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MEG-12: A Survey Course in 20th Century Canadian Literature

MEG-12: A Survey Course in 20th Century Canadian Literature

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Assignment Code: MEG-12/TMA/2021-22

Course Code: MEG-12

Assignment Name: A Survey Course In 20th Century Canadian Literature

Year: 2021-2022 (July 2021 and January 2022 Sessions)

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Attempt all TEN questions and answer each question in approximately 600 words.

Q1. It is important to know the history of a nation in order to understand its literature. Keeping this in mind trace the different stages of Canadian history from the First settlers to the present age.

Ans) Canadians live by the land's moods, seasons, and weather. The Canadian landscape is everything but benign. The Canadian civilisation epics are largely about the hardships and suffering of pioneer families. But it is the land that defines who we are as Canadians. By contrast, Northrop Frye said, entering Canada is like being softly engulfed by an alien continent. Canada's storey is of an unfamiliar continent becoming an immigrant's favourite place.

It is a land of inventions like the Inuit Igloo, the birch wood canoe, and the toggle head on an Inuit seal harpoon. The first peoples of Canada had at least fifty civilizations and twelve languages. The Athapaskan tribes of the Arctic were egalitarian, whereas other tribes on the west coast were stratified and slave owners. Despite their differences, these societies had certain similarities. Spirituality and knowledge of the natural world are two examples.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to explore the new globe to grow their trade and territories... Spanish conquests established an international empire. The French and English were not to be left behind in the hunt for foreign riches, spices, and other treasures.

In 1947, John Cabot, an Italian explorer, landed on the Atlantic coast of North America and claimed it for England. Cabot's discovery sparked England's interest in the fisheries. On his first journey in 1534, Jacques Camer claimed the region for the French monarch by placing a cross on the Gaspe Peninsula's coasts. It quickly became a fishing and supply port for New France. Forcibly taking two Indians to France during his following journeys, he met the Stadacona Indians. With a fortified trading port in Quebec, John Champlain began his plan to colonise the isolated area for France. New France was declared a royal colony in 1663.

After establishing colonies in Newfoundland, Quebec, and Montreal, the British and French went into the fishing and fur trade. However, the British army captured Quebec at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759, ending New France. After the Seven Years' War, New France became a British Colony and was renamed Quebec in 1763. The Quebec Act of 1774 secured the French language and Catholic religion. Thus, all Canadian colonies came under British administration and were administered by British governors.

The fur trade was largely a northern affair. It lured Europeans across the Atlantic Ocean to the most favourable flu-bearing countries. They were regularly exposed to European commerce and technology. It also made Northwest a British rather than American region. The visitors from Europe simply came to visit and decided to stay forever.

On July 1, 1867, the United Province of Canada (Upper and Lower Canada), New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia merged to become the Dominion of Canada. Manitoba and Northwest Territory 1970, British Columbia 1871, Prince Edward Island 1873, and Newfoundland 1949. In 1896, Liberal leader Wilfrid Laurier became Canada's first French Canadian Prime Minister. Laurier's policies of compromise kept him in power for many years. In the same year, Alberta and Saskatchewan joined the Canadian Confederation. Canada's industrialization and urbanisation continued during Laurid's administration, with the addition of two provinces and two million people. Despite British pressure, Laurier supported Macdonald's National Policy of nation building, unity, and Canadian diplomacy. He emphasised Canada's economic nationalism enabled by railroad expansion and mining development. Never before had Canadians enjoyed such affluence. "The twentieth century shall be the century of Canada and of Canadian progress," their Prime Minister declared. The ensuing decades proved tough for Canada due to the two world wars in which Canada had to fight due to its status as a British dominion. During WWI, Canada lost 60,661 men, many of whom returned mentally or physically maimed. Both English and French Canadians fought over conscription. The economic crisis also challenged national unity.

Thousands of Canadian troops died in the Empire's service, bringing Canada honour and repute. It made Canada a nation state, not an Empire colony. Canada thus became a full and independent member of the League of Nations in 1919.

