At Home in a Strange Place
The Prairies are often portrayed as cold, lonely and harsh landscapes. The people of the prairies are often depicted in the literature as strong and enduring but with a genuine frailty. The stories of Gabrielle Roy take no exception to this trend. Prairie inhabitants are often viewed as bored and isolated persons, tucked away from excitement. Gabrielle Roy’s short stories “Where Will You Go, Sam Lee Wong?”, “A Tramp at the Door” and “Hoodoo Valley”, explore prairie dwellers in difficult landscapes surviving their isolation because of the friendships and connections that help them through, but more importantly, the objects or landscapes that remind them of their past and allow them to move forward. These reminders to their past serve as a comfort for these people and allows them to live their new prairie life whilst never letting go of their old one. Gabrielle Roy’s character Sam Lee Wong has come to Canada and settled in the small town of Horizon, Saskatchewan. Sam Lee Wong lives shut away in his restaurant that doubles as his home. He is hard working and desperate to make his restaurant a success. Sam Lee Wong wants so badly to make life work in his newfound home. He soon befriends a town outcast named Smouillya, and together they find friendship and companionship in the harsh and lonely prairie town they call home. Sam Lee Wong lives a lifetime inside his little restaurant. He sees change and growth through his patrons and out the big glass window at the front of his store. Shortly after arriving, Sam Lee Wong learns that life in the prairies is often difficult and harsh. The cold winter months and intense heat of the summer are hard and difficult to deal with; however, Sam Lee Wong is strong and resilient but often portraying an image of frailty. The windows of Sam Lee Wong’s store allow others a look inside at the curious little Chinese immigrant they now share their town with but these windows also allow Sam Lee Wong a look at...
Cited: Roy, Gabrielle. “A Tramp at the Door,” Garden in the Wind. Trans. Alan Brown. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1989. 3-40. Print.
Roy, Gabrielle. “Hoodoo Valley” Garden in the Wind. Trans. Alan Brown. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1989. 97-111. Print.
Roy, Gabrielle. “Where will you go, Sam Lee Wong?” Garden in the Wind. Trans. Alan Brown. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1989. 41-96. Print.
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