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No Great Mischief

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Wesley Dickson

on 30 November 2012

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Transcript of No Great Mischief

No Great Mischief. Historical Context The Massacre of Glencoe 1692:
- Branch of MacDonald clan were set upon by troops under orders from Master of Stair because they had taken arms against King William III.
- They would be pardoned if they took an oath of all allegiance to the crown before January 1st 1692.
- Mac Ian, head of the MacDonald's was deemed late of taking the oath; which his clan would pay for.
- 38 MacDonald's were murdered February 1692. Bonnie Prince Charlie
- 1707 Scotland officially joined England and Whales.
-Jacobite uprising occurred in 1745 known as '45',
- Calum Ruadh followed Charlie "Bonnie Prince Charlie"
- Prince Charlie recruited a number of Highlanders - inlcuding the MacDonald's - called war on the British
- Rebellion didn't work, and were routed by the English a year later at Culloden in Northern Scotland. Characterization Plot Stories Between Macdonald Brothers Parents Fall Through Ice: Clan MacDonald and the Scottish Highlanders:

- Main characters are part of Clan MacDonald; most numerous of the Scottish Highland clans and can be traced back thousands of years.
- The Highlanders took part in most of the political upheavals in Scottish history. Why the Highlanders Emigrated:
- After Culloden, life became more precarious for the Highlanders.
- Calum Ruadh and family emigrate to Canada.
- Traditional way of Life was fading, so solution was to emigrate.
- 10 years after '45' the British had a conflict with France known as the Seven Years War, or French and Indian War. - " My parents were not found that day, or the next, or in the days, or months that followed." (52) Plot Continued.. Young Adulthood Spent in Mines General James Wolfe and "No Great Mischief":
- A significant figure in the French and Indian war was General James Wolfe
- Wolfe was sent to capture city of Quebec, and used a cunning tactic; his forces scaled the cliffs around the city, led him to victory.
- Characters in the novel focus on the Highlanders scaling the cliffs of Quebec and winning victory.
- Discussed how Wolfe had fought against these Highlanders at Culloden, and it was 'No Great Mischief' if they fell. Philosophical Context Red Haired Alexander Macdonald Mine Accident: " The ore bucket had hit him in the shaft's bottem and he died Instantly." (119) - The philosophy in this novel portrays that the
MacDonald clan; specifically the characters within
the novel value the traditions within their heritage. List of characters:

