Island: Collected Stories

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Island: Collected Stories by Alistair MacLeod

  1. ‘The stories in Island show the value of tradition in people’s lives.’ 

  2. ‘The men and women in these stories inhabit separate worlds.’ Do you agree?

  3. ‘Macleod’s use of flashback gives the stories much of their power.’ 
Do you agree? 

  4. ‘Hard times and hard choices reveal the resilience of the characters in Island.’ 

  5. In what ways does Island: Collected Stories explore the connection between person and place?

  6. Island: Collected Stories suggests that individual lives are most meaningful when viewed in relation to the past”. Discuss.

  7. ‘Island explores the futility of attempts to halt change.’ 

  8. ‘Island explores the young individual's struggle within harsh circumstances.’ Discuss

  9. ‘The natural environment is a source of both comfort and danger in Island.’ 

  10. “And because my father had told me I was ‘free’ I had foolishly felt that it was really so.” (p. 56). MacLeod’s characters in Island can never be free of their past.
To what extent do you agree? 

  11. ‘The settings of MacLeod’s stories show the power of the landscape in shaping one’s identity.’ 

  12. ‘All the characters in MacLeod’s stories are greatly influenced by the place they inhabit.’ Discuss. 

  13. ‘A strong sense of heritage and tradition underpins MacLeod’s short stories in this
collection.’ Discuss.

  14. The narrator of ‘To Every Thing There is a Season’ says his tale contains “past and present…imperfectly blended”. How does the past shape the present in ‘Island’? Discuss.

  15. ‘Island demonstrates that it is “very much braver to spend a life doing what you really do not want”. Discuss.

  16. ‘The twisted strands of rope near the end of “Vision” reflect the twisted strands of the story.’ How does MacLeod use symbolism in Island to communicate themes?

  17. ‘While many sons in ‘Island’ have unique experiences, MacLeod shows that they have more in common than separating them.’ Discuss.

  18. Angus in ‘The Return’ claims “it is not that easy to change what is a part of you”. To what extent do characters in ‘Island’ embrace change?

  19. ‘Nothing in ‘Island’ is more important than family.’ Discuss.

  20. “It is only when I have left the Island that I can feel free to assume my new identity…” How do settings contribute to meaning in Island?

  21. ‘Island shows that love breeds sadness.’ Discuss.

  22. ‘Tradition should be valued more than individual satisfaction.’ To what extent does ‘Island’ illustrate this?

  23. ‘The stories in ‘Island’ show the hopelessness of life in remote communities.’ Discuss

  24. ‘Island’ suggests that individuals should never give up hope no matter how difficult their lives become. Discuss.

  25. ‘In these stories, MacLeod explores how people are affected by the loss of a way of life.’ Discuss.

  26. ‘Clan and family ties dominate the lives of the characters in these stories.’ Discuss

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