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The Symbolism Of Death In Alistair Mc Leod’s "The Lost Salt Gift Of Blood"

770 words - 3 pages

In Alistair McLeod’s collection of short stories the Lost Salt Gift of Blood; death seems to be a constant companion. Death is important and perhaps even symbolic in this collection of short stories. It is important because it has the power to affect people and relationships, invokes freedom and even predetermines ones future, through the death of animal’s people and the impending death of others.
The first story “In the Fall” consists of 2 deaths, the death of a horse and a death of chickens both with very different effects on people. The first death was the death of a horse who was a very close companion or more like an old family friend to the family but with age Scott the horse had grown old and incapable of farm work. The mother therefore decided to sell him. “We’ll just have to sell him; I remember my mother saying.” (p. ) As you read further on it is implied that the horse will be sold for mink feed. This has a most devastating effect on David, who in his anger and rage kill’s his mother’s chickens. “In the midst David moves like a small blood spattered dervish swinging his axe in all directions.”(p. ) The death of the chickens also caused an effect, on the mother and father’s relationship. For a long time their marriage had been held together by responsibility, after the chickens die their relationship changes. “My father puts his arms around my mother’s waist and he does not move it as I have always seen her do.”(p. ) In this story 2 different deaths cause 2 totally different impacts on people and relationships within the story.
In another story by McLeod called “The Boat” the death of the father liberates his spirit and frees his son from obligated responsibility. When the father dies his own spirit is freed from his nagging wife, she always nagged on him because “… he was a failure as a husband and father who retained none of his own.”(p. ) His wife was controlling and he was burdened by her; dying in a sense liberated him. The father’s dying also freed the son from obligated...

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