The life of a mineworker is a lone 1. Having to digest utmost physical labour, having naught but scorn from society for deficiency of mind, the mineworkers withdraw into their ain little universe and mentally seclude themselves from society, merely as they are secluded from it physically while working resistance. In Alistair MacLeod ‘s The Cosing Down of Summer, through the storyteller we catch a glance of the life of the MacKinnon crew and its members. Theirs is a life of physical and mental anguish, a life that makes them unable to associate to flush their closest relations, a life of complete isolation.
The narrative opens with the beach in summer in a distant portion of Cape Breton. The mineworkers lie on the shore bathing in the last beams of sunshine, before the August gale arrives to signal the terminal of summer and the terminal of their freedom. The storyteller negotiations about this peculiar summer being particularly hot and the record figure of tourers, which the warm conditions brought to Nova Scotia, who now occupy its beaches all about. Yet, there is a small beach on Cape Breton ‘s West Coast, where there are perfectly no tourers. This beach is the mineworkers ‘ land, they are the lone 1s who know about it, and they are the lone 1s busying it. Not even the functionaries know that it exists. Even though the mineworkers do n’t necessitate to work at the minute, and we know that they are close to place, they are non with their households. Rather, they are together during the absence of work, isolated from the outside universe even when they do n’t hold to be. They have been so distanced from their ain households that they ‘d instead seek each other ‘s company than their relations ‘ .
When the storyteller negotiations about his married woman, he mentions her as “ holding gone for good into a universe of avocado contraptions and family cleanliness and vicarious experiences provided by the endless soap operas that fill her telecasting afternoons. ” ( 245 ) Furthermore “ her kitchen and her laundry room and her full house glow with porcelain and enamel and an ordered cleanliness ” ( 244 ) that he, the storyteller can “ no longer grok ” . Alternatively, he is used to two-by-four bunks, kiping in a room with other work forces, listening to “ the sounds of work forces saw wooding and coughing or ptyalizing into tins by their bedsides, the incoherent groans and mumbles of uneasy slumberers and the thump of half-conscious work forces doing moaning love to their inactive pillows. ” Two contrasting images so. Therefore it is non surprising that he describes his relationship with his married woman as feeling like aliens to one another. He calls the house “ her house ” several times even though he is the 1 who likely paid for its elevation and contents. When he deems it his, he calls it his “ ain white house ” . Here the word “ white ” refers non simply to the house ‘s colour but to the intension of pureness and cleanliness. Besides, the colour white is non similar ruddy or brown ( colourss radiating heat ) but a cold colour. This implies distance and deficiency of comfort on the portion of the mineworker, towards his house and the things in it. The “ white ” house represents the portion of himself that is still fit to be a portion of an ordered, clean, normal society. The less comfy he feels in his place, the more he is distanced from every “ normal ” individual around him, including his household members.
The storyteller has besides grown apart from his kids. Though there are seven of them, he has ne’er been at place for any of their births, or the deceases of the two of them, his work had ever kept him off. His kids go to school and survey to go office workers, while he, himself dropped out of college, harmonizing to him, because he felt physically confined. His kids will cognize physical work as merely a portion of exercising and athleticss, non as consequence of intense labour, like their male parent ‘s. In fact, they will look down on him for his deficiency of mind, see him as one of lesser cognition, even though he knows non less, merely an wholly different field.
I have ever wished that my kids could see me at my work ( aˆ¦ ) And that they might see how articulate we are in the accoplishment of what we do. That they might appreciate the flawlessness of our boring and the computation of our angles and the measurin of our pulverization, and that they might understand that what we know through oculus and ear and touch is of a finer quality than any information garnered by the most sophisticated of mining applied scientists with all their luxuriant equipment. ( 249 )
Here, he is one time once more showing defeat at being looked down on by his kids, whereas he is merely every bit much an expert in his work as any other individual is in his, who is ‘properly ‘ employed. He would love to demo them that there is a “ certain facile beauty ” in what he does excessively but he will ne’er be able to make so, for his universe is that of the secret universe of mineworkers that no ordinary civilian gets to see. His married woman ‘s and his boies ‘ every twenty-four hours life is based on permanency and security, while the mineworker ‘s life is full of hazard and danger: everything is impermanent. ( Lepaludier ) This cardinal difference keeps the mineworker and his household from of all time genuinely linking.
Mining, because of its animalism is something antediluvian. It is suggested in the narrative that the figure of mineworkers is steadily diminishing, either by accidents ( “ Once there was besides the O’Leary crew, who were Irish Newfoundlanders. But many of them were lost in a cave-in in India ” ) or because the kids of the current mineworkers are analyzing to go tooth doctors and attorneies, so they will be unable to replace their male parents. The century old mineworker households are no more. They diminish in the modern times, along with other ancient things, such as the Celtic linguistic communication: “ For all of us know we will non last much longer and that it is improbable we will be replaced in the shaft ‘s underside by members of our ain flesh and bone. For such replacing, like our Gaelic, seems to be of the past and now mostly over. “ ( 248 ) In the storyteller ‘s head, Gaelic and excavation are connected. They are both leftovers of the yesteryear, which are deceasing out. As a immature adult male, the storyteller thought he did non talk Gaelic, yet, as he becomes older, ( and more and more seperated from society by his work ) he realizes how many Celtic words he learned in his childhood. In fact, Gaelic is what the mineworkers normally speak now when they are in each other ‘s company: “ Now in the shafts and on the beach we speak it about invariably, though it is no longer spoken in our places ” ( 246 ) . The archaicism of the Gaelic lingua symbolizes the archaicism of the mineworker ‘s life. The Celtic vocals, nevertheless, provide a different connexion.
The temporariness of mineworker life is difficult to bear, and the persons are in changeless privation of something to equilibrate it out. The permanency and security of their households can non be sought out, because they have grown excessively far apart. Alternatively, permanency is found in the Gaelic vocals, narratives and laies, which go as far back as the fifteenth century. These, the mineworkers learned in their childhood, they sing them at place, on the beach, while traveling to work, while workingaˆ¦ The Celtic vocals are a nexus to the yesteryear, and since they are so unchanging, holding had the same tune and words for centuries, they represent something ageless and represent the permanency that the mineworkers need. ( Lepaludier )
There is a new “ Gaelic Revival ” in schools harmonizing to the storyteller, so the storyteller ‘s kids are besides larning some Celtic traditions. The mineworkers ‘ chorus is invited to sing at the school but when they do so, the vocal feels like “ everything that vocal should non be, contrived and unreal and non-spontaneous and missing in communicating. ” ( 246 ) And this is what their kids will larn. They will sing the same vocals but they will miss the significance behind it, for they will pass their lives sitting in offices scuffling documents, excercising their oral cavities alternatively of their limbs and will understand none of what the vocals are about. In other words, the kids will ne’er understand an indispensable portion of their male parents ‘ lives.
The inquiry is: would any individual volitionally take such a alone and unsafe life style? Alistair MacLeod replies us by demoing that going a mineworker is non a pick, it is familial. The storyteller drops out of college because he comes from a household of mineworkers, so he is genetically 6 pess tall and therefore, he feels confined in school. So, he takes his work and the purdah it brings with a melancholy credence: it is granted to him by destiny, he does non repent it but neither does he appreciate it. This is what has to be and this is what will be. The mineworker ‘s life is an stray journey with decease ever lingering nearby and The Closing Down of Summer grants us a wonderfully acrimonious penetration into the sad, yet at the same clip queerly beautiful universe of these unbelievable people.
The mines consume their whole lives.