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ASSIGNMENT SOLUTIONS GUIDE (2014-2015)

M.E.G.-12
Canadian Literature
A Survey Course in 20th Century
Disclaimer/Special Note: These are just the sample of the Answers/Solutions to some of the Questions given in the
Assignments. These Sample Answers/Solutions are prepared by Private Teacher/Tutors/Auhtors for the help and Guidance
of the student to get an idea of how he/she can answer the Questions of the Assignments. We do not claim 100% Accuracy
of these sample Answers as these are based on the knowledge and cabability of Private Teacher/Tutor. Sample answers
may be seen as the Guide/Help Book for the reference to prepare the answers of the Question given in the assignment. As
these solutions and answers are prepared by the private teacher/tutor so the chances of error or mistake cannot be denied.
Any Omission or Error is highly regretted though every care has been taken while preparing these Sample Answers/
Solutions. Please consult your own Teacher/Tutor before you prepare a Particular Answer & for uptodate and exact
information, data and solution. Student should must read and refer the official study material provided by the university.
Q. 1. Write a detailed note on the general Canadian attitude towards Nature, and how the early settlers
responded to it?
Ans. Given the immense importance of nature within Canadian culture, and especially within the literary imagination, many types and genres could be considered to be "nature writing," from scientific treatises, memoirs, and exploration journals, through novels and short stories, and including all kinds of poetry from the epic to the short lyric. To be
sure, a full account must include works of prose and poetry both in French and English, Canada's two official languages.
While this examination of prose written in English might seem unduly restricted, it does reveal broadly applicable trends
and motifs. Furthermore, nature writing in Canada may be related to either explicit or implicit religion. If the natural
world is comprehended under the aegis of a religious worldview already widely held and promoted by religious institutions, then nature writing in such a context is linked to explicit religion.
In this light older Canadian writing frequently detailed in unambiguous terms a savage and unforgiving natural world
inhabited by forces opposed to the order of grace and to the divine transformation of the human. Less common, but
equally explicit, was the religion of nature writing that set-forth a human realm corrupted by human sin contrasted with an
unfallen and benevolent world of nature. Two stories anthologized in The Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in
English illustrate this plain and unambiguous portrayal of nature in the explicit religious context of nineteenth-century
Canada. Nature writer Charles G. D. Roberts, in his story "Do Seek Their Meat from God," contrasts the instinct prompting
a panther to stalk a child with the providential urge that leads a father to save that child. In Susie Frances Harrison's "The
Idyl of the Island" a city-weary visitor from a nearby hotel comes upon a woman sleeping on a mossy couch in an edenic
island setting, described in the most lyrically romantic terms. Up until a generation or so ago the explicitly religious
context of Canadian nature writing was a supernatural theism that placed the Creator outside of nature. The world of
nature was either opposed to or allied with that transcendent realm of grace. At its extreme nature might be portrayed in
negative terms as the realm of darkness and demons. One can also look at the map of Canada as a dialogue with the
wildness, the wilderness, an obsession, and its repetitive effort to relieve that very moment of an encounter of the settlers
with the nature. Wacousta or the Prophecy's tale of the Canadas was a novel on wilderness by Major John Richardson who
fought with the British army against the Americans in the war of 1812. The novel was a Gothic extravaganza set in the
1763. It was a historical romance that described the last Indian uprisings which were led by the famous chief Ponties
against the British forts. The two forts according to Richardson were the outposts of civilization which were lost in terror
and wilderness and were desperately trying to protect the traditions of British Culture. The strongest character in the
novel is the forest a psychological space that is unimaginatively terrifying. Culture and nature are in total opposition
to each other and there is only the possibility of a nightmare in such a situation.
In 1965 Alec Lucas, contributing a chapter on Nature Writers and the Animal Story to Literary History of Canada:
Canadian Literature in English, set Canadian nature writing in the framework of western literary history. Lucas showed

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how writing about the natural world, from biblical and classical texts through the medieval period, inevitably concerned
itself with the human relationship to nature, and just as often, with the relationship of both the human and natural to the
divine. Accordingly, animal fables amounted to commentaries on people and social relations, often allegorizing and
moralistic, and assuming dominion over nature that was provided for human benefit by God.
Though Renaissance humanism promoted close examination of the whole of nature, and included humans within
nature, Cartesian logic and Newtonian physics fostered a rationalistic understanding of a mechanistic world. In the
nineteenth century, though Romanticism's discovery of a moral order within nature gave way to Darwinianism, both
movements restored human beings to the world of nature. Lucas outlines the contributions of pioneer writers and field
naturalists to Canadian nature writing, suggesting that by the twentieth century nature ceased to be a source of moral law
or evidence of the divine, but a unity including both people and animals. He traces the Canadian tradition of outdoors and
animal stories, sometimes in the pastoral tradition, sometimes through natural history, that often advocated a return to
nature to escape the evils of urban life and to refresh the spirit. Within all of the schools and genres that Lucas surveys and
details whatever estimate is given of nature tends to be made against the backdrop of Christianity in its various forms. The
religion of nature is subordinated to a Christian worldview, or understood generally within the context of western
monotheism.
Q. 2. Immigration has been central to the history of Canada. Discuss this issue keeping in mind Canadas
multiculturalism.
Ans. In 1971, Canada embarked on a unique experiment by declaring a policy of official "multi-culturalism". According to Pierre Trudeau, who introduced the policy in the House of Commons, the policy had the following four aims:
to support the cultural development of ethno cultural groups; to help members of ethno cultural groups to overcome
barriers to full participation in Canadian society; to promote creative encounters and interchange among all ethno cultural
groups; and to assist new Canadians in acquiring at least one of Canada's official languages.
Although the policy of multiculturalism was first adopted by the federal government, it was explicitly designed as a
model for other levels of government, and indeed it has been copied widely. `Multiculturalism programs' can now be
found, not just in the multiculturalism office of the federal government, but also at the provincial or municipal levels of
government, and indeed within a wide range of public and private institutions, such as schools or businesses.
These policies are now under attack, perhaps more so today than at any time since 1971. The debate has heated up
lately, in part because of two recent critiques of the multiculturalism policy: Neil Bissoondath's Selling Illusions: The Cult
of Multiculturalism in Canada, and Richard Gwyn's Nationalism Without Walls: The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Canadian. Both make very similar claims about the results of the policy. In particular, both argue that multiculturalism has
promoted a form of ethnic separatism amongst immigrants.
