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Labour and literature in the 'West beyond the West' Diotte, Mark Vincent 2012

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LABOUR AND LITERATURE IN THE ‘WEST BEYOND THE WEST’ by Mark Diotte Master of Arts, Simon Fraser University 2006 Bachelor of Arts, Simon Fraser University 2003  A DISSERTATION SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in The Faculty of Graduate Studies (English) The University of British Columbia (Vancouver) March 2012  © Mark Diotte 2012  Abstract  The literature of British Columbia and the study of labour therein have been largely ignored in academic criticism. I address this deficiency by foregrounding labour in the prose literature of British Columbia as well as the significance of British Columbia literature itself. My introductory literature review demarcates the field, situates the authors and texts I take up, and points to the general importance of such a study. Chapter two begins by analyzing the male-dominant labour narrative in Bertrand Sinclair’s The Inverted Pyramid and Roderick Haig-Brown’s On the Highest Hill and Timber—each focused on the theme of logging. Rather than an overarching argument, the section on Sinclair addresses many concepts, including Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of fields, a connection between environmental conservationism and loggers, and a cooperative economic model that opposes capitalism. Likewise, in Haig-Brown I focus on his treatment of danger in the logging industry, the oft-forgotten history of Canada’s national parks, the way that language connects people to nature, and the presence of homosocial and homosexual relationships in logging. My project shifts in chapter three from logging to orcharding and from novels to three works of creative non-fiction by Harold Rhenisch: Out of the Interior: The Lost Country, Tom Thomson’s Shack, and The Wolves at Evelyn: Journeys through a Dark Century. Operating out of a site of tension and contradiction, Rhenisch resists what he sees as the dominant discourses in the Interior of British Columbia. In my fourth chapter I return to novels but move from a study of manual labour to white collar labour. Here the phrase “white collar” becomes an analytical lens to view labour stratification, exploitation, authorship, sexism, and agency in Douglas Coupland’s JPod, Robert Harlow’s Scann, and Jen Sookfong Lee’s the end of east. In chapter five, I conclude by using Daphne Marlatt’s novel Ana Historic as a way to reflect on the positions of chapters two through four. Marlatt’s criticism of male dominant conceptions of history and patriarchal systems of power illuminates the texts I have taken up and reveals possibilities for further analysis, debate, and discussion.  ii  Table of Contents  Abstract ............................................................................................................................ ii Table of Contents.......................................................................................................... iii List of Figures ..................................................................................................................v Acknowledgements ...................................................................................................... vi Dedication ....................................................................................................................... vi 1. Introduction..................................................................................................................1 “Digging Up” The Literature of British Columbia.......................................................3 Aggregates and Chapters ..........................................................................................27 Paths Not Travelled.....................................................................................................40 2. Literary Representations of the Logging Industry: The Novels of Bertrand Sinclair and Roderick Haig-Brown .........................................................54 Bertrand Sinclair ..........................................................................................................61 The Field of Power in The Inverted Pyramid .......................................................66 Rod Norquay.............................................................................................................72 Shifts in Realism ......................................................................................................79 Sinclair’s Economic Vision .....................................................................................90 Roderick Haig-Brown ..................................................................................................96 Dangerous Conditions and National Parks..........................................................99 Haig-Brown and the Environmental Text ...........................................................116 Friendship and Homosexuality in Timber ..........................................................130 Reflections on the Logging Industry in Literature .................................................138 3. Discourses of Resistance: The Object of the Interior in the Creative Non-Fiction of Harold Rhenisch..............................................................................150 Education and Rural Alienation ...............................................................................164 Selling the Interior......................................................................................................175 A Discursive Place-Based Identity..........................................................................193 Reflections on the Resource Economy..................................................................206 4. Literary Representations of White Collar Labour ..........................................215 Douglas Coupland’s JPod........................................................................................221 Tactics of Resistance ............................................................................................232 Robert Harlow’s Scann .............................................................................................243 Jen Sookfong Lee’s the end of east .......................................................................262 Power and Oppression Within the Family..........................................................270 Reflections on White Collar Labour ........................................................................277  iii  5. Conclusion: Refractions through Daphne Marlatt’s Ana Historic.............282 Ana Historic: A New Angle on the Logging Narrative ..........................................285 Daphne Marlatt, Harold Rhenisch and the Inscription of History .......................301 Ana Historic and White Collar Labour ....................................................................310 Concluding Remarks.................................................................................................316 Works Cited ..................................................................................................................320  iv  List of Figures  Figure 1: Logs being loaded onto rail cars................................................................102 Figure 2: A logging crane about to load a log onto a rail car. ................................103 Figure 3: A yarder using a skyline to bring logs to the landing. .............................104 Figure 4: An example of a wooden spar, steel rigging, and donkey engine loading logs onto a waiting flatcar. ............................................................105  v  Acknowledgements Thank you, first of all, Sherrill Grace, for being an inspiring role model and supporting me every step of the way. Your constant and consistent support and attention to detail made this project possible. Thank you also to Chris Lee for showing me the moments where realism both succeeds and fails as well as for helping me out of various, and many, theoretical quandaries. Thank you to Margery Fee for catching my mistakes, being a lateral thinker, and always making suggestions that kept me excited to be doing what I was doing. It was an honour to have the support and insight of Dr. Misao Dean, Dr. Bob MacDonald, Dr. Glenn Deer and Dr. Ralph Sarkonak during my Final Oral Examination. My dissertation has become better through their questions and suggestions. I am indebted to Laurie Ricou for the idea of a dissertation on labour. Both BC Studies and Canadian Literature have supported me in the project by allowing me to write reviews and learn more about the province of British Columbia. Everyone in the Special Collections division of the library deserves credit for helping me find the information I needed. A special note of gratitude goes to David Stouck for putting me on the path of the literature of British Columbia during my undergraduate years as well as for introducing me to masculinity studies. Thank you also to Geoff Madoc-Jones for introducing me to Peter Trower whose poetry started me writing. I have great appreciation for the University of British Columbia English department for funding my research and for SSHRC who supported the fourth year of this study. Finally, I thank my dedicated friends and colleagues, Genvieve Gagne-Hawes, Sarah Crover and Mike Borkent for listening and for providing much needed respite from work at our Friday summits.  