Fishhawk Poem Analysis

1074 Words 5 Pages
“Fishhawk” was the first poem of the Classic of Poetry, the earliest poetry collection of East Asia (p.1322). In contrast to many poems in the “Airs of Domain” that propagated Confucianism, “Fishhawk” is a simple love poem. The poem revolves around a young man who was “tormented by his desire for a girl”(p.1322). While this poem is labeled as a “romantic folk song”(p.1322), the good use of literary elements, syntax, and language added a bit of tint to the love story.

The author used a series of literary elements throughout the poem. The first sentence of the first stanza, “The fishhawks sing guan guan” marked a significant start to the poem. Spring seems to be a season when animals, birds, and humans are awaken and start to become more active.
…show more content…
The woman who was described as “pure and fair” matched with the ideal woman whom the man was searching for. In Chinese traditions, the word “pure” usually referred to a girl that is untouched by men. Moreover, the author chose the word “fair” to describe the virtue of kindness that was highly praised in the Chinese culture. Since the moment he saw this young maiden, he cannot help but to fall in love with her. The last line of the second stanza, “wanted waking and asleep” portrayed the intensity of the man’s desire toward the maiden he loved.

The author brilliantly used the syntax to make the poem more compelling to the readers. The repetition of the line “Watercress grows here and there” in the second, fourth, and the fifth stanza gave the poem an overall melodic rhythm. Moreover, the exact repetition of “Gentle maiden, pure and fair” in line 3,7,15, and 19 emphasized the young man’s desire for the fair lady. While exact line repetition occurred, repetition with small variations was also embedded in the poem as signals for plot
…show more content…
In the first stanza, author portrayed an image of singing fishhawks that gave the poem a relaxed and happy tone. Looking into the second stanza, the young man found the “pure and fair”(line 7) gentle maiden he was looking for. His craving for this woman was well shown in the line “wanted waking and asleep”(line 8), and this helped to intensify the excitement on top of the happy tone of the poem. Moving toward the third stanza, there was a sudden fluctuation in the entire tone of the poem. “Wanting, sought her, had her not,”(line 9) showed that the man was not able to get the heart of the maiden he loved. Author used words such as “on and on”(line 11) to demonstrate the deepness and the intensiveness of the young man’s desire toward the woman. An image of the young man alone in the bed, “tossed from one side to another”(line 2) showed how much he suffered from loving the woman he was unable to get. This stanza conveyed sorrows and pains the man went through when the maiden he thought of day and night rejected him, and this created in a sad tone in contrast to the happy and exciting tone before. Nonetheless, starting from the fourth stanza, the tone seemed to move back toward the happy side of the scale. In line 16, “With harps we bring her company”, the young man shortened the distance between him and the maiden through playing harps. The

Related Documents