wharf in Boston on October 6, , and her stature as a major poet continues to grow through the high regard of the poets and critics who have followed her.
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.