Canadian Writers External Reflection Of The Internal: Research Paper

Length: 7 pages Sources: 5 Subject: Literature Type: Research Paper Paper: #50222895 Related Topics: Canadian Culture, Canadian, Wind, Reflection
Excerpt from Research Paper :

Canadian Writers

External Reflection of the Internal: The Usage of the Canadian Landscape in as for Me and My House and Who has seen the Wind

A number of similarities exist between the novels of William Ormond Mitchell and Sinclair Ross, who wrote Who has seen the Wind, and As For Me And My House, respectively. Both works deal with theological issues of religion and faith, and contain a fair amount of skepticism for these concepts. The novels also mirror one another in their usage of the environment and the surrounding landscape as a tool with which to illustrate a variety of feelings experienced by their respective characters. The tendency to utilize the outer surroundings of the natural world to explicate the inner thought processes and emotions of human nature is one which is indicative in a fair amount of Canadian literature (Bordessa 58). As such, both Mitchell and Ross have used the impact of the landscape and the environment on the characters in their respective works to demonstrate a definite focus on the Canadian prairies which illustrates how the beauty and loneliness of the environment creates a feeling for the reader.

In many instances, the novelists render the surrounding environment in a way which magnifies the internalizations which their principles characters deal with. This tendency certainly applies to Who has seen the Wind, in which the outer manifestations of the natural world frequently symbolize and mirror the thoughts and emotions of Brian O'Connal, a young child who learns much about the power of God. In the following quotation, in which Brian is disappointed at the fact that he has to give his new puppy to a friend to live, Mitchell uses the rain to magnify the heart-rending emotions which the child feels. "Brian watched the drops gather and slide, slowly at first, then faster, down the pane. The sky over Sherry's low house was the color of lead; the sodden leaves of the hedge were dripping. He felt inexplicably sad... He had not seen his dog for three days."

Mitchell deliberately employs imagery of a melancholy nature to show the reader that Brian is in a sad state. The references to the sky's color and to the water-soaked leaves (described as "dripping") portray images commonly associated with sadness, and provide a tangible quality to the sentiments and the subsequent thoughts which Brian is enduring at the present loss of his puppy. Such imagery provides an adequate example of Mitchell's inherent capability to show sentiment rather than explain it, while the fact that he uses nature -- which is commonly employed in the book as a motif for the sublime nature of the divine -- as the principle means of doing so in this passage and throughout the work as a whole, indicates the importance he attaches to the ability of the environment to depict loneliness.

Another fundamental similarity between the works of Mitchell and Ross in the Who has seen the Wind and As For Me And My House is the landscape itself which the authors choose to render in their works. Canada's dry, wind swept plains play an important role in each story, and can almost be considered a crucial, unspoken character. Whereas Mitchell fundamentally employs such scenery to represent the potential and beauty of a divine being, Ross uses it for a decidedly different purpose -- that of emphasizing the dreary, enduring existence of small town life which his protagonists, Mr. And Mrs. Bentley, continually feel oppressed by in their recent move to the provincial town Horizon. The greater duration of Ross's story is characterized by a relentless, overbearing wind that blows dust and drought throughout much of the town, which the author uses to symbolize the useless, unconquerable nature of small town life which both protagonists dislike and long to escape. The following quotation, in which Mrs. Bentley is writing in...

...

When you step outside its strong hot push it is like something solid pressed against the face. The sun through the dust looks big and red and close. Bigger, redder, closer every day. You begin to glance at it with a doomed feeling, that there's no escape (p. 73)." Although Mrs. Bentley is literally describing the wind and its powerful effects on the dust in the plains, she could very easily be describing the draining effect of Horizon's small town mentality (and even smaller ambitions) on both herself and her husband. The reference to the "doomed feeling" with which there is no escape from certainly applies to this interpretation since one of the principle themes of the novel is the despair that both Mr. And Mrs. Bentley feel at having forfeited their own cosmopolitan desires for such a parochial existence. Yet Ross chooses to emphasize this motif through the oppressive, overbearing manifestation of weather patterns so common to the country and towns which these characters deplore. The author's doing so readily indicates that the usage of the landscape is an effective means of depicting the loneliness and inner thoughts and emotions of his characters.

