Aunt Julia Norman Maccaig Essay

The point of verse 1 is not that Mac Caig did not understand Gaelic ( he was already accustomed to that in Edinburgh ) it was the manner Julia spoke: very fast and very loud.I believe he understood certain words by the time of the childhood visits in the 1930’s but Julia’s manner of speech made it impossible to respond.

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As I don't speak the native language of my homeland, I can only learn about the origins of my culture from what I can see.

Language is so integral to culture that it almost impossible to understand a culture without understanding the language – especially when that culture is based upon an oral tradition." Gordon Brown once quoted from one of Norman's poems 'Praise of a Man' in a eulogy he gave for a friend.

Although the poem was written in March 1967, the poem reflects on his years when, as a young child, he spent time with his aunt.

I tend not to approach the poem in a chronological manner, but more as a wholistic work.

From stanza one, Mac Caig uses the adverb of degree of "very loud and very fast" to convey how confusing and foreign the Gaelic language is to him.

"I could not answer her I could not understand her" is an example of repetition, repeating his confusion.

It was while he was there that Mac Caig came to know and appreciate his mother’s sister - Julia Mac Leod.

She has been referred to as a monoglot Gael, meaning that Julia was unable to speak anything than Gaelic. She was someone who was full of noise and energy and clearly had an impact on the young Norman Mac Caig.

Firstly; Trying to identify two of the main concerns / ideas from the first two stanzas.

I really appreciate any help as english is not my first language and I am really struggling with this poem. I studied Nat5 English last year and got 38/40 on that Critical Reading paper (the one with the essay and Mac Caig questions), and an A overall.


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