In the Fall, by Alistair Macleod

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A misconception that we often have about family is that every member is treated equally. This fallacy is substantially portrayed in Alistair Macleod’s short story, “In The Fall”. Typically speaking, in a family, the Mother is the backbone for kindness and provides love and support with no unfair judgements. However, when we relate to the portrait of the Mother in Macleod’s short story, we perceive the portrait as a self-centered woman whose affection is only shown upon what interests her. The Mother’s unsympathetic persona is apparent throughout the story as she criticizes all that holds sentimental value to her husband and children. The Mother is among a family of four who lives on a small farm and takes immense pride in what interests her, however her passion does not particularly lie in her two children; James and David; nor in her husband and their interests; but instead lies within her chickens. Though chickens bring the most joy to the Mother, they are not the sole animals that live on the farm. The animal that draws the most interest from the father, James and David is their horse, Scott. At a young age, Scott was used as a working mule for the family and grew up alongside the Father and two Sons. To the father, Scott was like one of his own sons, and to James and David, Scott was like their brother; but according to the Mother, “He’s been worthless these last few years”(Macleod, 267). Ever since Scott was young, he was a burden on the Mother’s lifestyle; she never took a liking to the horse even when he served as a source of profit for the family. The Mother had never appreciated the sentimental value that Scott possessed because he had never been a particular interest to her. Once Scott had aged and was no longer able... ... middle of paper ... ...e on her part. Throughout the story, the Mother is portrayed as the dominant figure, which resembled the amount of say that the father and children had on matters. Together, the Father, James, and David strived to maintain equality by helping with the chickens and taking care of Scott; however, despite the effort that they had put in, the Mother refused to be persuaded that Scott was of any value and therefore she felt that selling him would be most beneficial. The Mother’s persona is unsympathetic as she lacks respect and a heart towards her family members. Since the Mother never showed equality, her character had unraveled into the creation of a negative atmosphere in which her family is now cemented in. For the Father, David and James, it is only now the memories of Scott that will hold their bond together. Works Cited Broadview Anthology of Short Fiction

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