Dedication vi  To Laura, first and foremost, for enduring, and hopefully enjoying at times, this path less travelled, and for making all the difference. This dissertation could not have been completed without your support and that of the full cast of friends and family that have stood behind us these many, many, years.  vii  1. Introduction  Archaeologists are always longing for the complete story, but they have to work with fragments and holes . . . . But history is full of holes. At least 40 per cent of it is holes. In the old days the holes would have been seen as lapses, as gaps, as something that needed filling up, to make continuity. Now when we read history we read the holes as part of history. I don’t know says a historian, and we don’t mark him down 60 per cent any more. Historians are something like archaeologists now. They spend more of their time reading. —George Bowering, Bowering’s B.C.: A Swashbuckling History, 1996, 24.  At first, it might seem unusual to begin a dissertation about literature with a quotation about history and archaeology. Yet, history forms an important part of my work on representations of labour in the literature of British Columbia, and Michel Foucault’s concept of archaeology is part of my theoretical framework. In these ways, Bowering’s words are entirely appropriate. More important, though, are Bowering’s words about fragments, holes, and the attempt to grapple with “the whole.” He explains how Canadian writer Robert Kroetsch came along and “said that now novelists are a lot like archaeologists [and that] . . . writers nowadays are more like archaeologists because they admit they are working with fragments, with holes between the fragments” (23-24). The  1  tension between “longing for the complete story” and the necessity of working in terms of “fragments” and “holes” is a pressure implicit in writing a dissertation. There is always a tension between the attempt to showcase a mastery of a particular field and the impossibility of doing so. Like the earlier archaeologists, novelists, and historians, I long to write the complete story, while being forced to work both with particular fragments (the books in question) and to write in fragments surrounded by holes—being unable to tell the “whole” story. My particular fragment begins with the dominant, perhaps hegemonic, maledominated, racially-biased labour narrative of British Columbia—a narrative that despite its often blatant sexism and racism, maintains a strong presence in twenty-first century British Columbia. It is a narrative predicated on the colonial ideology and settler economy of British Columbia. I begin in chapter two with a study of novels that represent logging. In particular, I examine The Inverted Pyramid (1924) by Bertrand Sinclair as well as Timber (1942) and On the Highest Hill (1949) by Roderick Haig-Brown. In chapter three I shift to the creative non-fiction of Harold Rhenisch to study Out of the Interior: The Lost Country (1993), Tom Thomson’s Shack (2000), and The Wolves at Evelyn: Journeys Through a Dark Century (2006). I move away from the dominant narrative slightly in chapter four in my exploration of Douglas Coupland’s JPod (2006), Robert Harlow’s Scann (1972), and Jen Sookfong Lee’s the end of east (2008). In the conclusion, chapter five, I begin to critique aspects of the dominant narrative by using Daphne Marlatt’s Ana Historic (1988) as a critical lens through which to “re-view” the texts already discussed. Faced with narratives that seem to reproduce or insufficiently challenge the dominant labour structure, I have tried to indicate or work in concert with  2  feminist and postcolonial approaches when possible, though postcolonial and feminist concepts do not form the core of my study. By offering a rigorous, historical approach, I show how the dominant narrative functions, and I highlight the positive criticisms these authors offer from within this narrative. I do this in order to lay a foundation for further work and criticism that explicitly engages with feminist, postcolonial, and critical race theory based challenges to the dominant labour narrative.  “Digging Up” The Literature of British Columbia  It is worth restating that while certain aspects of my longing to tell the whole story of British Columbia literature remain in this study, this is, emphatically, not the project at hand. If such a project of literary history in British Columbia is possible, then it is the project of Alan Twigg who begins First Invaders with Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver who, in 1703, sails “to a land of giants called Brobdingnag,” an area “north of New Albion” that is “roughly approximate to the locale of British Columbia” (18). Yet Twigg’s map starts even earlier with the possibility that the Chinese monk Hui Shen visited a land he called “Fusang, Fu-Sang or Fou Sang” that “was often included on European maps during the 18th century in areas that have roughly approximated the location of Vancouver Island” (22). Twigg’s three-volume Literary Origins of British Columbia, including First Invaders, Aboriginality and Thompson’s Highway, is remarkable for its depth and attention to detail. Something of a chronicle in nature, Twigg’s project of charting every mention of British Columbia is not the type of literature review I have embarked on here. However, the attempts of those writers who have sought in some way to theorize British  3  Columbia literature, to elaborate what it means as a coherent body of literature and identify predominant characteristics, are relevant to this project and worth bearing in mind. In some cases, writers have only located particular authors as “British Columbian”; yet such an identification of who might be included or excluded is a necessary step in generating a theory that explains British Columbia literature. In creating an account of British Columbia literature by recognizing and exploring its patterns, themes, authors, boundaries, and limitations, as well as by providing reasons for its unique existence, I see many of these authors engaged in the act of theorization. Where these attempts intersect with the subject of labour they delimit my research area by demonstrating what has already been done and by opening up new lines of inquiry. For a thematic or interpretive theorization of British Columbia literature, the starting point seems to be the essay “Present Literary Activity in British Columbia” written by R.W. Douglas in 1919. Douglas focuses on bolstering the reputation of British Columbia writers and writing, although most of the authors he mentions have been forgotten or dropped from the record. Typical of his short article is the “claim that no other province has produced more or better prose or poetry than the Far West, and I also believe that it is likely to maintain the lead which it has gained” (46). The idea that develops through these remarks is the divide between British Columbia and the rest of Canada. The reference to the “Far West,” even at this early date, indicates the popular conception of the Canadian west as ending with Alberta and the prairie provinces. British Columbia needs a title or imagined construction as a place, identity, or “west” that is beyond the west of Alberta—a theme which gains prominence throughout the twentieth century.1 Indeed, Edward A. McCourt introduces The Canadian West in Fiction (1949)  4  with the qualification that “[i]t may be objected to that the title, The Canadian West in Fiction, is inaccurate since the most westerly province of all is not included in the discussion” (vi). Despite his focus on Frederick Niven, a writer often claimed for British Columbia, McCourt goes on to say in his introduction that “British Columbia is a world apart from the prairies: regional unity begins in Kenora and ends in the foothills. To the native of the prairies Alberta is the far West; British Columbia the near East” (vi). In short, McCourt fails to account for British Columbia in his study of western-Canadian literature because he cannot imaginatively or critically consider it the westernmost province of Canada. If there is a pattern to early literary examinations of British Columbia, it is this production and reproduction of the idea of British Columbia’s separation and isolation from the Canadian nation. Critical studies of British Columbia literature remain scarce until the 1970s. The one notable exception is the publication of Reginald Eyre Watters’ 1958 collection British Columbia: A Centennial Anthology. Beginning with fur trader James Strange’s 1786 declaration that “Any Seaman discovering an Island unknown before, shall receive a Gratuity of Two Months Pay” (5), the Watters anthology ranges from Vancouver Province newspaper articles, to excerpts from Simon Fraser’s journals, to the poetry of Earle Birney, and the stories of Emily Carr and Ethel Wilson. While the anthology does little to theorize British Columbia literature, it is a landmark celebration of writing in the province and an important counterpoint to the neglect—whether real or perceived—that British Columbia experiences in literary studies such as McCourt’s.  5  It is tempting to think of Northrop Frye in any context concerning theory and Canadian literature. Yet, in the much lauded The Bush Garden (1971), Frye virtually ignores British Columbia, apart from a brief mention in his preface. Here, Frye wonders