Thus Bissoondath says that multiculturalism has led to "undeniable ghettoization". Rather than promoting integration,
multiculturalism is encouraging the idea that immigrants should form "self-contained" ghettos "alienated from the
mainstream". This ghettoization is "not an extreme of multiculturalism but its ideal: a way of life transported whole, a
little outpost of exoticism preserved and protected". He approvingly quotes Arthur Schlesinger's claim that multiculturalism
rests upon a "cult of ethnicity" which "exaggerates differences, intensifies resentments and antagonisms, and drives even
deeper the awful wedges between races and nationalities. The endgame is self-pity and self-ghettoization", or what
Schlesinger calls "cultural and linguistic apartheid". According to Bissoondath, multiculturalism policy does not encourage
immigrants to think of themselves as Canadians, and indeed even the children of immigrants "continue to see Canada
with the eyes of foreigners. Multiculturalism, with its emphasis on the importance of holding on to the former or ancestral
homeland, with its insistence that there is more important than Here, encourages such attitudes".
Gwyn makes the same claim in similar language. He argues that "official multiculturalism encourages apartheid, or
to be a bit less harsh, ghettoism". The more multiculturalism policy has been in place, "the higher the cultural walls have
gone up inside Canada". Multiculturalism encourages ethnic leaders to keep their members "apart from the mainstream",
practicing "what can best be described as mono-culturalism". In this way, "Our state encourages these gatekeepers to
maintain what amounts, at worst, to an apartheid form of citizenship".
If these claims were true, it would be a serious indictment of the policy. Unfortunately, neither Bissoondath nor Gwyn
provides any empirical evidence for their claims. How has the adoption of multiculturalism in 1971 affected the integration
of immigrant groups in Canada? To answer this question requires some account of what "integration" involves. It is one
of the puzzling features of the Gwyn/Bissoondath critique that they do not define exactly what they mean by integration.
However, we can piece together some of the things which they see as crucial ingredients of integration: adopting a
Canadian identity rather than clinging exclusively to one's ancestral identity; participating in broader Canadian institutions

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rather than participating solely in ethnic-specific institutions; learning an official language rather than relying solely on
one's mother-tongue; having inter-ethnic friendships or even mixed-marriages rather than socializing entirely within one's
ethnic group. These sorts of criteria do not form a comprehensive theory of "integration", but they seem to be at the heart
of Gwyn and Bissoondath's concerns about multiculturalism, so they are a good starting-point.
Q. 3. Discuss the contribution of the two novelist poets, Atwood and Ondaatje, to Canadian poetry.
Ans. Michael Ondaatje, poet, novelist, filmmaker, editor (was born in Colombo, Ceylon [Sri Lanka] on 12 Sept.
1943. Michael Ondaatje's work often blends or counterposes the factual and the imaginary, poetry and prose. His longer
narrative works, often based on the unorthodox lives of real people, may contain documentary as well as fictional accounts. Ondaatje's imagery is characterized by its preoccupation with romantic exoticism and multiculturalism; its gravitation towards the bizarre, the exaggerated, and the unlikely; its fascination with the secret codes of violence in both
personal and political life; and with its continued delving into the world of movies, jazz and friendship. His work is also
notable for its cinematic qualities in its frequent use of montage techniques and spare dramatic dialogue.
He is the author of four collections of poetry including The Cinnamon Peeler and most recently, Handwriting. His
works of fiction include Anil's Ghost, The English Patient, In the Skin of a Lion, Coming "through Slaughter, and The
Collected Works of Billy the Kid.
Ondaatje's poetry became an important part of defining his writing style, allowing him to experiment with fragmented consciousness, juxtaposition of unlike images, and experimental rhythm. He went on to publish the poetry collections. The Collected Works of Billy the Kid in 1970 along with several others.
Margaret Atwood's poetry is not restful; it will not soothe careworn sensibilities. Its effect is more like being slammed
through the looking-glass, or yanked out of the audience to play a part in a scene between the voice of the printed page
and the ear of the reading eye. In such a dislocation, one gropes for metaphor, feeling like for Bottom in A Midsummer
Night's Dream who, on waking from his true dream, stammers, "I have had a most rare vision." Rare vision indeed is both
given to and required of those who choose to be involved. The curtain-raiser for selected poems, "This Is A Photograph
Of Me," exemplifies the rhetorical relationship assumed between author and reader: an incipient intimacy is established
during which the preliminaries have been concluded and we are now thumbing through the family album together. The
reader is understood to be actively involved in the poems, to be a transmitter as well as a receiver, the voice of the poem
seems to assert that the reader, a nonpoet, is completely capable of rare vision.
But if you look long enough eventually you will be able to see me.
This voice understands the uses of power.
But the impact of the Selected Poems does i depend solely upon their power to seduce the reader Often, although the
tone is not exactly hectoring, the) seem to harass or threaten in some way and, whethei evoking good or bad feelings, to
impinge upon, collide with, the reader's sensibility. It is hard to be indifferent to them. The source of their power is not
obvious: the voice is so very cool and dry, ostensibly dispassionate; the laconic verses are unadorned by ruffles ot flourishes; they neither sing jaunty tunes nor chant the music of the spheres; they do not declaim or descant, will not soar or
swoon. Here is no "poetic diction," but Time runs out.(a style almost ascetically direct, to the point, and these twitcmn&
skull je are nearly all short poems. Even when the language seems dull or downlight vague, as in This is a Photograph of
Me, its opacity transmits significance. For example, a series of imprecise expressions establishes the incentive for the
reader to discard disbelief: the sound of sincerity. The voice of the poem understands our initial failure to perceive,
smpathizes with our inability to get he picture directly and guides us gently through the mist: some time ago, at
first, "seems to be," "smeared," "blurred lines," "grey flecks," "blended," "a thing that is like;" "part of," "what ought to
be," "It is difficult to say," "where precisely," "how large or small," "distortion," "eventually." That is a long list of
ambiguities, but as we "scan" the poem more carefully, another list emerges: a sequence of confident assertions, beginning with the title and concluding with "you will be able to see me."
Q. 4. What are the issues and concerns that the Canadian novel deals with?
Ans. The dim beginnings of literature in many a nation are concerned with wanderings, quests, and pilgrimages of
every sort. The literature of Canadian travel and exploration is rich in romance, but it rarely achieves literary excellence;
being chiefly the work of adventurers from the British Isles, and elsewhere, it cannot always be described as Canadian.