In a sense, the history of Canada is the narrative of communications. The canals on the huge St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers established the Toronto - Ottawa - Montreal region, while railways connected the entire nation from coast to coast. Until WW11, most immigrants were from Britain or Eastern Europe. Since 1945, however, southern Europeans, Asians, South Americans, and Caribbean Islanders have increased in number, with the majority coming from Asia Pacific countries. The country now has ten provinces and three territories, with residents from from all over the world. A recent census revealed that approximately 11 million Canadians, or 42% of the population, are not British or French. Canada's literacy rate is 96%.

Q2. The experience of wrestling with a rigorous climate and wilderness have shaped the Canadian imagination. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer.

Ans) Because a big portion of the population lives in four main cities, Canada's population is unmanageable and fragmented. With a population less than Ethiopia's, Canada is larger than China. Less than 7% of Canada's population is crammed into less than 1% of the country's land area, with virtually all of it bordering the United States. 102 of the country's 125 cities are within 300 kilometres of the US border. The majority of its hinterland is inaccessible and silent.

Appalachia, which crosses two national boundaries, is known as the Atlantic and Gulf Region. Most of the Atlantic region of Canada is covered by the Appalachians, which are made up of ancient rounded hills and plateaus with a few big fertile areas, such as the Annapolis-Cornwallis valley in Nova Scotia. The Appalachian area has a wide range of climate and vegetation. While Newfoundland is part of the boreal forest, the majority of the Maritime Provinces are in the Arcadian forest. The majority of the Maritimes (80%) are forested, but only 36% of Newfoundland is.

The Atlantic Region is densely inhabited, particularly along the coast and along the St. John River. Because only 1% of the land area on Prince Edward Island and none on Newfoundland is classed as prime agriculture, the region's First Nations relied heavily on hunting and fishing rather than farming.

The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Lowlands, which encompass Southern Ontario and Southern Quebec, contain good soil and, thanks to the region's lakes and rivers, have provided important transportation and trade routes for the region's residents. Even before European colonisation, the First Nations had developed continent-wide trade relations by utilising the waterways available in this region. Because of the abundance of fish, birds, deer, rabbit, and wild berries, the native population grew gradually. In this region, some First Nations employed fertile land and a favourable climate to grow crops, and it became a big magnet for European settlers as well.

The Canadian Shield, which covers 40% of Canada's area and is primarily covered in Precambrian rock, proved unfriendly to European colonial farmers. Before economic interests began developing the region because of its minerals and woods, the dispersed Native populations were nourished by the comparatively cool summers and abundant game within the forests. The generation of hydroelectricity from the region's rivers aided the region's industrial development in the twentieth century.

To most Canadians, the north is more of a direction than a place, the ultimate expression of how they see themselves in connection to the land. Margaret Atwood, a well-known Canadian novelist, claims that the North is always on Canadians' minds. The North concentrates its qnxieties. They enter their unconscious by turning to the north.

In retrospect, the voyage north has always had a dreamy quality to it. As a result, the forms and colours of the North play a big role in shaping Canadians' perceptions. While no single aspect shapes a country's identity, in Canadian literature and art, winter's dominance and the North signify this. In Canadian fiction, geography (environment) is so more than a backdrop; it is a character. Canadian life, according to famous Canadian historian W.L. Morion, is distinguished by a northern flavour to this day because of its origins on the northern border. Every Canadian mind is divided by the line that separates the frontier from the Qarmstead, the wildness from the base land, and the hinterland from the metropolis. The psychology of Nordicity and Frontiers has dominated Canadian art and literature for many years.

Climate helps Canadians in defining their identity, as it is six months of winter followed by six months of bad shedding. It gets cold – even in the large cities. Regina has recorded temperatures of -50 degrees Celsius and temperate Vancouver, generally without snow once hit -20. Canadians have adapted extremely well to the colder periods of weather by installing heat in housing and cars, and by having heated public transportation systems, and in some instances, in walkways to and from buildings of schools.

Q3. Write a detailed note on the genre of the Canadian long poem.

Ans) The modern long poem is Canada's most notable recent achievement. This section will focus on two important reviewers' views of the genre.

Canadian poets favoured the 'long poem' form in the 1980s. Towards the Last Spike (1952) by E.J. Pratt set the contemporary pattern. After that, there was Civil Elegies (1968). Earle Birney, A1 Purdy, and others wrote autobiographical storey poems in the mid-1960s. Never False Greek Mouth (1964) is a wonderful poetry.

