Analysis Of Alistair Macleod 's Collection The Lost Salt Gift Of Blood
1462 WordsMar 22, 20176 Pages
Traditional gender roles are constantly evolving, and can differ drastically depending on the geographic area. With this being said, even in localized areas gender roles can differ depending on economic, social, and familial factors. In Alistair Macleod’s collection The Lost Salt Gift of Blood, we see “traditional” gender roles being expected, and when they are challenged or altered, conflict arises. This essay will focus on “The Boat” as well as “In The Fall” and explore how the women and men in these stories experience and set gender expectations. These stories stem from women being letdown with the expectation they have of what a man’s role in the family is and should be. Traditionally, we think of the male being the authority figure…show more content…
One example of this is seen when each of the six girls get jobs (at different times and years) at a local restaurant waitressing. The mother was, “angry that my sisters should even conceive of working in such a place, and more angry when my father made no move to prevent it, and she was worried about herself and about her family and about her life” (113). This passage highlights a couple of things; the anger the mother feels that her daughters are not sharing her views on working, as well as her attitude towards her husband not standing up for her. In traditional families, usually the role of disciplinary falls onto the father, however, the mother’s anger at her husband seems to stem from something deeper.
The father, although coming from a lineage of fisherman, does not possess the traditional mentality. Perhaps some of the anger the mother feels in the story stems, in part, from knowing despite her wish of marrying ‘a fisherman’, her husband is far from it. From the beginning, it is clear that the father was not designed to be a fisherman. His pale skin burns and bubbles in the sun, re-burning rather than tanning (121). His inability to swim (124) contradicts the entire nature of his livelihood. He spends days on the ocean, yet figuratively and literally he can never truly emerge himself in it. He does not want his son to follow in his footsteps, which in a way contradicts what a true fishing family would want, and what his mother