Finding Fish Summary & Study Guide

Antwone Quenton Fisher

Finding Fish

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Finding Fish Summary & Study Guide

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 40-page guide for “Finding Fish” by Antwone Quenton Fisher includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 3 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Music and Fishing.

Plot Summary

Finding Fish is a 2001 memoir by Antwone Fisher, a Hollywood screenwriter. The memoir begins in Cleveland in 1959, when Eddie Elkins is shot and killed by his girlfriend. Shortly after, Antwone Fisher is born to Eva Gardner, whom Eddie dated briefly. The Elkins family never speaks about the tragic incident.

Antwone’s first memory is looking out of a window at the home of his foster parents, the Picketts. Though he meets his biological mother once, she is unreliable, and he assumes the Picketts are his family. He is repeatedly sexually molested by a neighbor, Willenda, who babysits the children. Antwone is comforted by a beautiful recurring dream about feasting with his extended family.

Antwone’s kindergarten grades slide as the Picketts neglect and abuse him. Antwone receives slightly more care from Mr. Pickett and his daughter, Mercy, than his foster brother, Dwight, causing the boys to fight continually. Four-year-old Keith joins the household and receives privileged treatment because of his lighter skin. This is Antwone’s first experience of racism. A psychological evaluation at the Metzenbaum Children’s Center determines that Antwone is intelligent but blighted by fear and anger. Mrs. Pickett continually threatens to take Antwone back to social services. When Martin Luther King is shot, Antwone feels it must somehow be his fault.

Reverend Pickett’s congregation dwindles, and Antwone announces that he will no longer go to church. Antwone internalizes Mr. Pickett’s subservience to white people but stands up to his abuser Willenda when he is 10 years old. The abuse stops. At Parkwood Elementary School, Antwone’s teacher, Mrs. Profit, is fair and encouraging. His years under her tutelage are “golden,” and his grades and self-esteem improve. The Picketts’ middle-age nephew, Brother, moves in but commits suicide a few months later. Dwight meets his real mother at 14 but is crushed when she cannot take care of him. He leaves to live at Boys Town, a group home for adolescent men, commencing a life of crime and incarceration. Dwight’s sister, and Antwone’s foster sister, Flo, leaves to join the Job Corps, and Mrs. Pickett fills their beds with mentally handicapped people who disturb Antwone.

After some debate, the Picketts decide not to adopt Antwone, and Mrs Pickett is absent for months at a time, leaving Antwone in the care of her daughter, Lizzie, who is cruel to him. Finally, Mrs. Pickett tells Antwone to leave, tossing the bus fare back to social services at him. Patricia Nees, his social worker, meets him, finds him temporary accommodation at the Metzenbaum Children’s Center, and offers him more information about his parents. Antwone is soon moved to George Junior Republic reform center for boys in Pennsylvania, where he finishes high school before starting adult life at a YMCA in Cleveland. Here, he meets and begins working for a criminal called Butch, before being badly beaten by him. Antwone’s eighteenth birthday passes while he is homeless. Antwone returns to Glenville, his hometown, and bumps into his old friend, Jessie, with whom he briefly lives before Jessie is shot. He then lives with his foster sister, Flo, and the Picketts’ kind daughter, Mercy. Soon afterward, he joins the marines.

Antwone graduates into Company 902 and gains confidence and a sense of belonging. He travels for eleven years with the navy to exotic ports in Japan, New Zealand, Korea, Thailand, and Spain. He works through his repressed rage with a navy psychiatrist, reads widely, and becomes a successful poet on board the ship. At 25, while in Japan, he falls in love with a girl called Seiko but has to leave some months later. Antwone continues to achieve in the navy and earns several special awards. At 30 he leaves the navy, then works as a federal corrections officer on Terminal Island for three years.

Antwone takes a job as a security guard in Los Angeles at Sony Pictures Entertainment, where he meets many famous people. Becoming curious about his family, he locates his aunt in Cleveland and uncle in nearby Chicago. Antwone spends Thanksgiving with his extended family, a scene that reproduces the happiness of his recurring childhood dream. He visits his father’s grave, sees Dwight in jail, and meets his mother. After a brief period of contact with her, his interest wanes, as he feels she is a stranger. Word of Antwone’s life story spreads, and soon several production companies ask to make it into a movie. He holds out until he receives an offer to write the screenplay himself. A successful career as a Hollywood screenwriter follows.

Antwone meets his future wife, LaNette, while working at Sony Pictures Entertainment. Just over a year later, they marry, and soon she is pregnant with their daughter, Indigo. Antwone feels that he is living the dream that comforted him as a child.

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