The total effect of these journals has not, however, been without literary significance. The old days were rich in character
if not in literary finish, and these robust personalities have leavened in a strange manner the history and romance, the
poetry and art of our day. Five years after Champlain founded Quebec, Captain Button spent the winter at the mouth of
the Nelson river, in Hudson bay . The names of hardy mariners, Hudson, Frobisher, Davis, Button, Fox, James, Baffin and
many more, are bestowed upon bays, straits, islands and rivers in the north and west. Radisson and Groseilliers (1668)

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made a journey which resulted in the founding of the Hudson Bay Company (1670). The remarkable series of journals
begins with that of Henry Kelsey, the boy adventurer, who set out, in 1690, from Fort Nelson. His narrative was printed in
the Hudson's Bay Report of 1749. Then followed Alexander Mackenzie, who apologized for the lack of style in his work,
but who reached both the Arctic and the Pacific, in 1789 and 1793. The journal of Alexander Henry the elder, published
in New York, was a work of shrewd observation, combining interest and charm. Samuel Hearne kept a journal which had
much of his own vigour and dash. Its style was autobiographical, a method adopted by his successors, and it had the added
zest of a virile defence of the Hudson's Bay Company. This, together with his valuable data, and the thrill of many
exploits, made the work a kind of best seller, passing through many English and foreign editions. Alexander Henry the
younger, David Thompson, George Heriot, Cook, Vancouver, Franklin, these and many others have left their journals,
some important and some of no value. Special mention must be made of Daniel W. Harmon, whose record of nearly two
decades among the trading-posts on the prairies is a valuable document in social history. Paul Kane's Wanderings of an
artist among the Indians of North America (1859), and George Catlin's The North American Indians (2 vols. 1832-9) are
chronological records of first-rate importance. Alexander Ross began a new era in frontier history. He wrote entertainingly, mingling plain fact and adventure in a curious jumble, yet in a style convincing and effective. From these we pass
to a much later period and to another manner. J. W. Tyrrell, Henry Youle Hind, Sir W. F. Butler, Stefansson, these and
others recorded their travels and discoveries with increasing skill. On the other hand, a new group of writers explored
pioneer social life. In eastern Canada the Diary of Mrs. Simcoe left a memorable record of frontier days in Ontario. John
Howison visited Canada in 1819-20, and was followed by Anna Jameson, who spent the year 1837-38 in Upper Canada.
Sir R. H. Bonnycastle lived in Upper Canada for some years and was an officer in the Rebellion. His two books are still
useful. The list might be continued at a great length; but two books deserve perhaps special mention, Ocean to ocean by
George Munro Grant, and The search for the western sea by Lawrence J. Burpee. Grant drew a vivid picture of Canada's
great inheritance, and Burpee traced is multiplying quests for the Pacific by land and sea.
Following the conquest, New England settlers, chiefly Puritan, immigrated in increasing numbers to Nova Scotia.
Their social customs and political views were both native to their vigorous Congregationalism. School and church kept
the faith vigorous; it coloured the institutions of the province, and inspired such literature as there was long after the great
Loyalist influx. When John Howe emigrated from Boston, in 1776, taking with him the News Letter (re-established in
Halifax under the name the Halifax Gazette, he founded the oldest newspaper in America, and also paved the way for a
native literature. It was the Novascotian, founded in 1824, in which his son really established a native literary tradition,
aiding it still further by the founding of the Acadian Magazine, in which his "Melville Island" shared honours with Oliver
Goldsmith's The rising village. It was in such periodicals as these, and the Quebec Magazine (1791-94), the Literary
Garland (1838-51) and others that the first tentative literary efforts of Canada found their audience. The Maritimes were
constantly stirred by sectarian and political controversy. The pamphleteers among the Puritan clergy, and the robust
lyrical patriotism and satirical outpourings of the Loyalists, were characteristic of all similar propaganda, and their work
can scarcely be called literature. Many of the Congregational clergy were trained in Harvard and elsewhere, and among
the laity there were members of distinguished New England families, their social and intellectual training likewise
impeccable. The Loyalist influx was rich in intellectual endowment, and the times encouraged clear-cut views on most
issues. The issues at stake apparently called for forceful argument, at times bordering on invective, rather than the urbane,
leisurely composition which one usually associates with art. On the whole the literature of the period was derivative,
imitative, and inconsequential. Had the individualism of the Rev. Henry Alline found an echo in the imaginative writers,
a national literature would have been born a century sooner that it actually was. Had Jacob Bailey found a cure for his
nostalgia for the Old Colonies, or had Jonathan Odell loved Tory England not less but Canada more, both autobiography
and poetry would have benefited. As it was, sectarianism founded three colleges, while patriotism worked out a constitution,
established a militia, built towns, tilled the soil, launched ships, set up shop, and held its head high. Such literature as was
required existed in the English classics; if one wished to try one's hand, there was Pope and Dryden, Goldsmith and
Byron, Addison and Steele worthy of emulation, both as to thought and style.
The early Puritans, and later the Loyalists, however, came to establish homes and mend their fortunes. Largely from
the New England states, English political, religious, social, and artistic customs and traditions, modified and individualized,
came with them. The Revolution turned their gaze temporarily toward Great Britain, but they has been born in America ,
and their roots were in the soil of the New World. Judges, statesmen, preachers, teachers, farmers, and artisans were
compelled to leave literature and art, those golden fruits of leisure, to another generation. With few exceptions in all the
Canada's, books were written by transients. It is the fashion to speak of Anna Jameson's Winter studies and summer
rambles, Mrs. Frances Brooke's The history of Emily Montague, and similar works, as Canadian "classics". They are

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interesting as frontier chronicles, travel diaries, or settlement sketches, but certainly they are not Canadian: Oliver
Goldsmith's The rising village (1825, 1836) has the distinction of being the first book of verse of a Canadian by birth to
be published in Canada, and he shares honours with Thomas Chandler Haliburton in being the first to have a book
published both in Great Britain and Canada. Goldsmith left no follower, although at the time he was popular. His influence
on Canadian literature has been nil. The same can be said for Charles Heavysege, sometimes spoken of as the first
Canadian dramatist. The author of Saul (1859), a drama, Jeptha's daughter (1865), and other works in prose and verse,
went to the Bible for his ideas, and to Shakespeare and Milton for his style. Even the praise of Hawthorne and Longfellow
have not preserved him from oblivion, which, Jeptha's daughter excluded, he no doubt merits. What is true of Heavysege
is also true of a long line of migr poets, both Irish and Scots-Evan McColl, Alexander McLachlan, the "Canadian
Burns", Nicholas Flood Davin, Thomas D'Arcy McGee, and many more. Only a lyric here and there survives in anthologies,
of all those scores of books. The fact remains that national boundaries had been set, and that common dangers had
decided the matter of separate national existence. Native sons were shortly to appear, heirs of great sacrifices and hardship,
and of noble traditions as well, possessed of a passionate love for their country, and with leisure to paint and write of what
they saw and felt. If James McCarrol survives in only two poems, they are "Canadian". If McGee is forgotten save for
"Jaques Cartier", that will be remembered. Hints were not few that a national self-conscious literature was in the making.
The form was borrowed from the masters, but the soul was increasingly Canadian.
