The title of the poem offered me the notion of what was to be discussed therein; though I could not tell the happenings within the poem clearly, the title helped me presume that it would entail a fish in some way. In this regard, the title, just like the structure employed in the poem, is very simple. To adhere to the free flowing sense of the poem, the poet does not use rigid rhyme approaches. The major character in the poem is the fish while the fisherman acts as the narrator. Elizabeth Bishop employs symbols, similes, and imagery to explain the narrative of catching the fish and letting it go.
The story under the poem is of a common fisherman’s experiences; nevertheless, the author exceptionally twists the occurrences with the help of imagery, which makes the poem lively by drawing my imaginations and those of any other reader. I enjoyed reading through the story of the fish as it elicited mixed feelings and notions. The symbols employed in the poem are disclosed in a thrilling manner, which at times have varying effects. For instance, the author talks of the hooks in the fish’s jaw in a manner that draws out concerned sentiments. The author utilizes numerous literary devices to ensure easy comprehension and appreciation of the fish and the ensuing illustrations. The hooks make me empathize with the fish and desire reading on.
I was carried away by the depiction of the fish as articulated by the narrator as the poem unfolded, and I only realized that it was just a story towards the end. The hooks coupled with the battered and susceptible situation of the fish demonstrate that it has aged with time and is not ready for battle with fishermen any longer. The boat used by the narrator (author) is portrayed as a small rented one that has a rusted engine, in addition to a sun-cracked cross thwart. This depiction could illustrate that the fisherman, similar to the fish, is aged. On this note, I developed the notion that the fisherman has been fishing, particularly even coming across this fish, for a long time, and now that he succeeds catching it, it is an admirable action to let the fish go.
After having a look at the appearance of the fish and thinking of the struggles it has had to endure, the narrator felt strongly compelled to free it. There could be numerous reasons behind the narrator letting the fish go. Most probably, the narrator felt proud having finally caught up with the fish but the fact that the fish surrendered (did not fight) made him feel that it would be disreputable to keep it while having established that it had all along been an equal fighter in the rough waters. The feelings of the narrator are apparent when he talks about how he kept staring at the fish for a long time before releasing it. The entire poem consists of the contemplations and actions of the fisherman.
Though the poem comprises of twenty-six lines, which are set in a continuous approach and not grouped into stanzas, it comprehensively covers the occurrences in a vivid manner. Despite the structure, the poet employs numerous symbols and metaphors. For example, the rainbow towards the end of the poem and prior to the fisherman letting the fish go symbolized the empathetic sentiments that resulted in its release. An instance of metaphor in the poem is the description of the skin of the fish as ancient wallpaper, which denotes that the fish was aged. The poem is greatly pictorial in its presentation as I came across several auditory, sensory, and visual imageries.
Every aspect of the poem made me understand the fish and sympathize with it hence the release by the fisherman offers a sense of relief. The narration of the poem made me feel as though I were inside the boat and observing the occurrences as they unfurl. The stylistic devices employed (such as imagery and symbolism) ensure that though presenting a poignant state of affairs, the poem remains attention-grabbing; although the poem elicits empathy in me, it leaves me craving to know more.
When I finished reading the poem, I was left with many unanswered queries. For example, I failed to understand why the fisherman would make efforts to catch the fish and end up letting it go. Another question concerns the failure by the fish to fight irrespective of having previously fought and won such attempts of being caught. In addition, I found it hard to distinguish the ultimate winner between the fisherman and the fish. I wondered whether the fisherman could feel triumphant for having caught a fish that did not pose any resistance. Finding out the meaning of the issues and stylistic devices in the poem gave me utmost pleasure. The responses to the unanswered questions are easy to uncover as they just call for the use of imagination. In conclusion, the author uses different stylistic devices and occurrences that elicit empathy to make the poem appealing and ensure concurrence with the idea of letting the fish go.