The comparison of the representation of marriage in Sinclair Rosss

The comparison of the representation of marriage in Sinclair Ross’s, “The lamb and the noon” and Alistair Mac Leod’s, “The boat”.

Classic English literature:






The focus of this paper is to provide an analysis which entails the comparison of the representation of marriage in two pieces of literature. The books in question are Sinclair Ross’s, “The lamb and the noon” and Alistair Mac Leod’s, “The boat”. The paper looks at the themes that the author uses opposing works of literature to bring out the different situations at hand. This is supported by the use of original texts from the two stories. The paper later provides a concluding paragraph that summarizes the contents of the analysis.

The Lamb and the Noon

Written by Sinclair Ross, The lamb and the Noon is a reflection of a family that tries to deal with the repercussions of the great depression in the United States. During this time, it was difficult to make ends meet in all aspect of life. The couple has invested in faming which acts as their main source of livelihood. One of the factors that contribute their problems is the climatic change that leads to the farming in the area. The lamb and the Noon looks at the way couples deal with external issues outside marriage. The focus on marriage is used as one of the main themes due to the message it relays to society.

The author compares the great depression in the country to that of the couple. The couple is going through a hard time that seeks to threaten their marriage. Paul who is the head of the family chooses to grow wheat which turns out to be a careless decision that did not yield fruit. The choice renders the farmer helpless in that the seeds do not react well to the long term drought. This factor alone causes a rift in the relationship making the two drift apart. Marriage in this case is represented by partnership in terms of raising a family and providing for the family. This plan is significantly affected by the extension of the drought that leads to Ellen placing blame on Paul for the mismanagement of the farm.

“Demented wind fled keening past the house: a wail through the eaves that died every minute or two.” The couple experiences tragic times in that the starvation leads to the possible demise of the entire family. Ellen feels a sense of helplessness with or without the assurance of her husband “Please stay … I’m so caged – if I could only break away and run. See – I stand like this all day. I can’t relax. My throat’s so tight it aches”. They realize that they cannot turn the situation around owing to their reliance on natural factors for their solution. The drought gets the best of the couple in that Paul succumbs to the unbearable situation. This ends the marriage which had come to its end long before the death of Paul. The author uses the great depression to represent the marriage in this circumstance. He compares it to the depressing times couples undergo when they are faced with challenges. The death of Paul reflects the rising rate of divorce which the country continues to face to date.

The Boat

Alistair, Mac Leod’s, The boat is based on a narrative of a son about the life of his parents. According to the narrator, the family spends a considerable amount of time on their boat which is used to cater for their financial needs. The boat is used to symbolize a rocky relationship. The author uses the example of the couple to display the differences that people face when in marriages. The father has a need to change with the times due to the change in the surrounding environment. This involves his welcoming of tourists to the boat so as to show them the different parts of the town. The mother on the other hand has different opinions in regard to the sudden change in the culture. “My mother despised the room and all it stood for, its door always open and its contents visible to all.” The text shows that the mother preferred things to remain exactly how they were. This acted as a source of comfort and security as opposed to being exposed to the outside world. She does not support her husband’s relationship with visitors from the outside community. This causes the two to drift away from each other due to their difference in opinions.

The father is too old to change the dynamics of his life making him live a life of regret. He has a lot to offer in terms of embracing the modern world which he cannot act on due to his physical and mental state. This makes him feel an enormous amount of regret in regard to how he spent his early life. The author uses the example of the couple to showcase the dissatisfaction people feel when they remain married for a long period. The father in this case lives with regret and disappointment seeing as he spends the remaining part of his life wishing that he would have done things differently. This leads to an uncomfortable environment in the house that causes depression amongst the family members. The narrator reflects on the number of disagreement his parents have as a result of their difference of opinion. This creates an uncomfortable environment which is not conducive for the children. This portrays a feeling of hopelessness owing to the fact that the father cannot change his current state. The authors theme is reflective of a number of marriages witnessed in society.

Both books display families that are experiencing difficulties at a certain point in their life. The writers use separate situations to explain the different forms of marital issues that couples face. The themes in each case are tragic which is reflective of the thoughts and interpretations of both writers. The actions of the characters thus result to the demise of the relationship.


The books are centered on relationships that experience challenges brought about by different factors. The analysis looks at the two varying situations and their effect the on the marriages. Both books are tragic in nature which gives a negative perspective on the institution of marriage as a whole. The study of the two pieces of literature is thus ideal due to the message they both share.

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