The Canadian school was ushered in with the Group of the Sixties. Within two or three years of each other there were
born those who firmly established Canadian literature and rose to eminence in its various branches. Each, however,
worked in a field prepared for him by his predecessors. Roughing it in the bush by Mrs. Moodie, by a strange freak of
fortune elevated to a "classic", is a forerunner of our present-day frontier novels and plays. The historical romances of
Kirby and Parker are indebted to Mrs. Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon, one of the able contributors, along with Charles
Heavysege, the Strickland sisters and others, to the Literary Garland. Her last and best novel Antoinette de Mirecourt: or
Secret marrying and secret sorrowing; a Canadian tale (1864), a sequel to The manor house of de Villerai, successfully
explored the romance, manners, and customs of the old rgime. Hollowing this success, and perhaps influenced by it,
appeared William Kirby, whose novel The golden dog (1877) immediately took first place as a Canadian novel, a place
which has not been seriously challenged up to the present. Kirby found his first impulse in the historic sites of Quebec
itself, and the two stories woven into his romance are derived from the Maple leaves of Sir James M. Le Moine. It is a
sympathetic story, rich in characterization, and of literary worth. Anachronisms and historical blunders do not seriously
impair the excellence of this book. Kirby and his most competent successors have worked in the field of historical
romance.
Frances Brooke, wife of the garrison chaplain at Quebec, friend of Dr. Johnson,. Garrick, and other notables, has left,
in the history of Emily Montague, the best series of vignettes of social life in Quebec just subsequent to the conquest
which we possess. This novel is modelled on Samuel Richardson's Pamela, and is therefore true to the early imitation by
all Canadian writers of Old Country models. It was the first novel written in Canada, but cannot be called a Canadian
work. Passing over St. Ursula's convent, or the nun of Canada (1824), by Julia Catherine Beckwith, the first novel by a
birthright Canadian, and of no literary value, we come to Major John Richardson. It is interesting to note that the year of
his birth coincides with that of Haliburton and Mrs. Beckwith. As the author of The War of 1812, he became the first
scientific historian of Canada, and his novel of the Pontiac conspiracy, Wacousta, or the Prophecy (1832), entitles him to
the distinction of being the father of Canadian fiction. It is reminiscent of Cooper's Leather stocking tales. Much of it is
incoherent, melodramatic, and improbable, but it may still be read with enjoyment. The materials which he built into his
novels, histories, and memoirs were gathered at first hand.
Q. 5. Write a detailed note on the imagery present in the novel Surfacing.
Ans. Language, its use and disuse, its secrets and means of deception, are central themes in Margaret Atwood's
Surfacing. Atwood creates an ironically (and intentionally) nameless heroine on a tormented and exhausting journey of
self-discovery in a tale of lies and half-truths, essentially a Canadian Holden Caulfield.
Atwood, a Canadian by birth, uses her own personal experiences growing up in a linguistically split country as the
groundwork for Surfacing. Atwood uses flashbacks to build the narrator's past, a past so traumatic to the narrator's mind that
she can only think of it in fleeing moments, never truly grasping the meaning of everything until the end, until she finds her
true self underneath a web of lies and painful truths. Her unusual and non-conformist childhood culminates into a period of
extreme delusion, where the narrator retreats into herself as a means of coping with everything around her. She abandons all
societal standards, lives briefly as a simple product of nature, neither human nor animal, just a tortured soul encased in
human flesh. Through this delusion she reaches ultimate realization of self and her effect on the lives of others, which makes

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her journey more successful and beneficial than she ever expected. What began as a search for her supposedly dead father
ends as a search for the meaning of her own life and the lives of the people around her, when she finally realizes that pain is
as much a part of life as joy that it exists everywhere, even in nature, the one thing she always thought of as perfection.
The narrator's parents are by far the most influential people in her life, which she shows throughout the novel
through a sort of detached respect. She resents her father for making her family grow up different than others, living on a
remote island hours away from civilization, not conforming to the town's social or religious standards. The hypocrisy
enters when she unknowingly conforms to her father's ideals, fueled mainly by a futile church trip, to which her father was
opposed. She goes with a local family that took a "pursed mouth missionary interest" in her, and enters a small "United
church" that "smelled of face powder and damp wool trousers". She recalls that the Sunday school teacher "told us a lot
about her admirers and their cars", and then "gave out pictures of Jesus, who didn't have thorns and ribs but was alive and
draped in a bedsheet, tired-looking, surely incapable of miracles". Experiences like these become her proof of human
deceit; proof that words cannot be trusted.
She seems to idolize her mother, view her as something better than simply human, a god perhaps, she even says that
"I was disappointed in her when she died" . Her mother is portrayed as peaceful, quiet, and submissive yet strong. The
narrator seems to think that her mother deserved more than what life gave her, that she was better than her surroundings.
She recounts how her mother interacted with Paul's French speaking wife, Madame, desperately trying to converse
through the language barrier (her mother spoke English only), remaining polite and smiling the whole time, "a domesticated
version of English-French non-communication". Everything that is mentioned of her mother involves an absence of
speech, even going as far as to insinuate that the birds around their home understood her mother the most, or perhaps the
other way around.
She visits her mother in the hospital on her death bed and in awful pain, cancer eating-up her brain, with webs of
morphine impairing her vision, animal like with "skin tight over her beak nose, hands on the sheet curled like bird claws
clinging to a perch" . While this image seems unappealing, it is later learned that the narrator has more respect for animals
than humans anyway; the description of her mother actually quite loves indeed. Her mother's lack of sensibility in her last
days does not faze the narrator, she does not even seem to care that her mother may have or may not have recognized her,
all that is important is that her mother understands, which requires nothing but silence between them either way. The
understanding is a feeling, not a word, so words cannot express it. This concept agrees with the view that "Atwood
displays a profound distrust of language as a means of communication between people, proposing, instead, a non-verbal
or meta-language as infinitely superior".
Growing up in a bilingual setting also seems to have affected the narrator's way of thought, making her resentful of
her French speaking countrymen, saying that they all think "les maudits anglais", the cursed English . Just as her father
did not accept the town's religion or ideals, he also rejected their language, choosing to instead stay isolated from them, as
if their foreign tongues spoke poison instead of words. Ironically, the narrator herself seems to have picked up some of the
town's beliefs, she curses the Americans throughout the novel, seeing them as bringers of ruin, a "disease from the South".
Her inability to communicate with the townsfolk while growing up isolates her more, makes her more of an outsider, even
causes her to think that her father's death went uninvestigated at least partially due to their refusal to learn the language,
yet another reason to distrust formal language, it abandons those who do not interest it .
The narrator's marriage and subsequent divorce is probably the last straw, it breaks her spirit, and in a way it ruins her.
