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The Boat: The Pursuit Of Self Fulfilment

1722 words - 7 pages

. In the short story The Boat, written by Canadian author Alistair Macleod, the main storyline revolves around the idea of self-fulfillment and the factors that affect one’s path to achieving it. The story bases itself off of a families pursuit of self-fulfillment within each individual and the limitations that obstructs their opportunities of achieving it. The main character, the Son, is faced with an internal conflict between choosing what his aspirations in life will truly will be. Two very influential characters that affect his decisions include the mother, who is very strong willed in what she believed, and his Father. The Father, who was the complete opposite of the mother, emotionally forced his son to deter from fishing which ultimately decided the fate of the son’s idea of self-fulfillment. These characters in the son’s life influenced him to either decide between following through with the concept of staying at home and continuing the fishing family tradition that is forced upon by the mother or education. Education being that it will guarantee a more desirable and easy life in contrast to fishing. A large factor that relates to all the character’s in the short story is that they are dominantly impacted by the environment that they reside in. Through this type of environment Macleod utilizes this effectively to influence each character’s idea of self- fulfillment. Overall, it is clear that one can not fully achieve uttermost self - fulfillment but nevertheless one’s perspective is the dictator of what self - fulfillment truly means to themselves.

Macleod described the pursuit of not only one individual's satisfaction of self-fulfillment but the sacrifices that were made in order to ensure the fulfilment of another. The Father, a crucial character in the short story, always remained in the same passive and non - aggressive emotional state throughout the entire story. Even when his children were at young age the father “never approved of their playing about the wharf”. Evidence suggests that the father wanted to keep his children away from enjoying the environment of fishing because he acknowledges that it will lead to the narrowing of their ambitions and goals later on in life. Through the trauma of personal experiences, he realizes that the destruction of one’s path to reach their ambitions and goals in life is not something that should be felt. Especially to his own son, the youngest member of the family. An example personal experiences can include that the Father did not desire to become a fisherman like most men in their family but instead he wanted to become educated and begin a life somewhere more developed than a small fishing village. This can be seen in the story when the son explained that “perhaps my father never been intended for a fisherman physically and mentally. At least not in the manner of my uncles; he had never really loved it.” However to cope with the futility of his ambitions, the Father found it comforting to...

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