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The Fish

The Fish


by Elizabeth Bishop

The Fish Theme of Choices

We know pretty early on in "The Fish" that having caught the fish, the speaker has to decide whether to keep it or release it. Either decision, of course, has consequences. If the speaker keeps the fish, the fish will die (and become dinner). If the speaker lets him go, then what? Well, from the outcome of the poem, it seems that the speaker feels quite satisfied and fulfilled with her decision to release the fish. It's up to you to figure out why.

Questions About Choices

  1. Do you think the speaker made the right choice in letting the fish go?
  2. Why do you think the speaker released the fish? What lines from the poem support your opinion?
  3. Do you think there was ever a point in the poem where the speaker considered the opposite choice (keeping/killing the fish)? Where?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The real reason the speaker let the fish go was because she was too afraid to kill it.

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