Discuss One of the Literary Works on the Course Reading List. Looking at the Settings, the Characters, and/or the Themes of the Book, What Does It Tell You About Canada and Canadian Culture? " Maria Chapdelaine", by Louis Hémon,

Topics: Interpersonal relationship, Meaning of life, Personal life Pages: 10 (1652 words) Published: June 5, 2012
Discuss one of the literary works on the Course Reading List. Looking at the settings, the characters, and/or the themes of the book, what does it tell you about Canada and Canadian culture?

" Maria Chapdelaine", by Louis Hémon,

" Maria Chapdelaine", written by French author Louis Hémon, represents

Canadian identity, its cultural and social aspects. Even though the book seems quite easy to

read, the story is, in fact, pretty complex to comprehend - it is truly philosophical, there are

many ways to analyze it. In my opinion, book introduces north Canadians lifestyle and

difficulties they face, through the prism of relationship with the Nature, God and other

people. The matter of the nature presented as both settings and the human nature is the

dominant one.

First major theme that catches attention while reading the story of “Maria

Chapdelaine”, is the Nature as the environment. It does not only serve as an artistic decision

to illustrate the narrative or enlighten the situation by giving more precise view of the

surroundings, but also represents Canadian people daily life, their link with Mother Nature. I

must state, that Nature is not very motherly, furthermore life in the north is difficult, as it is

very well defined by Ephrem Surprenant as rough and hard. Even at very beginning, the

description of the undenyingly marvelous environment creates gloomy atmosphere, the drive

home through forests, on dangerously melted ice, leaving the civilization behind... This gives

an impression that Chapdelaine family members are tough - living in solitude, working

extremely long and hard, perpetually fighting the Nature for creating better conditions for

living, where every " victory", such as successful "making of land" made in time, might be

followed by meager harvest- they do not lose hope and courage to move on. Nature is the one in charge - people live following the natural cycle, which is utterly miserable: the summer is

short, the winter is long and freezing - as a pioneer Lorenzo Surprenant opposes farmers and

compares farming to slavery, where the Nature is the master. Despite the harsh climate,

farmers do not "rebel", they stay in their land "without a touch of bitterness", at first, it seems

like a complete surrender, on the other hand, for Samuel Chapdelaine ''clearing land" is the

passion of his life - he was brought up that way, he likes wrestle the forest in trying to create

his own paradise.

One more thing to be mentioned - Samuel Chapdelaine has strong faith in God,

he trusts Him and believes His will, by saying that nothing happens without a reason. Having

faith is also one of the most significant themes of this story. It is obvious, that the members of

Chapdelaine family are devoted Christians, this is clearly expressed by their moral values,

such as love, kindness, hard work, treating others with compassion, rituals of praying, singing

hymns. What is more, their strong belief in God is best revealed through father of the family,

as after the death of François Paradis, he speaks the words of wisdom, saying :'' We are

but little children in the hand of the good God". He does not seem to doubt God at any point

of his life, even when his beloved wife, with whom he shares exceptional relationship dies

(they manage to carry out all the hard work, take care of children and farm and yet still love

and be each others strength, biggest support). Chapdelaine knows it is God's will and instead

of sorrow, he remembers the most amazing moments they shared.

Human relationships take considerable place in the book, since different types of

relationships are portrayed. First of all, traditional family ties are represented - we have an

idyllic ( in terms of relationship) picture of parents and their six children living quite happily

into the woods...
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