what can there be in common between an imagination nurtured on the prairies, where it is a centre of consciousness diffusing itself over a vast flat expanse stretching to the remote horizon, and one nurtured in British Columbia, where it is in the midst of gigantic trees and mountains leaping into the sky around it, and obliterating the horizon everywhere. (xxii) Frye doesn’t quite answer his own question but instead focuses on the difference between identity and unity. His deterministic remarks about the way in which environment conditions identity, that “anyone who has been conditioned by one in his early years can hardly become conditioned by the other in the same way” (xxii), are troubling to say the least. Frye seems to locate a creative or central imagination in the prairies and a destructive, isolated imagination in British Columbia. By suggesting that these imaginations are insurmountably determined by regional geography, Frye undercuts the creative ability of writers on one hand while steadfastly reproducing the separation between British Columbia and the rest of Canada on the other. As with the work of Frye, it would seem possible to find some discussion of British Columbia literature in the collections of Eli Mandel. However, British Columbia is virtually absent from both Contexts of Canadian Criticism (1971) and Passion for Identity (1987). Included in the former is Henry Kreisel’s “The Prairie A State of Mind,” but no counterpart or equivalent for British Columbia is present. The one exception is Martin Robin’s historical essay “British Columbia: The Company Province” (1978) in Passion for Identity. Though Passion for Identity is historically oriented, pieces such as “On Being an Alberta Writer” by Robert Kroetch and “Changing Images of the West” by R. Douglas Francis do appear under the heading “The West” and contain literary content 6  about the prairie provinces. The startling point about these examinations of Canadian literature is that by 1987, as I will demonstrate subsequently, there were numerous articles about British Columbia literature in circulation that could have been included in these volumes.2 It isn’t until 1972, with the publication of W.H. New’s Articulating West, that British Columbia begins to receive serious attention. While not limited to British Columbia, New’s book dedicates a chapter to Frederick John Niven and two chapters to Ethel Wilson. New identifies particular themes and dominant images in the work of Wilson and Niven, among the other authors, rather than theorizing a literature per se. Nevertheless, his work begins to map the territory of British Columbia literature by claiming particular writers for British Columbia. Similar to Articulating West is Patterns of Isolation by John Moss (1974). Like New, Moss does not attempt to theorize British Columbia literature. He does, however, treat the idea of regionalism through a study of Sheila Watson’s The Double Hook (1959) and Ethel Wilson’s Swamp Angel (1954). The isolation thesis Moss presents is explained through the idea of spiritual exile in the work of Malcolm Lowry and in terms of geophysical reality with regard to other British Columbia writers. As Moss explains, the geophysical reality in relation to the patterns of isolation evokes a profound response in the Canadian imagination. A great many writers of the Maritimes, the Prairies, and British Columbia have shaped their visions out of the common experience of an immense northern landscape, its aggressive climate, and the sparse distribution of its populace. (109) A recapitulation of the entirety of Moss’ argument is not necessary here, but it is interesting to note that he, and to a lesser extent New, marks a movement toward an identification of larger patterns.  7  Early gestures and movements aside, 1978 signifies the beginning of criticism specific to a conception of a British Columbia literature. The event is the publication of a special edition of the Malahat Review called The West Coast Renaissance, edited by Robin Skelton and Charles Lillard. In “Comment,” Skelton writes about an “awakening period” that lasted “until 1945 when Emily Carr died” (5). This period includes early writers such as Marius Barbeau, Franz Boas, and John Swanton who, according to Skelton, “brought to light the extraordinary richness of the mythology of the Haida, Kwakiutl, Salish, Tsimshian, and other tribes of the coast . . .” (5). Skelton goes on to describe the “renaissance,” which he sees as occurring in the 1960s, as primarily tied to poetry. Similar, and in the same issue, is Lillard’s “Daylight in the Swamp: A Guide to the West Coast Renaissance” where he ties the literature of British Columbia to poetry and the critical or theoretical movements within poetry. Like Skelton, Lillard begins by discussing what he refers to as “indigenous mythology and folklore.” He is emphatic that while “our literary history begins in 1858 with the proclamation of James Douglas’ Proclamation . . . [t]his date is accurate only so far as our written literature is concerned” (319). While their discussion of First Nations literature and orature is a positive development in the examination of British Columbia literature, it is also problematic. Their phrasing seems to suggest a sense of continuity and evolution rather than marking the complicated process of colonization and the asymmetrical relations of power this process involved. While I don’t see Skelton or Lillard as deliberately making this point, it is clear that First Nations literature cannot be simplistically located as a foundation for European settler literature. Nevertheless, in the attempt to deliberately define a regional  8  body of literature, this issue marks an important moment in British Columbia literary studies. Possibly chastised by readers for ignoring prose writing, Skelton and Lillard produced a second special issue of the Malahat Review in 1979 titled The West Coast Renaissance II. In the “Comment” section, again written by Skelton, he explains how they have tried to “provide a cross section of the work of writers of fiction,” but that because many authors either “had no work available or were working upon novels” (5) much work was not included. Notably absent for Skelton and Lillard are “Robert Harlow, Alan Fry, Jane Rule, Audrey Thomas, John Peter, David Godfrey, W.D. Valgardson, and John Mills” (5). I include this list of excluded writers because it demonstrates how accurate Skelton and Lillard were in predicting the success of these authors. Harlow, Fry, Rule and Thomas, especially, are significant writers in British Columbia. The key article in this issue is Lillard’s “The Past Rising From Our Midst.” Here, for the first time, a writer tries to map the field of prose writing in British Columbia to establish a literary tradition. This article serves as the foundation for later writers such as Allan Pritchard, George Bowering, and Laurie Ricou, as well as for the labour tradition that I take up in my dissertation. Lillard introduces readers to Bertrand Sinclair, Frederick Niven, Hubert Evans, Howard O’Hagan and Morely Roberts, among others, and attempts to connect them in a chain of first-hand knowledge of one another. One of Lillard’s most interesting points occurs when he explains how “it was a strange world these men lived in. All of them were important to some extent outside the country, yet none of them were well-known locally, so far as can be told” (17). It is an astute comment, and one that is at the heart of my motivation to include some of these authors in my study. With regard to  9  patterns in literature, Lillard briefly mentions the mystery-detective genre in British Columbia, but pinpoints “a concern with the local landscape and the people living within the area” (21) as the primary tradition—one which runs through such authors as Morely Roberts in The Prey of the Strongest (1906) to Ethel Wilson in Hetty Dorval (1947) and the work of Jack Hodgins in the late 1970s. Together, the two special issues of the Malahat Review mark a crucial moment in British Columbia literary studies. They represent the first attempts to declare the existence of a regional literature in the province, to define this body of literature, and to theorize it. Furthermore, the publication of these two journal issues generated a continued interest in the subject through a volley of articles that appeared throughout the 1980s. George Woodcock’s “Beyond the Divide: Notes on Recent Poetry in British Columbia” was published in his The World of Canadian Writing: Critiques and Recollections (1980). While Woodcock focused on poetry, his title was significant in that it formalized the boundary of the Continental Divide (or Great Divide of the Rocky Mountains) between much of British Columbia and Alberta. Woodcock used the geographical divide to signify a divide in the imagination and literature between British Columbia and Canada along similar lines as those of R.W. Douglas and Northrop Frye. It was, therefore, no surprise that in 1982, Allan Pritchard published “West of the Great Divide: A View of the Literature of British Columbia.” While Pritchard doesn’t cite Woodcock, the similarity of their titles is important, however coincidental. Both titles produce, reproduce, and conceptualize the idea of British Columbia as a place distinct and separate from Canada; a feeling or idea that may respond to the lack of inclusion in national literary studies and theorizations, or