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Howard O'Hagan's Tay John: Making New World Myth Fee, Margery 1986-12-31

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HOWARD O'HAGAN'S "ΤΑΥJOHN": MAKING NEWWORLD MYTHMargery FeeS'ITTING IN THE ROCKIES in the fall of 1913, Rupert Brookereflected on the differences between the Old World and the New: "Look as longas you like upon a cataract of the New World, you shall not see a white arm inthe foam. A godless place. And the dead do not return."1 His conclusion that theNew World was defective in its lack of an indigenous mythology was a criticalcommonplace at least a century old.2 Because a foundation of oral literature —myth, legend, epic, and folktale — has been regarded since the early nineteenthcentury as essential to a great national literature, anxiety about Canada's lack ofsuch a foundation has been recurrent, as recently as in George Grant's Tech-nology and Empire ( 1969 ) :When we go into the Rockies we may have the sense that the gods are there. Butif so, they cannot manifest themselves to us as ours. They are the gods of anotherrace, and we cannot know them because of what we are, and what we did. Therecan be nothing immemorial for us except the environment as object.3Like Grant, Howard O'Hagan sensed a "presence"4 in the mountains. He has,however, written a novel deriving its impact from the consistent refusal of thedivine to manifest itself, a novel in which revelation is invariably suspect. Thefailure of revelation that causes Grant, a Platonist and a Christian, such regret,inspires O'Hagan to produce an anti-Platonist and agnostic text which, para-doxically, is filled with mythic power.5The passage in O'Hagan's Tay John that most clearly begs to be considered asthe author's own manifesto on the relation of myth and reality is this descriptionof the nature of story by the novel's main narrator, Jackie Denham :[Tay John's] story, such as it is, like himself, would have existed independently ofme. Every story — the rough-edged chronicle of a personal destiny — having itssource in a past we cannot see, and its reverberations in a future still unlived —man, the child of darkness, walking for a few short moments in unaccustomedlight — every story only waits, like a mountain in an untravelled land, for some-one to come close, to gaze upon its contours, lay a name on it and relate it to theknown world. Indeed, to tell a story is to leave most of it untold. You mine it, as8OHAGANyou take ore from the mountain. You carry the compass around it. You dig down— and when you have finished, the story remains, something beyond your touch,resistant to your siege; unfathomable, like the heart of the mountain. You havethe feeling that you have not reached the story itself, but have merely assaultedthe surrounding solitude.6Tay John's story к his life, which has the same "presence," plenitude, and realityas a mountain. Thus Denham's version of it is of necessity incomplete, since"what [reality] is no one ever knows in a world of make-believe." Even to tellthe story is a violent reduction of it, a kind of warfare ("siege"), and a kind ofassault. The analogy made in this passage to mining is carried further in thenovel : Tay John, on his initiation fast, goes up a river valley, where he discoverssome heavy, glittering, black, bitter sand, which he brings back as proof that hedid not lie about where he went. Later, white men discover it to be gold ore, andtheir subsequent intrusion on the territory of the Shuswap reduces that tribe to astarving, diseased remnant. Thus, even though Denham is "refining" Tay John'sstory into gold, the refining process is reductive and violent. The "essence," the"pure" element is inadequate.O'Hagan inverts the values of light and dark throughout the novel : the darksand is, as ore, more valuable than the processed gold. The unknowable, labelledvariously shadow, mystery, reality, is what makes the light valuable. Thus anystory, if it is to be of value, must constantly allow the unknown upon which it isbuilt to intrude. The story must reveal itself as a facile explanation for theinexplicable :For your backwoodsman is a thorough gossip.... He pays for a meal, for a night'slodging, with a tale. His social function is to hand on what he has heard, with thetwist his fancy has been able to add. . . . What he has not seen he deduces, andwhat he cannot understand he explains.In making the point that no story is complete, O'Hagan undermines to vary-ing degrees several dominant and interconnected Western ideologies: idealism,Christianity, patriarchy, class, and capitalism. In fact, O'Hagan's text, in itsself-consciousness about the fictive quality of all versions of reality, elicits thelabel "post-modernist" despite its 1939 publication date. O'Hagan's replacementof divine authority in the making of myth, indeed his replacement of even ahuman author by a collective "intertextuality" connects him to post-structuralism.His definition of story in terms of material, historical, and ideological constraintsrather than in terms of individual artistry can be connected to Marxist criticism.But O'Hagan's epistemological concern is not obtrusive. Rather he works at thelevel of myth, dismantling the famous "stories" used to shore up these ideologies.Myth is used here loosely, as O'Hagan appears to use it, to include a wide varietyof conventional patterns: native myth and local legend; literary genres, modes,and archetypes; popular stereotypes; and even intellectual categories. All are or9OHAGANhave been accepted widely and uncritically as true, and used as valid ways ofviewing the world.7Although particular myths can be revealed as instruments commonly usedmore to oppress than to liberate, they can only be dismantled, never destroyed-—• at least not without destroying Western culture itself. O'Hagan therefore rigsup a new myth out of the pieces of the old ones, revealing in the process how it'sdone. His "enemy" in this novel, then, is not myth, but the belief in one completeimmutable myth : the Truth. It is impossible to think or talk without believing insomething, starting from somewhere, standing on some taken-for-granted ground.But in Tay John those who refuse to shift ground, or to feel the ground shiftingunder their feet, are defeated, while those who wonder and doubt survive. Sincerealism panders to the reader's desire to think the world can be comprehended,O'Hagan wages war on this mode in particular, forcing his readers out of itsillusory "real" world, making them consider interpretations other than the"commonsense" ones. The world he moves them into is filled with the elementsof myth, but, unlike the Old World myth, immutable, authoritarian, timeless,and universal, his New World myth is rather a paradigm of myth, revealing howmyth is created to suit a particular need in a particular time and place. In themiddle section of the novel, narrated by Denham, O'Hagan undermines variousWestern ideologies. In the "frame," he shows how a borrowed indigenous mythcan be adapted to immigrant needs in a way that will distinguish Canadiannovels from others.One of O'Hagan's short stories, simple, even slightly sentimental, outlines theprocess of myth-making that is articulated in much more detail in Tay John. In"The White Horse" Nick Durban, the hero, discusses the problem of naming thelocal pass with his friend Olaf: "Olaf had said