- Alexander MacDonald (the protagonist and narrator)
- Calum (one of Alex's 4 brothers)
- Two unnamed brothers
- Catherine (Alex's twin sister)
- Alex's mother and father
- Grandma and Grandpa
- Grandfather
- "Red-haired Alexander" (Alex's cousin)
- Calum Ruadh (Calum the Red)
- Fern Picard Alexander MacDonald Plot Continued.. Interactions Between Brothers and Sister Calum Convicted of Second Degree Murder: " That winter Calum was convicted of second degree murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Kingston Penitentiary." (262) - a very talented and well off orthodontist
- "in the business of improving on God' " [pg. 103]
- intelligent young man; always did good in school
- attended school in Ontario meaning he doesn't see his family back in Cape Breton as often as he wishes
- although orphaned as a young child from a horrific ice tragedy, he didn't let it phase him from being successful
- worked with his brothers in the Sudbury mines during the summer after his cousin's death to take his place
- always seemed to know the right thing and acted as the voice of reason between his siblings Themes Prominent Themes: Staying True to One's Family: "My hope is constant in thee." (118) Themes Continued Calum MacDonald Prominent Themes: Family:
- The novel traces the ancestry of the MacDonald family and is a unifying factor.
- It is a source of relief to the character's troubles but is also a duty for each family member to live up to.
- The family has stuck together throughout their history.
- "Blood is thicker than water" - was the most aggressive and out of control person in the family ex. punched a police officer in the face after being chased for speeding and charged of second-degree murder for killing Fern Picard
- seemed to be most influenced from the tragedy that killed his parents and brother because his life gets turned upside down
- although he was a good worker in the mines working with his brothers, he changes drastically who later becomes a heavy alcoholic living in the skid row of Toronto Tradition:
- Over the generations, the MacDonald clan has valued their traditions.
- Gaelic is a language used by early Highlanders, and is demonstrated in the novel by Alex's grandmother through speaking and singing.
- The red and black hair is tradition within the MacDonald family, as many of their family members carry this trait. Love trumps all: " 'All of us are better when we're loved ' " (282) Themes Continued Minor Themes: Suffering is a Part of Life: Two unnamed brothers "... where the MacDonalds were massacred in their beds early on the morning of February 13, 1692, by government troops they had fed and sheltered for two weeks" (94) - had both worked along side each other and Calum at the mines in Sudbury for many years after the death of their parents
- were extremely close to each other and got along very well
- had their own place on the shore near the family where they had their own boat for fishing and keep Calum's horse, Christy, safe and healthy
- these two seemed to be the outdoors man and the adventurous side of the family Loyalty:
- The MacDonald clan demonstrates loyalty as they served for James Wolfe and risked their lives even though they were "silent enemies" to him.
-The dog portrays loyalty within the MacDonald clan, as it had superior loyalty for its masters and was killed because of this.
- Idea of "V formation," how clan MacDonald showed loyalty to leaders
- "…her head cutting a V through the water and her anxious eyes upon the departing family she considered as her own.”
- “like the goose who points the V, and he temporarily wavered and lost his courage.” Catherine MacDonald - while growing up, was very close to Alex and would play games together ex. were playing "store" while the ice tragedy took place
- "My sister and I were playing on the kitchen floor with Grandma's cutlery. We were playing 'store'..." [pg. 48]
- graduated from high school the same day as Alex except she attended school by herself in Calgary
- traveled to Scotland for personal recollections of family life
- lived in Calgary for most of her life where she would eventually get married and own an expensive house
- obsessed with the family's past and with their clan Controversial Context Symbols BlackFish: Prejudice Towards James Wolfe
- The characters demonstrate extreme hatred towards Wolfe which some think is deemed as unfair.
- Though he once battled against the Highlanders, he was a heroic figure; only 32 with tuberculosis, he took the job and was victorious.
- He may have seen the Highlanders as silent enemies, however he still managed to lead them to victory. “Hundreds of yards inland, we later found the body itself, disguised beneath a small mountain of brown and tangled seaweed adorned with scattered stones and sticks of broken driftwood." (102) Calum Raudh's Gravestone: Alex's Parents " '... Do you remember how when the gales would blow, the spray from the sea would drench the boulder until it glistened? ' " (12) - Alex's father fought and was a survivor of World War II
- his father was also the keeper of the lighthouse that was just off of Cape Breton
- unfortunately, while Alex's father, mother and youngest brother, Colin, were crossing over the ice, it shattered
- although the family came searching for them, it was too late and the three of them were killed
- "Grandpa watched for almost a minute to be sure of what he was seeing and then we shouted to my grandmother, 'There is something wrong out on the ice. There is only one light and it isn't moving'." [pg. 48]
- months later after the ice was melted, some possessions of them were found along the shore Animal Abuse and Incest
- These are controversial topics that are evident in the novel.
- The dogs are shot and killed for no peculiar reason except they were just being loyal to their masters, and the other animals such as the whale were harmed as well.
- In past generations, members of the MacDonald clan had offspring with relatives which is quite controversial. Gaelic Song Grandma and Grandpa - after the death of Alex's parents, his grandma and grandpa had to take control of Alex and his sibling and would serve the rest of their lives doing so
- both of them were big hearted, loving, and caring people who would take care of them greatly
- they were also helped by their cousin who was Alex's grandfather
- unfortunately, grandpa died due to skylarking and grandma would eventually pass away due to your old age Grandfather - would also serve as a father figure to the children and help raise them alongside grandma and grandpa
- before born, his father dies and is only raised by his mother
- gets married but unfortunately his wife dies after only being married for one year
- this leads to him raising his daughter (Alex's mother) by myself
- he would eventually die reading his beloved Scottish history "Red-haired Alexander" - was cousin to Alex and the rest of his sibling
- while growing up, he would often tease and fight with Alex but they generally kept a friendly relationship and would help each other out if needed
- he had a strong part in Clann Chalum Ruaidh
- worked with Calum and Alex's two other brothers in the Sudbury mines
- was killed in the mines due to an "accident" in which the ore basket fell on his head and killed him instantly Calum Ruadh - also known as "Calum the Red" because of his distinct red hair
- was the first MacDonald to leave Moidart, Scotland in 1779 to settle in Nova Scotia
- his wife, Catherine McPherson, pass away en route to Nova Scotia in 1779
- he would die alone in Nova Scotia in 1834
- had his tombstone separated to represent how he died alone on the edge of the shore and is slowly getting eroded from the waves splashing against it Fern Picard - the leader of the French Canadians in the Sudbury mines
- suspected of engineering Alexander's death
- attempted to replace the MacDonalds in the mine with his own relations
- he was later killed in a fight with Calum who was charged with second degree murder Author - the author of "No Great Mischief"
is Alistair McLeod
- he was born on July 20, 1936 in North Battleford, Saskatchewan
- he begun his teaching career by teaching public school after attending Teachers College in Nova Scotia
- he would then go to many different universities until finally getting his PhD of Arts in 1968 from the University of Notre Damne
- he then taught at the Indiana University for 3 years until moving to the University of Windsor teaching English and creative writing
- he has a very unique writing style by telling some of his stories in flashbacks
- he also has of animal cruelty in his books to get the reader sympathetic towards the animal(s) Settings - There are various settings in this novel, from the Highlands of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to the battle fields in Scotland. These among with other settings are significant to the novel. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia:
- The family in No Great Mischief settles in Cape Breton.
- Many Scots settled in this island off the coast of Nova Scotia because of its similarities to Scotland; known for its Highlands.
- Scottish culture present in Cape Breton; Gaelic is studied.
- Indian and French war took place in Cape Breton. Scotland:
- Stories about historic Scottish events that take place in Scotland
- Clan MacDonald's emigration from Scotland
- Grandmother talks about troubled past in Scotland. Other Settings:
- Calum MacDonald's apartment; story about parents death.
- Sudbury mine; resemblance between French and English relations in Scotland.
- Car; Scottish history and Gaelic singing.
- Grandparents house; where Alex grew up.
-1700 - 1999
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