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In what other places in the novel is he both participant and observer? At what other points in the narrative does the author use this style of compounding metaphors?How does his use of both compound and recurrent metaphors as well as other stylistic devices, such as repetition, reinforce the themes of the novel?Alexander’s grandfather characterized Wolfe’s description as a “cynical comment” [p.
About this guide The following questions, discussion topics, and author biography are intended to enhance your group’s reading of Alistair Mac Leod’s first novel, No Great Mischief.
This beautiful, elegiac novel portrays a tightly-knit Scottish family plagued by loss and clinging loyally to the legacy of its heroic past.
About Alistair Mac Leod Read an author bio and view a complete list of titles by Alistair Mac Leod available from Random House here.
John A Macdonald was important to the confederation here in Canada because he was the first prime minster of Canada. Finally he was important because he was an important/strong support to the… Frankly, Sir John A Macdonald was most interested in consuming alcohol.
How does the author use Gaelic language and music to set the style and tone of the novel? Alexander explains, “The ‘lamp of the poor’ is hardly visible in urban southwestern Ontario, although there are many poor who move disjointedly beneath it.
In what ways does the novel itself mimic a Gaelic song? Why do the men of the , in particular Calum, have such strong relationships with animals? How do their relationships with animals compare to their relationships with other men? And the stars are seldom clearly seen above the pollution of prosperity” [p. What is the narrator’s attitude towards affluence—his own and that of others? The author writes, “In the waters near Glencoe perhaps the mythical ‘king of the herring’ still swims.Calum looks at his parents’ death this way: “If I had been with them I might have saved them” [p. But Alexander has a different perspective: “If you had been with them you would have gone down too” [p. Could Calum’s life have turned out differently if he had felt lucky, instead of guilty? Is it like any of the other relationships among family members in the clan?Are Alexander’s and Calum’s lives impacted more by their own personal past or by their entire family’s legacy? Does the saying on the Toronto woman’s T-shirt—”Living in the past is not living up to our potential” [p. How are the grandfathers’ different feelings about their past and their views of history indicative of their different characters? As related in the novel, General Wolfe describes the members of the Mac Donald clan who fought under his command at Quebec by writing in a letter, “They are hardy, intrepid, accustomed to a rough country, and no great mischief if they fall.”[p. According to historians, Wolfe was referring to the two motives for recruiting the Highlanders to the British Army for King George in the Seven Years’ War: their stamina as well as the possibility of removing them as a threat to the monarchy.Alexander (always called , which means “the little red-haired boy”) and his twin sister were raised by their paternal grandparents, while their other three teenaged brothers, including Calum, grew up on an isolated farm.Intertwining fifty years of Mac Donald family history with the current events of this afternoon’s trip to Toronto, Alexander recalls the painful saga which brought him and Calum to their respective current existences.At the start of the novel, Alexander, an affluent orthodontist now living in southern Ontario, is traveling to a boarding house in Toronto on one of his frequent visits to his eldest brother Calum, an ailing alcoholic.We soon learn that when Alexander was just three years old, the boys lost their parents and another brother to a tragic accident on the ice-covered waters off the shore of Cape Breton.In 1779, 55-year-old , or the red Calum Mac Donald, left the Scottish Highlands with his second wife, their twelve children, and their faithful dog.He arrived on Cape Breton a widower and staked his claim to land in the New World for his clan—the have spread all over North America, but they are joined to each other, and even to their relatives in Scotland, by their similar physical characteristics, their common Gaelic language and music, their shared history, and their family creed: “Take care of your blood.” It is into this persistent clan with its inescapable history that our narrator, ‘s great-great-greatgrandson Alexander Mac Donald, is born. 2 kids with Isabelle Clark: john Alexander Mac Donald (who died at age of 1 and a month) and Hugh John Mac Donald and with Susan Agnes Bernard 1 child Margaret Mary Theodora…His alcoholism prevented him from dealing effectively with many important and urgent matters of state.