Flashcards in Aunt Julia - Norman MacCaig Deck (23)
repetition off "very loud and "very fast"
denotes AJ's vitality - full of life and energetic
repetition of "I could not"
denotes frustration that language barrier exists between them
dash (caesura) "I could not understand her -"
highlights the literal divide between them through purposeful break in the text
word choice of "she wore men's boots"
suggesting her hard-working attitude, function over appearance, practical, nature of the tasks she has to carry out as a crofter on the isle of Harris
word choice of "- I can see"
suggests how vivid these memories are and that they are sacred to him
word choice of "stained with peat"
reflects AJ's unity with earth and land/nature of the tasks she is required to carry out as a crofter
mimics the movement of the spinning wheel being operated by her foot, regular and repeating rhythm
length of line 9 OR long vowel sounds in "while her right hand drew yarn"
suggests the amount of time the spinning process takes, showing she is hardworking and patient
word choice of "marvellously"
suggests a young MacCaig's sense of magic/illusion which shows how much he admires her
Positioning of the pronoun "Hers (was the only house)"
shows her significance to him since he feels this sense of security when in her company
word choice of "absolute darkness"
suggests how frightening the experience must have been yet he feels comfortable since even the crickets are regarded as friendly
personification "crickets being friendly"
removes feeling of threat by emphasising his proximity to the 'warm and friendly' world of nature
metaphor of "she was buckets/and water flouncing into them"
suggests her vitality even as she carries heavy buckets, spring in her step since "flouncing" is a deliberate and vigorous movement
metaphor "she was winds pouring wetly"
reflects AJ's strong and forceful personality, through comparing her to the weather that surrounds her
metaphor "she was brown eggs, black skirts"
traditional, pragmatic and domestic with same connotations of an egg - hard exterior with a soft inner
word choice/metaphor "keeper of threepennybits/in a teapot"
suggests her frugality since now an obsolete coin as well as her eccentricity, individuality etc
earthy colours "black" "brown"
reflect her unity with nature - she has spent so much time outdoors, she is starting to look like it
Repetition of "Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic" in line 24
suggests turning point in the poem when the tone changes to a sombre and full of frustration/regret
enjambment in "she lay/silenced (in the absolute black)
emphasises the fact she is now dead and highlights the contrast between her previously noisy self
word choice of "absolute black"
contrasts "absolute blackness" in stanza 3, to suggest that now she is dead, he feels sadness since black is normally associated with loss/bereavement
word choice of "with a seagulls voice"
emphasise her connection with nature OR her squawky voice and her desperation to communicate with MacCaig in the normal way families do
repetition of "getting angry, getting angry"
shows the building of frustration felt by her/the poet now that he is no longer able to communicate at all with her