Until this point she had clung to the hope of rescue, that someone would come and disprove her father, make her dreams
of human decency a reality. The opposite occurred, her husband only proved her worst fears true. She recalls that at one
time "everything he did was perfect...he said he loved me, the magic word, it was supposed to make everything light up,
I'll never trust that word again". She not only lost trust in that word, but also lost it in all words, and with that she lost trust
in all those who speak words. Feelings become actions instead of words, things that are tangible, not just sounds that
leave as quickly as or quicker than they come. This seems hypocritical of a woman who has admittedly abandoned her
only child, proclaiming that it was never hers anyway, that she was just an "incubator", which the child belonged to her
husband only. Her logic is faulty, if her actions were the expressions of her feelings, then it would seem that she cared
nothing for the child, but she regrets leaving it, she silently begs its forgiveness all the time. No matter how far she ran,
how much she avoided it, she was still the child's mother, still responsible, there is no other way.
It is no surprise that as the narrator ages she too begins to deny her interest in societal expectations, becoming, as her
so-called friend Anna noted, "Inhuman". It is not so much that she abandons humanity; it is more that she embraces what
she sees as pure, and humanity is anything but pure. She is truly disgusted by the deceptive, manipulative nature of
humans, so she clings to what cannot lie, what is unable to deceive. All she desires is escape, a recurrent theme in

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Atwood's works; it is the main desire of the narrator of The Handmaid's Tale as well. Other authors employ this theme too,
it is central to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, and it rides along with the theme of protection of the innocent. To
Caufield its protection of children, to the narrator of Surfacing, it is protection of nature and animals, but it is all protection
of the innocent, of those who cannot protect themselves. The narrator tries to stop thinking like a human altogether, to
forget everything and live day-to-day as animals do. Silence and detachment become her refuge, and at the time Surfacing
takes place, the narrator has respect and admiration only for the things that do no need or use words, speech, or any type
of formal communication.
The narrator's lover, Joe, is also a place of refuge for her. He is quiet, hardly speaks, an artist like her, he expresses
himself without words. Though she remains emotionally void regarding Joe for most of the novel, she introduces him as
"beautiful Joe", not because of his appearance, but because he too shares her silent language, he thinks of himself as
"deposed, unjustly", just as she does herself. Nearly all of their communication is non-verbal, actions instead of words.
She forces herself not to admit love to Joe though, love is a word she does not trust, it has hurt her too badly. Instead she
begins to see Joe as she sees the animals, pure, innocent, a god. She even refers to their unborn child as the "fur god"
during her later period of delusion.
The narrator experiences a period of extreme delusion, or at least what society would call delusion. What she actually
does is retreat inside her, desperate to find out who she actually is. In her mind she is simply a place, a part of everything
around her, a part of the island itself. During this time she constantly personifies the objects around her, the "multilingual
water...the forest leaps upward...a powerboat, attacking". She explores the island naked, untouched by human innovation,
avoiding capture in her mind. Eventually she finds what she was looking for; she sees both of her parents while on the
island alone. They give her the closure she needs, she then knows that they love her; they came back from the dead for her.
Whether or not she really saw them is irrelevant, their simple presence comforts her traumatized soul. Neither of them
speaks, reinforcing the superiority of natural, primitive language over formal, organized speech.
Seeing her parents brought her ultimate realization, "No total salvation, resurrection, our father, our mother, I pray,
Reach down for me, but it won't work: they dwindle, grow, and become what they were, human. Something I never gave
them credit for". She realizes her mistake, that she was too judgemental, that nothing can be perfect. She accepts this and
returns to civilized life, she has finally found her true self. She dresses her naked body, looks at herself one last time in
Anna's make-up mirror, but this time not as some inanimate object, but as a real person, a whole person, imperfect, and
impure. She also realizes that the child growing inside her is perfection, not a victim. Her child is not a "fur god", but is a
human, perhaps "the first true human". It is never known if she goes with Joe when he comes back for her, it is not
important. She received exactly what she went there for, to "give up the old belief that I am powerless and because of it
nothing I can do will ever hurt anyone. A lie which was always more disastrous than the truth would have been...withdrawing
is no longer possible and the alternative is death".
The narrator of Margaret Atwood's Surfacing goes on an extensive journey of self-discovery, a primitive search of her
soul disguised as a search for her missing father. Life became more than she could handle, she had to get back to her
origins, to find the signs her parents left for her. Communication in Surfacing is stifled, non-verbal, and complex. Her
family, her country, her relationships, they all have affected her by turning her from modernity, from civilization. The end
of her journey reveals that pain exists everywhere, even in nature, which she had viewed as perfection. She realizes that
there is no perfection, if there were there would be no need to live, it would all be pointless.
In Surfacing, a novel by Margaret Atwood, the narrator undertakes three basic journeys: a physical quest to search for
her lost father, a biographical journey into her past, and most importantly a psychological journey. The psychological
journey allows the narrator to reconcile her past and ultimately leads to the conclusion of the physical journey. In this
psychological voyage into her innerself, the narrator, while travelling from cognizant rational reasoning to subconscious
dissociated reality progresses through three stages.
In the first stage, the narrator is in touch with reality; she lives and exists in a state of mind known in Freudian
psychology as the Ego. The Ego is defined as "the element of being that consciously and continuously enables an individual
to think, feel and act.". The ego is based on a reality principle, in which, a person reacts in "realistic ways that will bring
long term pleasure rather than pain or destruction".
Paul's wooden barometer, which features a wooden man and woman inside, becomes an unfortunately accurate
emblem of marriage for the narrator. The narrator's shifting assessment of the barometer traces her shifting attitudes
toward marriage. Initially, the narrator views the barometer couple as representative of a simplistic and even empty
marriage, and she compares them to Paul and Madame.
The hanged heron at the portage represents the American destruction of nature. The narrator obsesses over the

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senselessness of its slaughter, especially that it was hanged and not buried. The heron's death emphasizes that the narrator
defines someone as American based on his or her actions. She condemns any act of senseless violence or waste as
distinctly American.
Makeup goes completely against the narrator's ideal of a natural woman. Anna's makeup, which David demands she
wear at all times, represents the large-scale subjugation of women. The narrator compares Anna to a doll when she sees
her putting on makeup, because Anna becomes David's sexual plaything. At the same time, makeup represents female
deception.
The narrator's ring symbolizes marriage and its entrapping effects. The narrator describes wearing both her boyfriend's
and her fake husband's rings around her neck. She compares her rings to a crucifix or a military decoration. The crucifix
suggests that marriage is not only a sacrifice but a sacrifice toward a false ideal.
Q. 6. Gabrielle Roy can be seen as a realist and naturalist. Discuss her narrative technique with reference to
her novel The Tin Flute.