that in the Old Country all suchplaces had names, but he did not see how in these foothills, a pass, especially alow, gentle pass, that had no name, would acquire one."8 If one takes namingas analogous to myth-making, this story encapsulates the problem of findingmyth in a new country. How does one consciously create something that has tohave existed as Olaf says, "longer than anyone could remember"? The assump-tion that an immemorial native mythology rather than an invented or borrowedone is essential to a great national literature excludes colonies populated byimmigrants from literary greatness, a quality reserved for the Imperial centres.But Nick proves to himself that naming is possible in a new world.When he finds that his beloved old pack-horse, Bedford, has wandered off andfrozen to death, he considers putting a notice in the newspaper. Finally he makesa sign describing Bedford and offering a reward for his return, and puts it upbeside the trail through the pass. After a while, Olaf takes the sign down andreplaces it with one that says "Bedford Pass." Pleased, Nick looks forward to thetime when the sign will rot, and Bedford and his story will be forgotten. Then10OHAGANBedford, transformed from horse into name, will "endure so long as men climbedrivers to their source and spoke into the wind the pass's name they travelled."9Names and myths have an origin, explicit and human. Once the original "sign"has rotted, however, they survive only if they have a use, usually an exploitativeone. And they gain authority precisely because they are detached from theirhuman origins. "Because it has always been so," or "because the gods say so" isfar more difficult to dispute than "because I say so." The naming in "The WhiteHorse" seems perfectly innocent, even touching, but of course it is part of theconquest of the west of Canada by the white man. In Tay John the violence ofthe conquest is made clear: "Out on the prairies the white man's breath hadblasted the Indian and the buffalo from the grass lands, now his plough turnedthe grass under." Jackie Denham compares naming to rape, and, through his roleas a surveyor, shows how naming is related to the exploitation of what wasformerly virgin and "unnamed country."ОHAGAN, WHILE CLEARLY he agrees with the belief thatmyth is essential to great literature, would deny myth its ultimate authority, itsdivine origin. That myth is not divinely fixed means people have the freedom tothink and imagine for themselves. Therefore O'Hagan's myth has a popularorigin, being formed in the main by indigenous oral genres: myth, legend, talltales, gossip, rumour, and hearsay. He dismantles the old myths, including theold critical myths, to produce a transitory synthesis of old, adapted, and inventedmyth that takes possession of a new literary territory. This territory is not theAlberta/British Columbia mountain region which provides his setting, but anintellectual territory formerly excluded from literature, the "colonial."O'Hagan begins the process of rewriting myth in Tay John by importing aversion of Judaeo-Christianity and a version of Platonic idealism into the tradi-tional beliefs of the Shusway tribe into which Tay John is born. Unlike thehistorical Shuswap,10 Tay John's Shuswap believe in a promised land and in afair-haired messianic leader. They also, in a paraphrase of Plato's "Allegory ofthe Cave" (Republic, Book 7) believe "that the world was made of things theycould not touch or see, as they knew that behind the basket their hands madewas the shape of the perfect basket... . Each man sought the shadow beyond hiswork." Plato's ideal basket is ironically named "shadow" in O'Hagan's passage,for in Tay John the ideal remains inaccessible, unknowable, and possibly non-existent. In Plato's cave the chained prisoners can only see shadows and hearechoes, but when led from the cave (although at first blinded and deafened) theyare able to perceive "reality": the Truth. In Tay John, revelation is not sorevered, as indicated by Jackie Denham's description of the limitations of his own11OHAGANperceptions: "Of what was around me I caught only flashes here and there —as in a thunderstorm when briefly under the lightning the countryside is revealed,trees standing, a glimpse of a river still flowing, a horse on a hillside, tail suckedbetween his legs." What produces powerful art in Tay John is not the revelationof truth (a wish-fulfilling delusion) but the communication of these flashes oflight as flashes: as incomplete, mysterious, and transitory. Those who claim toknow most completely are the most seriously deluded. That the Shuswap get halfway to their Promised Land, and their messianic leader, Tay John, lives amongthem for a while before deserting them, is a symbolic comment on the undog-matic nature of their beliefs.The desire for truth, even the conviction that one has found it, may seemharmless enough. The desire for it, however, leads to credulity, and the convic-tion of it to what Denham calls "the callous incapacity to doubt." Worse, theconvinced are tempted to impose the authority of their "truth" on others. Thearrogance of conviction is embodied in the Rorty brothers. Red Rorty comes toconvert the Shuswap to evangelical Protestantism :"Only those who believe .. . will be saved. All the rest will be destroyed. ..." Hethrew his voice up against the rock cliffs beyond them, and it stayed there andmurmured till they heard him speaking to them from above and behind, whilethey beheld him standing, his mouth moving and his shadow upon the groundbefore them.Clearly he speaks in the cave, his back to the light. He seduces the marriedHanni, and the women of the tribe crucify him. His youngest brother, a RomanCatholic priest, similarly tries to impose his beliefs on others, lecturing Ardith/Aeriola about her immoral life while burning with lust for her. In order tostrengthen himself against temptation, he seeks a revelation, "a light, so awful, sostupendous, never before seen by man, that standing before it my shadow willmake a trough in the ground behind me." Attempting an imitation of Christ, heties himself naked to a tree, becomes trapped, and dies of exposure.These, then, are the religious mythologies. The modern secular ones reveal anequal arrogance in the figure of Dobble, a capitalist entrepreneur who attemptsan imitation of the divine in building his "small new world," his resort, in themountains. Like the Shuswap and the Rortys he believes in the unseen, and livesin the future implied by his belief in Progress: "Illusions were more real to himthan the dark pine-trees which gave logs for his buildings." Finally, however, thework is abandoned, there are rumours of bankruptcy, and Dobble leaves "barelya trace behind him." The aspiration to divinity fails in each case; the moreserious the aspiration, the more horrible the failure.Although the whole novel can justifiably be labelled "mythic" in tone, content,and structure, the first part is, as Michael Ondaatje puts it, raw myth pointblank.11 Entitled "Legend," it is narrated by an omniscient and oracular voice12OHAGANthat distinguishes itself from the human in the first sentence: "The time of thisin its beginning, in men's time, is 1880 in the summer, and its place is the Atha-baska valley." Authority is derived for this section from the authenticity ofO'Hagan's sources for much of the first part of Tay John's