Have you ever felt like you were alone in the world against a bully? Not knowing what to do, feeling scared? How were you going to take up the fight? In the short “Serrasalmus” written by Lesley Glaister, we’re introduced to Marjorie and how she deals with her everyday bully Mick. How she overcomes the fear of being Mick’s victim.
Marjorie is a middle-aged woman suffering from the mental illness agoraphobia, which is a phobia for moving out of its own door, as well as social situations with many people present. Summed up, anxiety of space.. She lives alone in her apartment, and because of her diagnosis she stays there a lot. Marjorie´s huge interest and hobby is fish. It’s the one thing she enjoys the most. Marjorie watches, follows and takes a lot of care of her fish. It gives her peace of mind. She is very fascinated by the life of the fish and she wishes to become one. Because of her disorder, Marjorie is enrolled in a community scheme. A scheme she doesn’t like at. She cares much about her fish (P. 84. Line 40). She feels helpless when Nick throws her fish out of the window, she’s struggling to breathe when the event happened. Her fish means everything to her, she would even sacrifice. She developed a dread for people except Ron, the owner of Fish ‘n feathers due to him having the same interest in fish as she does. She has complained about Mick’s behavior and she is mad because, they gave out her address. Marjorie wasn’t happy before, but she is less happy now because she met Mick. She wants revenge for all the times Mick has hurt her. She does not care if he dies or not, she just wants her revenge. In the end of the story she doesn’t not care if Mick is hurt or not, she just wants to enjoy her fish.
Mick is the evil one. Mick is a troublemaker who has problems with the system and the law. Mick has no problem with shaming, threating and being cruel towards Marjorie. He takes advantage of Marjorie due to her being sick. He even does not have a problem with threatening to kill her (P 83. Line 40) He has never done anything physically to her. Mick has no problem with blackmailing Marjorie for whatever reason he has. He wants, what he wants, it could be money or food. Mick pretends to be interested in Marjorie’s fish, so he can abuse her to whatever he wants. Mick has an aggressive attitude towards Marjorie, he treats her with no respect even through she is an older lady, he yells at her telling her what to do, curses at her. Mick does not seem good at making friends, which could be the reason why he got in a fight and got beaten up.
The fish has a positive effect on Marjorie, it makes her calm. The fish is anti-social, which is something Marjorie can identify in herself, since she lives in her apartment and barely leaves her room. Marjorie finds them different from humans, because they’re less busy. When she drugs Mick, she turns to the fish they’re cheering for her. Russ is a her favorite one. He is a piranha, a frenzy one. Russ makes Marjorie feel stronger because he eats Mick’s hand and in seconds it’s filled with blood in the bucket. When Marjorie puts Russ back in the aquarium he blows her kisses, which could mean that she did a good job.
The theme could be revenge and fear. We all have some sort of fear of something it could be spiders or something else. But here we see that Marjorie fears Mick. She has been fearing him for a long time. She realizes this, and she wants to take revenge on Mick for making her miserably for ages. She wants to overcome this fear and get the revenge she deserves.
Throughout the story we see how Marjorie developed from being afraid, to taking control of the situation. It shows us that weak people can still find the strength in the darkness to do evil things. She does not care what is going to happen to Mick after Russ has been tearing his hand apart. It seems like Marjorie herself has some sort of a darkness inside her. But all she cares about is to get rid of him so she go back enjoying her fish in peace, like she did before Mick turned up