The Boat By Alistair Macleod Summary

Words: 632
Pages: 3

Imagine being a young adult who is stressed about his future. Think about the pressure your parents put on you about what job they want you to have. W.H Auden’s poem, “The Average”, and Alistair Macleod’s short story, “The Boat”, follow a child whose parents are pressuring them into the occupation they want for their child. “The Average” follows a child who does not get to choose his future while ‘The Boat” follows a child who appears to get the option of choosing his future. The factors that determines the outcome of parental pressure on children, is dependent, in part on their parents having the same opinion and, in part, on the manner in which the pressure is applied.

The similar issue between “The Average” and “The Boat” is parental pressure on a child’s future. In “The Average”, the parents, “... pressure of their fond ambition made/Their shy and country-loving child afraid”. The child’s parents are pressuring him about the path that they want him to pursue. Likewise, in “The Boat”, the child realizes that his parents have been pressuring him and that he needs to make a decision on what path he wants. Torn between his parents, he explains, “I say this now with a
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In “The Average” the parents “...killed themselves with toil/To let their darling leave a stingy soil” to enable the child to follow the path that both parents prefer. Both parents, striving toward the same goal of having their child leave the farm, makes it more difficult for the child to confront their opinions. In “The Boat”, each of the narrator’s parents want different paths for him. The mother believes that he should stay on the boat while his father believes he should go to the city. Thus, the child has the opportunity to choose between two options.The reason why one child gets to choose their path when another child does not is because of their parents have different