Imagery And Diction In The Fish By Elizabeth Bishop

1304 words - 5 pages

Imagery and Diction in The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop's use of imagery and diction in "The Fish" is meant to support the themes of observation and the deceptive nature of surface appearance. Throughout the course of the poem these themes lead the narrator to the important realization that aging (as represented by the fish) is not a negative process, and allows for a reverie for all life. Imagery and diction are the cornerstone methods implemented by Bishop in the symbolic nature of this poem.
The title of the poem itself dictates the simplicity Bishop wishes to convey regarding the narrator's view of his catch. A fish is a creature that has preceded the creation of man on this planet. Therefore, Bishop supplies the reader with a subject that is essentially constant and eternal, like life itself. In further examination of this idea the narrator is, in relation to the fish, very young, which helps introduce the theme of deceptive appearances in conjunction with age by building off the notion that youth is ignorant and quick to judge.
Bishop's initial description of the fish is meant to further develop this theme by presenting the reader with a fish that is "battered," "venerable," and "homely." Bishop compares the fish to "ancient wallpaper." Even without the word ancient preceding it, the general conception of wallpaper is something that fades into the background. One is not supposed to take much notice of it. To add to this impartial picture, the fish is brown, the signature color of dullness. "Shapes like full-blown roses stained and lost through age" (lines 14-15) further cement the image of something with little time left. Fully bloomed roses conjure the image of a flower whose petals are at the stage of falling off. This image is not even afforded the color and vibrancy usually associated with flowers. Instead, Bishop uses the words "stained" and "lost" which imply an absence of color. She even names the culprit in line 15 with the phrase, "lost through age." With this phrase it is made clear that the fisherman associates vivaciousness with youth. Through Bishop's imagery, the fish is portrayed as something archaic. This serves to create a distance between the narrator and the subject as it stresses the gap between youth and age.
The second half of the poem is marked by a bridge in this gap as the narrator engages in a more empirical study of the fish, thus heightening the sense of epiphany that the narrator reaches by the end of the poem. This idea is supported by the frequented use of self-address implemented in the second half. The speaker becomes more involved. "I thought," "I looked," "I admired," all produce a more active role on the part of the fisherman.
The turning point in the poem that triggers this alteration is when the narrator realizes that the fish is, in fact, still alive. "While his gills were breathing" (line 22) is the first action given to the fish and the first time he is...

Find Another Essay On Imagery and Diction in The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop

"Filling Station" by Elizabeth Bishop and "The Jailer" by Sylvia Plath - analysis and comparison of styles

2060 words - 8 pages reconciled".A very interesting reading is offered by Renée R. Curry (White Women Writing White: H. D., Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath and Whiteness, Greenwood Press, 2000)1. She approaches the poem from the point of view of racial differences. She points out that the first stanza of "Filling Station" is full of blackness in its negative sense: dirt, disturbance, danger. The line "Careful with that match!" suggests "fear of the explosiveness of

Analyzing "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop is an Analytical Essay of One Art by Elizabeth Bishop. It looks at the authors meaning of "losing" in this polygamous poem.

1764 words - 7 pages Analyzing "One Art" by Elizabeth BishopIn "One Art", by Elizabeth Bishop there is a prevalent theme of Amateur vs. Skilled, Hoard vs. Reveal. Bishop appears to be the skilled individual in the poem. In the opening lines of the poem, she informs the reader that the "art of losing isn't hard to master". Losing can be an acquired skill that one can master. According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, a "master" is one who

Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish”

1309 words - 5 pages “The Fish,” written by Elizabeth Bishop in 1946, is perhaps most known for its incredible use of imagery, but this analysis does not merely focus on imagery. Instead, it is based on a quote by Mark Doty from his essay “A Tremendous Fish.” In it he says, “‘The Fish’” is a carefully rendered model of an engaged mind at work” (Doty). After reading this statement, it causes one to reflect more in-depth about how the poem was written, and not just

"One Art" By Elizabeth Bishop

1134 words - 5 pages The ultimate sorrow of loss is deftly described in the poem "One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop. The speaker manages, through vehement self-denial of needing her loved one, to convey to an awesome extent the depth of her sense of loss without that person. The irony of this"¦"¦..The title of the poem gives away the inability to focus on anything but the person you've lost. "One Art" can be read as the one function she is able to perform

Human Interaction with Nature in the Works of Aldo Leopold and Elizabeth Bishop

1583 words - 6 pages Human Interaction with Nature in the Works of Aldo Leopold and Elizabeth Bishop The poet Elizabeth Bishop and the naturalist Aldo Leopold share a keen power of observation, a beautifully detailed manner of writing, a love for the beauty of nature, and an interest in how people interact with the natural world. Like Leopold, Bishop examines human interactions with nature on both the personal and the ecological level. On the individual level, a

