mately emerge victorious through such an endeavor or trial. The character of Fusi
Bergman from W. D. Valgardson’s short story “God is Not a Fish Inspector” is an example of such an individual. He struggles against succumbing to what he views as the failures of his coevals, so that ultimately he can prevail in life and spirit. Ambition can both help to build someone up as well as result in their inevitable downfall; and Fusi’s ambition is to prove himself to the world, to be appreciated for his strengths, and to overcome his weaknesses.
The story “God Is Not a Fish Inspector” is set in “Eddyville”—“a small town in Manitoba.”
(Valgardson, 82). The protagonist Fusi Bergman is an intrepid 70-year-old man whose raison d’être in the last “four years” has become a battle of “wits” between him (as the “illegal” fisherman) and the fish inspectors. (Valgardson, 85). His middle-aged daughter, who is disdainful regarding her father’s audacious activities, and her husband, live in Fusi’s house.
Fusi’s daughter is fearful of anything that might damage her and her husband John’s reputation.
To imbue his life with meaning and purpose, Fusi wakes up “every morning” at “three”
(Valgardson, 81), in order to fish “a quarter-mile from shore” with “one net” (Valgardson, 85), and, or so he believes, to tempt fate with the fish inspectors. “Each morning, because he had become reconciled to the idea of dying, he felt, on the instant of his awakening, a spontaneous sense of amazement at being alive.” (Valgardson, 81). Fusi passionately recollects instances in which the inspectors nearly caught him, yet he had managed to evade them or conceal the fish.
For Fusi Bergman, these “[memories] still brought back a feeling of pleasure and excitement.” (Valgardson,