Symbolism In The Isabel Fish

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Nearly 19.2 million Americans suffer from different specific phobias such as Aquaphobia. Aquaphobia is a social phobia that is defined as the persistent, unwarranted and irrational fear of water. Aquaphibians conjure up images of dying in the water, drowning, gasping for breath, or encountering eerie, unseen things such as snakes or sharks in the water. In the short story “The Isabel Fish” by Julie Orringer, one of the main characters Maddy has gained this phobia of water due to her car accident in which there was a car crash and she ended up in the water. This car accident has changed a lot in Maddy’s life, but most importantly her perspective on water, and whenever she comes in contact with water, she is reminded of the car accident and…show more content…
While Maddy is in the YMCA regretting and panicking about getting back into water the thought of her fish help calm her nerves, “It calms me to imagine them swimming in their pH balance environment, the clown loaches looking around near the bottom of the freshwater tank, the Pearl flirting in a stand of bamboo plant. Tonight, for the first time, I'll begin to know what my fish have known all their lives; how to breathe underwater” (3). The reference to water here in order to show the reader how significant water is to the story. Water can be seen as a symbol of flowing, calm, cool, but others can see it as a fear. And since Maddy has seen it as fear the fish help calm those thoughts. The author tells about the water and that fish have to breathe underwater to show the resemblance to the accident Maddy was in. The language here demonstrates that Maddy has to realize the benefits of water even though she's afraid of water. Ever since the accident, Maddy has been scared of water. She thinks that the accident is all her fault and that she killed her best friend. To sometimes when she sees water she gets nervous and because she was scared of water for a while she got a fish tank. She got the fish tank to help calm her whenever she got on the water. So that whenever she thought about water she can think…show more content…
But the words like Splat, forget, tight, cold, roll, and shooting, we can see that Maddy also felt some negative feelings due to the fact that water was reminding her of the accident. The language here demonstrates both of these so that we can see that Maddy realized that all she had to do was stay calm to be able to scuba dive and go back into the water. But also used to show that to get out of your comfort zone and can be scary but just trust yourself and let people have your back. Have self-confidence is one of the main thing shown in this quote. By this quote, Maddy realizes that water can't stop her from living her life and that she has to let go of the guilt. Although the accident has taken a lot from Maddy, Maddy realizes that it cant stop her if she is confident and forgets the guilt so that she can live her
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