Poem Analysis: The Fish

Better Essays
Winston Churchill stated “A man does what he must - in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures - and that is the basis of all human morality”, in relation to the poem “The Fish” the fisher allows the fish to be set free once she saw the hardships that this fish has endured. Human morality allows the fisher to realize how her choices would affect another. “The Fish” is written and narrated by Elizabeth Bishop. The title of the poem provides the audience with a clear and complete idea of what the poem is going to revolve around. The poem is considered a free verse poem, which allows the writer to have full creative control without being limited to follow a certain outline. The essence of “The Fish” creates…show more content…
The entire poem has symbolism through each of the stanzas. Throughout the poem, colors are introduced, which result in an eye-opening experience for the fisher. The poet starts with unappealing colors such as brown to describe the fish. She then moves on to black and red, green, pink, yellow and then orange. Finally, we see that these colors are coming from an oil spill on the bottom of the boat, “Until everything was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow! And I let the fish go” (lines 74-75). In this moment the fisher experiences a sense of realization and victory in her mind, an epiphany. Each of the colors represents the pieces that comprise the decision of letting the fish go. The colors serve as the stepping stones for the fisher to realize the heroic character of the fish. The rainbow represents the vast amounts of respect that that fisherman has for the warrior fish. “How could such a “battered” and “venerable” old soldier not serve as a heroic example” (Doty 2). Many see these examples in one’s everyday life, the world is full of heroic survivors, but why does the speaker reach a sense major realization in her life from this fish? According to Mark Doty, the speaker is “no longer imprisoned by the external narrative of chronology....But sometimes these experiences are more lasting and more profound” (6). This moment in the speaker’s life may seem so insignificant to some, but sometimes the smallest things in life create the biggest impacts. The fish seems to be caught by fishers frequently but manages to escape each time, this time was different. The fish was caught and didn’t fight get away, the fisher had the decision to keep the fish or let him go. The meaning behind the fisher letting the fish go extends beyond the literal meaning. It could be said that the fisher is letting go of her past and forgetting all the bad in her life, letting the fish go could
Get Access