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fabrizia cortellazzi

on 6 June 2013

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Dave Eggers What the water feels like to the fishes Dave Eggers
(Boston, March 1970)
http://www.mcsweeneys.net/pages/about-dave-eggers Human beings Fishes
Unconventional situation

Two points of view

Internal narrator Plot Black and white

Contrast and cohesion at the same time Sky and Water
by Maurits Cornelis Escher

Abrupt introduction

Enigmatic conclusion

No chronological time Structure Unconventional

"..and thus they ask Why?.."

"the fishes laugh mirthlessly"
"they smile their big fish smiles"

"The fishes press further" FISHES Characters HUMAN BEINGS Meaning
Philosophical speculation


by Dave Eggers

Like the fur of a chinchilla. Like the cleanest tooth. Yes, the fishes say, this is what it feels like. People always ask the fishes , “What does the water feel like to you?” and the fishes are always happy to oblige. Like feathers are to other feathers, they say. Like powder touching ash. When the fishes tell us these things , we begin to understand . We begin to think we know what the water feels like to the fishes. But it’s not always like fur and ash and the cleanest tooth. At night , they say, the water can be different. At night, , when it’s very cold, it can be like the tongue of a cat. At night, , when it’s very very cold, the water is like cracked glass. Or honey. Or forgiveness, they say, ha ha. When the fishes answer these questions - which they are happy to do – they also ask why. They are curious, fish are, and thus they ask Why? Why do you want to know what the water feels like to the fishes? And we are never quite sure. The fishes press further. Do you breathe air? They ask. The answer, we say, is yes. Well then, they say, What does the air feel like to you? And we do not know. We think of air and we think of wind, but that’s another thing. Wind is like air in action, air on the move, and the fishes know this. Well then, they ask again, what does the air feel like? And we have to think about this. Air feels like air, we say, and the fishes laugh mirthlessly. Think! They say. Think, they say, now gentler. And we think and we guess that it feels like hair, thousands of hairs, swaying ever so slightly in breezes microscopic. The fishes laugh again. Do better, think harder, they say. It feels like language, we say, and they are impressed. Keep going, they say. It feels like blood, we say, and they say No, no that’s not it. The air is like being wanted, we say, and they nod approvingly. The air is like getting older, they say, and they smile their big fish smiles. Displaced
"we are never quite sure"

"And we do not know" Meditative tone Figures of speech Climax
«fishes laugh mirthlessly»
«Think, they say, now gentler»
«Do better, think harder»
«They are impressed»
«No,no, that’s not it»
«They nod approvingly»
«they smile their big fish smiles» Metaphor «Air is like air» Tautology Personifications Similes Language http://moviesincolor.com/post/44956814882/wes-anderson-week-the-life-aquatic-with-steve
Full transcript