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As For Me and My House pt1

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Vikki Visvis

th Week of 28 Sept. 2010 As for Me and My House Sinclair Ross - Recognized by many as a great Canadian novel. - Up until the 1960s, the Canadian literary canon was mostly poetry; the novel was written more for mass appeal. As was an attempt to elevate the novel to the status of art . However, it has caused confusion from the time it was written a lot going on in this book. - Ross made the setting of the novel ambiguous, allowing for it to be in a Canadian prairie town, or in the Midwest. He had to appeal to the masses for financial reasons, targeting both the Canadian and US markets. The novel was a failure in the US, and nearly so in Canada. However, critics began to look further into this book, especially thematic critics like Frye and Atwood, in the themes of a malevolent nature, and the figure of the paralyzed artist. 1) Nature A) Encroaching Malevolent Void Nature: both a menacing void, and a source of inspiration. Inherent terror of nature distinctly felt in the novel, threat of nature to reduce you into nothingness. The rain conveys the indifference of nature, and the huddles houses Mrs. Bentleys own apprehension (P8). The small town acts as Fryes garrison. The landscape looms around the town, and threatens to eradicate identity. Both physical and existential threat. The endless dust, wind, and snow around the house are a constant reminder(P47). (P131) Enter wide open space. The wilderness here makes us uneasy Almost a sense of nihilism, showing how frail and insignificant she is. On the other hand, it mirrors the characters emotions, compounding its malevolence. She feels rejected by her husband and nature (Narrators name never mentioned, proto-feminist, no individual existence?). Her relationship with Philip is very clingy, so name exclusion could have also been a voluntary act of giving up her own identity, to join it to her husbands (but she is writing a diary, so why would she refer to her own name?) (P125-6) When I rounded a point and looked back and couldnt seethe fire I was afraid for a minute. The close black hills, the stealthy slipping sound the river made-it was as if I was entering dead, forbidden country, approaching the lair of the terror that destroyed the hills, that was lurking there still among the skulls. (P26) Five years in succession now theyve been blown out, dried out, hailed out; and it was as if in the face of so blind and uncaring a universe they were trying to assert themselves, to insist upon their own meaning and importance. (P26-7) Man cant bear to admit his insignificance. If youve ever seen a hailstorm, or watched a crop dry up his helplessness, the way hes ignored well, it was just such helplessness in the beginning that set him discovering gods who could control the storms and seasons
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