Northrop Frye pointed out three levels of critical response to literature: the scholar, the academic critic, and the public critic. Knight's article deals primarily with Bowering's essay entitled, "Metaphysic in Time: The Poetry of Lionel Kearns" from Bowering's collection, A Way With Words. Bowering's literary criticism is part of the Black Mountain poetic movement, in which it is believed that the poem is not an autonomous and unified artifact, but is rather part of the flux of the phenomenal world. Because the public critic has no larger system in which to criticise (the Black Mountain movement not being large enough), Bowering is forced to misread poems that do not agree with his system of poetics.
Dans sa critique formaliste du recueil de poèmes Chaleuils de Cécile Cloutier, Amprimoz affirme que, sans avoir recours aux intentions de l'auteure, l'expérience poétique est vécue entre le texte et le lecteur. La poésie de Cloutier est dite restreinte puisqu'elle nie les extrêmes de significations précises ou de significations ambiguës. Dans ces poèmes, il est souvent difficile de passer du signifiant au référent puisque ce dernier ne peut pas toujours être facilement déterminé. D'après Amprimoz, la poésie de Cloutier n'est donc pas écrite pour être comprise mais bien pour être vécue.
David Adams Richards's The Coming of Winter has been seen as a regional realistic novel; however, this is the surface perspective only, one which limits the understanding of the novel's symbolic depths. The three central characters -- Kevin, John, and Pamela -- are symbolic antitheses to one another, with John being the most active and vibrant (albeit misunderstood) of the three. Aging and death are constants in the novel, although Richards modifies this perception significantly in his later works. The Coming of Winter establishes the device of using symbolic dialectics to reflect the thematic implications of the action.
Sara Jeanette Duncan's The Imperialist has as its theme the ambiguity of Canadian identity and…the mixture of excitement and scepticism…with which we viewed our role in the British Empire. The inconsistencies in the narrative raises the question of whether it is flawed or not. The elaborate, careful construction seems to suggest that the narrative uncertainty is a conscious device, employed to parallel the theme of identity and the characters' keenly-felt tenuousness. Duncan is an eloquent and important witness to the ambiguity of our developing national identity of turn-of-the-century Canada.
Robertson Davies has lauded Stephen Leacock as a significant influence. However, Davies also represents Leacock after all as a failure. Davies's dark view of Leacock's fiction may be Davies's own skewed perspective, quite unrelated to what Leacock actually wrote. For Davies's fiction has some telling ambivalences about it -- it is difficult to know whether his Deptford is his own small town Ontario, or merely that of his character, Dunstan Ramsay's.
Adele Wiseman's Crackpot sets out to analyze the relationship between the self and society in terms of the language-learning (and, therefore, the morality-learning) process. The character of Hoda, lacking the usual moral or even social guidance, invents her own morality as dictated by her pleasures and by her environment. Yet it is not simple hedonism that occurs, because her beliefs encompass what she perceives as the relative happiness or unhappiness of others. Hoda's moral education or enlightenment comes as a result of her growing ability to use words properly -- thus conflating the apparently disparate notions of language and morality.
Icons are used to present abstract notions in Gwendolyn MacEwen's The T.E. Lawrence Poems. For example, a stone becomes an icon for concrete reality whose material eludes understanding; clouds are a metamorphosis of water symbolically mediating heaven and earth. There is a powerful process of dialectic in which one extreme leads to another in the poems; this suggests the paradox of transcendence through inverse means that we see repeated throughout the poetry.
Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women does not contain a traditional plot. The ending is, in one sense, arbitrary, as any ending that stops short of the ultimate finality (of a romantic or unrealistic ending) must be. We see in this novel the gritty and specific details of reality as the traditionally pat and satisfying ending does not appear. Thus, Munro's fiction, although grounded in the realistic tradition, does not fit easily into categories or realism or of Romance, although both styles are utilized.