In addition to the evidence offered in the text of both novels, there is also an abundance of literary criticism which supports the thesis that the authors employ the landscape to provoke deliberate feelings of empathy to the plight of their characters. Many of the fledgling emotions which Brian feels, the vast majority of which are significantly sophisticated in nature and in scope for a child his age, are evidenced through the text by the primary means of employing the natural surroundings to show the reader what processes the character is dealing with. Mitchell's adeptness at doing so with Brian has been hailed by many critics, as the following quotation, from the Canadian Encyclopedia, effectively demonstrates. "The novel's greatest strengths lie in its sensitive evocations of Brian O'Connal's "feeling," sometimes associated with his various experiences of death, sometimes with a child's fundamental, inarticulate but insistent curiosity to discover the world within and beyond himself (Besner 1)."

Mitchell's work offers several examples to justify this claim, which also provides the author with opportunities to display the beauty and wonder of a child's first-hand experiences and those of nature itself. The following quotation, in which Brian is drawing a picture of God with all the innocence and speculation of a youth his age, readily shows the author's application of nature to magnify such wonder. "He made a yellow God, yellow for the round part, and green legs, and purple eyes, and red arms, and that was God…As he drew, the curtains on the open window bellied gently out; from the high den window dropped staining light, the beveled glass breaking it up into violet, blue, and red. Brian laid down his crayons and stared at the colored patch on the rug."

This passage is fairly obvious in its dependence on nature and on the outer, surrounding Canadian environment to project the sensations which Mitchell's character is experiencing. Brian's musings of the various colors of a divine entity are conveniently reflected in the sunlight's filtration through a stained glass window. The fact that the same colors depicted in Brian's drawing are now shining outside his picture and into his window (the red and violet/purple hues) serves to reinforce the accuracy of his premonitions, if not in actuality, then certainly in his mind. Mitchell strongly suggests this notion by having Brian end the passage by pondering the colors in his house, which he had just recently been drawing. The simplicity, the beauty, and even the transcendent effervescence of such an innocent moment are all underscored by Mitchell's reliance on nature to evoke the feelings of wonder and awe which his character is experiencing.

The potency of the Canadian landscape, however, and its effects on its characters are not limited to such awe-inspiring passages. Much of the use of the Canadian prairies in As For Me And My House evidence the opposite ends of the beauteous depictions which Mitchell offers, as Ross illustrates the depression and despondency of her characters through the merciless dust storms that continually badger Horizon. Mr. Bentley's prime aspiration in life was to utilize his talent as a drawer and a painter to become an artist so he could escape the small town environment which he grew up in. To his considerable disappointment, he failed in his artistic endeavors and is largely miserable that he is instead a middle-age preacher (who does not even believe in the power, nor the word of god) in just such a small town location. The following quotation, in which Mrs. Bentley describes one of her husband's more recent illustrations since they have settled in Horizon, demonstrates how Mitchell emphasizes this fact by having Bentley's artwork drastically influenced by the oppressive weather patterns of the Canadian landscape. "It's a little street again tonight, false-fronted stores, a pool hall and a wind. You feel the wind,…

Sources Used in Documents:

Bibliography

Besner, Neil. "Who has seen the wind." The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Dominion, 2011. Accessed April 14, 2011 at http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0008571

Bordessa, Ronald. "Moral frames for landscape in Canadian literature." A few acres of snow:

literary and artistic images of Canada. Edited by Paul Simpson-Housley & G.B. Norcliffe. Dundurn Press, 1992.