To begin (November Walk Near False Greek Mouth), the poet walks along Vancouver's English Bay. A reflection on life, death, evolution etc. "the unreached unreachable nothing I whose breezes wash down to the human beaches I and slip showing" conveys sadness. The Cariboo Horses is A1 Purdy's finest lengthy poem (1965). In 1980, Phyllis Webb's Letters to Margaret Atwood and Daphne Marlatt's long poem writing are notable.

George Bowering's Kerrisdale Elegies is a masterpiece (1984). Bowering's Vancouver neighbour is Kerrisdale; Rilke appears in Bowering's text. The Martyrology by bp Nicol. Both poems deal with a difficult self. As a writer, Nichol works with layers of genres such as chronicle and genealogy.

1991 by Smaro Kamboureli is a great Canadian Long Poem book. The Contemporary Canadian Long Poem. Kamboureli states in her book's Preface:

Many critics, including Eli Mandel, Frank Davey, Robert Kroetsch, Michael Bernstein, and Joseph Riddel, have addressed the issue of characterising the lengthy poem generically. I've tried to demonstrate that the long poem is a 'new' genre because of its difficulties, resistance to generic categorization. A lyric, epic, or documentary reading tempts us yet breaks away from their specifications; it is both within and beyond the genres it comprises. The long poem as a new genre's 'rule' is lawlessness. Ungrammaticality results in thematicization of formal aspects and thematicization of main themes: place, self, and discourse. This succession of reversals is done in the present tense, indicating the lengthy poem's ambition to live on the edge of things, between genres, between reflexivity and ideology. The long poem's discontinuities, absences, and deferrals emphasise both its creative process and our reading act. It is concerned with the unreadability of the world's textuality as well as the materiality of words.

Another prominent theorist of "the Canadian long poem" is Frank Davey. Kamboureli says of Davey:

It's not about time but in it, not about life but within it, says Frank Davey in his summary of modern lengthy poems (1983, 188). The change from delay to prolongation is not readily resolved because it is not an either/or situation. According to Davey (1 83), "duration also communicates about time - that the writer will take his time, engage time, encompass its passage" (183). The long poem's temporal movement measures its distance from the centre of experience. Davey's emphasis on anticipation - the long poem "anticipates more than delays" - is only operational when comprehended without conditions or a known object.

According to Robert Kroetsch, the challenge for the contemporary long poem writer is to acknowledge and explore our distrust of system, grid, monism, cosmologies, perhaps, surely, inherited storey, while writing a long work that has (under erasure) coherence. But the long poem's length allows study of system and grid failure.

In her book On the Edge of Genre: Contemporary Canadian Long Poem 'The long poetry,' says Kamboureli.

So it dwells both inside and outside of these inherited conditions. Minacy is a sign of its genetics, the intricate ways in which it ties to past traditions and current situations. It is the result of a negative dialectics, an unfinished process of binary creations. The contemporary long poem offers us a "long vision" of the past it never inhabited and the future it will never reach. By doing so, the lengthy poem is able to undermine the normative values of the topics and forms that make it up.

To engage the reader in the long poem's politicised and thereby political poetics. We are urged to distinguish between the worldviews and forms that make up this 'new' genre. The lengthy poem avoids reconciliation and synthesis by revealing the problematics of mastery buried underneath any sovereign form. It rejects the Habermasian politics of consensus. Its contradictions and paradoxes do not generate a new master narrative. Rather, it emerges from - or even intrudes upon - the very general and cultural fractures it sees between epic and lyric, colonial and postcolonial, referentiality and self-reflexivity.

Q4. Attempt a detailed analysis of the poem ‘Envoi’ by Eli Mandel.

Ans) Eli Mandel was born in the Saskatchewan town of Estevan in 1922. His father was a Russian Jew who came to the United States as a child. When the Second World War broke out, he was a member of the Canadian Army Medical Corps. Christopher Smart was the subject of a dissertation he wrote for his Ph.D. at the University of Toronto, which he completed in 1975. He was a Professor of English Literature at the University of York in Toronto for a number of years before retiring.