be simply indicative of a complex historical,  10  social, and political set of circumstances. Diverging somewhat from the Malahat Review issues, Pritchard attempts a more directly thematic approach to British Columbia literature. His argument can be summed up by what he says about Margaret Atwood’s survival thesis which states that “the central symbol for Canada—and this is based on numerous instances of its occurrence in both English and French literature—is undoubtedly Survival, la Survivance” (32). Pritchard explains that “it serves admirably as a means of defining the regional characteristics of the literature of British Columbia—if one merely reverses its central propositions” (96). He goes on to state that writers in British Columbia “more often” show “relations between man and nature as harmonious than as hostile,” that the immigrant experience is one of “fulfillment and growth” rather than “imprisonment or defeat,” and finally, that “integration” is represented far more often than “alienation” (97). If a primary pattern or theme is identifiable, then Pritchard suggests that this theme is “the legend of Eden or the earthly paradise,” whether this representation be romantic or ironic (97). Using British Columbia writers, the bulk of Pritchard’s essay is a refutation of Atwood’s thesis. Alongside his criticism, Pritchard develops the idea of Eden as a unifying theme while also identifying themes such as “the making of a home,” “conservation,” and “possession,” as central to this regional literature. Many of Pritchard’s claims are problematic. By 1982 British Columbia society had witnessed the disenfranchisement of First Nations, Japanese Canadians, Chinese Canadians, and immigrants from India. The dispossession and colonization of First Nations peoples were ongoing. The Komagata Maru incident, the Chinese Exclusion Act, as well as the internment of Japanese Canadians, were only a few of the racially  11  motivated and racist actions of twentieth-century British Columbia. Issues concerning First Nations peoples are represented in Pauline Johnson’s Legends of Vancouver (1911) and the treatment of Japanese Canadian during World War Two is represented in Joy Kogawa’s Obasan (1981)—two readily available and well-known examples of a more complex literary representation of British Columbia. While Pritchard’s conclusions are essentially correct, this is because they are based on very selective representations of British Columbia literature. No doubt, many First Nations peoples, as well as non-white minority populations, would find claims of Eden and a fulfilling immigrant experience to be grossly inaccurate. Despite his failure to critically locate British Columbia as a colonial or settler society, Pritchard is important for my study because of his identification of the theme of labour in books such as Eric Collier’s Three Against the Wilderness (1959), Martin Allerdale Grainger’s Woodsmen of the West (1908) and the work of Roderick HaigBrown. Like Skelton and Lillard, Pritchard is interested in elaborating the field of British Columbia literature and is successful in doing so. His work toward a unifying symbol and tradition makes his article an essential component of the study of British Columbia literature. There is no evidence, to my knowledge, that George Bowering read Pritchard’s article, but the similarity of their work is remarkable. In 1984, Bowering published “Home Away: A Thematic Study of Some British Columbia Novels.” Like Pritchard, Bowering begins with Atwood. With regard to assigning a unifying symbol to a country’s literature, Bowering remarks, [l]eaving aside argument that these assignments might be acts of fiction themselves—that Survival, for instance, seems as important to Australian 12  literature as to Canadian—I would like to take up the amusement for a while and say something about my choice for the unifying and informing symbol for the culture (dare we say country?) of British Columbia. The symbol is Home, or, more specifically, the attempt to find or make a home. (9) As with other authors, Bowering gestures toward the distinctive nature of writing in British Columbia by daring to suggest that it is a country unto itself rather than a province. By doing so, he is implicitly suggesting that Atwood’s national symbol of survival does not work in British Columbia—a place divided from the nation. While he is suggesting that the idea of a unifying symbol is itself a fiction or an impossibility, he nevertheless claims the idea of home, like Pritchard, to be a recurring (possibly unifying and informing) symbol for British Columbia. The majority of Bowering’s article takes up various premises of Atwood’s survival thesis and offers the idea of home as a counterpoint. Bowering ranges through work by Grainger, Hubert Evans, Matt Cohen, Howard O’Hagan, Jack Hodgins, Malcolm Lowry, Sheila Watson, Ethel Wilson, Margaret Laurence, and Jane Rule—names that are beginning to take hold in the field, in part, through the efforts of critics such as Skelton, Lillard, New, Pritchard, and Bowering. Also appearing in 1984 is Allan Pritchard’s second article on the subject, “West of the Great Divide: Man and Nature in the Literature of British Columbia.” Here Pritchard takes up the themes of his previous article in more detail. Where various themes were identified in his first article, they are fully developed here. Hence, he argues, that the themes of paradise, paradise lost, and possession are “matched by equally prominent themes of dispossession and of spoiling the land” (36). Pritchard’s work is important to my dissertation, once again, because of his representation of labour. Labour, according to Pritchard, often signals a threat to paradise—especially when it is mechanized. As he explains, “the signal of the threat is often the sound of machinery, the noise of an 13  approaching aircraft, the roar of bulldozers or chainsaws” (37). As I explain in chapter two, it is also Pritchard who, through examples from the work of Lowry, Haig-Brown, and Hodgins, first identifies the logger as a central figure in the literature of British Columbia. Prichard’s interpretation of this figure or theme differs from my own. One of the primary differences between Pritchard’s examination of logging and my own is that he does not mark logging and the activities of loggers as implicated in the ongoing process of colonization. Furthermore, he does not locate the logging narrative as dominated by white society when this is historically the case. Nevertheless, it is his identification of both labour and the logger as central to British Columbia that opens up a line of inquiry leading to my work. Two articles of importance appear in 1985: W.H. New’s “A Piece of the Continent, A Part of the Main: Some Comments on B.C. Literature” and Laurie Ricou’s “Dumb Talk: Echoes of the Indigenous Voice in the Literature of British Columbia.” New’s article diverges from the work of Pritchard and Bowering by suggesting that it is unclear what British Columbia literature is. New explains by stating that history, subregion, and waves of visitors and settlers confound all but the most banal generalizations about province-wide cultural homogeneity— leaving me not with a coherent body of provincial works to discuss (however one understands this term), but with a set of problematic perspectives. (3) Possibly, it is the idea of homogeneity that is problematic here. Indeed, by replacing “coherent” with “problematic perspective” New is alluding to some heterogeneous conception of a regional literature and culture. Rather than a unified symbol or metaphor for British Columbia literature, New writes about a plurality of possible identities and perspectives. Alternatively, New borrows from John Donne to suggest that to be “a piece of the continent is to assert a connection with other territories and other attitudes in North 14  America; to be a part of the main is to separate oneself from them: to be an island” (4). Hence, what characterizes the literature of British Columbia is a “tension between continental and isolating impulses” (4-5). New’s work, while attempting to move away from any unifying metaphor, makes gestures toward a unified characterization of British Columbia literature all the same. To return to the opening epigraph for this chapter, I suggest that there is a tension in his work between a longing for the complete story—to theorize British Columbia writing—and the clear recognition that fragments are all that is possible. New only briefly takes up the theme of labour. In examining the wordplay between “prophet” and “profit” New remarks that profit is “easily applicable” in the context of a growing economy. What “we’re dealing with,” he says, is the “exploitation of the wilderness and the economic hierarchy that develops as it happens” (20). One of the books that he cites in his discussion is Irene Baird’s Waste Heritage (1939)—a classic labour novel of British Columbia that addresses the Depression of the 1930s. While New does gesture toward some form of unity in British Columbia literature, albeit one composed of tension, his article marks an important shift away from the tendency to analyze in terms of myth, symbol, and theme alone. Instead, New identifies structures such as the binary opposition between continent and main, the contrast between Canada’s East and West, the “person and the symbol of Emily Carr” (10), and “the contrast between the prophet’s promise