It is necessary to recognize Lampman's humanitarianism in order to appreciate the ironies in some of his poems, such as "Among the Millet," "The Frogs," and "Freedom." A careful reading will suggest that he is not a pastoral poet, but, rather, one who tends to lament the absence of pastoral reflection. The "bower of bliss," in fact, is misleading, seducing us out of our vital day-to-day existence. "The world of men" is our proper place, whatever sympathy can be engendered in us by the natural world. Lampman conceived of the poet's vocation as an idealistic and purposeful movement to and from, from and to nature and society.
There has been some contention over whether Duncan Campbell Scott's "Indian Poems" are sympathetic, indifferent, or hostile to native peoples. At the heart of the controversy is the fact of Scott's position as Deputy Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, in which is perspective was clearly and unabashedly assimilationist. However, Lynch contends that the poems are highly sympathetic to the native peoples' plight, particularly the later ones. The sonnet "The Onondaga Madonna" is a poem in which form perfectly matches content; the sonnet form itself is restrictive and "imprisoning," and yet the inexact rhymes suggest a triumph over this imprisonment. "The Forsaken" is strongly suggestive of European "contagion," and there is explicit admiration for the native woman who is the heart of the poem. The influence of native culture on the white settlers is also an important aspect of the poetry.
In David Adams Richards's Blood Ties, the character of Orville is the only hope for the community. He ultimately achieves a balance between male and female, community and isolation, even good and evil. Orville finally triumphs, through a show of moral strength and through the courage to be vulnerable.
In Ernest Buckler's The Mountain and the Valley, there is always a contrast between the community and the isolated individual; as well, there is evident a contrast between what is said and what is meant, between the unspoken and the spoken. There are in effect two languages, that of the rural community and that of the city, and only the character David Canaan has access to both. Yet the overwhelming sense of isolation which pervades the novel has its effect on David; although he is the burgeoning artist, he becomes isolated from art.
C'est au cours d'un séjour en Europe (1937-39) que Gabrielle Roy fait ses débuts en journalisme. Ce sont des reportages qui formeront la pensée sociale et moderne de Roy et qui lui permettront de l'exprimer ultérieurement dans ses romans. Roy a dû voyager afin de découvrir les gens et les régions éloignées du Québec, découvertes qui ont sans doute inspiré son écriture romanesque. Dans ce résumé des reportages, on découvre les sujets et les préoccupations de l'oeuvre journalistique de Gabrielle Roy au Bulletin des Agriculteurs. De plus nous avons droit à une comparaison entre les reportages et les romans Bonheur d'occasion et Rue Deschambault, pour n'en nommer que deux.
There was a great deal of militant literature in the 1960s devoted to secularism and to independence. The 1970s, however, was a time of writerly introversion and isolation. Even from a militant point of view, this can be seen as a progression rather than a regression; the introverted literature of recent years is part of a literary voyage to discover society through the individual.
Malcolm Lowry's October Ferry to Gabriola is about the necessity of finding balance between the past and the present. The unknowable nature of the past, and the way it undergoes metamorphosis in the memory, provides a challenge to discovering this balance. False memory and guilt are parodied by the criminal distortions of the media. There is a purposefully oversimplified contrast between the city and the country that arises as ethical tensions. The antiphonal voices of urban and bucolic externalize opposing aspects of the protagonist's self -- the aspects, that is, of guilt and innocence.
Lowry claimed that Under the Volcano has a political strand: that of the failure of will in western civilization when faced with the rise of Fascism. In this light, Lowry's novel can be compared to Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus. Both works explore the disintegration of a sense of continuity and value in human experience through psychological, mythical, and political aspects.
Thomas McCulloch's The Stepsure Letters belongs to the genre known as "the novel of the land." It has more in common with le roman de la terre in Quebec than with typical Calvinist fiction. In McCulloch's novel, characters and identities are shaped by the land. This is in marked opposition to the fiction of the United States and England. T.C. Haliburton's The Clockmaker is philosophically influenced by The Stepsure Letters. This philosophy is essentially that of the legitimacy, morality, and viability of the land life as opposed to the basic degeneracy of the commercial life.