Alexander Macdonald Essay

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He built a nation including Prince Edward Island, the Northwest Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and British Columbia. He encouraged people in the United States, Britain, and other people in Europe to settle in Canada.

Because of what Mac Donald did, now Canada has more land and a higher population.

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?

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.In any case there are no Mac Donalds who wait for him and his bounty, and perhaps without their beliefs he is just another fish, who should be careful where he swims” [p. How does this view of the clan simultaneously capture Grandpa’s and Grandfather’s different views of their common history?What is more crippling to Alexander’s family: the lack of beliefs or the fear of not having any?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.What is the significance of the fact that the author refers to Alexander’s sister by her given name, Catherine, only once [p.109], and that occurrence appears not directly from Alexander, but in a letter from their uncle and aunt? In the beginning, the narrator explains, “This is a story of lives which turned out differently than was intended” [p. Is it really a matter of lives turning out differently than intended, or are the Mac Donald children’s lives a result of the choices they have made? At the end of the novel, Grandma describes Grandpa and their “other grandfather” as a balance to each other [p. How would you describe the relationship between the grandfathers?Mac Donald had to convince them to join by promising to build a transcontinental railway.He created Canada’s first national park in Banff, Alberta in 1885.Alexander’s grandfather characterized Wolfe’s description as a “cynical comment” [p.109], and his sister likens the Mac Donald clan to a “great sports team which may have lost faith in its management or its coach, but are out there anyway in the bloodied mud and the smoke, giving their hearts and their sinew not for ‘management’ but for the shared history of one another” [pp. Is Wolfe’s description of the Mac Donalds a source of pride or a burden to the family? The narrator comments that sending the stolen money back to Fern Picard is “the fitting thing to do” [p. Is that an appropriate choice of words under the circumstances? Does Alexander ever give the reader an idea of what he thinks is right and wrong? How would you describe the concept of time in the novel? How are the miners’ lives similar to those of the migrant workers? Echoing like refrains throughout the novel are the mottoes “We are all better when we’re loved” and “Stick with your blood.” How are these two concepts manifest in Alexander’s family?


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