“Where nests The Water Hen” Part 1, Chapter 1 “The school on the Little Water Hen” by Gabrielle Roy (Written analysis)
Presented by: Jorge Andrés Molano Quintana
Presented to: Prof. Patricia Escalante
Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas
School of Sciences and Education
Literature in English XVI to XIX century
Bogotá – April 2012
The following work is an analysis of the Part 2, Chapter 1 of the novel “Where nests the Water Hen” written by the Canadian novelist Gabrielle Roy. In this chapter it is narrated Luzina’s persistence in having a school on the island and the school after its beginnings. Luzina realizes that her children need an education and that she is not able to give the education they need. Therefore, she writes letters to the provincial government for assistance and requirements for starting a school. She met the requirements for having a proper building, which her husband built, and having six children of school age, the sixth turning six a month after school started. The analysis is based on the theory of David Lodge and his work “The art of fiction”, chapters one, which is about the beginning in novels; chapter six, which is about the writer’s and characters’ point of view and reader’s perspective; and finally chapter twelve, which is called “The sense of place”.
Development of the topics
1. THE BEGINNING:
According to Lodge, a beginning of a novel should “separate the real world we inhabit from the world the novelist has imagined”(page 5) Before we start analyzing this, we need to consider that this is not the beginning of this novel, but it is the beginning of the second part –chapter one- of this novel, called “The school on the little water Hen”. So, we will analyze how Gabrielle Roy introduces us into the sequence of the story and gets reader attention with the story stream. At the moment we start to read the first paragraph of this chapter, we notice, first, that it is narrated as a past event she has already lived; and second, that it is settled in a “set-piece description of a landscape or townscape that is to be the primary setting of the story” (Lodge, page 7). At the beginning, Roy makes a description of the context, in terms of nature, in which is settled the story. She makes evident, to the reader, that she had often evidenced that “nature event” in which she had knowledge about how to notice when a season is coming, in this case the winter season: “Once more the ducks had started their long flight south”, and it could give her the opportunity to describe some peculiar facts, which happens during those moments, in a specific place to draw us in: “Soon the Big Water Hen carried little islands of snow; the river also took on a lovely mien…”. Following, she makes that description of the space in where the reader could realize how is going to be the atmosphere of characters’ dwelling, she immediately introduces the main character of the story and she also describes and explains the mood’s character as a sad fact or event she was going to happen: “Sadly Luzina saw the coming of another torpid winter, again without a school teacher and regular lessons. Even the Indian children had a better portion than her own; they had a school, Luzina would say”. So, her Roy presents how the main character has been living this sadness because of the dissatisfaction of lacking of something they really needed. And finally, the writer closes this beginning of the story through a kind of solution to the conflictive fact of the story, at the moment she narrates: “Then one evening… Hippolyte found a solution for the bewildering problem.” Lodge suggests as that at the moment reader notice that some events start to develop the incidents of the novel, we can determine that is the point the novel in fact ends its beginning. Also, Lodge explains that it is important to notice if the tone of voice, range of vocabulary and syntactic habits are able to catch...
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