More To The Fish Than Meets The Eye Poem

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There’s more to The Fish than Meets the Eye When reading The Fish, by Elizabeth Bishop, for the first time, one may be confused as to what the meaning of the poem is. The title indicates nothing other than that it will have something to do with a fish. However, when looking deeper into the meaning behind the poem, one can see that there is more to the poem than the fisherman catching a fish, observing it, and letting it go. The poem actually relates the way the fisherman analyzes the fish the struggle of existence and its meaning. The way the poem was titled was purposeful, as James Longenbach states “Bishop was able to demonstrate the value of openness and discovery within the poem's unfolding of its thematic content. She provides at the beginning of "The Fish" no sense of its conclusion; instead, the poem seems to discover its direction …show more content…
The poem reads “I stared and stared / and victory filled up / the little rented boat / from the pool of bilge / where oil had spread a rainbow / around the rusted engine… Until everything was rainbow! And I let the fish go” (Bishop, 650). The fisherman is beginning to see the beauty in life all around them, because the oil, which is normally viewed as gross, is described as “spread[ing] a rainbow” (Bishop, 650). The fisherman sees the fish’s survival through its life as a “victory” and admires it so much that they let it go. It is clear that the speaker now sees beauty in things that they once saw as ugly, and sees scars, whether physical or mental, as a symbol of courage and power for one's survival through their toughest experiences. Susan McCabe notes that “Only after seeing the fish can she see "the little rented boat," which, like the fish, becomes dynamized, its deficiencies metamorphosing to matter for exultation,” supporting the fact that the fisherman has taken what they have learned from the fish and applied it to other parts of life as well (McCabe,