Alistair Macleod- Modern World Versus Traditional World Essay

892 Words May 6th, 2008 4 Pages
Modern World versus Traditional World

The stories from Alistair Macleod’s The Lost Salt Gift of Blood are often related to the lives of the people of the Maritimes who are commonly miners, fishermen and farmers. The author repeatedly examines similar themes and issues in his short stories such as isolation, choices versus consequences and the concept of dying culture. However, the most prominent theme deals with the contrast between the rural ways of life and the more modern city life. This theme is not only limited to the Maritime culture; it is something that can be universally understood. His reason for utilizing this theme is to prove that the modern way of life is not always better then the traditional ways. Alistair Macleod
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For instance, when Calum refers to his family, he comes to the realization that “Perhaps death by affluence is but the same in the end as that achieved through physical labour and perhaps it is only because I now have no choice of either that first one and then the other seems desperately more frightening.” (Macleod 141). Calum’s grandmother had six brothers which have died in remarkable ways. Three had moved elsewhere to an enhanced modern world to have a more desirable way of life while three stayed in Rankin’s Point in the more traditional world. The men who worked in the traditional world died as a result of work related reasons and those who moved into the larger world did not die from work related incidents, although, still died in very bizarre ways. It is very ironic seeing that most people portray the modern world as a greater lifestyle. This is a significant illustration of how Alistair Macleod stresses throughout his work that the modern ways of life are no better than the rural ways.

After having reflected upon the short stories in this collection The Lost Salt Gift of Blood, there is no doubt in mind that Alistair Macleod clearly illustrates the morph between the modern city life and more rural atmosphere. Macleod expresses his own personal feelings through his work and by doing so exploits the theme of modernity versus tradition. This theme can be understood across the world and allows

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