The title 'Envoi' is derived from the French word for despatch. According to the poet, a country is nothing more than a series of ice rivers in the winter. Despite the whiteness of his veins, St. Hubert's blood is laced with dreadful knives.

On a floor strewn with the remains of history, the poet claims that politics pierces his heart. While wardens dump crazy sentences into him, he claims to shiver as they do so with each passing cloth. He claims that Quebec's prisons must be freezing because of the cold.

He next inquires of the bereaved vocalist as to what he perceives as a result of the anguish in his heart.

In the next poem paragraph, Mandel paints a picture of an ice-slave circling the river and the city of Montreal clenching its teeth against the steel of the chain.

Mandel tells the singer in the final line and the concluding paragraph that his words, which drift like frozen wounds, blees a sick bride in the final line and the final paragraph. When the bridegroom is violent, and the wedding in question is one in which the children are likely to be colder killers than what this or any other song predicts, the situation becomes even more dire.

Eli Mandel successfully depicts the bitterness and cold-blooded aspect that has crept into Canadian culture through this brief poem.

Q5. What are the major themes present in the novel Surfacing.

Ans) Relationship strife

There are images of dysfunction presented in the book. Having already walked away from one relationship, the narrator understands that she has become more likely to leave, more flighty. When Joe proposes to her, she declines him, knowing that because of her commitment issues, she would be lying to accept. Meanwhile, their foil has become a torture on Anna under David's tyrannical authority. We see the cost of leaving (the narrator's issues) and the costs of staying (the turmoil in David and Anna's life).

Differences between the sexes.

This novel criticizes the differences between the genders, noticing that in their relationships to women, men are often thinking in a tool-usage way, perceiving the woman as opportunities to improve their lives. This leads to serious dysfunction for Anna and David, because although Anna is sacrificing for the relationship and family, David still believes Anna exists to make his life better.

In this view of the genders, David has made a slave of his wife. This does not mean there is nothing to be said for role, but David must sacrifice his limited understanding of relationship. The protagonist notices all of this and decides not to marry Joe for a litany of reasons, not the least of which is that she has been hurt before. The major symbol for this is that David makes his own wife wear makeup or else he will not be seen with her in public.

Commitment and abandonment

This novel discovers a paradox, that although relationships are rooted on commitment, the truth is that people may have serious obstacles that demand they fail those commitments later in life. So the narrator's response to commitment is to abandon those commitments, as a proof against them. She is exploring the grips of fate, because by committing one's self to a relationship, one might be signing up for voluntary slavery, like many of the women in the novel.

Language As Connection to Society

Throughout Surfacing, the narrator’s feeling of powerlessness is coupled with an inability to use language. When she goes mad, she cannot understand David’s words or speak out against his advances. Similarly, when the search party comes for her, she cannot understand their speech, and her only defense from them is flight. Words betray her, as it is by yelling that the search party discovers her. The narrator maintains the false hope that she can reject human language just as she imagines she can reject human society. She admires how animals know the types of plants without naming them. When she goes mad, she vows not to teach her child language—yet eventually she conquers her alienation by embracing language.

The Total Alienation of Women

Atwood uses the narrator’s near-constant feeling of alienation to comment on the alienation of all women. The narrator feels abandoned by her parents because of the disappearance of her father and the detachment of her mother. She finds men especially alienating because of the way they control women through religion, marriage, birth control, sex, language, and birth. She depicts the way that men view relationships as a war, with women as the spoils. The narrator also describes her alienation as systematic, highlighting the way that children learn gender roles early on in life. The result of the narrator’s alienation is madness and complete withdrawal. The narrator remains unnamed, making her a universal figure and suggesting that all women are in some way alienated.

Q6. Write a detailed note on ‘Naturalism’ and show how it is reflected in the novel ‘The Tin Flute.

Ans) Naturalism is a literary style associated with novelist Emile Zola. It was a Realism evolution. The Naturalists felt that imaginative authors (particularly novelists) should be scientifically objective and adventurous in their work. This suggests that character should be based on physiological genetics and not on environment. It influenced novelists George Gissing and Arnold Bennett in their handling of environment and character.