story, the Tsimshianmyth "The Dead Woman's Son," which he uses with little revision, and thelegend of Tête Jaune, which named Tête Jaune Cache and Yellowhead Pass.12In the Tsimshian myth a pregnant woman dies; her grief-stricken husbandsleeps on her grave until winter comes. In spring when he returns he finds play-ing on her grave a little boy, whom he captures and takes to the wise men. Intheir hands the boy shrivels almost to nothing, but they restore him. He is nothappy, and cries and refuses to eat, so the villagers call in a wise woman, whosays : "What he wants is only a little thing. He craves for the full free life of man,not the half-life he enjoyed in the grave."13 In the original myth, the boy is curedof his unhappiness by a ritual ablution, but in O'Hagan's variant the boy con-tinues his quest, only partially satisfied by the wise woman's gift of a humanshadow.His people regard Tay John as a god, because of his yellow hair (interpo-lation in the myth that O'Hagan derived from the legend of Tête Jaune). But hehas no divine aspirations, unlike his putative father and uncle. He brings backfrom his initiation fast "only what another man might see. . . and less than an-other man might hear," and admits that he feared to go further. Later he leadsthe people on their trek to the promised land, but expresses no opinion about it.All the initiatives come from others. When the tribe refuses him a woman, heleaves. He walks out on myth, only to find himself the hero of Jackie Denham'sepic romance."Jackie's Tale" begins when Jackie, surveying for the railroad, takes a Sundaywalk up a creek. Tay John appears on the other side of it. A female grizzly bearattacks him, and he kills her with a knife. On one side of the creek is the event;on the other side is the tale-teller. More important than either man, perhaps, isthe creek:It wasn't wide. Twice as wide as a man, standing, might jump, perhaps, but deepand swift. Boiling. There were rapids. That creek — it was white. It was jagged.It had teeth in it. I felt it would cut me in two.The creek prevents Denham from helping Tay John, and its roar prevents themfrom communicating. It, in its various guises, is the distance between reality andwhat human beings make of it. Those who try to cross it, to participate in themystery of reality, subject themselves or others to violence, as do all human beingswho aspire to "divine" knowledge. Jackie does take his experience as a revela-tion, describing Tay John's departure as if it were the departure of god.He vanished, as though he were leaving one form of existence for another. For a13OHAGANmoment or two I saw his yellow head, a gleam of light being carried away throughthe timber. He had come down from the high country to do his job, and havingdone it, left.Jackie feels compelled to tell his tale : "It was a faith — a gospel to be spread,that tale, and he was its only apostle." His audience's reaction to the tale ismixed : "Men winked over it, smiled at it, yet listened to its measured voice, atten-tions caught, imaginations cradled in a web of words." In fact, the narratordescribes the story as a tall tale that Jackie "stretch [es] . .. the length ofEdmonton."ΤI HII HE TALL TALE, if it has a didactic purpose at all, teachesthe inexperienced and naive not to believe everything they hear. An old-timer,relying on his experience and age to add authority to his words, regales a green-horn or two with a story that "really happened," either to him or to a close friendor relative. As the story proceeds, it becomes more and more incredible, until thelisteners begin to realize that they have been taken in, and must reluctantlygive up their belief in sidehill gougers, or in winters so cold that people's wordsfreeze." The tall tale refuses listeners the ease of the familiar, and moves theminto that peculiar territory between true belief and total scepticism, an unsettlingzone where anything seems possible and nothing certain. This zone finds its geo-graphical equivalent in the mountain country that Denham calls "the countryof illusion" where "men saw themselves cast in strange shapes by their shadowsflung upon untutored ground."O'Hagan moves his readers into this territory repeatedly. Jackie's Tale, for ex-ample, is a narrative filled with elements of epic romance, regarded by its telleras gospel truth, while described by the narrator who introduces Jackie (probablya member of Denham's audience) as a tall, and therefore untrue, tale. The genretension here makes interpretation a complex task. The movement from one lit-erary mode to another, the violation of conventional expectations, occurs through-out the novel, showing how each genre and mode reveals a different, incomplete"reality." Tay John refuses the role of god proper to the "myth" of part one.When Denham sees him, he imposes the conventions of epic romance on him:Tay John is not a man, but "Man," victorious over the powers of darkness. Heis a "bronze and golden statue" with shining hair, who faces the dark bear andwins. Tay John, however, despite the fixity of Denham's image of him as a statue,will not stay put. He moves from myth, to epic romance, to realism; escapes ironyby moving into comedy, and finally moves into myth again. But this myth is apeculiarly transitory myth, held in tension with all the major literary modes atonce.4OHAGANWhen Denham first encounters Tay John, Denham says that Tay John has"something of the abstract about him — as though he were a symbol of some sortor other." This is an understatement : Tay John is almost all symbol. One of themany things he stands for is the literary protagonist. He becomes a characterunsuccessfully trying to avoid an author, rather than in search of one. The nexttime Denham sees Tay John, the former god/hero appears shorter; his hair, once"a flame ... to light the hopes of his people" now leaves its "dark stain of oil"on his collar, one of his hands is missing, and his horse has begun to age. Realismhas set in. But he is guiding the beautiful Ardith Aeriola, who wants him to takeher, alone, over the mountains. Tay John has had trouble with beautiful whitewomen before, and resists. Dobble, near whose resort Aeriola is camping, hasfallen for her, and offers Tay John a job, hoping to keep her nearby. Like every-one else, he sees Tay John in literary terms: "Tay John will be a good choice togreet tourists at the train because he is "a man of the country — the sort of thingthey've read about." Denham's response is that first Dobble will have to captureTay John, then "stuff and frame him."Dobble, who is given to taking "a realistic view," is the kind of AmericanGeorge Grant has warned Canadians against becoming. Dobble sees the mystery'of Father Rorty's death only in terms of publicity, is filled with a myopic beliefin progress, blind to the beauty of the inexplicable, and aware of the environ-ment only as object. The murderous reduction of this attitude explains TayJohn's move from god to wooden Indian and from myth to irony, at this lowestpoint in his career, as well as the parallel fate of the native people in the face oftwentieth-century technology. O'Hagan's opinion of the fate of literature in thehands of the "scientific objectivity" proclaimed by naturalism and realism isclearly negative. O'Hagan, however, does not want to move back to belief.When Dobble tries to hire Denham to "take charge" of