God Is Not a Fish Inspector

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To Live or To Die
Dylan Thomas’ poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” is an appeal by a son to his dying father. The son wants his father to fight against death arguing that even on our death beds, “old age should burn and rage at the close of day”.(line 2) The main character in W.D. Valgardson’s short story “God is Not a Fish Inspector” does not share this perspective on life and death.

It is not death that Fusi, the main character in the short story, wishes to avoid, but rather an inability to live. He refuses to stop fishing, defying his old body, his worried daughter and the fish inspectors because he believes that a person should be useful and vital. He believes that only a productive life is worth the fight and that once your life ceases to be productive, you have no reason to live. He does not want to be relegated to ranks of those who must be looked after, like children or the infirm. When his daughter appeals to him to be more like the people of his age, he barks “I’m not one of them” (p.89).

It isn’t hard to imagine Fusi as the dying father in Thomas’ poem. Valgardson’s character, like that father in Thomas’s poem, would be unlikely to condone clinging to life for the sake of avoiding death. He would want to be released from the state of limbo between life and death. It is a fate worse than death that Fusi wishes to avoid.

254 words (An acceptable range for the word count is 20 over or 20 under. I want both a hard copy and an electronic version of your reflections from now on; I will be checking the word count.)

Ideas: This is much more a critical thinking exercise than anything else. You must come to a good understanding of the readings and focus on one essential point. It is important to note that no one is asking for my viewpoint on life and death. I am being asked to write a literary essay. This means that I must present the viewpoints of the authors as presented in these two particular works. Organisation: Make sure that...
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