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ENGL 222 Bird in the House Notes Jan 28

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ENGL 222
Duffy Roberts

January 28, 2013 ENGL 222 – Canadian Literature  Postmodern  Historiographic – there is no such thing as history o There are the raw materials that historians shape for our viewing o Product of history written into a coherent narrative  Make choices about what to include/exclude  Managing the past “A Bird in the House”  Historical time in Canada  Canada starting in much smaller places o Small pockets  Historiographic metafiction o Fictionalized account of the history of Canada, historical stories in Canada  Fictionalized this town to explore her child in some way o Exploring how memory impacts us  Growing up in a small town / small place – impact what we do, what we feel, what we want from Canada – what we do in the future  Present narrator: Vanessa – is remembering o Story of memory – with very specific family, socio-political forces, and how that impacts her right now o Memory’s impact on us in the present o Small-town version of Canada  Dave Godfry: “When you say place, I think movement.” o Contextualizing in terms of mobility o Vanessa’s mobility is limited  Young girl – mobility of profession is limited  Parents control what she is allowed to do  The town is very small, and she doesn’t have a lot of space to go around  Vanessa has left this town and remember in the past – to get mobility, she leaves o Limited options o Vanessa is a writer – the content does not give her enough freedom  When human geographers talk about small towns o Membrane of town limits much more permeable now than used to be  People can influence from outside o Can see in this town the influence of political and social forces  Like travelling salesman  Native people that come in and out of the town  Commuting out of town when there’s no work  Going off to war and coming back  Remembrance Day parade  Vanessa’s beginning of potential of mobility for her  Important theme: idea of outside and inside: private and public o Family unit is very strong  House= “monument” of control, experiences  Past-focused, not future-focused o For Vanessa, to function in this town, she needs to know the past in her family o Ways that people negotiate private and public is very different: consider how private and public are mixed today on Facebook  Important theme: Changing gender roles o More mobility that just my purpose is to have children and stay at home  Aspires to much more than the housewife; Vanessa doesn’t even aspire to be a secretary – wants more  Brought on by depression: the home (domicile, domestication) is no longer the only mobility that women have  WW1, WW2 - changing work roles o Vanessa is wanting more mobility than perhaps her peers would want  Wants more fodder, more raw material for her writing  Important theme: Narratives that Vanessa has access to: o Church centric stories – Grandmother – ideas of proper-ness to be a woman  Narratives are limited for her, not active enough for her i
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