The Fish Questions and Answers
by Elizabeth Bishop

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In Elizabeth Bishop's poem "The Fish," is the expression "everything was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!" abstract or concrete?

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Typically, Elizabeth Bishop's poetry is pictorial, not only in the sense of giving vivid descriptions of natural phenomen, but also in the poem's use of such objects that reflect on the self referential.  Thus, the rainbow represents victory for both the fish and its capturer.  In her delicacy of language, however, Bishop does not overtly communicate what this victory encompasses.  Instead, in her poem "The Fish," she employs ambiguity "rainbow, rainbow, rainbow."  Beauty comes from destruction.

Yet, in the victory of both the fish and its capturer, the exclamation becomes both abstract and concrete . As in a painting, the rainbow is concretely visible on the fish, while it is felt by the capturer who has caught it, relishing her victory over catching such a venerable fish who has escaped other fishermen as well as the fish's ability to have eluded capture so many times. The emotions are metaphorically a rainbow as the capturer experiences...

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