of absolute order and the trickster’s offer of a temporary balance” (28). By identifying these contrasts or binaries New draws on structuralist thought to an extent, but quickly moves into deconstruction to collapse these binaries, and post-structuralism to decenter them, in his examination of these structures. The  15  primary interest for New, I believe, is the way in which British Columbia literature— through his identified structures—can mediate place without an insistence on an authorized center. Ricou’s “Dumb Talk” differs markedly from the work of New. Aside from brief comments in the work of Skelton, Lillard, and New, Ricou’s article is a first attempt to see Indigenous voices as characteristic of British Columbia literature written by European settlers. He begins with an excerpt from Emily Carr’s Klee Wyck where Carr is having “dumb talk” with a First Nations character. Ricou suggests that Carr is speaking a form of sign language. It is this idea of “dumb talk”—of “crossing linguistic and cultural boundaries” (35) and of a “language of image and symbol” (35)—that is most prominent in British Columbia writing. Furthermore, “Indian art and mythology is the most obvious feature of the culture of British Columbia” (34). It is in tracing “echoes of the indigenous voice” which are “of course but interpretations, implicit and explicit, of Indian languages and the Indian perception” (36) that Ricou makes these generalizations. Ricou does little to mark the violence of colonization in his study of First Nations representations in the settler literature of British Columbia and, aside from the mention of Pauline Johnson, he doesn’t focus on any First Nations writers. Furthermore, by tracing his “echoes” through the work of Carr, Evans, Watson, Hodgins, and Daphne Marlatt, Ricou comes to few solid conclusions—he even states that this is not his intent. Instead, he deliberately opens up new lines of thought and inquiry in the hope that his article might be read “as a vision of a program rather than as a statement of conclusions” (47). Moreover, with regard to the late twentieth century discussion of the literature of British Columbia, Ricou’s is the  16  only work that attempts to characterize this literature through the presence of First Nations writing and culture. The work of John Harris in his introduction to the 1986 issue of Essays on Canadian Writing is possibly more famous for the brilliant line, “B.C. is on the Yahoo fringe of the Canadian tradition,” than for the substance of the article. Harris’ introduction is more of a manifesto or polemic than a critical article. He begins by questioning the idea of literary merit and whether such a concept is viable or even possible. With regard to literature in British Columbia, Harris attacks the universities, which are “too beleaguered” and “have responded to the onslaught of originality by closing themselves up, by applying with psychotic formality the rigours of their discipline” (4). Harris condemns such journals as Canadian Literature for believing that “traditional academic criticism can be profitably applied to its subject, and will admit no deviation” (4). While Harris writes an exciting article to read, any points he attempts to make are lost in his polemical voice. He seems to advocate a role for creative criticism or some form of literary criticism that combines both academic and creative writing, but he does not specify what this might mean or how it might work. A more promising article is “The Wild Woman: Notes on West Coast Writing” (1987) by George Woodcock. Ironically, Woodcock is one of Harris’ “exception[s] in criticism” (4), and Woodcock’s article is published in the academic journal BC Studies. Woodcock identifies “one of the crucial themes of West Coast writing” to be the “Wild Woman” (3). Specifically, the wild woman who Woodcock is referring to is the figure known as Tsonoqua or D’Sonoqua—a figure prominent in the mythology of many First Nations in British Columbia and represented in both writings and paintings by Emily  17  Carr. In some ways, Woodcock’s article is reminiscent of Atwood’s survival thesis. He describes representations of vast forest, isolation, silence, panic, and fear as well as Ethel Wilson’s “stories of death through natural forces” (6). Woodcock’s words also invoke Frye’s sentiment that he had “long been impressed in Canadian Poetry by a tone of deep terror in regard to nature” (227). Yet, the most interesting moment of Woodcock’s article is his identification of a pattern-based movement in British Columbia literature. He explains that “what seems to be happening recently” is a moving beyond recognition and reconciliation to the acceptance of what once seemed threatening in the environment as now familiar, and beyond that to the contempt that comes from familiarity, to the urban man’s implicit rejection of all that complex of alienation and identification which represented the various stages of pioneer man’s relationship with wild nature. (11) This brief moment in Woodcock, represents, to my mind, a particularly evocative attempt to chart British Columbia literature as a whole. In the 1990s attempts to theorize British Columbia literature begin to dwindle and the sense of excitement and urgency present in many of the articles of the 1980s seems to dissipate. Increasingly, the project of a theory of British Columbia literature is one that is viewed as impossible, or unpopular, as the importance of defining a regional literature is eclipsed by other theoretical concerns and interests. As Laura Moss and Cynthia Sugars explain, Canadian literary criticism in the late 1980s and early 1990s pointed in two, sometimes overlapping, directions: deconstructive readings of textual play and allusion (whether it be Marxist, psychoanalytic, deconstructive, or feminist), and interpretations overtly concerned with issues of social awareness, history, and ethics (critical race theory, post-colonialism, feminism, gender studies). Both of these groups demonstrated a break from the thematic criticism of the 1970s . . .in that they rejected the quest for coherence that motivated the thematic approach in favour of models that aimed to read for ‘contradiction.’ (527)  18  Aspects of this shift away from thematic approaches to models of contradiction are already apparent in the articles by New and Ricou. Given this shift in Canadian criticism, it is no surprise that Pritchard’s third article, “The Shapes of History in British Columbia Writing” (1992), explicitly deals with history rather than landscape in the literature of British Columbia. To this end, Pritchard suggests that in addition to the geographical boundary that separates British Columbia from the rest of Canada, there are the northern and southern boundaries. He explains that “a strong sense early developed in British Columbia that those [boundaries] which separated it from the American northwest marked a division between two social orders” (48). Part of Pritchard’s article explores how British Columbia literature follows a “western Canadian rather than American pattern, one marked by a British concern for the rule of law and by the modification of individualism and the frontier ethic by a concern for community” (54). Surveying much of what he calls the “documentary literature” (54) of British Columbia, Pritchard identifies historical circumstances, such as the fact that “most of the writers made their approach not overland but from the Pacific” (55), to distinguish British Columbia literature through its specific history. When Pritchard moves on to fiction writers such as Wilson, Hodgins, Bowering, and O’Hagan, he connects each of them to some historyrelated pattern: Wilson to “Vancouver’s early social history” (59), O’Hagan’s Tay John to “a great mythic vision of the essence of western history” (60), and Hodgins to “contemporary life in the Vancouver Island setting” (61). This brief and partial sketch of Pritchard’s work highlights how interest in theorizing British Columbia literature continued in the 1990s, but, with New and Ricou as precedents, it began to shift in accordance with contemporary critical developments. The search for unifying symbols or  19  patterns recedes and is replaced by identifying fragments and trends. Patterns and traditions are still identified, but the incomplete nature of these patterns and traditions is no longer seen as the result of a lack of study or theorization. Instead, this “incompleteness,” or perhaps “contradiction,” is accepted as the prevailing paradigm of literary studies. More than a trend, the move away from unifying symbols and themes is a recognition of the ways in which “grand narratives,” “literary canons,” or unifying theorizations often function to oppress or suppress stories, patterns and ideas that fall outside of this unity. This moment is crucial in my project because it marks the decision not to attempt a literary history or meta-narrative of British Columbia literature, but to theorize one particular, incomplete, possibly contradictory, pattern or fragment—the labour narrative—within which are other patterns, contradictions and fragments. Most of the articles and work on British Columbia literature from the 1970s to 1992 are taken up in Ricou’s “The Writing of British Columbia Writing” published in the 1993/4 issue of BC Studies. Primarily a survey, Ricou’s article makes only passing generalizations in his article. One worth mentioning is when he reports that “In 1979, Patrick O’Flaherty published his The Rock Observed: Studies in the Literature of Newfoundland, a satisfyingly comprehensive historical definition of the unique culture of Newfoundland” (116). Ricou cites this book to say “I hope to be proven wrong, but I suspect no such book will ever be published about British Columbia” (116). He then wryly remarks that “Ontario, incidentally, has not bothered about describing its own regional literatures, since all the attempts to define Canadian culture are assumed to be also definitions of Ontario” (116). The key point here is that Ricou identifies the growing movement away from any unified, definitional, thematic theorization of a given literature.  