Feb.25 , 2014
Introduction to Robert Kroetsch:
- He has written poetry, prose, and was a critic
- He is an important figure in Canadian literature
- A Canadian prairie writer
Responses to his essay:
- Reminder of Virginia Woolf same writing style; non-linear and digressive
- Small town image
- Much of it about language
- Interesting parts such as the peeing in a bucket and sex with a stone
- We see the vernacular (everyday language, everyday speech)
o Everyday language of the small town
o Very down to earth way of telling the narrative
- Likeness for red-haired women
- Had to learn to read and write twice
What is a manifesto?
- A public declaration of intent
- Does he actually write a manifesto by the end like he says?
“I became a writer many times…hand and manifesto.”
- What is the connection between hand and a manifesto?
o The root of manifesto (mani) means to strike
o It has to do with hand itself
o In the first paragraph we are getting to the root of language itself
- What is a readerly gesture?
o About consumption
- What is a writerly gesture?
o Active o About creation or transformation
“In order to restore…to please each and every one of them” (Page 42)
- He is relating this beginning of learning to his later relationships
- Uses deferral, self-mockery, pretending using these strategies in his actual essay
Disintegrating language is important here. Language is beginning to fall apart even at the
memory of being in that school.
First paragraph on page 44:
- See cause and effect here. The farmer wasn’t actually killed because he didn’t build the
steeple. Since the farmer died the woman went crazy. He is conveying the attitude of the
town. The rumors that begin in small towns when events occur.
“That same cousin…men are so impervious to truth.” (Page 44-46)
- It is important that he told them he peed in the water because even though he told the
truth the men did not believe him.
- The water pail represents language and language is tainted by the lack of trust.
Language can be manipulated. Language is tainted by the possibility of the lie. Every
time we utter something, people may not believe it.
- Language doesn’t necessarily always convey the truth.
- Uses this anecdote. There is a meaning behind this small tale.
He says he is going to talk about sex but delays this topic until later on. He goes on to talk about
“I once took…will last as long as stone w