The Boat

Good Essays
Topics: Family, Fishing, Son, Daughter
Alistair MacLeod’s The Boat
Character Analysis of the Father

The father in Alistair MacLeod‘s short story The Boat, struggled with the constant feeling of imprisonment every single day. He was both a physically and mentally drained man, who wished he had pursued an education, and although his wife did not approve of his own personal beliefs and doings, both his son and his daughters were highly intrigued by him. When he wasn’t out on the sea fishing he would be in his room, reading and smoking; trying to escape reality even if it was for a minute.
There were multiple times throughout the story in which we are shown how the father truly feels about the life he is living. For example, the continuous reading and smoking is the most prominent of his actions. Another example is when he was drunk and singing for the tourists.
I was just approaching the wharf to deliver my mother’s summons when he began, and the familiar yet unfamiliar voice that rolled down from the cabins made me feel as I had never felt before in my young life or perhaps as I had always felt without really knowing it, and I was ashamed yet proud, young yet old and saved yet forever lost, and there was nothing I could do to control my legs which trembled nor my eyes which wept for what they could not tell. (Pg. 115)
This scene is symbolic to the father’s regret in the life he had chosen. This shows the reader that he used other means aside from listening to the radio, reading and all the smoking to “escape.” The father’s actions depict how he truly feels about his life; as noticed by the son who had stated “perhaps my father had never been intended for a fisherman either physically or mentally… he had never really loved it.” (Pg. 121) This is a perfect example of the father showing his son that he really despised his job through his actions. Instead, he had always had the desire to attend university, which unfortunately did not happen. Although the

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