A Boy's Belief in his Father

Topics: Plays

These were the optimistic and boastful words of a young boy who was proud of his father and his trade but throughout the play Alec’s faith in his father was dwindling down to nothing and by the end of the play it was all but diminished when he summed up his feelings and his fathers life perfectly “You were always gonnae fix it up for me. Ye just never did. ” The play centres around the relationship between a widower named Davie and his son Alec.

In the opening scene of the play Davie returns home from the hospital with the dreadful news that his wife was dead.

The news broke Alec but he would recover and get on with his life but this was the beginning of the end for Davie, for just weeks before he had been laid off from his job as a sailmaker because there was just no work left in the trade. Davie’s only way of supporting himself and Alec financially was his job as a “tick man” going round doors and collecting money, but on the side Davie was a very keen betting man and had several lines on each week, often spending the best part of his weeks wages on them.

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Davie’s job alone couldn’t suffice his son and his gambling needs, so he soon became buried in debt with both the illegal bookmaker and his brother Billy. With his father being away at work most of the day and then going for his daily “wee half” at the pub afterwards, Alec was having to become more and more independent just to get through the times.

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He began to develop a close friendship with his cousin Ian and along with using each other as sparring partners they done pretty much everything together.

They seemed joined-at-the-hip as children, always out on the street playing football and reading comics together, but as they grew up, they also grew further apart and began to share less of a common ground with each other. For example Alec decided that he wanted to stay on at school, get good grades, go to university and get a “shirt-and-tie” job, whereas Ian wanted to drop out of school as soon as he could and follow his father, Billy, into the painting and decorating business.

At night when Ian and his friends were out in the streets kicking over bins, smashing bottles, getting chased out of the area with the locals and generally causing havoc Alec was going to Christian Endeavour and the local mission to learn about the god. This showed that Alec was independent and had the will power to do the things that he wanted to do and that were best for him. He also showed that he had a great deal of character, as he didn’t succumb to peer pressure from going to different organisations and doing the complete opposite from his friends.

By going to all these Christian related activities it appeared that Alec was trying to fill a space in his life with religion. Meanwhile Davie’s life was going from bad to worse because he got a beating from the illegal bookmakers heavies and subsequently got sacked from his job as a tickman because of it. From this point on I got the impression that Davie just didn’t care anymore and that his easy laid back attitude towards life, i. e. “First thing themorra morning” or “Don’t worry son. We’ll work it out”, started to affect his relationship with Alec.

He constantly put things off until the next day, and then the next day and then they still never got done. A key example of this was the story of Alec’s toy yacht, which despite Davie’s endless promises never gets fixed. Alec had only asked for his father to make a sail for it but the answer was always “Ah’ll fix it up when av got the time” or “Just wait and see”. One day when his Uncle Billy was round at his house, Alec asked him if he could paint the yacht for him. Billy took it away that day and had it back and painted for him within a couple of days.

This only highlights the differences in character between Davie and Billy. Billy knew that betting wasn’t the way to get through life, it was always his tough optimism and hard work that got him and his family through, whilst it was Davie’s nonchalant and pessimistic attitude that had turned his life into ruins. To be fair to Davie he had “backed a loser right fae the start” with the sailmaking trade, with collapsed only months after he received his apprenticeship. Davie was an exceptionally unlucky man, everything he touched turned to waste.

During the play his wife died, he had been made redundant from three different jobs, he got tangled up in debt, he was attacked and his relationship with Alec had failed severely. This “rejection” and overall bad luck must have crushed his confidence and he now thought that he was defeated before he had even begun. In the very last scene of the play, Davie and Alec have to resort to burning half their belongings one night in an attempt to stop themselves from freezing because Davie had gambled with the money to pay for coal and electricity.

Whilst Alec was rummaging around the house looking for firewood he stumbled across his old toy yacht buried deep in the glory hole. He sat it to the side and continued burning everything else until they eventually ran out. In a way Alec didn’t want to burn the yacht because still liked it but on-the-other-hand he knew he had to burn it to rid himself from his sad memories. So when the last piece of furniture had burned down, Alec wedged the yacht right in the centre of the fire. The fames begun lick around it and in the end he finally got what he had waited his whole life for, his little toy yacht had a sail, only it had a sail of flames.

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A Boy's Belief in his Father. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-the-sailmaker-review/

A Boy's Belief in his Father
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