Alistair Macleod’s “The Boat” is a tale of sacrifice, and of silent struggle. A parent’s sacrifice not only of their hopes and dreams, but of their life. The struggle of a marriage which sees two polar opposites raising a family during an era of reimagining. A husband embodying change and hope, while making great sacrifice; a wife gripped in fear of the unknown and battling with the idea of losing everything she has ever had. The passage cited above strongly presents these themes through its content and use of literary tools.
Visualization is the first tool used by the Macleod, “Through the angle in the screen door I saw my father . . . .” implies the narrator can only see through so much of the door, his sight is restricted to only his father. This allows for a very strong description of his father in the moment. The narrators’ father was walking towards his bedroom with his back to his wife. He had clearly dismissed his wife’s’ argument until she cruelly remarked “Well, I hope you 'll be satisfied when they come home knocked up and you 'll have had your way.” (Alistair Macleod 229). Without stopping, revealing how shocked he was to hear this, he turns around. He is mid stride, but so taken back that he spins to face her. The offence that he feels is a result of his opinion that it would be best for his children to find a better way of life than his own. His children have an opportunity for a much more fulfilling life and he wants nothing more than for them to pursue it. This would see...
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...er living a life he has felt as having very little meaning. The only meaning in his life, apparent in the story at least, would be his children. His children who he ultimately sacrifices his life for; though his sacrifice would not have taken much convincing considering the way he spent his time on earth.
The passion that the narrators’ father feels for his children to go out and seek an education as well as broader fulfillment in life is very present in this passage. His mothers’ passionate fear of change is present as well; although not entirely in words, more so the effect her opinion has on the other characters in the story. All members of the family by the end of it almost seem like they have escaped the village and their mother with in it. Her aversion to change leaves her to be alone in the end; her husband’s will to achieve something better leaves him dead.
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