Maria Chapdelaine

Topics: Love, Marriage, Louis Hémon Pages: 4 (1220 words) Published: November 5, 2009
Contexts of Canadian Culture:
Maria Chapdelaine –
The role of women in the early 1900s in French-Canada

Student: Kathleen Adam
Student #: 209809518
TA: Peter Stevens
Tutorial #: 04
Course: HUMA 1200
Word Count: 1023
Page Count: 4
Due Date: Thursday, October 8th, 2009
Louis Hémon creates a story of the rural life in a family of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, the Chapdelaine’s. He uses the climate and traditional values in a way in which the novel still has an ironic and crucial element. Also, the beginning of the novel on Ite, missa est[1] is (“the mass”) a claim on religious behaviour, a main theme in this novel. Maria Chapdelaine, a novel personifying the spirit of French Canada at its most romantic, was written by author Louis Hémon, based on his journeys through the Lac Saint-Jean district of Québec. The central character is Maria Chapdelaine, a strong and attractive young woman, who loses the man that she loves. She, in secret is planning to marry, the courageous François Paradis, when he dies in a tragic winter accident. Following the death of her mother and that of her secret lover François Paradis, Maria must choose between two of her possible husbands. Maria then ponders for a long time whether to favour an active and eloquent emigrant to New England, Lorenzo Surprenant, who offers a better life and overwhelms her with the vision of bright city lights, or marry her other suitor, Eutrope Gagnon, a solemn, stable, but uninteresting neighbour. She generously accepts Gagnon, thus guaranteeing the continued existence of family, community and establishing the traditional values of rustic French Canada. The death of François Paradis is a big part of Maria’s life. He was the exact definition of a manly man, her true love. He represents the freedom of the Québécois people. “François” in English meaning “French” and “Paradise” what was desired at the time. Maria’s love for François Paradis is, “for her, her love for him, is a thing apart...
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