The Father's Life In The Boat By Robert Macleod

Words: 1243
Pages: 5

In the short story, “The Boat”, the narrator reveals his confusion between choosing his passion and pleasing his mother. The narrator, who is a professor, admires the sacrifice and death of his father who was forced to continue the family’s tradition of fishing. In “The Boat”, the narrator effectively reveals his father’s intention to break free from his life by using specific descriptive words, disorganization of the father’s room, and the connections between father and the sea.

In the beginning of the story, MacLeod uses specific words to show how father’s life and his room are connected. After spending most of his time at the sea, the father usually relaxes in his room. The objects in his room are mostly described using adjectives that
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His time at the sea helps him avoid the disturbances imposed upon him by his life. The title, “The Boat”, is a means of transportation suitable for water bodies. The boat provides father with a new journey. He is able to escape his depressed life through the excitement of a new journey every day. MacLeod states, “At the bed’s foot there was a single window which looked upon the sea”(3). This indicates that for the father, the sea is a heaven filled with peace, love, and tranquility. By travelling via the boat, the father seeks heaven. The position of his bed in the room also makes it easier for him to be physically present in the room but mentally be on the boat in search of heaven. MacLeod also describes, “He seemed never to sleep, only to doze, and the light shone constantly from his window to the sea”(4). This shows that the light can overcome the darkness of the room and its objects. It brings peace and pleasure in father’s gloomy life. Furthermore, in the presence of the tourist, “he sang all the old sea chanteys that had come across from the old world . . . the long liners of Boston Harbor, Nantucket and Block Island” (MacLeod 7). This shows the old connections the father poses with the sea. He also uses other means besides his radio and books to escape the imprisonment of the world around him. At the end of the story, the narrator describes his father lying there “with the brass chains on his wrists and the seaweed in his hair” (MacLeod 12). The sea and the boat which “shackled” him in life are paralleled in death by the “chains on his wrists” and the“seaweed tangled in his hair”. By establishing this parallel, the narrator conveys that his father receives more peace in