ENG252Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 38: List Of Tree Deities, Douglas Channel, Canadian Literature

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Published on 9 Apr 2018
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NOTES CANADIAN LITERATURE 1
March 27, 2018
Course Evaluations will be filled out at the beginning of class next week.
Please bring an electronic device to class.
I received 23 emails about your thesis - I am working my way through
them.
Monkey Beach
The novel has been critiqued as a coming of age story, a post-colonial
take on the genre of the Northern gothic, a regionalist portrait of the
community and a post-colonial critique of the effects in Canada. The
interest in how trauma can be transferred from one generation to the
next comes in the drowning motif. Her brother has disappeared in the
Douglas Channel region. We learn that this is not the first time the
family has been faced with drowning. The question is raised with
respect to the grandfather drowning in the bathtub and whether the
grandmother witnessed it.
The novel ends with Lisa re-enacting mixed drowning which echoes the
moment when she and her brother found Nick's body in the sea. The
narrative alterates fro Lisa’s journey to Monkey Beach in search of
her brother and her memories of Kitemaat.
Intergenerational trauma deals with the manifestation of trauma as
psycho wounds and comes in the form of flashbacks and memories.
This interweaving of the past and the present and Lisa's personal and
familial histories continues to reverberate across time. Many
intergenerational traumas in the novel are rooted in multiple waves of
colonial possession and that occurred after first contact by European
explorers. Lisa invokes this on Page 82.
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NOTES CANADIAN LITERATURE 2
March 27, 2018
Trudy and Nick are presented as damaged figures who a struggling to
cope with abuses they suffered in residential schools - they suffer from
alcoholism and have difficulty maintaining relationships with those
around them. Nick had an affair with Lisa's mother. Trudy's
relationship with her daughter is abusive and reflects the extent to
which Trudy internalized the sexual trauma she experienced in
residential school. She accuses her 12 year old daughter of sleeping
around. She is projecting her damage onto her daughter. The stigmas
that Trudy projects onto her daughter are even more heartbreaking
when Lisa engages with the group of terrorists.
She says that everyone thinks they're sluts. Trudy weapons this
stereotype against her daughter. Trudy is involved with Josh and the
novel hints at the possibility that Josh may have molested her daughter,
which is why she runs away and hitchhikes back to Kitemaat. Josh
offers to drive Tabs back to Vancouver but she says she'd rather
hitchhike. Lisa's mother doesn't understand why she would do
something so dangerous not knowing that Josh has likely molested Tabs.
Monkey Beach as Trauma Narrative
The novel strikes a difficult and fraught balance between identifying the
colonial roots and acknowledging the social evils in the community.
The novel doesn't allow us to absolve any violence the characters have
committed against others. This is brought home in the plot line
involving Josh's experience at residential school and the abuse he
committed on others later in life where one of his victims commits
suicide as a result of this abuse.
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NOTES CANADIAN LITERATURE 3
March 27, 2018
Page 365
This is a conflicting passage. It clearly points to the abuse that Josh
suffered in residential school as a possible antecedent to the violence
he perpetrates but it doesn't absolve him. By the end of the novel,
most of its characters have been implicated in some form of violence.
Nick is heroic but he has perpetuated a huge betrayal against his own
brother. Jimmy murders Josh to exact some form of justice over the
harm he has done to Karaoke. Even Mama Yu is implicated in turning a
blind eye to her husband's drowning. This is one of the central ethical
conundrums that the novel struggles with.
The novel doesn't provide any easy answer to this question. Lisa is able
to understand the territory her family lives in. It would be a disservice
to the novel to read it simply as a trauma narrative. It's important to
recognize that despite its bleakness Monkey Beach enacts a form of
Indigenous resurgence such as tradition and diplomacy as a way of
looking forward.
Epistemology means a system of knowledge or a system of knowing the
world. Lisa shifts from first to second person narration is very stark.
Page 4
This is when Lisa first shifts from first to second person narration. The
passage discusses a map and invokes the history of the land claims prior
to first contact. The passage can be read according to epistemology
and is a reflection of Haisla concept of epistemology. Nusa is the
traditional way of teaching Haisla nuyem or protocols children by doing.
It invokes guided, experiential learning when Lisa takes us through a
guided tour of the territories of Kitemaat village..
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Document Summary

Course evaluations will be filled out at the beginning of class next week. I received 23 emails about your thesis - i am working my way through them. The novel has been critiqued as a coming of age story, a post-colonial take on the genre of the northern gothic, a regionalist portrait of the community and a post-colonial critique of the effects in canada. The interest in how trauma can be transferred from one generation to the next comes in the drowning motif. We learn that this is not the first time the family has been faced with drowning. The question is raised with respect to the grandfather drowning in the bathtub and whether the grandmother witnessed it. The novel ends with lisa re-enacting mixed drowning which echoes the moment when she and her brother found nick"s body in the sea. The narrative alter(cid:374)ates fro(cid:373) lisa"s journey to monkey beach in search of her brother and her memories of kitemaat.

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