Yellowhead Lake, theresort, Denham refuses, commenting "I was no god of waters." He, like TayJohn, wants to avoid becoming either a materialist's lackey or a divine being; hetoo wants the full free life of a man.Tay John succeeds in avoiding capture by Dobble. Instead he defends Aeriola'shonour against Dobble, and, by getting the girl, moves into comedy. It is acomedy constrained somewhat by Denham's initial insistence on regarding themove as a defeat. For Denham, thinking in the epic mode, "woman [is] thedeath of heroes and the destruction of heroes' work." His description of TayJohn's "capitulation" is an odd combination of battlefield and erotic St. Valen-tine's imagery:Through the canvas wall of [Aeriola's] tent a lantern hung from the ridge pole,pulsed and glowed, a heart beat in the darkness. I lifted the door flap. Inside oneof the beds spilled a flood of crimson blankets. On its edge Tay John sat, headhanging between his knees. From his brow great drops of blood dripped to theOHAGANfloor, staining it in sudden, separate splotches as if through the white-pine boardsat his feet rosebuds burst and bloomed.Since he is a screen on to which each observer projects his interpretation, TayJohn has a look which remains "enigmatic as a bird's, with no expression [Den-ham] could catch." Of course this doesn't stop Denham from interpreting whathas happened to his own satisfaction.The last report of Tay John comes from a trapper, Blackie, who meets TayJohn dragging Ardith Aeriola's body on a toboggan. Tay John and the trapperpart in a blizzard, and the next day Blackie trails Tay John as far as he can:"He had the feeling, he said, looking down at the tracks, that Tay John hadn'tgone over the pass at all. He had just walked down, the toboggan behind him,under the snow and into the ground." The simple conclusion that Tay John hasprobably frozen to death is not easily permitted by the text, which providespowerful alternatives. The most "realistic" conclusion has to compete with stronginterference from other literary modes. First, the mythic ending balances andechoes the mythic beginning: Tay John is supposedly born out of the earth ofhis pregnant mother's grave. It seems logical that a semi-autochthonous culturehero would return to the earth like this. Further, an earlier report of the couplesuggested that Ardith was pregnant at the time of her death, like Tay John'smother Hanni. This hint of a possible return of the hero, of a cycle, is mythicallyirresistible. Denham's comment that woman is the death of heroes is made pro-phetic, and Aeriola's body, dragged on the toboggan behind Tay John, becomesthe shadow the divine child cried for at the beginning.15 Then, O'Hagan resortsto the grotesque to disrupt the tragic sense of an ending implied by Tay John's"heroic" role, and the pathos implied by the conclusion's extended allusion toDuncan Campbell Scott's sentimental poem "On the Way to the Mission."16Unlike the corpse of the dead Montagnais woman of Scott's poem, whose fea-tures are "as sweet as they were in life," Blackie reports that Aeriola had one eyeopen and one closed: "It was like she winked at me." Unlike many mythiccouples, Tay John and Ardith are not long separated by death, but disappeartogether. The ending's hint of a "marriage," and its hint of a resurrection orcycle, seem comic. No one simple emotion, mode, or interpretation is allowed toprevail.L/Y THE END OF THE NOVEL, its repetition has escalatedbeyond the point that can be called mythic, to the point Ondaatje calls incestu-ous.17 The last six pages of Tay John encapsulate and echo the whole work,giving the vertiginous effect of infinite regression that matches the ending'spromise of a return of myth in each generation. Blackie is, like Denham, a16OHAGANmountain man fond of telling stories. The setting is the strange "unnamed coun-try" that provides the setting for the novel's most mysterious incidents. Blackie'sencounter with Tay John takes place in a howling blizzard which, in a familiarway, confuses the senses. Tay John appears to Blackie like "something spawnedby the mists striving to take form before mortal eyes," and this echoes the magicboy's resurrection/creation by the medicine men: "for three days the wise mensang and shook rattles and blew on the wisps of yellow hair that at times wereso few and thin that they thought they had been deceived and saw nothing andhad nothing between them." Not only does this passage allude to four otherpassages in the book but it also parallels a scene in Joseph Conrad's Heart ofDarkness where Marlow confronts Kurtz, who has crawled away from the ship ;"He rose, unsteady, pale, indistinct, like a vapour exhaled by the earth, andswayed slightly, misty and silent."18 Echoes and allusions like this fill the novelas echoes resound in caves, with an effect similar to the effect created by settingone genre or mode against another. The reader must constantly reconsider.This has not been the only reference to Conrad. To examine the narrative ofparts two and three is immediately to recognize its similarity to those of Con-rad's "Marlow" fictions.19 Denham is, like Marlow in Heart of Darkness, tellingthe story to a group of friends; in the course of his account of his first meetingwith Dobble, he remarks that it was in "this very bar" and complains that noneof his audience of cronies had been present to help him out: "one of you mighthave been there, you know, to give me a hand." Kenneth Bruffee, in his ElegiacRomance: Cultural Change and Loss of the Hero in Modern Fiction argues per-suasively that in novels like Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim Conrad inventeda fictional sub-genre, which Bruffee calls "elegiac romance." The sub-genreincludes such novels as F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Thomas Mann'sDoctor Faustus, and Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire. Bruffee states: "The neces-sary conditions for elegiac romance fiction are the narrator's prolonged heroworship of his friend, and his friend's death before the narrator begins to tell thetale."20 Tay John meets both of these necessary conditions. Tay John is deadbefore the story, at least that part of the story narrated by Jackie, begins. (The"Legend" section and Blackie's conclusion are a "frame" around the "elegiacromance" middle.) Denham regards Tay John as a hero through most of thenovel. And there are many other minor resemblances between Tay John and thenovels examined by Bruffee. But however fruitfully Bruffee's model may beapplied to Tay John, it does differ from the "standard" elegiac romance inseveral important ways. These differences result from O'Hagan's attempt tore-make not only Old World mythology, but also Old World literary genres, tosuit the New World. He is engaged in a process that Robert Kroetsch has arguedis characteristic of recent Canadian fiction. The Old World inheres in the lan-guage of the New; and Canada has a further difficulty with American influ-17О HAGANences. How does a Canadian novel differ from an English or an American one?Kroetsch says that "In recent Canadian fiction the major writers resolve theparadox — the painful tension of appearance [of being English or American]and authenticity — by the radical process of demythologizing the systems thatthreaten to define them. Or, more comprehensively, they uninvent the world."21Denham, like the typical