"No Great Mischief" by Alistair McLeod: Canadian Literature and Criticism

Essay by digby89College, UndergraduateA+, November 2006

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Alistair McLeod on Trial; No Great Sexist?

Your Honor, after reading the novel "No Great Mischief" by Alistair McLeod, you may come away feeling that there is a significant amount of male chauvinism or sexism committed by the author. It is my intention today to prove to you that this is simply not the case. I am not here to dispute with you whether or not the female characters portrayed in the novel are significantly under developed, because they are; however this does not mean that Alistair McLeod discriminates against women. After doing and in depth analysis of the story, I have discovered that the cultural background, the social setting surrounding the characters and the location of which the majority of the story takes place, are all significant factors that justify the underdevelopment of female characters in the novel. After hearing all of the evidence, it is my belief that you will agree as well and find my client, Alistair MacLeod innocent on all charges.

No Great Mischief represents a first person perspective from the lead character, Alexander "the narrator" and his experiences throughout his life as well as a recounting of stories that have been passed on to him through several generations, mostly from a male point of view. The majority of "No Great Mischief" takes place during the life of the narrator, Alexander MacDonald from three years of age (the late 1930's to the early 1940's) to present day (circa 1999). It was during this time that these three significant factors took place that, when heard, will prove to exonerate my client of these charges.

Exhibit "A"

Much of the content from the novel contains stories that are told by Alexander, which are taken from past generations (of mostly men) dating back to the late 1700's...