Summary Of Alistair Macleod's No Great Mischief

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Introduction In novels, characters’ values may be conveyed through their environment. The surrounding environment in Alistair MacLeod’s No Great Mischief is rural Cape Breton, a rocky island that is unsuitable for agriculture, thus work revolves around fishing and logging. However, during Canada’s industrialization, these traditional professions could no longer sustain people’s welfare, thus forcing them to emigrate in search of employment. MacLeod’s No Great Mischief underlines this migration with the MacDonald clan, as they are compelled to leave Cape Breton, much as their Scottish ancestors left Moidart in search of economic stability. This forced emigration is evident in MacLeod’s No Great Mischief: the sister marries an engineer and moves to Calgary; the older brothers move to Sudbury to work in the mines, and the narrator, Alexander joins his brothers in the mines, before adopting a career as an orthodontist in Ontario. As children, Alexander and his twin sister experienced the harsh reality of growing up after their parents and youngest brother are drowned while crossing over ice. This prompted the research question: How is place essential to our understanding of…show more content…
Edward Relph writes that “place [is a] significant centre of our immediate experiences of the world” (Seamon 2), and MacLeod’s characters experience and perceive the world through a traditional lens. With the characters strong rootedness in their Gaelic heritage, MacLeod depicts the inevitable loss of tradition in the face of modernity. Furthermore, while away from their island, characters feel displaced. Through place, MacLeod develops the MacDonald clan identity, and illustrates the clan’s rootedness in traditions of loyalty and

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