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Symbolism & Metaphor in Alistair MacLeod’s “The Boat” English 521.

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Presentation on theme: "Symbolism & Metaphor in Alistair MacLeod’s “The Boat” English 521."— Presentation transcript:

1 Symbolism & Metaphor in Alistair MacLeod’s “The Boat” English 521

2 Literal vs. Figurative Language LITERAL: - means a description from the actual text; the obvious, explicit detail. -what the story/poem tells us directly about and object, character, or event

3 Literal vs. Figurative FIGURATIVE: -The symbolic meaning of an object, character, or event. The thing being described is compared to something else with which it has something in common. -Not indicated directly in the text; requires the reader to use his/her imagination and to “read between the lines.”

4 Figurative Language (“Figures of Speech”) The most common figures of speech are the SIMILE, METAPHOR, AND PERSONIFICATION METAPHOR: A comparison made between two seemingly unlike things that (unlike the simile) does not use “like” or “as.”

5 The Boat: Symbolizes DUTY, IMPRISONMENT, and NECESSITY. In his youth, the father’s desire to attend university was thwarted, perhaps by his parents’ expectation that he, as an only son, would carry on the fishing tradition. In his adult years, the father is TIED to a life on the boat because of his responsibility to his wife and children.

6 Books: Symbolize EDUCATION and an ESCAPE from the world of IMPRISONMENT and monotonous duty. The father lived the life that truly mattered to him within the pages of the books he read. They provided him with a means of excitement, intellect, and imagination. The daughters and the narrator followed suit, but their books motivated them to actually leave the village and travel beyond its confines.

7 The Tourists Metaphor for the WORLD BEYOND the fishing village; an ESCAPE from duty and imprisonment. Just like the books, they provided the father him with a means of excitement, intrigue and imagination that could not be fulfilled by fishing.

8 “...the brass chains on his wrists...”: Imagery reinforces the destructive influence of the sea and the boat on the father’s life (literally & figuratively). The sea and the boat which “shackled” him in life are paralleled in death by the “chains on his wrists.”

9 “...the seaweed (entangled) in his hair...” Imagery reinforces the destructive influence of the sea and the boat on the father’s life (lit & fig). The sea and the boat which “entangled” him in life are paralleled in death by the “seaweed tangled in his hair.”

10 “...wedged between two boulders...” Symbolizes the father being TRAPPED between two forces which controlled his life. Mirrors a life in which he was “wedged” between his RESPONSIBILITIES (father, fisherman) and his DESIRES (books, education).


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