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Analysis Of The Boat By Alistair Macleod

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The short story “The Boat” by Alistair MacLeod is narrated by a man who comes from a fishing family. His mother’s side of the family has forever lived and worked by the sea and continues this tradition. The narrator’s father always wanted to be an academic, but worked on the boat to support his family. Through this passage it is evident that the parents’ characters clash in many aspects of their lives and are in constant conflict. MacLeod demonstrates this through the use of repetition, the contrast in other unrelated ideas, and through information that is withheld.

This passage from the short story illustrates the conflict between the parents through the use of repetition. The narrator’s parents have very different outlooks on everything in their lives. The father gave up his academic dreams to stay and support his family, but his need for adventure and change still affects him in many ways. The parents have very opposite views on what their children should do with their lives; the mother assumes they will all stay by the sea and continue their family’s traditions, while the father hopes that they will go off and live their lives out in the world. MacLeod makes this conflict between the parents very clear in the passage by using repetition of key words. In this section, the narrator remembers an argument between his parents. His mother is absolutely appalled that his father would not act in response to their daughters moving away from the sea. While the father longs for
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