This watercolor and oil on paper work by Paul Klee, entitled "They're Biting," 1920, shows a cartoon style scenario of a boy fishing with his dad. The boy has caught a fish, a larger fish is about to take the hook of the father’s line. Following the lines from the fishing rods is a little bit like games found in children’s puzzle books, where the loops and curves must be traced from one symbol to another. Amongst the symbols for fish we also find two recognisable typographic symbols in the full-stop and the exclamation mark. These represent methods of indicating much larger concepts, such as conclusion and surprise, in a very simple abstract way. The exclamation is above a fish that is big enough to swallow both father and son. And what do fish do: big fish eat little fish. A series of events have been set in motion that will reach a final conclusion with the big fish being caught by one of the fishers. The ratio will be reversed and the struggle to land the catch could go ‘either way’.
Could this be seen as a metaphor for a child becoming an adult, the evolution from childhood to manhood? Why do you think the artist chose to paint the lines faintly rather than emphatically? Do you think this lends a childlike quality to the overall work? Must be at least 500 words and have 3 citations minimum.
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