The story is focused around Nick, a little boy around the age of 9 to 13. It is hard to identify Nick since we only get to read things from a third perspective. We receive a limited amount of information about Nick, but there are still some things that are clear. At the start of the text, Nick comes off as an emotional, and perhaps, a weak child. We see that in this phrase: “Nick lay back with his father’s arm around him.” Nick is in need of his father’s protection, perhaps because he is scared?
When Nick first sees the woman in labor, he is terrified by the situation. We see that in this phrase: “Oh, Daddy, can’t you give her something to make her stop screaming?” Once again, Nick is relying on his father for protection. Throughout the text, we ...view middle of the document...
It is best worded in the text: “He was feeling exalted and talkative as football players are in a dressing room after a game.” Nicks father thought it would be a good idea to bring a child as an intern, which says a bit about the father. He is obviously a loving father, who only wants to share his interest with his child; however he comes off as selfish and egotistic. He brought Nick along on that trip for his own sake, not for Nicks. Which is also what he realizes at the end of the text where he says: “I’m terribly sorry I brought you along, Nickie.” You can tell that the father hadn’t even considered the fact, that blood and a woman giving labor, would affect Nick. It’s only when death comes, that he realizes what he has done. This is quite sad, because the father never wanted to hurt Nick.
Their relationship changes throughout the story. In the beginning we view them as having a very close and loving relationship. The father has his arms around Nick and Nick feels secure around the father, or rather, Nick feels unsecure without him. As said earlier Nick evolves and grows as a human being throughout the text. In the end of the text he is a changed person, who doesn’t need his father’s protection anymore. We see that in the beginning: “It was cold on the water.” Whereas in the end of the text: “Nick trailed his hand in the water. It felt warm in the sharp chill of the morning.” Nick still loves his father and the father still loves Nick, however Nick no longer has the need of protection, probably because of the things he has seen.
The major themes in this text would be matureness and love. Reasons being all that is written above. You can relate the text to The Happiest Days of Your Life, since in both texts the child has to experience something rather bad due to the parent’s selfishness.
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