Short Story The Boat By Alir Macleod

Submitted By mcnasty4
Words: 728
Pages: 3

The Father Happiness is obviously what everyone wants, but to a good father nothing thumps the further of his children; especially his son. The father in Alister MacLeod’s short story “The Boat” is a gracious father, who is living a falsified life out at sea. It is attained through this story that the “father had never been intended for a fisherman.” The father was a man of knowledge and study, who proves he was not physically, emotionally, and intellectually built for the sea. First of all, even though the mid-western family lives at the heart of the harbor, only one of them is truly happy with the life they have, and that person is not the father. He has no emotional connection to the sea, in fact “he had never really loved it.”(247) It seems as if the only person in the household who approves of the small town-house on the water, life they live, is the mother. The fact that the father would more than likely rather sit in bed, smoke a cigarette and read in his overflowing room of books truly shows his emotional detachment to the sea. A true fisherman yearns for the sea, like the father yearns for his books. It is evident that this career path was not fully by choice, being a fisherman of the sea was something “which [his wife] would forever hurl into his soul.”(275) Ultimately, the father just does not love the open waters like a natural fisherman does. Not only is the father’s heart not invested into the life of the sea, but physically, his body cannot and was not meant to endure the harsh effects of the crashing waves. His appearance takes a brutal beating from the salty waters, “he burns and reburns...his lips still cracked so that they bleed when he smiles...his arms brake out into the oozing salt-water boils [in which he’s previously been] soaking and bathing them in a variety of ineffectual solutions.”(274) Where as in reality, his pasty white skin was not meant to be out on the boat being gazed down on by the strenuous rays of the sun for hours on end each day. As well, his age affects his lifestyle, as the father gets older he isn’t as strong, as fast, or as physically fit like he used to be when he was a young fisherman. The unpleasant end of the father, whose “hands were shredded ribbons, as were his feet...[and whose] shoulders came apart when [his son] tried to move him from the rocks”(277) shows how he was not destined to live the life he did and how his body could not undergo the unrelenting toll the sea had brought upon him. After all the sea over powers the father’s weaknesses and takes under a fisherman, who ironically cannot swim a stroke. Along with the father not