Themes in The Boat by Alistair MacLeod

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“Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” At some point in life one is faced with a decision which will define the future, but only time will tell whether or not the choice was right or wrong. The Boat by Alistair MacLeod demonstrates that an individual should make their own decisions in life, be open to new experiences and changes, and that there is no way to obtain something, without sacrificing something else.

The story describes the protagonist who is coming of age as torn between the two worlds which he loves equally, represented by his mother and his father. He is now mature and is reflecting on his life and the difficulty of his childhood as a fisherman. Despite
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The father knows that his dream of knowledge and university will never be fulfilled, and consequently, tries to accomplish this goal through his children. In doing so, he also sacrifices his relationship with his wife who despises him and his “room and all it stood for” (MacLeod 266). They both try to maintain a positive atmosphere in the house, regardless of their differences, by working hard to raise their children. As the only boy in the family, the narrator idolizes his father and eventually begins to believe that “it was very much braver to spend a life doing what you really do not want rather than selfishly following forever your own dreams and inclinations” (MacLeod 274). As a result, the narrator promises to help and protect his father until he dies, and the father, in return commits to the ultimate sacrifice of death to set his son free. The author is showing that true love goes beyond life itself and that no sacrifice is too great for a parent in order to give their children the chance of a better life. By implementing the seed of knowledge in his children, the father knew that his sacrifice is not in vain,
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