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Olaf Olaffson "On the Lake"

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Submitted By KroghKristensen
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Olaf Olafsson - ”On the Lake”

While reading novels and books, the reader's emotions will be set on a roller coaster. If you had to illustrate the feelings you get while reading “On the Lake” by Olaf Olafsson, you would probably be illustrating a frozen ice pond, with you walking on the slippery surface. Suddenly you notice that the surface is cracking with every single step you take. Step after step the cracks become more and more pronounced, and you can only think of two things. First thing being reaching safety, while the second is wondering what made the ice start cracking? Splash! Suddenly, you fall through the thick layer of ice covering the beautiful blue water underneath. Though the water isn't near deep enough to drown in, the shock of the cold water flowing beside your skin, freezes every muscle, and spur's your memory of the small, almost imperceptible sound the ice made when it began to crack.
Later, after you finally get out of the water, that memory dominates all your other memories of the event. You can now only think of the failure to find the problem in time, and by that stopping the accident from happening. Olaf Olafsson portrays in his novel "On the Lake," a marriage that seems happy. It's easy to pass by the moment the unraveling begins when reading it, but as the story reaches it's ending, the unraveling will create an “earthquake” of problems leaving you stunned.

1) Write a summary of ”On the Lake” The story's protagonists are the Icelandic couple Oskar and Margret, they had left for spring vacation to a lakeside Cabin. Together they have a six-year-old son, Jonas. The story occurs after Jonas and Oskar were in an accident earlier that same day. The accident was an attempt by Oskar to be like “the man in the white boat” (L.41). He was trying to turn their boat quickly, which caused it to capsize. The water was dangerously cold, but their neighbors Vilhelm and Bjorn, manages to rescue them. No one got hurt, but afterwards, Margret seems suddenly estranged from Oskar. Later that night the neighbors are thanked through a dinner and some drinking. But as the night unfolds, and reaches it's end, Oskar is having difficulty admitting what he had done, that he actually did let go...

2) Characterization of Oskar and Margret

Oskar and Margret is a married couple from Iceland, together they have a six-year-old son, Jonas. They live in a lakeside cabin near Margret's parents. Their life together is seemingly peaceful and “perfect”. The place is well known by Margret as she spent her summers as a child here. Oskar is a typical dad. He goes fishing with his son, but isn't as fun and playful as Jonas wish he would be. Margret is good mother. She loves Jonas and Oskar, and is trying to give Jonas the good childhood she had herself. Their son Jonas is spoiled, Oskar and Margret will do anything for him, they have a hard time saying no. This could be the aftermath of the pressure Oskar is feeling because of Margret's search for the perfect family. She is conscious about her mother and fathers lives, which she believes were perfect. To emphasize that, Jonas is named after Margret's father who also loved fishing.

3) Comment on Vilhelm's role in the story

We all have that person we envy, find perfect or idealize. In the story “On the Lake” Vilhelm is described as being just all those things. In the story Oskar is asked if he wants to do a few turns, on the water, by his son Jonas. This ends in a disappointment as Oskar isn't as good as “...the man in the white boat” (Line 49). The boat capsizes in an attempt from Oskar to furthermore impress his son. Luckily rescue came. as the man from the white boat being Vilhelm, had been watching them. Vilhelm is being fascinated by Jonas. After the boat capsized Oskar had no more strength to help his son. He used the last of his strength to safe himself leaving his son. This is the point of no return in the story, because that shows us that Oskar is acting selfish, he does not think of his child in a such dangerous situation. Later in the story Vilhelm creates unraveling between Oskar and Margret as he tells about what actually happened earlier on the lake. It could be Vilhelm's intentions all along to create conflicts between Margret and Oskar, perhaps to get Margret himself.

4) What does it take to be a good father?

Being a father equals a huge responsibility, in our story Oskar sets a bad example. Oskar is taking actions without thinking about the consequences. As a father u have to be able to distinguish between right and wrong. In this instance, Oskar should not have been fooling around, to win his son’s interests. As a parent you have many responsibilities three in particular are more important than the others. You have to be a good role model, as well as listening to your child, and teach them discipline whenever they don't listen to you. But most important, you have to put your kids first.
Oskar chose to be selfish instead of saving his son, this could have been an act of panic and emotions, but none the less he still put himself first. A good father sets limits for the children to go by. A good father also has consequences if they do not listen and learn. He has to be able to live with being the second best, even hated for a little while. The children have to look up to the father, trying to gain his respect - it should not be the other way around. In this story Oskar does everything he can to gain Jonas’s respect.…...

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