A major feature of The Tine Flute is that it accurately depicted the monster of big city poverty for Quebecois while speaking harshly of a metropolis for English Canadians who had only experienced it through infrequent nightclub excursions on Canada's 'Big White Way'. It paints a picture of modern life as clear as a nightmare. We're trapped in a world of railroad crossings, soot, and factory whistles.

As previously noted, Emile Zola was a prominent figure in 'Naturalism.' The trend is towards photographic realism. No unpleasant details are omitted. the first is:

Beyond them, low-rise streets led to Workman Street and St. Antoine, and down to the Lachine Canal, where St. Henri stuffs mattresses, spins silk or cotton thread, weaves, and reels spools, while rushing trains, foghorns, and ships, engines, screws, rails, and whistles spell out the world's adventure.

She attempts to blend her vision of humanity with the information she delivers, whereas some writers give Berkeley for its own sake. Many great modernist writers emphasise actuality as a virtue in itself. This is also true of ageist poetry, imagist poetry, and poetry influenced by Imagism. "Preludes" and "Rhapsody on a Windy Night" are examples of this.

Roy's uniqueness is that she strives to humanise every detail. All the filth and soot that pervades the lives of the people of St. Henri is part of their existence. Her point seems to be that these people's lives may have been better if they weren't French-speaking Quebecers. The conflict comes to these people as a form of salvation, since it may help them escape the daily grind of poverty and hardship. They are entrapped and confined in every way. It suffocates and chokes them. Their frequenting of cafes, restaurants, and bars helps lessen the grip of their circumstances on their life. In this sense, joining the army is a solution. Roy's photography realism is unique because the images she captures of St. life Henri's are so accurate. Her stark truth is meant to touch our emotions.

The novel's reception is affected by the fact that the original French's Flair is lost in translation. The remarkable precision with which Roy catches the dialect and idiom of French-Canada, whether rural 'patous' or Montreal 'argot', is lost in the English text. The idiom's comfortable simplicity and comedic connotations are frequently lost in translation. If the translator tries to substitute an English slang expression, much of the speaker and setting flavour is lost.

Roy's depiction of St. Henri's life is amazing. In the midst of the St. Henri fire, she heard the market vendor's final scream. She also captures the aromas of cheap fragrances and food, as well as the commotion and jostling in Florentine's store. The detailed depiction of the restaurant's bustling activity and faithful transcription of guests' talk refers to Roy's journalistic ability. When she visited Europe, she reported back to Canada. This resembles the great American novelist Ernest Hemmingway, who was also a journalist in Europe. Soot, foghorns, abattoir Smells, sirens and children's wails are all captured by her. A passing train's shuddering and echoing is also wonderfully captured. Roy brilliantly recreates the sense data pointing to the assumption that Life is all about sensation. She has a keen ear for language nuances and is intensely aware of her surroundings. As a result, many of her images became symbols.

Roy's main focus is on the precise event and its implications for an individual or a society. It's as if She can peep beyond the convoluted surface of the experience to reveal its deeper relevance. Roy's participation in her fictitious character's lives got so intense that they preoccupied her long after the novel was finished. Also with The Tin Flute. Her work has a strong sense of continuity and unity. Her existential and societal concerns are always evident.

On a phycological level, the novel's portrayal of the generation cycle has a naturalistic inclination. As opposed to Rose-tired Anna's litany of problems, Florentine is more often than not able to draw on Florentine's advantages to enter the same route of existence. Their combined pregnancies represent inexorable processes. Despite her own warnings and maxims, Rose-Anna falls into her mother's warnings and maxims, even into the resigned and helpless gesture of stroking the edge of her chair, and, like her own mother on the visit to Sain-Denis, fails to provide support.

Roy's other works retain this concern in familial relationships and emotional intricacies, but The Tin Flute is notable for its socio-economic analyses. A societal critique novel, it is Roy's sole melancholy novel that suggests reform. On the other hand, later works tend to view suffering as a function of human nature rather than social arrangement.

Q7. Write in detail how modernism and post modernism is reflected in the novel The English Patient.