narrator of Bruffee's elegiac romance "undermines theinfluence of the failed institutions he carries within him."22 He, "confronted bya complexly rooted resistance to change in himself, and by a surrounding cul-tural, social and political milieu undergoing profound, irresistible changes...sets out to create something new, a self adaptable to the new needs of a newworld, a self that can live wihout heroes."23 Although Denham knows the land-scape "better than he knew the lines of the wide calloused palm of his hand,"he has more trouble mapping his intellectual structures on to a resistant society.He, like Bruffee's narrators, has a "European mind"24 and spends the novel over-coming a kind of culture shock that overcomes even the "Canadian-born" whoconfront a wilderness armed (the expression itself is telling) only with a Euro-pean education. Denham must learn to change the European attitude that seesnature (and the associated women, native people and indeed, reality itself) asobjects to be mastered by male heroes. Generally, in elegiac romance, the hero'sdeath is announced early in the narrative, as its inspiration. Thus the story takesa "contrapuntal" form, combining the narrator's recollection of events with hisreflections on them.25 Tay John, however, leaves the story of the disappearanceof Tay John and Ardith Aeriola to the novel's end. Denham, unlike the elegiacromance narrator, nowhere singles out the death as his inspiration, comments onits effect on him, or states his desire to memorialize his hero. Nowhere does heexplicitly contrast his feelings at the time of a particular event with a later rein-terpretation. A partial explanation for this divergence from the form is that TayJohn's death as a hero for Denham occurs before Tay John's actual death.During Denham's last encounter with Tay John, Dobble's men attack Tay John.Of the fury of the workers, Denham says: "That fury would pull him down,change his shape, make him one with those who fought against him. He stoodalone, above them. . . . They didn't get him down." Here, clearly, Denham stillsees Tay John as exceptional and heroic. Later, at Aeriola's tent, however, it isas if she and Denham struggled for possession of the hero: "It was as though histhick shoulders between us were in dispute." She wins. Woman is the death ofheroes. Denham backs away and leaves early the next morning. In Jasper, al-though he hears rumours of trouble at Lucerne, he says his "interest was notsufficient to hold me in the small mountain town" and he proceeds to Edmon-ton, where he rather predictably goes on a binge.Significantly, what Denham had found most heroic in Tay John during theencounter at the creek was his appearance (projected, it seems safe to say, by18OHAGANDenham) of certainty: "At least he had no doubts — this other man. No doubtabout himself." Later Denham remarks: "He did the one thing, the only thinghe could have done, and did it well." Although theoretically, Denham promotesdoubt: "when we doubt we begin to learn," at the time he encounters Tay Johnhe longs for certainty. He wants clear heroes, clear enemies, and clear-cut vic-tories. He had wanted to kill a bear himself: he had "sometimes dreamed of —of meeting a bear one day close up, hand to hand so to speak, and doing it in.An epic battle: man against the wilderness." Although he cannot participatedirectly in the battle between Tay John and the bear he does so vicariously,calling out "Yellowhead," "Yellowhead," and explaining "I had to give him aname so that I could help him — morally, you know. I had to align him withthe human race." He quickly attributes evil qualities to the bear, calling thefight a "struggle against the powers of darkness," and a victory for mankind. Hisformulation of the story is a parallel victory, produced after he finds his wayback to camp through darkness "black as the inside of a bear."Tay John's version of events is never given, but it seems clear that his versionand Denham's would probably differ as radically as do their cultures. In Den-ham's culture, the killing of big game is a proof of male prowess, and of man'sdomination over nature. Tay John, however, appears to fight the bear becausehe is cornered by her, just as she appears to attack him because of her nearbycubs and because she too feels trapped. After he kills her he cuts her head offand places it in a tree, according to a native custom recounted in the novel, inorder to show respect for her spirit.26 However he may have seen the fight, itwould certainly not have been as a struggle against the powers of darkness, sincethe bear is his "guardian spirit." Denham's projection clearly takes a literaryform (he describes the event as "like a play being put on for my benefit") aswell as fulfilling a psychological or moral need. His "gospel" contains all theelements needed to reveal it as a wish-fulfilment fantasy and a literary construct,as indeed, does O'Hagan's novel at a more sophisticated level.1 Ν THE ELEGIAC ROMANCE, the narrator often comes to termswith the weaknesses in himself that led him to worship another — another whomay indeed have been mainly his own creation. Denham, during his last appear-ance in the novel, is talking to Inspector Wiggins, who wonders why Aeriola wasattracted to "a half-breed fellow with yellow hair." Denham replies: "Perhapsas good a man as she's met," and then later comments, "Tay John, her guide,was at her side, a man no better or worse than the others, but different." Inter-estingly, he has not only accepted that Tay John belongs to common humanity(being as good as, but not, as a hero must be, better than other men), but alsoOHAGANdefends a union he had previously disliked. Yet he never comments on how hisown viewpoint has shifted.Nor is it clear that Denham ever comes to comprehend entirely that opposites,light and dark, life and death, male and female, could have a co-operative aswell as an antagonistic relationship. Perhaps this explains why the narrative ishanded over to the suggestively named Blackie, who is, incidentally, fascinatedby "hybrid creatures." Certainly Blackie's narrative resolves some of the prob-lems posed by Denham's vision of a polarized and antagonistic world. Anotherexplanation for the shift in narrators, so close to the novel's end as to have beenseen as a weakness by Ondaatje,27 is again to make the reader aware that allnarration is incomplete, and that stories exist independently of their authors.Certainly the shift from the omniscient narrator of "Legend" to Jackie's far lessunified narrative, to Blackie's short and inconclusive account, parallels the novel'smove from certainty to doubt. The headings of part 2, "Hearsay" and part 3,"Evidence without a Finding" also parallel this movement.This is not to say that O'Hagan turns to radical irony. He wants us to believein doubt, to make myths while understanding that they are of necessity inade-quate, and will be replaced by the versions of others. Thus there are passages inDenham's account which echo the oracular voice of the first part, which areintended to promote O'Hagan's world view.28 These passages usually reveal a riftbetween Denham's theoretical understanding of the transitoriness and incomplete-ness of human understanding, and his emotional desire to see his heroic versionof Tay John's story as truth. Yet Denham's acceptance that Tay John has a lifeoutside Denham's version