Paradigm: a distinct pattern or thought process. Some paradigms have become more dominant than others, through the process of globalisation. Examples of such paradigms are:
A disregard for nature.
A disregard for heritage.
A focus on materialism.
A desire to explore.
These dominant paradigms reflect the effects of globalisation. MacLeod’s short stories, “The Boat” and “The Island” challenge these dominant paradigms to a substantial extent, but conversely embrace other aspects.
Alister MacLeod’s short story, “The Boat,” offers a complex view on these dominant paradigms. Some characters, such as the mother, love nature and heritage, and dismiss exploration and materialism with violent passion. Other characters, like the father, share the same love for nature, but are more accepting of materialism and desire exploration and expansion. In “The Boat,” the failing relationship of the mother and the father symbolise the clash of the global and the local paradigms.
The dominant paradigm of neglecting nature is challenged in “The Boat.” For characters like the mother, the nature is an integral part of her life. Her connection to nature is communicated through the use of imagery of nature: “She fed and clothed a family of seven children, making all of the meals and most of the clothes. She grew miraculous gardens and magnificent flowers and raised broods of hens and ducks. She would walk miles on berry-picking expeditions and hoist her skirts to dig for clams when the tide was low.” This listing of images of nature helps the reader to understand how the mother is deeply integrated with nature. The father is also deeply attached to nature, so much so that his physical appearance is defined by his constant interaction with nature. Descriptive language is used to highlight this effect that nature has on him, and the narrator says: “he burned and reburned over and over again and his lips still cracked so that they bled when he smiled.” The father evidently spends most of his day outside getting burnt by the sun. The chains that the father wears around his wrists to prevent chafing also symbolise how he is tied to the nature, by of his traditional lifestyle, complacency, and the love his wife has for nature.
In “The Island,” we glean a more paradoxical view of these dominant paradigms. The same love for nature is witnessed in the family who live on the island, but other paradigms are less clear. The attitude towards heritage, materialism and exploration in this story is extremely complex. Agnes and her family embrace these paradigms, but they are still criticised by MacLeod, as we are shown their shortcomings.
The dominant paradigm of a disregard for heritage is also challenged in “The Boat.” The mother is values heritage very highly, to the point where it has a detrimental effect on the relationship she has with the whole family. MacLeod uses direct speech to emphasise her stance on the value of heritage. It reads “She said the restaurant was not run by ‘our people’ and ‘our…