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ENG215H1 Lecture Notes - Thomas Head Raddall, Tinderbox

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Sarah Caskey

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Essay due on March 6th --> info sheet posted online.
The Wedding Gift -- Thomas Raddall
More than just an anecdote about past behaviour.
Takes folk lore and turns it into something richer.
Individuals have to cope with cultural change and primitive living conditions.
o Weather is the antagonist in the story.
The Wedding Gift is like Lazy Bones and Field of Wheat: Nature & strong female character.
Story is set around a set of oppositions: country background of Kesia Barnes and the refined
manners of Mr. Neeres.
o Kesia - Nova Scotia. No education, name is common but connects her to her rural roots.
o Mr. Neeres - London. Educated, higher class.
Contrast between the two brings into relief the developing pragmatism of the new world against
the over refined delicacy of the old world.
Theme: as necessity imposes on social cultures and manners, new world ethics are shown as being
situational and flexible.
Pg. 83-opening paragraph: "Nova Scotia in 1794, winter, snow on the ground," etc.
o Paints picture of the substantial difficulties of winter.
o He doesn't emphasize the snow, but emphasizes the sufficiency of the snow for the
community, but how it doesn't stop Kesia from getting married (insufficiency for her).
She is set apart from her community right away.
Kesia wants a snow storm to make the trip to get married to Mr. Hathaway to be
Hoping for some natural intervention.
Kesia is frustrated living with the Barclays.
o Pg. 84: Driving the point that Kesia was treated like an outsider/servant/"bond girl from the
o In all the comments that the Barclays make, re-iterate her lower standing in the house.
Marginalized within the household.
Kesia shows new world pragmatism ideals where after praying all night to stop the wedding, she's
going to take matters into her own hands.
Mr. Barclay thinks Kesia (22 years old)would be good for Hathaway because she's quiet, obtrusive,
has no set of views, opinions (85).
o Hathaway is 40, not handsome, cold, etc.
Kesia speaks up against the wedding (?) (84) and to Mr. Meers.
o Meers is unaccustomed to the landscape and need Kesia to help him.
This is refreshing to Kesia to experience a position of power.
Pg. 88: Meers loses horse and Kesia stops him from going off to find it so he doesn’t get lost.
Pg. 89: Kesia expresses her frustration to Barclay, Hathaway, etc. --> and this is where she
o Mr. Meers becomes a "pitiable object," taking the role that was once Kesia's.
"Prayers won't save you."
Kesia declares her independence and sheds her hand-me-down clothing except for her
undergarments which she sewed and are truly hers.
o "God responds to those who save themselves" --> showing flexibility of new world ways.
Pg. 92: Kesia doesn't want to marry Hathaway and proposes to Meers.
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