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The Fish

Elizabeth Bishop

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The Fish
Added by: michael
Bishop herself said she didn't let the fish go - but rather ate it. Now THAT is profound!
Added by: Dylan Talley
Michael, either you were high when you last read this poem, or you read a piece of Bishop rhetoric from some other source. Nowhere in this poem does Bishop eat the fish, nor in Bishop does the fish die.

Please, if I misunderstand you, be more specific.

Added by: cp
I don't really like this poem. I think the subject is overdone, the old thing about catching an old fish (sometimes its a legendary one) and then letting it go. It's everywhere, even cartoons. It's not a bad poem at all, and to many people holds meaning, but for me personally I don't like it. The descriptiveness is good though. I think I'd like it so much more if she hadn't let it go, but ATE it. I love a shocking ending, especially to age-old themes.
I See
Added by: Dylan
You've made a mistake, my friend: you're thinking of Mary Oliver's "The Fish". It's okay.
battered, vulnerable and homely
Added by: smeegle
Oh poor thing is what comes to mind, what is she doing with this poem? she is using poetical binary to right emotional codes. as you sweep through the poem your emotions are uncontiously obeying this code.

but as for the sympathy towards the fish, well what about those fishermen that have faced the struggling fish? hmm. the fishes reaction reminds me of the story of the sun and the wind, the wind could not blow the mans clothes off on the contrary the man increased his clothing, and well u know the rest.

what's the significance of brown?
beauty in the unbeautiful
Added by: margaret
i like rory's take on this poem.

i also think that this poem is about appreciating everything in life, how everything has value. the narrator finds beauty in an ugly fish, a rusty boat, and an oil spill...

ppl have commented on the lack of structure in this poem, but i believe this was intentional on bishop's part to reiterate the idea that everything, even unconventional beauty, is beautiful in its own way... the poem doesn't follow standard form or rhyme, but it is lyrical and wonderful in it's own way.
Added by: Cody
I think this poem is actually about love and how a woman has caught a man that has struggled with four women previously. She finds his many faults and loves him a lot, but in the end she can't stand the fact that she is torturing him so she lets him go.
the real meaning of the fish
Added by: richie
the writer is obviously a homosexual and the fish is only a metaphor for her letting go of her straightness. In her mind, she is having an epiphany and becoming gay or letting the fish go. In both cases doing the right thing.
color, beauty, age, wisdom
Added by: Rowekishi35
Some of you people amaze me with your comments. "The Fish" has many themes. The fish is both vulnerable and strong. He is old but with his age comes wisdom. One has to appreciate both his beauty and that of the scene as well as the ugliness of both. Also, the color scheme is quite amazing: WHITE sea-lice, YELLOWED, GREEN weed, dramatic REDS, Rusted ORANGE, GREEN line, PINK...swim bladder, WHITE flesh, BLACK thread, BROWN skin, darker BROWN, and then we have the RAINBOW!!!! Hooray!
Added by: alicia
I like this poem. I like the fact that Bishop finds such beauty in simplicity. The speaker of the poem is not only in awe of something as simple as a fish but a weak fish that has nothing left to give. that's kind of cool.

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