Ans) “The English Patient” by Michael Ondaatje is a work of historical fiction set in the hills of Tuscany during the Second World War. “The English Patient” is written in a quite post-modern way, meaning it has quite strong style figures from postmodernism. To start it off it’s important to get hold of what postmodernism and modernism are and the key themes that defines them. Modernism is born out of the First World War and is an ism for norm-breaking ideas to question the old traditions. It sought to challenge old traditions and create a sense of doubt and unease. Postmodernism have much in common with modernism, especially narrative techniques. Key themes in postmodernism are intertexture, self-consciousness, multiple perspectives, metafiction and fragmentation. Postmodernism is however sharing some of den “modern” values and themes, especially in literature. For example is fragmentation a very common phenomenon in both modern and postmodern literature. Why has Michael Ondaatje used postmodern style figures when writing this novel? How does this affect the reader and the story? Why is it important to study postmodernism?

When reading “The English Patient” it’s very easy to get lost in its fragmented story, constantly through the novel you are suddenly drawn into a memory of the past and when you least expect it you are thrown into the present. This fragmentation may very well become quite confusing but it creates a sense of realism around the story. In this novel this fragmentation helps the reader to get to know the person step by step, instead of a biography of the character the reader’s is given the narrator’s and the other characters’ view on the specific character. This means that the reader have access to other peoples thoughts but are then, through fragmentation in forms of dreams and memories given key fragments which the reader can create a picture of who this character really is. This then can be compared to a real life meeting with a person where you probably have other peoples’ thoughts and then when getting to know the person step by step you have the tools to create a picture of your own.

Fragmentation is also considered fun, not because it’s confusing but because we know every persons point of view, giving the reader all the “gossip”. This then creates a genuine interest in the different characters and contributes to make the novel more addictive. The novel’s fragmentation also creates a blurry line between fiction and reality. The fragmentation in the novel isn’t only between past and present. It also makes us jump between thoughts and dreams. This is a big contributor to the realism of the novel, you can sense that somehow you peal away the skin of the characters and get into their minds. The fragmentation isn’t just within one person, it’s a fragmentation between all main characters, which makes the story very decentered. This then gives the reader more perspectives on certain events in the novel.

A common postmodern style figure in the novel is a breaking of genre, although “The English Patient” is a historical fiction novel it has a lot of poetical elements making the text itself a work of art. The novel might be very descriptive, describing every thing into every little detail but the poetry doesn’t really spoil the experience since it still mediates the descriptiveness and detail. Rather than spoiling it, it actually makes the text easier and more enjoyable.

When now describing how these postmodern themes affects the text, why then is these important? The fragmentation gives us the sense of a realistic environment and also makes the novel more interesting to read. The blurry line between reality and fiction is equally important for the reading experience because the reader is allowed to explore the characters’ minds. The breaking of genre in this particular case is used to enhance the reading experienced. These particular three isn’t the only postmodern themes occurring in the novel but they are in a personal point of view those which affects the reading experience the most.

Michael Ondaatje then has succeeded in using these postmodern themes to create a unique reading experience. However, these key themes are used to create this experience. Postmodernism then is very useful since it contains tools that are essential for future fiction reading. The philosophy might be dead but the legacy is clearly shown in not only “The English Patient” but in many other novels. Postmodernism key themes in literature are very much alive and still very useful.

Q8. After reading the story “Where is the Voice Coming From”, would you say that history has been distorted by the Whites?

Ans) A white, poor, and jealous guy tells his storey in Where Is the Voice? The narrator describes killing his black neighbour out of hatred and frustration. Based on the historical storey of Medgar Evers in 1963, Welty's novel Thermopylae highlights the racial tensions she experienced in the American South throughout her life. By showing the awful treatment of the black population, the author challenges the reader to consider the racial bias pervasive in American society. By allowing the reader to sympathise with the killer, Welty allows the reader to understand his intentions for the murder. Instead of vilifying individuals, Welty depicts injustices that reveal the involvement of the southern environment as a whole, according to William Murray.

1. Rather than individual prejudice, Welty permits readers to blame social structures for racial violence.

Welty shows how racial tensions in society drive personal and private animosity. Her violent white character feels he conducts his action for personal motives, unwilling to understand that the wider system influenced him into having a prejudiced doctrine. It exposes his naivety and passivity as he abides by the discriminatory system in place, failing to comprehend or confess that he did not act simply out of personal choice.