20  Furthermore, his remark about Ontario, however “tongue-in-cheek,” reflects the persistent idea of a divide between British Columbia and the rest of Canada. As a bibliographic source, Ricou’s article is indispensable. In 1997 and 1998 W.H. New produced two books: Land Sliding: Imagining Space, Presence, and Power in Canadian Writing and Borderlands. Neither of these works is a regional study. Both are national in scope. In New’s words, Land Sliding “looks at a range of works, from conventional to unconventional . . .[in order to] deal with the complex interplay between place, power and the English Language,” to examine “the force of metaphor within a social context,” to deal “with the relation between literary language and the construction of social value,” and finally to “invite the reader to look again at Canada’s changing cultural character, and to see it afresh, by rereading the land” (20). The common denominator here, of course, is the idea of land and the changing ways in which it has been tied to literature, social value, and culture in Canada. Of interest for my dissertation is New’s identification of a pattern, based on E.J. Pratt’s “Towards the Last Spike,” where British Columbia is “cast” as “the farthest margin, as a lady and a Pacific lass” (104). New is quick to point out that “while the lady of British Columbia may be wily . . . she is never in Pratt’s portrait a real threat to the Men (with a capital ‘M’) who build the railway and the nation” (106). The trope of the lady of British Columbia is important because of New’s qualification that she is never a threat to the working men in the province. As he remarks a few lines later, “Canadian Male: to dream, survey, measure, build, and so to rule” (106). Insofar as British Columbia is concerned, then, New’s observation is important for foregrounding the androcentric dominant labour narrative of the province—perhaps both because of and despite its constructed female  21  gender. New’s other discussions in Land Sliding centre on various and shifting conceptions of landscape, city, country, and place in writers such as Wilson, Hodgins, Birney and Carr—the latter in regard to her painting as well. Like Land Sliding, Borderlands is not a regional study or an attempt to theorize the literature of British Columbia as a whole. Instead it is a study of borders and the relationships of power that are involved in any construction of borders and boundaries. The appearance of these collections is perhaps a symptom of the continuing recognition or belief that such a project is ultimately untenable. Indeed, New complains that the work of Hodgins “is read widely in Europe and Australia, but often marginalized in Canada as ‘regional’” (20), a statement that indicates the critical movement away from regional studies or ideas of a purely regional literature. Nevertheless, in his analysis of Hodgins, New explains how he is “repeatedly concerned with difference, with the Gulf that literally, geographically, separates his Vancouver Island characters from the British Columbia mainland [but] at the same time . . . emphasizes the ambiguity of the condition that they inhabit” (20). New’s words echo Pritchard’s 1992 explication of Hodgins. Both identify Hodgins not only as a writer of the British Columbia region, but specifically of Vancouver Island, a region within the region. Taken together, the writings of the 1990s mark a shift away from deliberate attempts to theorize the literature of British Columbia. Yet, unlike the national writings of the first half of the twentieth century—or at least until 1972 with Articulating West—the writings of the 1990s include British Columbia writing in larger ideas of west and of place. Interestingly, New’s two works from the 1990s are remarkably similar to his own and John Moss’ from the early 1970s. There is something of a movement from using  22  British Columbia authors and writing as part of a larger thesis, to article-based engagements with British Columbia literature, back to using British Columbia writing in larger projects. The central difference to my mind is that the work of the 1990s is selfconscious in making this shift. I see in New and Ricou continued attempts to identify and explore patterns in British Columbia literature, even though these patterns may inform other projects. These moments are ones where the idea of British Columbia literature is being solidified. Not in a large, comprehensive volume with unifying and essentialist claims, but in the fragments. This is the underlying motivation or methodology for my dissertation. I do not define the literature of British Columbia per se, but do make deliberate attempts to theorize it by identifying and contributing to the continuing evolution of a general understanding of British Columbia writing as represented through a heterogeneous aggregation or accretion of themes, patterns, ideas, constructions and fragments. One text that played a significant role in the development of my thought with regard to labour, literature and the logging narrative in British Columbia is Ricou’s The Arbutus/Madrone Files: Reading The Pacific Northwest (2002). As the title suggests, Ricou’s work deals with the larger Pacific Northwest region rather than explicitly with British Columbia in isolation. This indicates another shift from studies which examine region through political boundaries, such as provinces, to what Ricou calls the “Arbutus/Madrone region, a region sharing a biogeoclimatic zone, and flora and fauna, and icons of place, yet bisected by an international boundary . . .” (1). Ricou’s region follows the coast of the British Columbia mainland, the east coast of Vancouver Island, and the coastline of Washington, Oregon, and California. What these places have in  23  common is the Arbutus or Madrone evergreen tree—“One species, one shared regional marker, with two names: one Canadian and one American” (1). Ricou is central to my dissertation because he is the only author, to date, who sets out to deal explicitly with labour and how labour is connected to place. Divided into “files” rather than chapters, Ricou’s book contains “Salmon File,” predictably, about the importance of the salmon. As Ricou remarks, “the salmon story—the story of attachment and quest—happens more times than one file, or book, can contain” (101). Concerning British Columbia authors, Ricou notes that “[o]ne of the Northwest’s two greatest salmon novels is Bertrand W. Sinclair’s entrepreneurial romance Poor Man’s Rock (1920)” (101). By making this statement, Ricou not only locates Sinclair’s importance with regard to the salmon narrative, but situates him as a primary figure in British Columbia labour writing. He makes this clear by explaining that “[i]n his concern about prices and the methods of fishing, and the monopolies and breaking of monopolies, Sinclair writes the region whose limits derive from a particular economy” (103). Here, the “limits,” the real, imagined, and constructed boundaries of place, whether historical, geographical, or narrative, are set out in relation to a given economy, and this idea is central to my study. Other authors Ricou examines are Hubert Evans, who in Mist on the River (1954) “works into his novel a good deal of documentary material on the process of canning and the contrasting Native methods of preserving the salmon” (105), and Roderick Haig-Brown’s Return to the River (1942). Despite the strong presence of the salmon narrative in British Columbia—and this must include Marlatt’s long-poem Steveston (1974)—no chapter on salmon fiction appears in my dissertation. The primary reason for this is that I wanted to maintain a sharper focus on an industry in isolation rather than range over ocean fishing,  24  canning, and river fishing, all under the umbrella of “salmon.” Also, limiting myself to a single chapter on an extraction industry made room for a greater number of possibilities in approaching labour for other chapters. The “fishing chapter” is one which remains to be written. As I explain in chapter two, there is a critical mass of work that deals explicitly with logging. In the Arbutus/Madrone Files, Ricou’s “Woodswords File” is devoted to the language of logging. Ricou’s focus here is primarily on poetry—no surprise given the file’s focus on language. He ranges through the work of poets such as Peter Trower, Robert E. “Bob” Swanton, critics such as Howard White, and novelists such as Martin Allerdale Grainger and Ken Kesey. While Ricou’s file does not offer a detailed explication of logging prose narratives other than Grainger’s Woodsmen of the West, it is the appearance of logging in his book that inspired me, in part, to write a chapter on the subject here. In 2005, W.H. New published “Writing Here.” The article is eclectic and fragmented. At times, it is simply a chronicle, what he refers to as a catalogue, of writers common to the field of British Columbia literature. He begins with a personal anecdote, which spills outward to frame a postmodern discussion of British Columbia writing revolving around the question of what “here” means. In some sense, this article is a return to the questions and ideas of “A Piece of the Continent, A Part of the Main.” An important moment occurs when New declares “I have shifted ground, moving from a record of what has been happening ‘here’ to a contemplation of the way in which the strategies of reading a set of literary works constructs an implicitly politicized version of ‘here,’ whether to acknowledge or dismiss, affirm or ignore, perceive as ‘other’ or claim  25  in recognition” (18). In other words, the idea of British Columbia is produced through the readings and reading strategies of a given set of works. I see in New’s words both the deconstructionist move of subverting a binary of “center” and “other,” as well as the post-structuralist impulse to identify and decenter the subject of British Columbia literature. He makes the crucial point that a set of literary works, a canon or a theorization of regional literature, is implicitly politicized and thus results in particular consequences. I think what New identifies is essential to understanding the continued reluctance of trying to generate the theory of British Columbia literature and why such theorization must happen within projects that do not overtly attempt to do so. As interest in theorizing British Columbia literature declined in the 1990s and into the twenty-first century, there was an opposite movement in anthologizing work that dealt explicitly with British Columbia. This occurred primarily through the dedication of small presses such as Anvil, New Star, Ronsdale and Polestar. The appearance of these anthologies is possibly indicative of the assumption that a coherent body of British Columbia has been established or that such a project will not occur. Hence, as with the articles of 1990-2005, no explicit attempt is made in these anthologies to theorize British Columbia literature, and often the study of British Columbia occurs within a larger geographical region.3 In 2008, Christine Lowther and Anita Sinner’s Writing the West Coast: In Love with Place appeared, as did Douglas Todd’s Cascadia: The Elusive Utopia: Exploring the Spirit of the Pacific Northwest. Cascadia falls in line with Ricou’s Arbutus/Madrone files by working with the regions and cultures of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Interestingly, the book examines this area through something that might be called a secular spirituality—a tacit agreements that “Cascadians . . . like to  26  say ‘I’m spiritual but not religious’” (Todd 4). Paulo Lemos Horta identifies a tradition of magic realism in “‘The Divine Brushing Against the Natural’: Pacific Northwest Magic Realism,” a tradition he finds in the work of Hodgins, Bill Gaston, and Gail AndersonDargatz (in regard to British Columbia). The only intersection with labour occurs in Mark Wexler’s “Conjectures on Workplace Spirituality in Cascadia” in which he sees how “the striving and aspirations of both religion and spirituality, particularly when not enveloped in escapist (or seclusionist) doctrine, must marry the sacred with the instrumental, or work and the workplace with the spiritual” (215). Other collections include that by Gagnon et al., The Last Best West: An Exploration of Myth, Identity, and Quality of Life in Western Canada (2009) and Trevor Carolan’s Making Waves: Reading B.C. and Pacific Northwest Literature (2010). None of the attempted theorizations of the literature of British Columbia, the studies which include British Columbia, or the anthologies of British Columbia writing include a comprehensive discussion of labour narratives. Such an absence points to the need for such a study, but these writers must be credited for opening this line of inquiry. Together, by charting a field, by identifying themes, patterns, and relationships, and by identifying possible areas for further research, they serve as an indispensable foundation and resource for my dissertation.  Aggregates and Chapters  In many ways, writing a dissertation is analogous to tasks in the construction industry. Archeologists, novelists, and writers, like builders, begin by digging up the earth,  27  whether this takes place with grass and soil or in an archive. Writers, like builders, talk of frames, foundations, connections, supports, structures and cohesion. In construction, an aggregate is a mass formed of different materials; more specifically, it means “gravel, sand, slag or the like added to a binding agent to form concrete” (“aggregate”). Analogously, the idea of an aggregate or an assemblage most clearly approximates my use of theory. On one hand, the theories I use—ranging from those of Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault, to theories of tourism, marketing, and masculinity—are utterly disparate. Yet, together, like so much gravel and sand, they do form a cohesive and resilient whole. They are held together through language, history, place, and most importantly, labour—perhaps the primary “binding agent,” or organizing concept of my dissertation. Why study labour? One answer is that the existence of British Columbia as a province is directly connected to labour. As a colonial and settler economy and province, British Columbia was created precisely through the processes of labour that facilitated the movement of goods to the British Empire and later to other parts of Canada. John Sutton Lutz suggests that makúk, “[f]irst and foremost” meaning “‘let’s trade,’” might “well have been the first word exchanged by Aboriginal and European peoples on North America’s Northwest Coast” (ix). In other words, products of labour were exchanged and the occupation of trader was in play during first contact between Europeans and First Nations in British Columbia; work is the activity and relationship through which the province was viewed, colonized and established. Furthermore, one condition of British Columbia’s entry into confederation was the promise of the Canadian Pacific Railway— an endeavor predicated on the labour of those Chinese, First Nations, European, and other  28  workers who built it, again to move goods—the products of labour—from one place to another. In many ways, work and labour are inseparable from any conception of British Columbia. Another answer to the question—why study labour?—comes from the writer who helps informs my understanding of the importance of labour in literature, Tom Wayman. In Inside Job: Essays on the New Work Writing, Tom Wayman states that “with regard to the issue of regionalism in Canadian literature [ . . . ] it follows that a literature originating in the working lives of those engaged in the dominant industries of a geographic region probably best captures the essence of that specific place” (70). Like Wayman, I see the labour activities of our lives, the activities that arguably occupy the most time and space in our daily lives, as central to understanding a place and those who live there. Nevertheless, labour narratives, often popular narratives that fall outside categories of “Literature” or “high literature,” are frequently excluded from critical literary discourse. Instead, Wayman suggests, Critics will refer to an author’s familiarity with Greek or other ancient myths . . . as an illustration of that author’s literary skill. Yet a case can be made that an understanding of such mythology has nothing to do with literary accomplishment. Rather, offering praise for the appearance of these myths in a literary work, at a time when knowledge of such myth has virtually disappeared from public awareness, simply maintains an elitist attitude toward education and imaginative writing. (16) In more colloquial terms, Howard White, in his “How We Imagine Ourselves,” recounts that while growing up in a logging camp on the British Columbia coast, he developed a “reputation around camp for the way I could skip across a slimy boomstick, but when I looked in the Grade 1 reader my correspondence course provided, the boys and girls there walked on sidewalks; all mention of boomsticks was carefully avoided” (11). White’s response to this feeling of alienation was to “incubate” a “theory of 29  literature which held that mastery of expression could occur as readily in an upcoast bunkhouse as in an ivory tower in some great city in some past age” (12). What I take from White is that labour narratives are crucial in understanding or trying to make sense of our everyday lives. While I do not go so far as to disregard literary accomplishment simply because a particular work incorporates myth, and I do not adhere to an essentialist theory of regional literature, it is my conviction that British Columbia literature has strong connections to labour and that the study of popular labour narratives of British Columbia has been, to date, marginalized. In conjunction with the fact that no comprehensive study of labour narratives in British Columbia currently exists, it is the critical positions of writers like Wayman and White that inform my work. My dissertation not only offers critical analysis and assessment of particular works and authors, but also resists constructed markers