of it is not the final focus of the story. Blackie's tale isseparate from the main narrative because it is O'Hagan's myth, the myth that isto replace the myths of gods and heroes, however temporarily. Myth does notdie. The heroic myth may be replaced by Dobble's "publicity" and turned toselling goods instead of imposing a hierarchical authority, it may become implicit,rather than explicit, but it does not ever disappear. O'Hagan wants to showreaders how myth is made, and how it rules us, even though we make it, and toargue that if we are going to be ruled by myths we should make them as liberat-ing and beneficial in their effects as possible. Thus, this is a New World myth,egalitarian, popular, practical, peaceful, agnostic. In that it rejects both Dobble'sAmerican and materialistic realism, and Denham's Anglo-Irish and aristocraticromance, it is also specifically Canadian.So far the underside of myth, its failures, its reductive violence, have beenstressed. Myth's power comes, however, as much from its capacity to direct andassuage human desires, and from its beauty, as from its effectiveness in controllingand exploiting. O'Hagan sets up a loose series of analogies to try to convey thesimultaneous pleasure and pain ( or Beauty and violence, as Father Rorty explainsit of myth-making.) Its violence is like economic exploitation, like territorial20OHAGANconquest, like the Crucifixion, like rape. Its beauty is like striking gold, likereaching the Promised Land, like Divine Revelation, like orgasm. Not all of theseanalogies are given equal emphasis: the two that receive the most developmentare the religious and the sexual.The resolution of opposites found in the conclusion takes the form of a "mar-riage" and concludes the battle of the sexes that forms much of the action of thenovel.29 Woman's allure is closely associated with the unknown, assaulted con-stantly by men eager for revelation. Thus sexual assaults parallel other assaults onthe ideal. Denham comments on the river valley where he first encountered TayJohn : "A new mountain valley leads a man on like that — like a woman he hasnever touched." Here is virgin territory, and the consummation of the relation-ship, the violation, comes in language: "It is physically exhausting to look onunnamed country. A name is the magic to keep it within the horizons. Put aname to it, put it on a map, and you've got it." Here is O'Hagan, staking out hisintellectual territory with a new myth, here is the surveyor, mapping the land-scape in order to exploit it, here is Denham calling "Yellowhead." But the finalityof the "you've got it" is quickly undermined.30 The unique ideal, seen, touched,possessed, turns to common stereotype :His common experience tells him it [the mountain valley] will be much like theothers he knows — a canyon to go through, a meadowland or two, some forest,and its head up against a mountain or trickling from a grimy glacier. Yet he stillgoes up it hoping vaguely for some revelation.The orgasm of "revelation" becomes post-coital guilt; "grime" sullies the ideal,much as Tay John's longing fingers smudged the kitschy pin-up in McLeod'scabin. (The "kitschiness" of the pin-up is O'Hagan's comment on the ideal as areduction of reality. ) The rise and fall of desire and disillusionment form a viciouscircle. Only recognition of its unproductive nature can lead to escape, and thatescape can only be into a new myth, which will ultimately itself prove unsatis-factory.The tension between ideal and stereotype, two sides of the same debased coin,comes forward again and again. For example, the greenhorn Mountie Porter issent out to bring Tay John to a hearing. He sees Tay John as the stereotypical"mad trapper" of adventure novels: "Here was the chance for him to do thekind of thing he had read about — like a story in Chums, chasing a half-breedhunter through the mountains." For Porter, the coin flips quickly; on his return,he "implied that, as a result of his two days on the trail with Tay John, life forhim had taken an entirely new turn. The hidden was now revealed." This farcicalrepetition of various more serious, if equally suspect, encounters with the un-known, undercuts them all.Women are more obviously stereotyped or idealized in the novel than men.Dobble compares Ardith to the stars until she rejects him; then he calls her "a21О HAGANrailroader's tart." For Denham, naturally, she is Woman. Mounted PoliceInspector Wiggins compares her to a "piece of bad meat," while his SergeantFlaherty, a married man almost impervious to her beauty, describes her in quitehomely and domestic terms. Virgin, whore, wife, or wise old woman: these arethe roles available. Yet, despite the firm narrative focus on their cleavages, bothJulia Alderson and Ardith Aeriola are shown to be wiser than the men aroundthem. Julia asks ultimate, unanswerable questions. When she and Tay John gooff hunting, she is described as "a brown-headed girl searching for something shehad lost." When she returns, her face resembles "the face of an old woman inrepose" in contrast to her husband's which "was like the head collared withcanvas at a country fair at which the customers shy wooden balls." She at leastis on a quest to answer an important question, whatever one makes of her accusa-tion that Tay John "impose[d] himself" on her, and her later retraction of it.31Father Rorty says that Ardith is "a more spiritual woman than I a man. ..."The battle of the sexes is graphically represented. Just as each encounterbetween the story-teller and the story is seen as analogous to a violent male-femaleencounter, so the novel can be seen as a series of such encounters. For Tay John,encounters with Shwat, with the female grizzly, with Timberlake's mare, withJulia Alderson, with Ardith Aeriola, all end in violence. The women feel violated,the grizzly is killed, and the mare lost in a river. Tay John is beaten, clawed, cutsoff his own hand, and is hauled before a police inquiry. The violence and muti-lation indicate the inevitable violence done to reality by language, but also theviolence done to human beings by myth. The violence is generally aimed at thosewho are commonly equated, like Indians, and women, with nature rather thanculture.The nature-culture battle is reflected in what happens to the Rorty brothers.Their sky god is at war with a shadowy earth mother of mystery, sensuality, anddarkness, what D. G. Jones calls in his account of the novel, the "Dionysianworld of women."32 Red Rorty is crucified by women because of his violation ofa sexual taboo. Father Rorty dies fleeing Aeriola, seeking a divine revelation toprotect him from a human one. Significantly, the tree on which he is found is atype called locally a "school-marm tree." That both men die with their feet welloff the ground is emphasized. Neither one can deal with women; each flees into amisguided search for "truth." Tay John, however, emerges from the feminineearth, and when he descends into it, he takes Ardith, a woman, with him.Part of Tay John's quest for the full free life of a man appears to have been aquest for a woman. Red Rorty's sexual crime, Father Rorty's celibacy, theShuswap's refusal to let Tay John marry are all symptoms of a fear and mis-understanding of women —• a misunderstanding that Denham and even TayJohn appear to share. When Tay John tries to move into the white world, hisfirst major desire is for