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The Fish. By Elizabeth Bishop. Elizabeth Bishop February 8, 1911 – October 6, 1979. 1929 Entered Vassar College 1933 Co-founded Con Spirito , a rebel literary magazine at Vassar, with writer Mary McCarthy , Margaret Miller, and the sisters Eunice and Eleanor Clark.

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The fish

The Fish


Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth bishop february 8 1911 october 6 1979
Elizabeth BishopFebruary 8, 1911 – October 6, 1979

  • 1929 Entered Vassar College

  • 1933 Co-founded Con Spirito, a rebel literary magazine at Vassar, with writer Mary McCarthy , Margaret Miller, and the sisters Eunice and Eleanor Clark.

  • 1934 Introduced to poet Marianne Moore who dissuaded Ms. Bishop from attending medical school and influenced much of Ms. Bishop’s writing.

  • During the next few years she make the acquaintance of such notables as Pauline Pfeiffer Hemingway, who had divorced Ernest in 1940. Louise Crane, Robert Lowell, Randall Jarrell. She wrote the poem "Visits to St. Elizabeth's" in 1950 as a recollection of visits to Ezra Pound when he was confined there. She also met James Merrill in 1947.

  • She was a professor at Harvard University for seven years.

  • She also taught at New York University before finishing her teaching career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • It was often said that her images were precise and true to life, and they reflect her own sharp wit and moral sense.

All my life I have lived and behaved very much like the sandpiper - just running down the edges of different countries and continents, looking for something'. - Elizabeth Bishop

Awards and honors
Awards and Honors

  • 1945 Houghton Mifflin Poetry Prize Fellowship

  • 1947 Guggenheim Fellowship

  • 1949 Appointed Consultant in Poetry at the Library of Congress

  • 1949-50 Poet Laureate of the United States of America

  • 1950 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award

  • 1951 Lucy Martin Donelly Fellowship (awarded by Bryn Mawr College)

  • 1953 Shelley Memorial Award

  • 1954 Elected to lifetime membership in the National Institute of Arts and Letters

  • 1956 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

  • 1960 Chapelbrook Foundation Award

  • 1964 Academy of American P

  • 1968 Ingram-Merrill Foundation Grant

  • 1969 National Book Award

  • 1969 The Order of the Rio Branco (awarded by the Brazilian government)

  • 1974 Harriet Monroe Poetry Award

  • 1976 Books Abroad/Neustadt International Prize . Elizabeth become the first female in history to ever win this honor and is still the only American female author to hold this honor!

  • 1976 Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters

  • 1977 National Book Critics Circle Award

  • 1978 Guggenheim Fellowship

The fish

I caught a tremendous fish

and held him beside the boat

half out of water, with my hook

fast in a corner of his mouth.

  • He didn’t fight.

    He hadn’t fought at all.

    He hung a grunting weight,

    battered and vulnerable

    and homely. Here and there

  • his brown skin hung in stripes

    like ancient wallpaper,

    and its pattern of darker brown

    was like wallpaper:

    shapes like full-blown roses

  • stained and lost through age.

    He was speckled with barnacles,

    fine rosettes of time,

    and infested

    with tiny white sea lice,

    20 and underneath two or three

    rags of green weed hung down.

    While his gills were breathing in

    the terrible oxygen

    — the frightening gills

  • fresh and crisp with blood

    that can cut so badly —

I thought of the coarse white flesh

packed in like feathers

the big bones and the little bones,

  • the dramatic reds and blacks

    of his shiny entrails,

    and his pink swim-bladder

    like a big peony.

    I looked into his eyes

  • which were far larger than mine

    but shallower, and yellowed,

    the irises backed and packed

    with tarnished tinfoil

    seen through the lenses

  • of old scratched isinglass.

    they shifted a little, but not

    to return my stare.

    —It was more like the tipping

    of an object toward the light.

  • I admired his sullen face,

    the mechanism of his jaw,

    and then I saw

    that from his lower lip

    —if you could call it a lip —

  • grim, wet, and weaponlike,

    hung five old pieces of fish-line,

    or four and a wire leader

with the swivel still attached,

and with all their five big hooks

  • grown firmly in his mouth.

