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The Fish

The Fish


by Elizabeth Bishop

The Fish Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Why does the speaker let the fish go? Would you have done the same?
  2. What do you think all of the colors and the eventual rainbow have to do with what's going on in the poem?
  3. There is very little action in this poem and so much description. What effect does the abundant description have on your reading of the poem? How does it affect the few actions? What does it do to time?
  4. What's with all the dichotomies (dichotomy: a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different)? Think about how Bishop describes the fish – ugly, but with rose-patterned skin. Why is she doing this? What's the effect?
  5. Compared to other fishing stories (Old Man and the Sea, Moby-Dick, your uncle's prize-winning fish story…) you've read or heard about, how does this one compare? Is it different or the same?

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