The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop: Gone Fishin'

954 words 4 pages
The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop: Gone Fishin'

"The Fish" by Elizabeth Bishop is saturated with vivid imagery and abundant description, which help the reader visualize the action. Bishop's use of imagery, narration, and tone allow the reader to visualize the fish and create a bond with him, a bond in which the reader has a great deal of admiration for the fish's plight. 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. Initially the reader is bombarded with an intense image of the fish; he is "tremendous," "battered," "venerable," and "homely." The reader is sympathetic with the fish's
…show more content…

The fish is now considered "wise" with his "five-haired beard of wisdom trailing behind his aching jaw;" and he is now on a higher plateau of respect. The narrator then compares this little fish's greatness with her boat.
This "rented boat" "leaking oil" from its "rusted engine" created a rainbow so beautiful that she became overwhelmed and released the fish. The boat started out imperfect, but so overwhelmed the poet, that she released the fish. Here, the boat can be compared to the fish, in it's initial imperfection, then to its final magnificence. The descriptive words allow the reader to, again, visualize the moment vividly through the eyes of the narrator. Bishop does an outstanding job in describing every moment in her growing relationship with the fish. She creates, first, an image of a helpless captive and the reader is allowed to feel sorry for the fish and even pity his situation. The narrator's relationship with the fish then grows to one of personal regard as she looks into his eyes and describes his stare. Because the reader is following the story with the poet, the reader's relationship to the fish evolves as Bishop's does. Next, a level of admiration is reached, when
Bishop notices his five hooked jaw; she realizes his situation of capture and imprisonment and releases him as he'd gotten away five times before. The reader's admiration