Ans. Roy, Gabrielle (1909-83). Canadian novelist, whose first work, Bonheur d'occasion (1945), is a classic of social
realism and a landmark in Quebec literature. Breaking with the tradition of the rural novel, it depicted the poverty and
social deprivation of the francophone working class of Montreal, at the time of World War II, with a pathos that is typical
of her work and with a breadth of vision that she never again equalled. Apart from Alexandre Chnevert (1954), in which
the theme of urban alienation is articulated through the figure of a lonely bank-clerk, and La Montagne secrte (1961), a
somewhat laboured allegory of a painter in quest of his ideal, her subsequent works are slighter in scope and more
personal in tone. Many of them are fictional sketches or semi-autobiographical short stories set in her native Manitoban
prairies: La Petite Poule d'eau (1950), Rue Deschambault (1955), La Route d'Altamont (1966), Un jardin au bout du
monde (1975), Ces enfants de ma vie (1977). Whether there or in other pastoral settings, like the Arctic north (La Rivire
sans repos, 1970) or the Quebec countryside (Cet t qui chantait, 1972), they tend to concern sensitive characters in a
quest for self-fulfilment and human understanding that is often ephemeral. The prevailing mood of her later work is one
of compassion and sadness, quiet humour and precarious happiness-polarities that are reflected in the title of her posthumous autobiography, La Dtresse et l'enchantement (1984).
The Tin Flute, Gabrielle Roy's first novel, is a classic of Canadian fiction. Imbued with Roy's unique brand of
compassion and compelling understanding, this moving story focuses on a family in the Saint-Henri slums of Montreal,
its struggles to overcome poverty and ignorance, and its search for love.
The story takes place in Montreal, principally in the poor neighbourhood (at that time) of Saint-Henri, between
February 1940 and May 1940, during the Second World War, when Quebec is still suffering from the Great Depression.
Florentine Lacasse, a young waitress at the "Five and Ten" restaurant who dreams of a better life and is helping her
parents get by, falls in love with Jean Lvesque, an ambitious machinist-electrician. Wanting to satisfy his withered ego,
he agrees to date Florentine. Quickly tiring of the relationship, Jean introduces her to a friend, Emmanuel Ltourneau,
who is a soldier on leave. Emmanuel falls in love with Florentine. Despite this, Florentine's attraction towards Jean will
have important consequences in her life. A parallel thread in the novel is the Lacasse family life, made difficult by their
poverty. The novel divides itself into two parts- first in which the presence of Jean Levesque can be seen mostly. And in
the second Rose-Anna, Florentine and Emmanuel figure more. The threefold level of the story individual, social and
global is quite visible.
Focusing on the diversity, modernity, and complexity of this large urban centre, Roy's series also does not overlook
the misery of the urban poor whose lives were anything but meliorated by economic and industrial "progress." This very
notion, of course, is central to Gabrielle Roy's first novel, Bonheur d'occasion (1945).
An interesting aspect of the novel is the stark contrast in how Florentine Lacasse and her mother Rose-Anna Lacasse
perceive landscape. Florentine, after she is jilted by Jean Levesque and before she connects with Emmanuel Letourneau's
money, remains detached from the landscape. While walking with Florentine, Emmanuel notes, "...she had no interest in
the landscape and didn't even see any part of it, missing the unusually clear sky, the movement of the ships and sailboats
on the river...". Rose-Anna, on the other hand, is obsessed with the landscapes of her less-burdened past. Roy writes, "For
moments at a time she escaped into the past, to scattered memories. She was drifting like a rudderless boat through past
years, seeing the landscape as it retreated swiftly..." . With changes in their economic stature come changes in their
perceptions of place.
Azarius, as the father, is the one person expected to support and protects the family. Unlike Azarius and Florentine
who seek escape from adversity through plans devised in dreams, Rose-Anna is much more practical in her dealing with
poverty. Rose-Anna on the other hand was already coping with poverty, and it took the trip to the maple sugar farm for her

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to realize that something she thought she had left behind was with her all the time. Like her father's many plans Florentine's
plan also ends in failure.
Perhaps one of the most remarkable characters in the novel is Emmanuel Letourneau. Although he is naive regarding
the scheming Florentine, he becomes a voice of realization as he thinks deeply about being "alone in the universe, on the
edge of the abyss, holding in his hands the most fragile, tenuous of threads, that of the eternal human enigma" . He serves
as a bit of an isolated character as he journeys toward self-discovery. Particularly, he maintains a measure of distance from
the men around him during political discussions and ponders the reasons men like himself volunteer to fight in the war.
Rather than be persuaded by popular opinion, he makes his own determinations.
When faced with adversity most people will do everything in their power to cope with it. If it is a persistent state of
existence the natural thing to do is try and break free of what is causing the hardship. Unfortunately, there are times when
no amount of effort will allow an escape from the hardships thrust upon us, and the best we can do is cope. In Gabrielle
Roy's The Tin Flute extreme poverty is the hardship that must be broken free of. However, unlike stories where the human
spirit overcomes life's obstacles, Roy's central characters, the Lacasse family, are continually thwarted in their attempts to
break free of the poverty that surrounds them. It would seem that Roy is trying to convey the message that that there are
times when despite what we may believe there are obstacles in our life that cannot be defeated or broken free of. Sometimes
the best we can hope for is to simply survive. For the Lacasse family this is something they must learn. The family is led
by three of its members: Azarius, the father, who holds his position as head of the household by virtue of the fact that he
is male, Florentine, the eldest daughter, who is the only secure source of income the family.
Realism was a prominent trend of writing in Quebec from 1940 onwards. The chief example of it is The Tin Flute.
Roy's The Tin Flute drew its sustenance from the Depression; from the desire of youth to break out of a claustrophobic
trap and from the tensions between socio-physical topographical entities.
Naturalism's exclusion of God necessitates moral relativism. Naturalism faces some significant hurdles.
Naturalism has a major "Achilles' Heel" the origin of life. Life only comes from life. Life is incredibly complex. The
Stanley Miller "Spark and Soup" experiments are the closest man has ever come to creating life from inorganic matter
"naturally by random chance" in the laboratory. However, there are three significant problems with Miller's experiments.
Miller assumed a reducing atmosphere: Methane, Ammonia, and Hydrogen. He purposefully excluded Oxygen, because
as a biochemist, Miller knew that Oxygen would destroy any amino acids (the building blocks of life) that might be
produced. Oxygen precludes any naturalistic evolutionary origin of life.
Second, Miller used the wrong conditions. The experiment was supposed to demonstrate how life could evolve from
inorganic matter naturally by random chance. Miller used an electric spark to simulate lightning flashing upon the ancient earth.
Third, Miller got the wrong results. Dr. Mark Eastman comments on the results of Miller's "Spark and Soup" experiment,
"The major products of the experiment (tar and carboxylic acids) are poisonous to living systems. Miller did not create
life -- he created poison -- wrong results.