    A green line, frayed at the end

    where he broke it, two heaver lines,

    and a fine black thread

    still crimped from the strain and snap

  • when it broke and he got away.

    Like medals with their ribbons

    frayed and wavering,

    a five-haired beard of wisdom

    trailing from his aching jaw.

  • I stared and stared

    and victory filled up

    the little rented boat,

    from the pool of the bilge

    where oil had spread a rainbow

  • around the rested engine

    to the bailer rusted orange,

    and sun-cracked thwarts,

    the oarlocks on their strings,

    the gunnels —until everything

  • Was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!

    And I let the fish go.

1 which of the following best describes the effects of lines 16 21
1. Which of the following best describes the effects of lines 16-21?

  • The fish is seen as a victim of cruelty by fisherman.

  • The speaker’s disgust with the experience of fishing becomes apparent.

  • The fish is seen as typical of its species.

  • The fish is seen as an ancient aquatic creature.

  • The speaker’s concern with ecological values is demonstrated.

2 the gills are frightening 24 because they
2. The gills are “frightening” (24) because they

  • are bloody and capable of injuring the speaker

  • are larger and deformed

  • have been damaged by the fishhook

  • have been attacked by “tiny white sea-lice” (19)

  • function by breathing “the terrible oxygen” (23)c

The fish
3. As controlled by context, the juxtaposition of “terrible” (23) and “frightening” (24) emphasizes the fact that

  • anything that is dangerous to the fish is also dangerous to the speaker

  • the speaker has become fearful of the natural environment

  • the fish and the speaker belong to different environments

  • the natural environment can no longer sustain either human life or aquatic life

  • the life processes of fish are more efficient than human life processes

4 the language used to describe the fish suggests that it is both
4. The language used to describe the fish suggests that it is both

  • beautiful and graceful

  • sickly and submissive

  • aggressive and unyielding

  • ugly and awe-inspiring

  • wary and reckless

5 which of the following best describes the shift that occurs between lines 26 and 27
5. Which of the following best describes the shift that occurs between lines 26 and 27?

  • From observation to reflection

  • From tone of admiration to one of revulsion

  • From generalization to specific detail

  • From metaphor to scientific description

  • from reason to fantasy

6 while looking into the fish s eyes 34 44 the speaker realizes that
6 occurs between lines 26 and 27?. While looking into the fish’s eyes (34-44), the speaker realizes that

  • the fish’s vision is quite acute

  • flower-like shapes are reflected in the eyes of the fish

  • pieces of debris have become embedded in the fish’s eyes

  • the lenses of the fish’s eyes resemble magnifying glasses

  • There is no right of awareness in the fish’s eyes

7 lines 54 55 affect the meaning of lines 3 4 by
7 occurs between lines 26 and 27?. Lines 54-55 affect the meaning of lines 3-4 by

  • emphasizing the fact that the fish is caught fast

  • implying that the fishhook is likely to come loose

  • suggesting the difficulty of catching the fish

  • setting up a comparison of the relative sizes of the fishhooks

  • contrasting the function of the fish’s jaw with that if the fishhooks

8 the phrase medals with their ribbons 61 is best understood as part of
8 occurs between lines 26 and 27?. The phrase “medals with their ribbons” (61) is best understood as part of

  • an image of the fish’s ferocity

  • a simile for hooks and lines

  • a hyperbole for the speaker’s efforts

  • a personification of courage

  • a symbol for the fish’s injuries

9 the speaker frees the fish for all of the following reasons except
9 occurs between lines 26 and 27?.The speaker frees the fish for all of the following reasons EXCEPT

  • Retaining the fish is inappropriate after the victory described in lines 65-75.

  • The speaker respects the fish’s endurance and his skill in surviving.

  • The speaker has become aware that the phenomena of nature cannot be possessed.

  • The speaker realizes that the fish is more worthy than he is.

  • The speaker sees the fish as deserving freedom.

The fish

  • Job occurs between lines 26 and 27? well done

The fish

GO occurs between lines 26 and 27?