2. He feels duped by his black neighbour and is driven to act on his jealousy. While the character appears to act on his own, his anger is fueled by white supremacy and a sense of entitlement imposed by society. In spite of his status as a white American citizen, Roland Summers maintains a nice lifestyle that our narrator cannot match.

Welty employs the short tale format to show the white perspective, as well as the community and media's animosity. Early in the storey, the narrator states to his wife, “You don't have to sit and watch a black n*gger face for any longer than you want to, or listen to something you don't want to hear.” a free country” (396). The narrator believes he and his wife should not have to watch a black man on TV. ‘I think that's how I get the concept,' he says (p. 396). Aware that the media first sparked his crime, he insists he thought of it himself. The narrator insists the attack is personal.

Although the narrator insists he acted alone, achieving his own sense of justice, it may be claimed he feels sorrow for his actions. Although the narrator denies remorse, Daniel Wood thinks that dropping the murder weapon at the scene shows guilt. 3 The constant attempts to defend his acts reveal his sense of sorrow and remorse. The short storey style furthers Welty's theme of the murderer's guilt. The text is a narrated narrative, and so a criminal confession. It's also implied that he felt burdened by his crime and unable to live with himself without confessing (p. 399). Welty tries to explain the murder by portraying the perpetrator as a victim of social influence. This character is an unwitting product of society who does not acknowledge its hold on him. ‘I set in my chair, with nobody home but me, and I began to play, and sing a-Down,' says Welty. And chant down, down, down. Sing a down, down, down (p. 401). By the end of the text, Welty had humanised her narrator, making the reader take responsibility for the attack's racism. In this approach, Welty shows that racial tensions require societal accountability from all members. "At least I kept some dern teen-ager from North Thermopylae getting there and doing it first," says the narrator. The narrator tries to excuse his actions by claiming the murder would have happened otherwise.

Q9. What is the theme of the play The Ecstasy of Rita Joe?

Ans) Colonization

The Ecstasy of Rita Joe is a play about colonisation, which still affects Indigenous peoples in Canada hundreds of years later. Rita Joe is denied justice because colonisers don't understand her, don't listen to her testimony, and don't feel compelled to see past stereotypes and prejudices when dealing with Indigenous peoples. Because her truth challenges the entire system upon which their civilization is constructed, they destroy her along with her friends and family.


Assimilation is the process of assimilating people from different backgrounds into the dominant culture. In the play, Rita's instructor, Miss Donohue, chastises Rita for her tendency to melt into the melting pot. "There is no peace in being remarkable!" says the Magistrate to Rita. Pressures to integrate can mean pressures to succumb more easily. The white people in Rita's life who persuaded her to give up her differences were not doing so for her benefit, but for their own.


Ryga uses Mr. Homer to show how those trying to help Indigenous peoples wind up infantilizing them. Infantilization is the extended treatment of a mentally capable adult as a child. For those in need, Mr. Homer offers food and clothing, but he does not help them gain real opportunity to improve their lives. Mr. Homer is adopting a racist approach to suppress the population he claims to be assisting. Mr. Homer maintains the idea that Indigenous peoples cannot assist themselves by portraying them as children who must be saved.


Jaimie and David Joe's differences stem from the economic challenges of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Both Jaimie and David Joe know that the plight of Indigenous people in Canada must improve or their community will perish. Indigenous peoples were excluded from the market. They were stuck on infertile soils and in towns with limited economic growth potential. They faced poverty, unemployment, and, in the instance of Rita Joe, death when they tried to relocate into the city for the white chances.


The play's core issue is incarceration and its relationships to class and race. The state reacts with Rita's poverty by imprisoning her rather than providing her with social services that may have kept her out of trouble. Throughout the play, Rita is punished for crimes she may or may not have committed. She has been deprived of freedom in ways that others in her situation would not. She gets punished for trying to survive.


Many criticise Jaimie's pride for refusing Mr. Homer's offers and refusing to tolerate prejudice from the bar he wants to go to with his buddies. "They're searching for Indians who stay proud even when they hurt... as long as they don't ask for their rights!" Jaimie said in his fight with David Joe. Jaimie is killed at the end of the play for trying to save Rita Joe. Ryga shows the societal penalization of pride in members of the society it attempts to isolate through Jaimie.

