Analysis of Elizabeth Bishop's "The Fish"

Topics: Ageing, Elizabeth Bishop, Gerontology Pages: 2 (582 words) Published: March 25, 2013
Esther Zamora
Jon Schneiderman
Analysis of Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish”
All battered and scarred from many years of trials, Grandma always has a smile on her face. Grandpa died when she was still young, her three sons have also died, and only her two daughters remain. In spite of these difficulties in her life, she manages to be happy and accepting of what life has tossed her way. An older person has scars from life and doesn’t have the strength to fight for it. The elderly have gone through many trials and afflictions that life has tossed at them. With age, they have gained wisdom and understanding through these hardships. Life has a tendency to cruelly throw darts at humanity without any kind of reservation or remorse.

In Elisabeth Bishop’s “The Fish,” the narrator is the fisher woman. Upon catching a tremendous fish and analyzing it carefully, she is reminded of her life. She notices the fish is not fighting to stay alive. He just hung there, still, and ready to die. This reminds her of her own life. She is now faced with the memory of the many scars that life has brought her. She’s not willing to fight as she once did. Age has really taken a toll on her, demanding her once youthful strength. The author speaks of the fish saying, “He hung a grunting weight, battered and vulnerable and homely” (7-9). The fisher woman found a similarity with her life and the fish’s life. She made a distinct connection between her life and this small creature.

Older and more experienced, the fisher woman is reminded of her past afflictions. Now old and gray which are signs of aging, as the fish’s lips that give away his age. The lips are an important sign because the hooks and lines they have in their mouth demonstrates their experience. The fish in the poem declares “hung five pieces of fish- line” (51), showing how many times the fish had previously been caught and released again. Each line represents the many endeavors the fish had...
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