In all cultures, the raising of children is one of the most important and valuable experiences of life. However, the roles of both mother and father are defined differently from country to country. These roles evolved based on environmental and religious factors, as well as personal and head-leadership dogmas.
Traditionally, the mother remained at home and cared for the children while fathers had the responsibility of family maintenance, in terms of providing the family with money, food and shelter, by doing some sort of work. Today, these roles can often be seen to interchange.
However, sons still want to be accepted by their fathers and can spend lifetimes trying to bond with them.
This can be a complicated process when masculinity defines who they are; the too-powerful or overprotective father, the rebellious son, or the unwillingness of both to display feelings other than anger.
The way this short story is structured can be roughly divided into three parts of the story as I’ve done above; in the beginning of the story, before crossing the somewhat symbolical border – the river, when both are still within comfort and safety of the human civilization.
After crossing the river, when the father and son are now in the hands of mother nature, a place which often can be unforgiving and dangerous.
And the end of the short story, at the start of their crossing back to the other side of the river where the climax is to be found and readers are left with only their imagination to determine whether or not the man and his son make it across the river once again due to the open ending.