The Hockey Sweater Essay

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The Quebec Vexation
The French speaking people of Quebec lived under heavy oppression in the 1950s and 60s. Many francophone people looking for work in Quebec cities were refused because of their French background. In areas such as Montreal, the francophone people were earning up to 50 percent less than their English speaking peers. There was a clear distinction between the quality of life for the English and the quality of life for the French. It was because of this distinction that the people of Quebec often resented the English and their ways of life. And it is from this resentment, the story The Hockey Sweater was written. The Hockey Sweater is a story told from the perspective of a young boy living in a small town in Quebec. He, like all the kids his age loved hockey, especially the Montreal Canadiens. He is so deeply loyal to his French heritage that he hates the Toronto Maple Leafs and anything about them for the sole reason that they are not French. Roch Carrier’s The Hockey Sweater is an allegory underlining the tensions found between Francophone and Anglophone Canadians. These tensions stem from Quebec’s economic reliance on the English, Quebec’s desire to maintain their culture and traditions, and the frustration demonstrated by Quebecers with regards to the language of Canada. The book The Hockey Sweater as well as the French economy in the 50s and 60s demonstrated a certain economic reliance on the English. In The Hockey Sweater, when the main character Roch needs a new sweater, his mother decides to order it from the Eaton’s catalogue. Now with Mr. Eaton being English, he sends a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey instead, greatly upsetting Roch. Roch’s mother then refuses to send it back because she is afraid to offend Mr. Eaton. Quebec’s culture in the 1950’s and 60’s was very similar to this. When Quebec’s working class went out to find jobs, they found that many major Quebec companies were run by English speaking businessmen. By extension, this...
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