Elizabeth bishop

Imagery and Irony in Elizabeth Bishop's "The Seafood"

Small details are instrumental in experiencing the larger picture. That is visible when reading "The Fish" by Elizabeth Bishop. Most often the reader experience visible imagery in poetry. On this poem the reader encounters visual, auditory, and sensory imagery. "The Fish" is filled up with minute details that coloring an image for the reader. With each new factor that is created, it becomes easier to visualize the seafood. The speaker can show the reader the beauty as well as the ugliness of this creature with her vibrant imagery. The imagery used is so unique that the reader can envisage being the fisherman and catching this seafood. Another important aspect involved in this poem is irony. The reader might ask "why would the presenter take the time to catch the fish, only to set it free"? To start it's important to show the differentiation of the types of imagery found in this poem.

As mentioned above imagery is the main element aspect to this poem. The first aspect of imagery to examine is visible imagery. The presenter begins the poem by presenting the reader to the seafood by saying "I caught a tremendous seafood" (1). By using the word tremendous, it is simple to visualize a sizable fish. Another lines that induce an image are "He hung a grunting weight, / batteredand venerable, / and homely" (7-9). An illustration of much, beat-up, traditional, and ugly fish is established in the viewers mind by those three lines. The loudspeaker then says; "His brown skin hung in strips, / like historical wall-paper" (10-11). Within this description it is straightforward to imagine the skin of the seafood being harsh, scaly and dark colored.

The imagery commences to be more defined as the poem progresses. For instance, she declares "He was speckled with barnacles, / fine rosettes of lime" (16-17). A barnacle would be looked at an ugly crustacean attached to the fish. The usage of the imagery here allows the reader to have a closer look and see the beauty in the barnacle. "And underneath two or three, / rages of inexperienced weed hung down" (20-21). Colors are also used again when the presenter states "The remarkable reds and blacks" (30). Another collection using color says "and the red swim bladder" (32). Using color makes the elements of the seafood pop out to the reader. The entire poem is filled up with aesthetic imagery, but there's also lines that provide the reader auditory and sensory imagery as well.

To sophisticated, the reader can not truly hear what's occurring in the poem, but does get a feeling of being in a position to listen to what they are reading. For instance when the presenter says "While his gills were breathing in" (22), the reader can almost listen to the fish deep breathing. The speaker again stimulates the auditory senses when she says "and an excellent dark thread, / still crimped from the strain and snap" (58-59). Again the reader can virtually hear the audio of the brand snapping. Another aspect of imagery that should be evaluated is the sensory imagery. A fantastic exemplory case of sensory imagery is available when reading the lines "It was more like the tipping, / of an object toward light" (43-44). These lines can give an almost unbalanced feeling to the reader as they conceptualize these words. Imagery is not the only real important element found in this poem. As explained earlier, irony is an important component involved in "The Fish".

To increase, the reader must delve better in to the poem in order to discern the many illustrations of irony throughout the poem. One instance of irony is when the presenter says that "He didn't struggle, / He hadn't fought in any way" (4-5). Irony to those lines comes near the end of the poem when the loudspeaker says

And then I saw

That from his lower lip

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Hung five old pieces of fish-line

Or four and a cable head (47-48) (51-52)

This showed the reader that the fish had fought again at least five times and had not been caught. The speaker caught the seafood and it did not put up a battle. Another circumstance of irony about this is when the speaker declares that she seems victorious. This contradicts itself in the fact that the fish did not deal with, but she considers herself the victor. These aspects of irony leave many questions that need further scrutiny.

In conclusion, this poem is very vibrant at length; the reader is affronted with aesthetic, auditory and sensory imagery. Each component of the poem brings the seafood alive for the reader. They actually feel like they are simply in the motorboat watching the storyline unfold before their eye. There are important elements used throughout the poem such as; imagery, and irony that produce this poem so interesting. Even though poem is interesting it does leave the reader seeking more. Having said that, there a wide range of questions remaining unanswered to the reader that could never be responded to. For example; why would the presenter take time to catch the fish, only to placed it free? Why did the seafood not fight back after the many battles it acquired fought and received? Is the speaker victorious, or is the seafood the real champion? Why would the presenter feel victorious for catching a fish that never provided her a battle? In lots of poems there are hidden meanings to be deciphered. That is true for "The Fish" as well as countless other poems. Learning about these meanings is area of the pleasure a reader calls for when reading. The answers are there to find, it just calls for the use of imagination.

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