McLay, C. "Crocus, Saskatchewan: A country of the mind." The Journal of Popular Culture,


Cite this Document:

"Canadian Writers External Reflection Of The Internal " (2011, June 05) Retrieved June 17, 2021, from
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/canadian-writers-external-reflection-of-42326

"Canadian Writers External Reflection Of The Internal " 05 June 2011. Web.17 June. 2021. <
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/canadian-writers-external-reflection-of-42326>

"Canadian Writers External Reflection Of The Internal ", 05 June 2011, Accessed.17 June. 2021,
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/canadian-writers-external-reflection-of-42326

Related Documents
Role of Land Settlement Cooperative
Words: 18921 Length: 70 Pages Topic: Agriculture Paper #: 8876465

It is argued that while land tenure data can be instrumental in addressing land-related conflicts, much of the practical value is lost because of inconsistency of information and because information is not readily accessible, or cannot be combined to allow for greater depth of analysis. In practice, this means that policy-makers cannot make immediate use of the information that is available because additional time and expense are required either

Principal-Agent Model in Economics and Political Science
Words: 12148 Length: 45 Pages Topic: Economics Paper #: 52622125

Principal-Agent Model in Economics and Political Science The international political perspectives of free trade A Global Analysis International Trade Impact on Tunisia The Export of agricultural products International trade and development of Tunisia Balance in the Trade Regime Imports and exports of Tunisia Exports Imports Coping With External and Internal Pressures The Common External Tariff (CET) Safeguard Measures Anti-Dumping Duties (ADDs) and Countervailing Duties (CVDs) Rules of origin The New Commercial Policy Instrument Sector Based Aspects GATT/WTO's Main Principles Non-discriminatory trade Multilateral negotiation and free trade The Trading Policies

Parent's Selection for Supplementary Tutoring Centre in
Words: 17068 Length: 63 Pages Topic: Teaching Paper #: 55989986

Parent's Selection for Supplementary Tutoring Centre in Hong Kong - Primary School Level With reference to the above discussion, it can be apparently observed that the education industry in Hong Kong is quite expanded. However, the performance of students and educational growth in the country can be observed to be weakening which indicates that the education sector in Hong Kong requires to be facilitated significantly within a short-run period. This

John Locke Was the Type
Words: 1355 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Black Studies - Philosophy Paper #: 8859664

Locke combined the rational, deductive theory of Rene Descartes and the inductive, scientific experimentalism of Francis Bacon and the Royal Society. He gave the Western world the first modern theory of human nature and a new synthesis of the individualistic concept if liberty and the theory of government that was emerging out of the debates over natural law." (Locke 2003) look at Locke's early life shows why his thinking was

Leadership in International Schools
Words: 29649 Length: 108 Pages Topic: Teaching Paper #: 20990082

Leadership Skills Impact International Education CHALLENGES OF INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION Practical Circumstances of International schools THE IMPORTANCE OF LEADERSHIP IN EDUCATION What is Effective Leadership for Today's Schools? Challenges of Intercultural Communication Challenges of Differing Cultural Values Importance of the Team Leadership Style LEADERSHIP THEORIES Current Leadership Research Transformational Leadership Skills-Authority Contingency Theories APPLYING LEADERSHIP IN AN INTERNATIONAL SETTING Wagner's "Buy-in" vs. Ownership Understanding the Urgent Need for Change Research confirms what teachers, students, parents and superintendents have long known: the individual school is the key unit

Challenging the Beijing Consensus China Foreign Policy in the 21st...
Words: 24240 Length: 60 Pages Topic: Economics Paper #: 17194104

Foreign Policy of China (Beijing consensus) Structure of Chinese Foreign Policy The "Chinese Model" of Investment The "Beijing Consensus" as a Competing Framework Operational Views The U.S.-China (Beijing consensus) Trade Agreement and Beijing Consensus Trading with the Enemy Act Export Control Act. Mutual Defense Assistance Control Act Category B Category C The 1974 Trade Act. The Operational Consequences of Chinese Foreign Policy The World Views and China (Beijing consensus) Expatriates The Managerial Practices Self Sufficiency of China (Beijing consensus) China and western world: A comparison The China (Beijing