In Julia Beckwith Hart's St. Ursula's Convent, William Kirby's The Golden Dog, and Frances Brooke's Emily Montague, the recurring theme of marriage between French and English characters is in each case a metaphor for the desired unity between the "two solitudes," in which confederation is prefigured. In most of the novels discussed, the glorious (if nostalgic) French and British histories and traditions are united optimistically with a largely hopeful future. This unification of two nations in one land is the distinguishing factor between the whole of nineteenth-century Canadian fiction and its European counterparts.
Margaret Laurence's The Diviners and Alice Munro's "The Turkey Season" and "Epilogue: The Photographer" use photographs to express their somewhat disparate ideas about reality and art. While Laurence is concerned to decipher a pattern over time, Munro is interested in the unresolvable enigmas of each moment. In The Diviners, photographs are arranged and ordered so that meaning becomes narrative; in Munro's stories, by contrast, there are multiple versions of reality to be read from any given photograph, so that meaning is not narrative at all, but rather something that literally occurrs in "flashes." These contradictory perceptions of the photograph's relation to life and to literature perhaps explain why Laurence is chiefly a novelist, while Munro is a short-story writer.
This article is an attempt to redress critics' neglect of the minor characters in Margaret Laurence's novels. The character of Calla in A Jest of God is the only character in the novel who is directly connected with all the major themes. She is, symbolically, the protaganist's (Rachel's) surrogate mother, enlarging on and concretizing the motherhood theme that runs through much of Laurence's work. She survives, even thrives, in the stifling world of Manawaka, providing simultaneously an escape and a sort of revisionist moral barometer for Rachel. Calla is associated through overt symbolism with homosexuality, which suggests further escape from the moral confines of the sexually conservative region.
The character of Paul in Sinclair Ross' As For Me and My House has been dismissed by critics as "pedantic" and "supercilious." However, like Lewis Carroll (whom he cites), he actually has a double identity as scholar/teacher and fool/poet. Paul rejuvenates Mrs. Bentley's capacity for love and for creativity, and so he is the restorer of the Bentleys' crumbling marriage. His presence and his frequent philological games always token a turning point in the narrative, or a crisis in the subtle sensual relationships between the other characters. He is the central agent to both plot and character development.
Ethel Wilson's novels examine time in a way that wavers between the subjective and the objective -- both perspectives are qualified and therefore balanced by the insistent existence of the other. The character Maggie thus seems wholly justified in her actions, even when they are possibly damaging to other characters; the intense -- if not constant -- subjectivity of the narrative allows the careless reader to remain mostly unaware of her potential faults. Yet at other times, the reader shares an awareness with the author that the characters in these novels do not have, that of the mysterious and infinite forces of time. Everything, ultimately, is contingent upon time, so that the characters are innocents, and so the question of will is, thematically, vitally important. Wilson's novels are worlds in which everything happens again, and yet it's never quite the same.
Plusieurs des oeuvres de Jacques Ferron sont constituées d'un collage de fragments. Rassemblés ainsi, ces textes font que l'oeuvre ferronnienne est à la fois fortement éclatée et structurée. Les Roses sauvages démontrent comment l'auteur s'inspire de plusieurs textes qu'il avait auparavant rédigés, reconstitués et souvent réécrits afin de maintenir l'unité significative du recueil. Les inversions et les changements narratifs sont un exemple de la fragmentation du texte de Ferron. Le racontage simultané de plusieurs histoires en est un second exemple, et il forme une intertextualité reliant étroitement les histoires entre elles. Troisièmement, les roses sauvages et la maison en ruines, symboles importants du texte, fonctionnent comme un intertexte central reliant les personnages les uns aux autres. En dernier lieu, Ferron s'inspire de faits historiques et d'auteurs tels que Nathaniel Hawthorne et Louis Hémon, incluant des extraits de leurs écrits, afin de conférer une significance à son propre récit. Donc, les intertextes de Ferron, emboîtant des récits qui répercutent les uns sur les autres et qui démontrent un éclatement fragmentaire du texte, structurent le recueil et le rendent plus cohérent.
Les problèmes ontologiques du postmodernisme se retrouvent de façon importante dans Le Semestre de Gérard Bessette. L'autoréférence du texte, par le biais du jeu onomastique, remet en question les oppositions du genre "vrai" et "non-vrai," "réel" et "non-réel." L'auteur manipule habilement les noms propres de façon à brouiller le monde référentiel et le monde fictionnel. Le but n'est pas ici d'indiquer les minces différences entre la réalité et la fiction, mais bien de souligner l'absence de délimitation possible entre le réel et le fictif, entre le texte et le monde.
Douglas Lochhead laments the lack of attention paid to Maritime writers. He speaks of his work organizing libraries at Cornell, Dalhousie, and York Universities. He had an instrumental part in organizing the League of Canadian Poets, along with Raymond Souster, Al Purdy, and other poets of note. His own poetry is personal and highly condensed, and is influenced more by modernist American poets than by Canadians. He feels that the twentieth century is better interpreted through the long poem than through the short poem.