1 April 2018
It’s More than a Betta Fish
In “The Betta Fish, Christmas,” by Julie Danho, the speaker talks about buying a betta fish as a christmas present for her daughter. However, the poem seems to have a much larger significance, as the speaker reveals that the family has struggled within the past year. In “The Betta Fish, Christmas,” the poem shows how the betta fish relates to the hardships that the family has experienced by using symbolism and figurative language.
By using symbolism, one can see how the betta fish is symbolic to the family’s past year. Throughout the poem, the speaker, who is a mother, explains the struggles of buying a christmas present in second person point of view. The mother and her husband purchase a betta fish as a christmas present for their daughter. However, according to the speaker the fish had become “a tiny red/problem,” (ll. 21-22). The problems that come with the fish is somewhat symbolic of the “hard year,” that the family has been dealing with (l. 17). The betta fish barely moved, and the family was left with only three options: “kill it, let it die slowly/in the small, cold, bowl,/or fork over for a tank/with a heater and a filter” (ll. 2-5). The betta fish is only a tip of the iceberg for a family that has been struggling throughout the year. The speaker explains their struggles by saying: “Our axis had moved enough/that we could expect land/and step on water instead” (ll. 18-20). Nothing has seemed to go right for this family, and by using symbolism, the reader can see how the betta fish is symbolic of the family’s hardships.
Throughout the poem, there are...