In The Boat by Alistair Macleod the mother and father are presented as opposites. The mother is the character trying to keep the tradition alive, whereas the father is the character who is looking forward to the changes. The mother does not want any tourists in her town and does not want her family to go out and spend time with the people who do not come from the village. The father was encouraging the change to happen, and he was kind enough to take the tourists out for a ride on his boat.
My mother despised the room and all it stood for
its door always open and its contents visible to all. (MacLeod, 469)
The father knew that change is inevitable. The father's room symbolizes the change occurring within the household, and the father was the one who first accepted the change and allowed it to start taking place. Compared to the rest of the house, the father's room went against all of the traditions that were taught to the children within the kitchen. The books were teaching him of the world beyond their town, and of the changes occurring to the rest of the world. The father realized that it was too late for him to make the change because he was too old and had spent his entire life with the boat and the sea, so he left it up to his children to go out and make the changes, to leave behind the family traditions and choose their own paths in life. The fact that the kitchen's contents were always visible to all shows that the father has some shame in the fact that his room is different from the rest of the house. Although he has accepted the changes that are going to occur he is still ashamed to be leaving everything that he has grown up with and is why it does not mention anything about the father's room door being opened or closed. The father also knew the value of books and how important reading is because of all the knowledge that he could learn from the books whereas his wife said that reading was absolutely pointless because there was always work...
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