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Commentary on Rita Doves Fish Stone Essay

One of the ways that humans can discover information about the past is through examining the remnants of the past. The only way that we know that past organisms exist is because living organisms die, it is an inevitable cycle. Though death is feared by many, it is a stipulation that comes with life. If every organism is immortal, from what can we deduce our knowledge of the existence of the world’s history?

The author sheds positive light on the topic of death- stating that it can be valuable, through the fish in the stone’s perspective. The author conveys this message through her style of imagery, symbolism and diction. Even though imagery is one of the most common techniques in poetry, Rita Dove has created a new style of imagery that also contains symbols, which function as the base for understanding the poem’s central meaning. Diction, poem structures also important literary devices, and Rita Dove’s selection of words contribute to the meaning of the poem.

Imagery is also linked to symbolism. Throughout the poem, there are many symbols that can be interpreted. The symbols contribute to the overall meaning of the poem, in a tacit manner. This style can be seen In her style of imagery. For example, the “fern’s voluptuous braille”, it is obvious that a fern cannot have braille. Underneath the layer of words there is a meaning, which could represent the biological makeup similar to DNA.

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The reason is because braille is like a code, it is hard to learn and decipher if you are not blind. Also, it could mean a guiding object, it gives more information and clues to the scientist observing it. Another symbol is the sea, it means infinity, or the infinite possibilities. The symbol can be interpreted as the fish’s desire to be on of the many animals we overlook because it’s common. From the fish’s view, it can be said that the fish wants to be alive and is not completely satisfied with being examined from the scientist.

These symbols all contribute towards a deeper understanding of the poem. In contrast to imagery, symbols are on another level. Imagery is the most common technique authors use , but symbolism is different. For example, if the reader reads the poem he/she would imagine “the ferns voluptuous braille”, but it is not to be taken literally. This poem’s symbols prevents the readers from taking everything literally.

Finally, after a analysis of the poem, I feel that the poem appears to be simple, but its meaning is actually quite hard to comprehend. The message that the author conveys in this poem is the message that death is not as bad as it is depicted in ancient legends and fables, but it can actually provide benefits for the living. Death is part of the natural cycle of life, and it is needed in order to find out information about our identity.

To convey this message, the author uses variety of techniques such as free verse structure of the poem, diction, symbolism and imagery. The meaning of the poem is not obvious, and I think that it requires a lot of thinking to find out what it actually means. The poem has many layers, for example, when you first read the poem, you can’t take everything literally, or the meaning can never be found. There is a meaning within a meaning; the poem’s stanzas are like riddles. The poem itself is composed of hidden meaning; it is like a maze.

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