Timberlake's mare, which he wins only at the cost of a22О HAGANhand. She runs away, and Tay John trails her, finally losing her while swimmingacross a river. When he reappears, guiding the Aldersons, he is riding a gelding.And the white way of life that the Aldersons represent would ultimately geldhim, as Dobble's parallel attempt to "stuff and frame" him makes clear. Dobble'spathetic aphrodisiac, the "Aphrodine Girdle" carries the theme of sterility andimpotence further. Neither the rigid taboo-bound world of the religious, nor thewhite world of progress is a fertile ground : not for Tay John, not for writers, andnot, O'Hagan implies, for human beings.M,LALE AND FEMALE MEET and complement each other,however, in the characters of Tay John and Ardith Aeriola. This is emphasizedby O'Hagan's descriptions of them: her hair is dark, his fair, but they share apeculiar line on their brows. They share an attitude to the conventional, too:Each of them... in manners distinct, stalked the boundaries of society withoutever fully entering. They had that in common. They had in common, too, theobedience to impulse, seizing the precarious promise of the moment as a troutwill seize a fly, opposed to the rest of us whose security is the measure of ourdenials.Ardith has been made into a "kept woman"; she owes her apparent freedomand wealth to "the Canadian man of railways." She, like Dobble, tries to controlTay John by hiring him. He resists, and makes no attempt to possess her. Finallythey flee together, their relationship uncontaminated by the mutual violence thatmarks most encounters in the novel. The freedom they attain is tenuous, however,possible only beyond the borders of "civilization."Despite the fragility of their freedom, and its brevity, they create a new myth.At the centre of it is not the shining male figure, combatting, as Tay John foughtthe nursing she-bear, a "monster" symbolic of feminine mystery, fecundity, andthreat, but a fertile couple, with what Inspector Wiggins describes as "a workingarrangement." And if the mythic cycle follows the pattern set by Tay John's ownbirth, the hero/ine of the new myth that will be resurrected by those who seekone will be the child of Ardith Aeriola and Tay John, a mixture of her obscureCentral European past, and his Irish-Indian heritage: a new Canadian. Myth,therefore, in O'Hagan's creation, is not immemorial, immutable, and universal,but flexible, time-bound, and appropriate to its setting.Of course, given the novel's theoretical assumptions, the myth underminesitself. Myth is collective, as Denham emphasizes in noting that he is not the"author" of Tay John's story, which exists "independently," mainly in the localbars. An individual writer can produce a mythic story, but, strictly speaking, onlya group can make it into myth. The extent to which O'Hagan's myth seems23OHAGAN"ahead of its time" is the extent to which it remains outside of myth proper. ThatTay John and Ardith Aeriola can survive only at the edges of society, and of arough, frontier society at that, is an indication of how far O'Hagan's myth wasfrom the society he worked in as a writer. In elevating the illicit relationship of a"half-breed" and a Central European "whore," O'Hagan elevates two who wouldinevitably be the centre of racist, sexist, and moralist discrimination in Canada,even today.He is also flouting the dogmas of "Imperial" criticism in creating a colonialmyth. Denham trails behind him into virgin territory the whole European literaryheritage, the dreadful burden of the colonial writer. Yet it proves fruitful. Hesupplies from local materials those things identified as lacking by critics likeRupert Brooke. Indigenous popular genres — myth, legend, the tall tale, gossip,rumour, and hearsay — form the text, which buries its references to "high"culture in allusions and echoes that are not essential for its comprehension. AndO'Hagan single-handedly moves an indigenous myth through all the genres con-sidered essential for a "proper" literary history: myth, epic, romance, tragedy,comedy, the novel.33 He not only turns from "high" to "low" cultural forms, buthe produces an egalitarian myth: Tay John is "as good as" other men at thenovel's end, although Denham, an aristocrat of sorts, as an Anglo-Irish remit-tance man, must come to terms with this egalitarianism gradually.Despite these "victories" over old ideologies, the survival of the myth is proble-matic. After all, the defeat of Dobble is temporary. He was only forty years aheadof his time and the capitalist "development" of the region that pushed Tay Johnout of context after context would proceed inexorably, its reductive vision trans-forming the environment to object. Tay John and Ardith are pushed, not only tothe fringes of space, but to the most "precarious" point in time: the presentmoment. Here Terry Eagleton's comments on the relationship of Catherine andHeathcliff in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights seem applicable :Their love remains an unhistorical essence which fails to enter into concrete exis-tence and can do so, ironically, only in death... . Catherine and Heathcliff's lovethen is pushed to the periphery by society itself, projected into myth.34Similarly, given social forces, neither Tay John nor Ardith Aeriola can enterhistory, despite the power of the mythic resolution their love represents. AndO'Hagan's myth is inevitably marked by the forces he attempts to combat. Theidentification of women in the novel with everything that is not conventionally"male" leaves the woman outside, and out of power. The men represent thesubject, culture, reason, while women are primarily objects and bodies, associatedwith the mysterious "reality" that men must try to possess and comprehend. Thisrepresentation can be defended as a reflection of the social relations of the period.But even the idealized freedom that O'Hagan's final myth presents is problematic.24OHAGANArdith is "freed" only to become part of another male myth, where she does thecooking, and depends on Tay John for survival. And economic forces still imposethemselves in this remote, barely touched wilderness. Even Tay John's ability tolive off the land is legislated, since Sergeant Flaherty could have arrested him forhunting out of season. Denham can produce his satiric account of Dobble, free ofthe usual fears and restraints, precisely because he is economically "free." He notonly has the self-assurance of his birth, but also its economic power, in the formof quarterly remittances that lift him, if only temporarily, out of the power of thelocal economy and its employer-employee relationships. It is easy for him toregard Tay John as a noble savage, because, unlike the guides and cooks andtrappers of the novel, he is not in direct competition with Tay John for a living.Clearly, the full free life of a man or a woman is an unrealizable ideal : Denhamcomments that "Freedom, for most of us, brief, evading precise definition, is onlythe right to seek a further bondage."Certainly Tay John dies bound, not free: bound to mortality and humanity.His love for Aeriola kills him, as her love for him, her pregnancy, has presumablykilled her. And so O'Hagan himself is forced into bondage. But his is the bondageof the escape artist, of a mental traveller who moves from place to place, adapt-ing himself to his context, who continues to seek and