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The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop

            The poem The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop, contains great imagery and symbolism. Much of her poetry celebrates working-class settings: busy factories, farms, and fishing villages (Poetry Foundation). The setting of the poem took place on the water in a little rented boat. Bishop wrote about a fishers ecological experience and its old battle-worn catch. Throughout the poem, Bishop refers to the fish as He because she wants the fish to be entitled to a personality, just like a human. The fishers ecological experience eventually lead to a sudden realization that in the end is signified as victory. .
             At the beginning of the poem, the fisher observes the fishs external features with detachment. It was beside the boat (2) and half out of water (3). Even though the fishs is described as tremendous (1) and of a grunting weight (7), the fish seemed to allow the fisher to extract it from the water since it hadnt fought at all (5). At this point, the fish had put its life in the hands of the fisher. Lines five and six of the poem repeat that the fish did not fight. The repeating lines symbolize that the fisher did not expect the fish to give itself up. The fish is also referred to as battered and venerable (8), symbolizing the violence that it has undergone. In addition, he was speckled with barnacles (16) and was infested/with tiny white sea-lice (18-19). His barnacles and sea-lice symbolize that parasites had already taken advantage of his defenseless condition. Therefore, he was starting to rot. .
             After looking more deeply at the fishs color and physiological features, the fisher gained admiration for the fish. Bishop often uses similes that contain the words like or as when describing the fishs colorful features. For example, the fish had brown skin hung in stripes/ like ancient wallpaper (10-11). The hung brown skin on the fish was compared to ancient wallpaper to symbolize the fishs old age. The course white flesh/packed in like feathers (27-28) is another simile used to symbolize that the fishs flesh is being compared to the lightness of feathers.

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