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© the estate of Norman Mac Caig from The Scottish Poetry Library This week is the twentieth anniversary of the death of Norman Mac Caig, one of Scotland's foremost poets, so I thought it was fitting to have one of his poems to celebrate the life and work of a poet whose poetry is gradually slipping out of view beyond the Scottish borders.'Aunt Julia' is one of my favourites partly because it depicts such a wonderful character, (I can see her strong foot/stained with peat) and partly because it identifies one of the most tragic aspects of Scottish history.
It has left a huge gap in people's lives that still has social implications.
One of the readers who nominated Norman's poem for the Poetry Archive commented that - "I too have often felt isolated from my own heritage.
You should have been taught that all Mac Caig poems are linked by the theme of loss, so you'll be using that a lot.
The main idea of Aunt Julia is that the Gaelic language and culture is being lost as Gaelic natives integrate more and more into mainland Scottish culture and life.
Julia Macleod - as well as being a character of great energy and colour - is also a metaphor for the island of Scalpay itself.
The poem therefore has a duality: it is portrait of an aunt for whom Norman Mac Caig had great affection as well as a description of an island he loved very much.It was nothing unusual for Julia to only speak Gaelic - everyone only spoke Gaelic.Coming from Edinburgh - where Norman lived with his mother and father - Gaelic was a language he was aware of ( his mother who had come from Scalpay also only spoke Gaelic ) but did not understand."very loud abd very fast" doubles as word choice, so you can use that too. Sorry when I first posted it read as a single block of text.I had to reformat to make the post readable and understandable.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 is one of the clearest examples of the cultural colonialism practised within the British Empire.Stamping out the language was a deliberate attempt to wipe out the culture and with it the connections to communities and landscapes.I am studying Mac Caig again for Higher, so my notes and annotations may be a little more detailed than required for Nat5.The "main ideas and concerns" basically means theme.