wonder, accepting that hespeaks "in the country of illusion" :Then we cry, we of the West, we Westerners, we who have come here to sitbelow the mountains — for your Westerner is not only the man born here, blind,unknowing, dropped by his mother upon the ground, but also one who came withhis eyes open, passing other lands upon the way — Give us new earth we ciy;new places, that we may see our shadows shaped in forms that man has neverseen before.For O'Hagan, the future is not simply determined by the past. In the precariouspresent, the moment of action, of "promise," clarity of vision can create a newand perhaps less oppressive myth.NOTESAn earlier version of this paper was delivered at the Association for Canadian andQuebec Literatures meeting, Guelph, Ontario, in June 1984. I thank Dan Mac-Lulich for his helpful comments on that paper, and Nelson Smith and Susan Gingellfor theirs on a later version.1 Rupert Brooke, Letters from America (New York: Charles Scribners' Sons,I9i7h P· !56·2 See The Search for English-Canadian Literature, ed. & intro. Carl Ballstadt(Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1975), pp. xxxii-xxxv.3 I found this extremely apposite quotation from George Grant, Technology andEmpire (Toronto: Anansi, 1969, p. 17 )in Leslie Monkman's discussion of TayJohn in his A Native Heritage (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1981), p. 44;perhaps this lament is partly a reaction to Grant's paternal grandfather's prosaic25OHAGANaccount, in Ocean to Ocean, 1873, of the Sanford Fleming Expedition's crossingof the Tête Jaune Pass in 1872.4 Rev. of Howard O'Hagan's The School-Marm Tree, Quill & Quire 44, No. 6(1978), p· 36·5 Leslie Armour and Elizabeth Trott, "George Grant," in The Oxford Companionto Canadian Literature (Toronto: Oxford, 1983), p. 317.β Howard O'Hagan, Τ ay John (1939; rpt. : Toronto: McClelland & Stewart,1974), pp. 166-67; all further references are to this edition.7 Adrian Cunningham, in his "Myth, Ideology and Levi-Strauss : The Problem ofthe Genesis Story in the Nineteenth Century," in The Story of Myth: Six Studies,ed. Adrian Cunningham (London: Sheed & Ward, 1973), 132-76, outlines theproblems of definition surrounding the terms myth and ideology; see also JorgeLarrain, The Concept of Ideology (London: Hutchinson, 1979), pp. 130-71.8 Howard O'Hagan, "The White Horse," in The Woman Who Got on at JasperStation and Other Stories (Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1977), p. 56.9 O'Hagan, "White Horse," p. 65; Derrida's comments on the connection betweenproper names and violence in De la grammatologie (Paris: Minuit, 1967), pp.164-68 inform this section.10 For information on Shuswap customs, and religion, see James B. Brow, Shuswapof Canada (New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area File, 1972) and JamesTeit, The Shuswap, 1909 (rpt. ed. New York: AMS Press, 1975), the latter anaccount of journeys made between 1887 and 1904. Ralph Maud's A Guide toB.C. Indian Myth and Legend: A Short History of Myth-Collecting and a Surveyof Published Texts (Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1982) is a useful bibliographicalguide.11 Michael Ondaatje, "Howard O'Hagan and 'The Rough-Edged Chronicle' " inThe Canadian Novel in the Twentieth Century, ed. George Woodcock (Toronto:McClelland & Stewart, 1975), pp. 276-77.12 O'Hagan acknowledges his discovery of the Tsimshian myth in Diamond Jenness'The Indians of Canada (Ottawa: King's Printer, 1932), pp. 197-99; the TêteJaune legend is fully discussed in John Grierson MacGregor's Overland by theYellowhead (Saskatoon: Western Producer, 1974), p. 1, 26-27 an<^ following.Tête Jaune, according to MacGregor, an Iroquois, Pierre Hatsinaton, whomoved west with the fur trade, was said to have "discovered" the YellowheadPass in 1823, and was finally murdered by local natives. Although O'Hagan'sversion of the legend seems to be an adaptation, I have no idea which of theseveral versions of this legend he knew.13 Jenness, p. 199.14 I am grateful to Michael Taft, editor of Tall Tales of British Columbia (Victoria,B.C.: Provincial Archives of British Columbia, 1983), for my information on talltales. Sidehill gougers are animals that have evolved lopsided so as to be able torun around mountains more easily.15 Ondaatje, p. 279.16 D. G. Jones, Butterfly on Rock (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1970), p. 50.17 Ondaatje, p. 278.18 Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, ed. Robert Kimbrough (New York: Norton,1971), p. 66.26OHAGAN19 Ondaatje, p. 277; see also Gary Geddes, "The Writer that CanLit Forgot,"Saturday Night, November 1977, p. 86.20 Kenneth Bruffee, Elegiac Romance: Cultural Change and Loss of the Hero inModern Fiction (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press, 1983), p. 51.21 Robert Kroetsch, "Unhiding the Hidden: Recent Canadian Fiction," in Cana-dian Novelists and the Novel, ed. Douglas Daymond and Leslie Monkman,(Ottawa: Borealis, 1981), p. 239.22 Bruffee, p. 66.23 Bruffee, p. 66.24 Bruffee, p. 66.25 Bruffee, p. 51.26 See Τ ay John, p. 31 ; according to Brow, "the [totem or guardian] spirits onlybrought good to their owners" (p. 133). According to Teit, "Respect was shownto animals to please them and to ensure good luck in the chase. When a bear waskilled the hunter sang the grizzly or black bear song, as the case might be andprayed. . . . Before the hunter returned to camp he painted his face all black withcharcoal. . . . Then the people knew he had killed a bear. He himself never told,for the bear would be angry if he boasted. .. . Skulls of all bears killed were raisedon the tops of tall poles" (p. 602).27 Ondaatje, p. 283.28 Ondaatje, p. 279.29 This point deserves more attention than I can give it here. In a sense the wholenovel is a repetition of the same violent incident, worked out at various meta-phorical levels. Story-telling is to rape is to economic exploitation is to explorationand naming is to. ...30 As Denham points out, "Possession is a great surrender" (p. 113). For more onmetaphor in a new world see Annette Kolodny's "Honing a Habitable Land-scape: Women's Images for the New World Frontiers" in Women and Languagein Literature and Society, ed. Sally McConnell-Ginet, and others (New York:Praeger, 1980), pp. 188-204. Women did not use the metaphor of rape to describetheir encounter with the new world.31 Susan Gingell pointed out to me that there is a parallel between Julia Aldersonand Adela Quested of E. M. Forster's A Passage to India (1924). Both womenseem to have been so overwhelmed by the impact of a foreign culture, landscape,and male "guide" that they can articulate it only in terms of sexual violation.32 Jones, p. 71.33 References to this order are common in early Canadian criticism; see, for ex-ample, Sara Jeannette Duncan "Saunterings," The Week, 3 (30 Sept. 1886), p.107. In 1916, Alfred Baker, in his Presidential Address to the Royal Society ofCanada, "Canada's Intellectual Status and Intellectual Needs," comments regret-fully "We are scarcely ingenuous enough to write Sagas. ..." Proceedings andTransactions of the Royal Society of Canada, 3rd ser. 10 (1916), app. A, p.LXIV. The "correct" pattern, of course, was the Old World one.34 Terry Eagleton, Myths of Power: A Marxist Study of the Brontes (London:Macmillan, 1975), p. 109.27


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