Q10. Write a note on Northrop Frye’s ‘Conclusion’ to A Literary History of Canada.

Ans) The evident and unquenchable yearning of the Canadian cultural audience to define itself through its literature is a recurring subject. In terms of recognition, Canada is a good place for the author, but it may hinder his development by making him overly self-aware. Scholarships, prizes, and university positions abound for the determined writer. In fact, there are so many literary awards that a modern Canadian Dryden would be tempted to write a satire on them, only to be given the medal for satire and humour. The CBC and other media help to hire some writers and advertise others. Publishers actively promote native literature, especially poetry. Efforts to promote or market Canadian literature by claiming it was better than it actually was may seem absurd now, but they were part of efforts to build a cultural community, and the goal deserves more sympathy than the means. Canada has two languages and two literatures, and any statement about "Canadian literature" uses the synecdoche figure of speech, substituting a part for the whole. Every such claim involves a counterclaim about French-Canadian literature. The benefits of a national culture based on two languages are numerous, but they are mostly theoretical. The problems, while more surface, are more real and visible.

As a barrier restricting access to the East's riches, Canada was only explored in the hope of finding a way past it. English Canada remained so long after the United States had constituted a distinct Western nation. The map shows one rationale. Until roughly 1900, American culture was mostly an Atlantic-coast civilization, with a western frontier that travelled back and forth until it reached the other shore. The Revolution did not fundamentally alter the cultural cohesiveness of the English-speaking North Atlantic group that included London, Edinburgh, Boston, and Philadelphia. But Canada has no Atlantic coast. The European traveller slips across the Straits of Belle Isle into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where five Canadian provinces surround him, mostly invisible. On up the St. Lawrence he sees populated area, mostly French-speaking and with its own cultural traditions. Entering the US requires crossing an ocean; entering Canada requires being silently absorbed by an alien continent.

This is an incredible and scary experience. That massive east-to-west thrust that historians see as the axis of Canadian development, the "Laurentian" movement that makes Canada's geographical rise conceivable. This western push has drawn practically everything heroic and romantic in the Canadian culture. English Canada's origins are in the British Isles, therefore it is both an ambitious and conservative force, naturally preserving its colonial roots. It's only after a person has settled down in a place that they realise there is a longitudinal dimension, a draw towards the wealthier and more glamorous American cities, some of which are nearly Canadian capitals, like Boston and Minneapolis. As Goldwin Smith phrased it, "seven fishing-rods strung together by the ends" is the axis of another form of Canadian mentality, more critical and analytic.

English Canada has benefited from the simultaneous influence of two larger nations speaking the same language. It's often said that Canada's identity is found in the media, or mediocris, or both. The drawback is that the British and American cultures are extremes. Haliburton appears to have imagined that a chimaera, or synthetic monster, combining American energy and British social structure would be appropriate for Nova Scotia.

It's easier to notice the changing moods in Canadian writing, one romantic, traditional, and idealistic, the other smart, perceptive, and amusing. Canada's attitude toward Britain is more royalist than the Queen's, in that it views it as a symbol of tradition rather than a fellow-nation. Canada's relationship with the US is typical of a smaller country's relationship with a much larger neighbour, eager to avoid the vast mass movements that drive an imperial state. With its revolutionary origins and written constitution, the United States has introduced a deductive or a priori pattern into its cultural life to distinguish it from anti-American heresy. Canada, a bystander of the American Revolution, prefers the inductive and expedient. Canada's genius for compromise is mirrored in its very existence.

The use of language is the most visible tension in Canadian literature. English collides with the necessity for North American language and phrasing here. So long as the North American speaker feels marginalised, the European speaking will enforce a standard. This is still true of French in Canada, with its anti-"joual" efforts. However, as Americans surpassed the British in population, Canada tended to follow American trends, even if much Canadian ideology remains Anglophile. The impact of the sophisticated on the basic creates a far more complex cultural dynamic. Duncan Campbell Scott, an employee of the Department of Indian Affairs in Ottawa, is the most extreme example. He tells of a famished squaw hooking a fishhook with her own flesh, and of Debussy's music and Henry Vaughan's poetry. A similar cultural fusion can be seen in Anglo-Saxon literature.

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