Daniel Wallace Big Fish Analysis

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Big Fish, by Daniel Wallace, is at its core a collection of stories, each with its own individual life and meaning. Some adapted from Herculean trails to fit the main character, others faintly resembling various mythological tales such as Odysseus's journey, and some a creation all of their own. Taken as a whole, these stories recount the life of Edward Bloom while revealing a unique relationship between a son and his dying father. After reading these stories as a whole, one thing is clear about the title, Big Fish, and that is its direct reference to Edward Bloom, the main character. Throughout Daniel Wallace’s novel, Edward bloom as a ‘Big Fish’ reveals three different levels of meaning: on the surface, the progression of Edward’s life as…show more content…
At the beginning of Edward’s life, in Ashland, he was a Big Fish in a small pond. According to William, “They say he [Edward] knew more than anybody, even Mr. Pinkwater, the Librarian. He was a big fish, even then”(12). But this, being a big fish in a small pond, was not all that Edward wanted. Said best by himself, "I wanted to be a great man… Can you believe it? I thought it was my destiny. A big fish in a big pond -- that's what I wanted. That's what I wanted from day one" (21). Edward’s driving force in life was to become a great man. Really, the overarching theme of all the vignettes is simply Edward’s struggle to do something meaningful with his life and become a “big fish in a big pond”(21). And in keeping in line with this thought process, another important aspect of the meaning behind Edward wanting to become a ‘Big Fish’ is that he had to define what becoming great (or a big fish) actually was. Throughout the novel, Edward struggles with this idea, questioning the choices he made in his life and how he used his time. Edward wonders if he should have been there more for his family instead of off with Jenny in Specter. However, when he asks his son William, Edward is provided with somewhat of an answer: “I think,” I say after a while, waiting for the right words to come, “that if a man could be said to be loved by his son, then I think that man could be…show more content…
By examining the three layers of meaning behind the ‘Big Fish’ himself, one can see how Edward accomplished his goal and got his son to see the deeper meaning. Manifested in the joke he tells to his father before he dies, William is able to accept Edward’s flaws and the greatness of him as ‘Big Fish.’ He is able to, as Edward says, “believe in
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