By Choice or Chance? The Boat English 12 Alex McDonald The Boat written by Alistair MacLeod, is a story told from the perspective of a man looking back on his life. It’s about the difficult lifestyle that fishermen in Nova Scotia lead. The story is told about the man’s childhood, focusing on this father and the fishing lifestyle he has grown up in. The story really focuses in on the father-son relationship, where the father would prefer his son getting an education and not having to live the dangerous lifestyle he does, which in the end kills him.
The father in the story commits suicide at the end of the story by jumping off his boat durning a storm. Many things contribute to his death such as the fact that he no longer wanted his son to follow in his footsteps as a fisherman, he was never really meant to be a fisherman in general and all together the father was just not happy with his life.
The father never wanted his son to follow in his footsteps and become a fisherman. He had always wanted his son to be able to go and get an education, unlike him.
He burned and reburied over and over again and his lips still cracked so that they bled when he smiled, and his arms, especially the left, still broke out into the oozing salt-water boils as they did ever since as a child I had first watched him soaking and bathing them in a variety of ineffectual solutions.
The chafe-preventing brackets of brass kinked chain that all the men wore about their wrists in early spring were his full season and he shaved but painfully and only once a week. “(Page 121). The father is obviously unhappy and cannot find any other way out of his lifestyle.
In this story the father does not lead a very happy life, from the disappointment of his career, to his family. All of his children except his son no longer lived at home, or even visit, his wife was constantly unhappy with her own life which took a toll on him and the two other reasons already discussed made the father unhappy. “He had to marry my mother and checked the dates on the flyleaf of the Bible where I learned that my oldest sister had been born a prosaic eleven months after the marriage, and I felt myself then very dirty and debased for my lack of faith and for what I had thought and done.
And then there came into my heart a very great love for my father and I thought 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. And I knew then that I could never leave him alone to suffer the iron-tipped harpoons which my mother would forever hurl into his soul because he was a failure as a husband and a father who had retained none of his own. And I felt that I had been very small in a little secret place within me and that even the completion of high school was for me a silly shallow selfish dream.
So I told him one night very resolutely and very powerfully that I would remain with his as lng as he lived and we would fish the sea together. And he made no protest but only smiled through the cigarette smoke that wreathed his bed and replied,” “I hope you will remember what you’ve said”(121-122) This quote is where you start to realize that the author is foreshadowing the suicide of the father, so at the end it is no wonder he finial decides to end his life of suffering through a job he hated and his son’s.
The father is just so unhappy with his life that he cannot deal with it anymore. He hates seeing his son become the man he is. The perfect place to end his life in his eyes is on the boat he was bound to for so many years. The father commits suicide because he no longer wants his son to have to follow in is footsteps as a fisherman, he was never meant to be a fishermen, and in general he was just not happy with his life.
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