Symbolism of The Boat by Alistar MacLeod

Topics: Philosophy of life, Family, Marriage Pages: 3 (1229 words) Published: April 7, 2014
“The Boat” written by Alistair MacLeod tells a story about a father’s life and how he lived as a fisherman. The narrator is an adult man who looks back on his life of when his father was still living because even though he got a university education, he now wants the life his father had. He expresses how his father always wanted him to become something bigger and better then what he became. The author, Alistair MacLeod, used many different writing techniques within this short story. The symbolism of “The Boat” expresses inevitability through the little hobbies the father/husband does through his boring routine life, obligation through the father/husband’s commitment as a fisherman to provide for his family, and imprisonment through his life as a fisherman even though he always wanted a university education.

The father/husband wants a life outside of the fishing world he lives in. He finds ways in his everyday life to add exciting pieces of the outside world to his because he feels the need to learn things outside of the boat as demonstrated by the radio he keep on and listens to daily. Symbolism is provided through the tourists who his daughters meet through their work; they provide a certain fulfillment of wanting a bigger and broader world. He goes out of his way after a long days work to take these tourist on boat rides. “The tourists with their expensive clothes and cameras and sun glasses awkwardly backed down the iron ladder at the wharf’s side to where my father had waited below, holding the rocking Jenny Lynn in snug against the wharf with one hand on the iron ladder and steadying his descending passengers with the other.” (Macleod, p. 229) The father/husband got to experience new excitement from the tourist; he could see in their eyes that “awe” effect that the sea gave them even though he did not feel that feeling anymore. He felt appreciation from a different point of view for once, allowing him to sing and be joyful. The new clothes and cameras...
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