Naturalism has another problem. Even if scientists were to discover a method by which amino acid building blocks
could be produced by random chemical processes, could life itself evolve randomly from inorganic matter?
Realism in art and literature may be described as an attempt to describe human behaviour and surroundings or to
represent figures and objects exactly as they act or appear in life. Attempts at realism have been made periodically
throughout history in all the arts; the term is, however, generally restricted to a movement that began in the mid-19th
century, in reaction to the highly subjective approach of Romanticism. The difference between realism and naturalism is
harder to define, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. The distinction lies in the fact that realism is concerned
directly with what is absorbed by the senses; naturalism, a term more properly applied to literature, attempts to apply
scientific theories to art.
Naturalism and Realism, terms which the Impressionists used interchangeably. However, there is a long philosophical
tradition, Platonic and then German, which wants to distinguish between Appearances (which may be misleading) and
Essences (which, as it were, cannot be misleading). This philosophical tradition has been annexed by literary critics,
notably Gyorgy Lukacs, and converted into a distinction between Naturalism and Realism in art, especially in the novel.
So it is said that Balzac and Thomas Mann are Realist novelists, and Zola a Naturalist. It might also be said that the
Impressionists are Naturalists, whereas Cezanne (and pre-Impressionists like Millet and Courbet) are Realists (of rather
different kinds).
The Naturalist is impressed by, and pays attention to, the surface of things whether it be the play of light on water or
the effects of poverty on the daily detail of life. The Realist is, in effect, a scientist who probes beneath appearances in
search of essences the causes of things, the heart of the matter. Between 1930 and the 1950s a great deal of ink was

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expended in leftwing debates on who was and who was not a Realist, and whether Modernist practices were compatible
with Realism. Realism was taken to be a good thing, since it made Art and Science both part of a joint enterprise for the
advancement of human understanding. These debates can be followed in Lukacs' books and in the collection, Aesthetics
and Politics. Often overlooked was the simple point that someone might be or try to be a Realist but get things wrong. And
is it better to have tried to be a Realist than never tried at all - see below on Surrealism.
Q. 7. What are the thematic strands present in the novel The English Patient?
Ans. The English Patient is centred around the events of World War II, but markedly absent from its narrative is any
mention - save the bombing of Hiroshima, which has great personal significance to the character Kip of any of the major
action or history of the war itself. Rather, it focuses on the personal experiences of war of the four main characters and, in
doing so, portrays war as an endeavour that results not in glory, but destruction and, ultimately, betrayal to those who take
part. Hana's letter to her stepmother Clara at the end of the novel most clearly states the betrayal of the war towards those
who joined its efforts; Clara was the only one of Hana's family not to join the war effort, and Hana asks of her, "How you
were not fooled like us?" What Hana and the others were "fooled" by was the sense of honor and duty that drove each
of them to join the war effort. Hana, Kip and Caravaggio have all voluntarily left their own countries to join the Allied
forces in Europe, but the novel focuses on what the war took from these characters: Caravaggio is horribly maimed; Hana
loses her father, her lover, and her child; Kip, who joined the British army out of a sense of loyalty to England and the
West, not only loses his best friends in a bomb disposal, but in the end is betrayed by the West by the bombing of
Hiroshima, which he views as an act of blatant racism. The patient himself, who wanted nothing to do with the war, is
unable to save Katharine as a direct result of the conflict and is forced to take sides; he also loses his best friend, Madox,
who commits suicide as a direct result of the war. None of the characters exit the war with a sense of honour or glory; as
Caravaggio notes angrily, "The armies indoctrinate you and leave you here and they far off somewhere else to cause
trouble, inky-dinky parlez-vous."
Nationhood and Identity
The patient says to Hana that the idea of nations is one that deforms people. The novel The English Patient explores
the attempt of the characters to transcend the constrictions of nationhood, and their helplessness and inability to do so
because of the greater power of politics, government, and the war that surrounds them.
In the desert, the patient and his international band of friends had no need or desire to label themselves according to
their nationality; being in the desert removed, at that time, from the politics of Europe they were able to forego their
labels of nationhood. However, the war brought the politics of Europe to the desert; it forced the disbandment of the
Geographical Society and therefore, symbolically, put an end to the patient's dream of transcending nationhood. The
patient's best friend, Madox, shoots himself rather than be forced to ally himself with Britain against other men simply
because of their nationality. Most tragic of all is the very fact that it is the patient's name, and the nationhood it implied,
that kept the patient from saving Katharine's life. The English soldiers stationed outside the desert took him prisoner
rather than help him rescue Katharine, simply because his Hungarian name denoted an association albeit nonexistent
with their enemy. In the end, the patient is only able to shed his identity through the literal loss of his face, as he is severely
burned beyond recognition.
Kip, too, attempts to transcend the constrictions of nationality by attempting to straddle both his Sikh culture and the
Christian British culture; his attempt at assimilation into British culture is especially symbolized in his adoption of the
nickname given him by the British soldiers throughout the book, he is known as "Kip" rather than "Kirpal Singh." For
Kip, however, transcendence is even more impossible because of his Asiatic race: he, a member of the British army's elite
sapper unit, is indelibly marked as Indian by the very colour of his skin, the "brownness" of which is evoked repeatedly
throughout the novel. Even in the heat of dismantling a bomb, he is still conscious of the brownness of his skin and,
therefore, his status as an outsider. Kip originally joins the British army with the conviction that he can transcend the
superior racism of the British, and therefore gain acceptance, simply by ignoring the laws, written and unwritten, that
impinge upon his personal freedom.
Q. 8. Do you agree that immigrants face the dilemma of acceptance and assimilation by their host country?
Base your answer on your reading of the two stories Swimming Lessons and The Door I Shut Behind Me.
Ans. "Swimming Lessons" is about living together without knowing each other. The identity becomes fluid in this
story. 'The door I shut behind' is a myth about the king Trishanku who wishes to go to heaven with his body and performed
many 'tapasya' to fulfil his wish and gets the boon that he will be able to do so. While on the way to heaven god stopped
him in the midst and said he cannot go with his body so he remains in the midst neither on the earth nor on the heaven. The
writer compares the condition of immigrants with that of the king.
Trishanku reflects Parameswaran observations and experiences. It shows different types of response to moving from

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one environment to another. As an academic working on Diasporic experience, she noted that there are different stages
that we, as individuals and as a community, go through: from nostalgia for the old country mingled with wonder at the
new environment, on to a phase when our main social interaction is with our own South-Asian fellow immigrants, to a
phase when we move into the larger Canadian community and take our place in the social and political structures of our
adopted country. However, Trishanku speaks more of the first three phases than of the last phase.