of literary value that exclude the theme of labour. What do I mean by “labour?” Defining labour narratives by appealing to terms such as “resource,” “extraction,” and “white-collar” implies a limited understanding of labour tied to particular industries and systems of wage-labour and yet these subjects are central in my study. How then do I understand “labour” and differentiate it from “work”? In most respects, I see very little difference between the two, and I use these terms interchangeably. Labour, as early as the 11th century, was used to mean “hard work” and defined in the 12th century as “burden or task.” The Latin etymon labor in the 14th century was used to indicate “work, toil, industry, task, result or product of work, struggle, hardship, physical pain, distress, pain of childbirth” (“labour” OED). For centuries, then, work has been used to define labour. As early as the 9th century “work”  30  was defined as any “[a]ction involving effort or exertion directed to a definite end, esp. as a means of gaining one's livelihood; labour, toil; (one's) regular occupation or employment” (“work” OED). Interestingly, labour here is used to define work. In these early usages, the two terms seem interchangeable. John Sutton Lutz reminds us that “before the Reformation, work was tied to need, profit was unclean, and merchants were outcasts—un-Christian because of their selfishness” (7). In contrast, beginning with the Protestants in sixteenth-century Europe . . . peoples’ worth has been valued according to their conformity with what Max Weber called the ‘Protestant work ethic’ [and that] . . . a person’s value as a human being was related to his or her willingness to work long hours, to sacrifice leisure, and to pursue wealth beyond her/his basic material needs. (7) The problem for Lutz, among others, is that “Aboriginal cultures, which, culturally and economically valued ‘leisure time’ did not measure up to this European ‘work ethic’” (7). Lutz further explains that “to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europeans, labour was the source of all value and provided the right to ownership” (6). This conception of labour derived from the philosophy of John Locke, who states “‘Whatsoever, then, he removes out of a state of that nature hath provided and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with . . . [he] thereby makes it his property’” (qtd. in Lutz 6). There is a direct link here between labour, ownership, and property—a relationship whereby labour in colonial British Columbia is connected directly to property ownership and thus colonization. In other words, the Lockean conception of labour is linked to the dispossession and displacement of Aboriginal peoples in British Columbia through the exercise of labour and the resulting ideas of property and land ownership. The problem, of course, is that for European settlers, the “fishing, hunting, gathering, building, and even farming that 31  Aboriginal Peoples did was not labour—at least not in a way that met the definition of classical economics” (6-7). If these definitions of labour did align, the pretext for dispossession would, in part, collapse. It is not only Aboriginal Peoples who are excluded from such conceptions of labour. Many types of intellectual labour, such as teaching and writing, also fall outside of this definition—and also outside of wage-labour. Domestic and reproductive labours too, seem to be marginalized. Hence, while I retain the basic conception of labour as wage-labour and occupation, I also retain the original understanding of labour as “work, toil, industry, task, result or product of work, struggle, hardship, physical pain, distress, pain of childbirth” (“labour” OED). This more open definition allows me to consider the industrial or resource sector wage-labourer, unpaid domestic labour, and authorship—all as forms of labour and work. Central to my understanding of labour is the concept of it as a social relationship. That is, in many ways, this project has little to say about the subject and activity of labour or work in isolation. Rather, in conjunction with labour as toil, struggle, task, and product of work, is my understanding of it as related to a series of shifting, heterogeneous, often contingent, social relationships between individuals, groups, and cultures. In some instances this definition of labour invokes the Marxist conceptions of labour, labour power and abstract labour where it is “only through the exchange of commodities that the private labour which produced them is rendered social” (“abstract labour” 1). At other times, I simply refer to social activities that occur in the labour environment. In chapter two, where I discuss representations of logging, not much is learned about the activity of logging itself. Instead, and more importantly in my mind, my texts explore the  32  relationships that the work of logging brings into play. Similarly, in chapter three it is not the activities of pruning and growing fruit bearing trees that writers examine, but how the labour of agriculture is involved in larger discourses or ideas of place-identity, nationalism, and tourism. Both chapter four and five function the same way. As a result, themes or motifs of employee/employer relationships, employee/employee relationships, male bonding, work conditions, discourses of masculinity, female oppression, domestic labour, and emerging environmentalism operate in the foreground of the texts I study. Work and labour are inseparable from larger social, cultural, historical, economic, political, and personal discourses, interactions and relationships, and it is these discourses that produce the “groundwork” of my study. Another central element in my theoretical aggregate is the field of masculinity studies. Masculinity plays the most important role in chapter two, yet it also underpins the vision of agriculture I see Rhenisch as advocating in chapter three—in particular, one which involves the subordination of women. While I do not explicitly take up the conception of masculinity in chapter four, it is evident that ideas of masculinity inform the family dynamic in Jen Sookfong Lee’s the end of east, the relationships of Amory Scann in Robert Harlow’s Scann, and character interactions in Douglas Coupland’s JPod. It is also clear that certain forms of masculinity and its connection with history inform Marlatt’s novel Ana Historic. In using Ana Historic to analyze the work of chapters two through four then, the constructed nature of masculinity again becomes significant. Some of the foremost and oft-cited work in masculinity studies includes that by Michael Kimmel, Harry Brod, and R.W. Connell, with one of the most anthologized  33  works being “Toward a New Sociology of Masculinity” by Tim Carrigan, Bob Connell, and John Lee.4 Important in Carrigan et al. is the idea that The gay movement’s theoretical work, by comparison with the ‘sex-role’ literature and ‘men’s movement’ writings, had a much clearer understanding of the reality of men’s power over women, and it had direct implications for any consideration of the hierarchy of power among men. (109) What emerges from this line of argument is the very important concept of hegemonic masculinity, not as ‘the male role,’ but as a particular variety of masculinity to which others—among them young and effeminate as well as homosexual men—are subordinated. It is particular groups of men, not men in general, who are oppressed within patriarchal sexual relations, and whose situations are related in different ways to the overall logic of subordination of women to men. (110) The work of Carrigan et al. in defining hegemonic masculinity is central to my understanding of it. Both passages clarify the ideas of hierarchical and multiple masculinities, and identify particular groups that can be subordinated to others—ideas implicit in my discussions of the subject throughout my dissertation. In her introduction to Masculinity Studies and Feminist Theory: New Directions, Judith Kegan Gardiner explains that one consensus (among others) of “feminist-inflected masculinity studies” is that “masculinity is not monolithic, not one static thing, but the confluence of multiple processes and relationships with variable results for differing individuals, groups, institutions, and societies” (11). She qualifies this statement by pointing out that “dominant or hegemonic forms of masculinity work constantly to maintain an appearance of permanence, stability, and naturalness” (11). Gardiner’s remarks about “multiple processes and relationships” point to the consensus that, as a gender, masculinity is constructed.  34  Rather than outline and excavate a comprehensive theory of masculinity studies beginning with the sex-gender systems of Gayle Rubin—which are later taken up by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and connect to writers like Kimmel, Connell, and Carrigan et al.—I have instead drawn on writers such as Gordon Hak, Steven Maynard, and Christopher E. Forth in my work (in chapter two in particular). It is they who employ theorists such as Connell and Kimmel to apply the theory of masculinity studies in practice. In the case of Hak and Maynard, this means to logging camps and in the case of Forth, this means to the west—areas indispensable to this dissertation.5 The understanding of masculinity, its constructedness, and its hegemonic forms, articulated by writers like Carrigan et al, Gardiner, Hak, