Critical Analysis Of The Fish In The Stone By Rita Dove

853 Words4 Pages
The fish in the stone by Rita Dove is a poem which examines the course of history and demise from the perspective of a fish which has witnessed both. The fish in the stone is an objective observer of all that passes before him, he is able to describe the changes he sees in the world with first hand account of both the past and the present. The poem creates comparisons between the old sea and his new laboratory environment, life and death, and knowledge and history, to outline the principles of change and objectivity. The poem is written in free verse making it out to be genuine and honest in its account and the line length does not follow a pattern utilizing a very straightforward manner of writing. Rita Dove uses powerful imagery and symbolism to further the directness and relatability of the poem as well as the situation the fish is in. The fish in the stone understands how ends are just as an important player in creation as beginnings, and that contributes to the theme of poem which portrays neither life nor death as an ultimatum, but rather conjoined phase of existence.
In the first line, it is stated that “The fish in the stone would like to fall back into the sea”. This shows that after he died and his body lost function, the fish wishes he could return to his old form and activity. Words like “weary” and “waiting” are used to describe the laboratory and give it a simple but clinical feel. The ocean, on the other hand, is described as silent and “unnecessary”, giving it a sense of vacancy and extraneousness. In the past, the fish lived in water which moves and flows in the way that life does. The fish now lives in stone which like death represents permanence, expressing the motion of the living and the immobility of the dead. He is tired of “analysis” and “small predictable truths” implying that there is more to living than trivial answers to trivial questions, and that there was more contentment for him in the sea and in living then there is now for him in death. Because the fish already knows the numbers of his existence he finds recitation tiring and predictable. This is also works as a brief commentary on how science seeks to understand things. It shows that science rarely focuses on larger pictures

More about Critical Analysis Of The Fish In The Stone By Rita Dove

Get Access