Use of Diction and Imagery in Richard Wright’s Black Boy

784 words - 3 pages Use of Diction and Imagery in Richard Wright’s Black Boy Black Boy, which was written by Richard Wright, is an autobiography of his upbringing and of all of the trouble he encountered while growing up. Black Boy is full of drama that will sometimes make the reader laugh and other times make the reader cry. Black Boy is most known for its appeals to emotions, which will keep the reader on the edge of his/her seat. In Black Boy Richard talks

Power and Uncertainty in Elizabeth Bishop´s Poems

834 words - 4 pages she did not care for in an interview. She moves from visualizing despair to envisioning hope, evoking that a rooster is not a symbol of militarism but one of repentance and forgiveness. Bishop splits the poem into three parts with the first section describing the awakening of the small town by the “uncontrolled, traditional cries” of roosters. This movement comes to an end as the poem then switches the rooster, which comes to “mean forgiveness

Essay on Symbolism, Imagery and Diction in Homer’s Odyssey

899 words - 4 pages Symbolism, Imagery and Diction in Homer’s Odyssey   During the course of history, the world has seen many fine works of literature like Homer’s epic, Odyssey. This book is a standard against which to compare all literary novels. The symbolism permeates the pages drawing the reader into the intriguing plot that includes twists within the central theme. Also, the author intelligently uses imagery and diction painting dramatic images in

"North and South" by Elizabeth Gaskell, "The Bishop Orders His Tomb" and "My Last Duchess," Robert Browning

1696 words - 7 pages Madonna's breast," depicting the Bishop's conflict with the social institution of society through the destructive imagery of 'conflagration of my Church' whereby the Bishop loots a jewel as 'Big as a Jew's head cut off at the nape' the visceral imagery of the severed head corrupting the ideological sanctity of a bishop. These characteristics reflect the general loss of faith in the church and its occupants during the Victorian Era, the

Analysis of "Filling Station" by Elizabeth Bishop

735 words - 3 pages station, the cans are used as the bells. Elizabeth Bishop ends the whole poem by saying "Somebody loves us all." With this, it is like driving away and looking back at a happy family. As you can see, the use of imagery in poems helps understand the meaning of the poet's interpretation. Poets can place a mental image in your head with the writing to show their point of view or message they are trying to convey.. Without imagery, it would be hard to understand the meaning or situation that the writer is trying to convey to the reader.

Wood Butcher by Norman Hindley, Behind Grandma's House by Gary Soto, and Manners by Elizabeth Bishop

2021 words - 8 pages . The poem by Elizabeth Bishop had a more straight forward approach. The grandpa told the grandson exactly how to act. He said "Always offer a ride" and sure enough he invited the next person he saw up. The grandpa was not a hypocrite at all during this poem. I personally think that makes a huge difference in the rate in which the grandson picks up these manners. He begins to use words like "we

Similar Essays

The Fish By: Elizabeth Bishop Essay

1100 words - 4 pages that reflects Elizabeth Bishop's ability as a poet. She observes the beauty in nature through the simple act of catching a fish. Bishop employs several literary techniques such as metaphor, symbolism, personification, and imagery to convey her experience. Her great attention to detail allows us to understand the fish as she does and, as a result, understand why she sets the fish free.Work CitedBishop, Elizabeth. "The Fish." Contemporary American Poetry. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1980."Elizabeth Bishop Overview." Gale Resource Database. Site Accessed May 6, 2004. <>

The Fish By Elizabeth Bishop Essay

886 words - 4 pages The Fish by Elizabeth Bishop      With fewer than fifty published poems Elizabeth Bishop is not one of the most prominent poets of our time. She is however well known for her use of imagery and her ability to convey the narrator?s emotions to the reader. In her vividly visual poem 'The Fish', the reader is exposed to a story wherein the use of language not only draws the reader into the story but causes the images to transcend the written

An Anyalsis Of The Poem 'the Fish' By Elizabeth Bishop

681 words - 3 pages The poem 'The Fish' by Elizabeth Bishop is a narrative poem told in first person about the capture of a fish by an amateur fisher and the progression of the understanding for the beauty of nature.As the poem progresses the speaker moves from a sympathetic pitiful view to a respected and admiring view of the fish. The internal confrontation of the speaker is aided with vivid imagery and similes. The speaker convinces the reader alternatively of

Loss In "One Art" By Elizabeth Bishop

704 words - 3 pages One Art by Elizabeth Bishop is a poem that explores loss in comparison to an art; however, this art is not one to be envied or sought after to succeed at. Everyone has experienced loss as the art of losing is presented as inevitably simple to master. The speaker’s attitude toward loss becomes gradually more serious as the poem progresses. Keys, having virtually no reason for emotional attachment, are mentioned in line 5 with a tone of