M. V. Williams

The Marsh People

THE MARSH PEOPLE published by Victorina Press, is based on an experiment with dogs about  learned helplessness.
It’s a well known experiment conducted by Seligman, in which dogs are kept in wire cages with electrified walls, but are fed at regular intervals. After several weeks, the tops of the cages are removed. One or two of the dogs, seeing freedom, leap out despite slight electric shocks and not knowing how they would be fed, and run away. But most of the dogs stayed where they were – they had become accustomed to being helpless.  This got me thinking….

THE MARSH PEOPLE puts the dogs in charge of the inhabitants, under orders from the Masters in a soulless City where only the basic essentials are present. Then one young man finds himself looking after his neighbour’s orphaned little daughter and decides he’s had enough. Together they leave the City and have to learn to survive out there on the marshy lands around the estuary. All the time the Masters are watching…

I also wanted to show a relationship between a very young girl and a very young man, where he takes responsibility for her and is in a protective role as they leave the City. But she also looks out for him and protects him.

There’s always the tug between control and being controlled, freedom and security, and the choices people make which involve risk.

Having achieved some hard-won security, prosperity and peace, there are always enemies envious of this ready to step in and take advantage.

The book could have ended in a number of different ways, but I feel now it was right to end as it did.

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Two Poems
The King of Neverwas a poem for our time. (Never mind BREXIT)
Learned Helplessness
THE MARSH PEOPLE – Victorina Press

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