Further, Bishop elaborates to the readers what she means by wall paper through the use of a simile that further describes the fish, Bishop notes “Shapes like full-brown roses Stained and lost through age” (ibid 14-15). Everyone clearly knows the beauty of the roses when they blossom but when they mature up and dry, they turn brown, however, despite turning brown and one cannot assume their original beauty, which lapses with age. In efforts to create a clear image of the fish that beg for compassion, the poet employs very descriptive words, such as “speckled” and “infested” revealing the vulnerability of the fish too. Although the fish is of great help to man, it is described through images, which prove that it has to be debased by man. Though it is known that all animals universally breathe in oxygen, through imagery, in the poem, The Fish, oxygen is described as terrible; this is an irony, though it tarnished the well-known function of oxygen to animals. However, what the reader is made to understand is that oxygen is made to appear terrible since the fish is craving for it yet it is so limited due to its gills’ inability to absorb oxygen in the air. One has to pity the situation of the fish in the hands of Bishop hence requiring compassion. The gills, which the fish uses to breath, are referred to as frightening, which may sound a bit cold and something worrying since the gills of a live fish should be normal.
One gets worried about the state of the gills, which is said to be frightening to the poet. In efforts to disclose that, the fish is struggling to survive while out of the air and require compassion, Bishop notes, “I thought of the coarse white flesh packed in like feathers” (ibid 27-28). This description discloses the fish meat, which is normally very nutritious and tasty, which commands that the fish does not deserve such a harsh treatment. Man should be impressed with the fish’s meat and treat it with compassion, kindness ad care.
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