ENG252Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Noble Savage, French Colonial Empire, Indian Art

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Published on 17 Jan 2018
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Saturday, September 23, 2017
1
Wacousta by John Richard
Brief Introduction/Reading Notes
- Themes including prophecy and opposites
Manliness vs. Effeminacy
Wilderness vs. Civilization
Sensibility vs. Compassion
The natural vs. The supernatural
- Canadians were essentially considered as people of French heritage who were living
in the wilderness as hunters and trappers.
- The garrison’s mentality
Issue of uncertainty
Characters being unfamiliar with the environment and the people they are
encountering
- Survival
- How the first nations are being represented?
- Themes
Garrison mentality
Noble British soldier
First nations as noble savages
Quotes
- “Each Garrison, therefore, was almost wholly dependent on its own resources; and,
when surrounded unexpectedly by numerous bands of hostile Indians. Had another
alternative than to hold out to the death” (p18) Relates to the garrisons’
mentality
- Murphy’s words right before he died showcases the attitudes of the noble British
soldier.
- “The Prisoner himself was unmoved: he stood proud, calm, and fearless amid the
guard, of whom he had so recently formed one” (p39) noble British soldiers
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Saturday, September 23, 2017
2
- “I am an unfortunate man, but no traitor.” (p99) garrison mentality
- “… Nature, on which the eye never lingers without calm; while feelings, at once
voluptuous and tender creep insensibly over the heart, and rain the mind in adoration
to the one area and sole Cause by which the stupendous whole has been produced.”
(p136) Acknowledging the power and unknown danger of the nature
- Bottom page of 142 to top of 143 > descriptions of Wacousta suggests that he is by
nature, Indigenous people. His physical appearance is described to be peculiar and
that of Indian nature.
- “At the first glance he might have been taken for one of the swarthy natives of the soil;
but though time and constant exposure to scorching suns had given to his complexion
a dusky hue, still by which the former is distinguished.” (p143)
- She flew to the fatal bridge, threw herself on the body of her bleeding husband, and
imprinting her warm kisses on his bloody lips, for a moment or two presented the
image of one whose reason has fled for ever.” (p164) in relation to Ellen
Halloway’s transformation throughout the novel
- “… "i was curious to know how he would make the attempt to approach us; but
certainly never once dreamt of his having recourse to so civilized method.”” (p197)
“noble savage” > civilized method
- “…“since we first took up the hatchet against the Saganaw; and every bullet we keep
for our enemies is a loss to our trade.”” (p200) Ponteac’s initial goal of keeping
the trade is rational and reasonable
- Red skin? Saganaw? Ottawa?
- Red skin: British; Saganaw: governor and his men; Ottawa: native tribe led my
Ponteac; pale flag: French Canadians
- Volume II Chapter 4
- Frank Halloway’s execution is justified only by the governor.
- “Sick, dizzy, and with every faculty of my mind annihilated, I turned away form the
horrid scene,… it is childish, it is unsoldierlike, I admit: but, alas! They dreadful
scene is (p226) from Charles’s perspective, the character of noble English
soldiers.
- “… this formidable and mysterious enemy might have been likened to the spirit of
darkness presiding over his terrible legions.” (p241) Described as almost
supernatural creature > uncanny, boundless between reason and madness
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- “… while, instead of being treated with the indignity of conquered people, they would
be enabled to command respect from the imposing attitude this final crowning of their
successes would enable them to assume.” (p265) Ponteac’s proposal of having
equal rights and dignity to make “fair trades” with the British
- “Captain de haldimar thought he had never gazed on any thing wearing the human
shape half so atrociously savage.” (p267) “noble savage”
- “Captain de Haldimar had none of the natural weakness and timidity of character
which belonged to the getter and more sensitive Charles. Sanguine and full of
enterprise, he seldom met evils half way; but when they did come, he bought to
master them by the firmness and collectedness with which he opposed his mind to
their infliction.” (p270) ties to him embodying a set of gender roles that are
better suited to the New World setting; his lack of rigidity which is seen as
negative b the colonel is seen as a positive trait by the readers because that
way he is easily adapted to the surroundings
- “Nothing could be more unique the embellishments of a modern European boudoir
than those of this apartment, which had, in some degree, been made the sanctum of
its present occupants.” (p311)
- “… there an alligator, stuffed after the same fashion; and in various directions the
skins of the beaver, the marten, the otter, and an infinitude of others of that genus,
filled up spaces that were left supplied by the more ingenious specimen of Indian
art.”— Madeline’s incorporation of both Indigenous and European cultures
-
Lecture Notes
The Settlement Period
- Recurrent themes and patterns that carry over from exploration period to narrative of
the settlement period
Finding a language that can help the newcomers to define the new landscape they
find themselves in
Residual orientation in the settlement period towards the home country towards the
imperial centre of England. The novel is also addressed to the readers back in
Europe.
- Concerns with staying in the land, cultivating it.
- The novel focus on the series of events leading up to the siege from different
perspectives.
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Document Summary

Themes including prophecy and opposites: manliness vs. effeminacy, wilderness vs. civilization, sensibility vs. compassion, the natural vs. Canadians were essentially considered as people of french heritage who were living in the wilderness as hunters and trappers. The garrison"s mentality: issue of uncertainty, characters being unfamiliar with the environment and the people they are encountering. Themes: garrison mentality, noble british soldier, first nations as noble savages. Each garrison, therefore, was almost wholly dependent on its own resources; and, when surrounded unexpectedly by numerous bands of hostile indians. Had another alternative than to hold out to the death (p18) relates to the garrisons" mentality. Murphy"s words right before he died showcases the attitudes of the noble british soldier. The prisoner himself was unmoved: he stood proud, calm, and fearless amid the guard, of whom he had so recently formed one (p39) noble british soldiers. I am an unfortunate man, but no traitor. (p99) garrison mentality.

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