Mistry's work also addresses immigration, especially immigration to Canada, and the difficulty immigrant's face in a
society that recognizes their cultural differences and yet cannot embrace those differences as being part of itself. The story
deals with adaptability in new atmosphere of Canada for the migrants. The story is written in the form of first person
narrative. Mistry has united two traditions in the short story: the conservative, semi- autobiographical mode.
An important feature of the story is that it's setting moves with the narrator from Bombay to Toronto and allows
Mistry to draw deft parallels between the lives of the residents of apartment complexes in both of these crowded, multicultural
urban settings. ''Swimming Lessons'' shifts the focus to issues of the loneliness, racism, and cultural adjustment of Mistry's
Indian immigrant protagonist. The characters of ''Swimming Lessons'' in the end seem almost comfortably similar to their
Indian counterparts in their sad, petty, and often humorous attempts to find dignity and human connection in the isolating
circumstances of modern urban apartment living.
People in the gathering belong to the all parts of the India but preferred to speak English as their children want them
to speak so in front of their friends. Chander took out his visa and thought, is this the "passport to lifelong luxury [or] the
devils bait to lifelong exile".
Both the stories project a "Trishanku" like existence for the immigrants, they neither belong to their native country
nor to the country they migrated. They swing between acceptance and rejection.
Q. 9. The Ecstasy of Rita Joe portrays the indifference and hostility of Canadian Whites towards Native
Canadians do you agree? Give reasons for your answer.
Ans. The story is told in songs, montages and tableaus. While the causes of the plight of Aboriginal people are not
shown in sharp relief, it is clear that the violence of white culture and the patriarchy of Native culture are at the root of the
problem.
The theme of The Ecstasy of Rita Joe is exploitation of Indian woman at the hands of white Canadian. The Magistrate
is the representative of the attitude of whites. He refuses to listen to the grievances of Rita. He is aware of the cruelty and
injustice meted out to them but stressed on the dogmatic laws.
The Magistrate, the teacher and Mr. Homer collectively calls her a prostitute, a degraded person, a thief etc. The
helplessness of native Indians can be seen in the play and the 'dead end' nature of their life in general are also part of the
thematic thrust of The Ecstasy of Rita Joe.
Jaimie Paul loves Rita but was not able to cope up in the urban area. He stands against the system but is ultimately
crushed. He exposes hypocrites like Mr. Homer just as Rita renders the priest impotent. The singer functions as a chorus.
She also serves as an alter ego to Rita Joe.
The Magistrate swears by the law but cannot see Rita's bad state of condition. The rural past (pastoral) in Rita's
memory is beyond retrieval. The present urbane scenario holds only misery and degradation. Rita and Jaimie dream to
have children in city which is in stark comparison to Clora Hill who has to give away her children. The white thugs who
rape Rita and throw Jaimie in front of the train appear as the darker side of humanity. The Ecstasy of Rita Joe is a series
of scenes linked by Rita's memory and associations; their causal relations become clear only through repetition. This
cause and effect is well illustrated by a particular scene set: Rita Joe admits to stealing a sweater in court. Later, at a
clothing drive arranged by Mr. Homer, Jaimie Paul explicitly forbids Rita Joe from taking a red sweater she is admiring.
This cause and effect relationship gives credence to Rita Joe's actions, as we are shown very simply how and why these
things happen. Her eventual rape and murder is foreshadowed throughout the play, as 'the murderers' are written several
times into the background scenes of the play; they act as unknown menacing objects at times that Rita shows vulnerability.
Rita Joe is a young First Nations woman who left the reservation for some semblance of modern life in the city. She's
been arrested for vagrancy and prostitution - charges she doesn't understand and is plagued on all sides by a foreign
religion, government, and haunting memories of a childhood divided between a humiliating residential school and the
natural harmony of home with her sister and father. Her boyfriend, Jaimie Paul (Kevin Loring), promises a life of autonomy
and plenty, but their dreams are continually dashed by a system trying to sweep the "Aboriginal problem" under the tightly
woven rug. It's a simple story, and sometimes the plot seems to be more of a vehicle for Ryga's views on the treatment of
Aboriginals in Canada. The story is told in songs, montages and tableaus. While the causes of the plight of Aboriginal
people are not shown in sharp relief, it is clear that the violence of white culture and the patriarchy of Native culture are

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at the root of the problem.


All sharp, skinny angles and tiny pigeon-toed feet, Ravensbergen inhabits Rita Joe her distinctive accent, her manic
poles of emotion and energy, her paralyzing frustrations creating a character into whom the actress completely disappears.
Hers is undoubtedly one of the best performances of this theatre season. She's supported by a strong ensemble, including
Cancer Man himself and Loring, whose Jaimie Paul slips effortlessly between jubilant optimism and uncontrollable fury.
Rita's problem is that she can't and won't be saved. She is unable to take crucial decisions or we can say that she is
prevented from doing so by the system and her own mental make-up. There are hypocrites like Mr. Homer. The conversation
between Jamie and Mr. Homer is the theme of the play.
Q. 10. Write note on Smaro Kamboureli as a critic.
Ans. Smaro Kamboureli is the critic who is also seen as the guardian of feminist concerns in Canada and a remarkable theorizer of 'otherness' of various kinds. Her range and versatility are really exemplary.
Smaro Kamboureli is a Professor of English at the University of Guelph, and holds a Tier I Canada Research Chair in
Critical Studies in Canadian Literature. She is the director of the new TransCanada Institute at the University of Guelph
and Co-organizer of the conference TransCanada Two: Literature, Institutions, and Citizenship.
Kamboureli should definitely be praised for her ambitious contextualization of Canadian literature in terms of
theoretically post-structuralist, genre-oriented, national, and (to some degree) historical interests. Hers is a book for
which - to borrow Kamboureli's paradoxical style the claim of success would be an admission of failure, an
acknowledgement of the acceptance of easy answers and pat formulae, as well as of the proposition that the energies of
the long poem's textuality can be mastered, contained and explained by the critic.
Smaro Kamboureli in her article, "Theory: Beauty or Beast? Resistance to Theory in the Feminine," (l990) explores
the debate over the role of theory among women writers in Canada. Beginning with Paul de Man's seminal The Resistance
to Theory, Kamboureli suggests that part of writers' reluctance to embrace theory is that it is difficult to define and to
control the different ways in which it manipulates the meanings of a given text. For some this slippage in meaning is a
positive quality, which allows us to re-evaluate many texts both canonical and marginal. Kamboureli argues that "one of
the primary goals of women writers interested in theory is their desire to position themselves as subjects of discourse,
hence the readiness with which they question the very theories they practise. Indeed, the fact that they find suspect any
appropriating tendencies that might be inherent in the ideology of a given theory is one of the main characteristics of their
attitude towards theory, whether feminist or not.

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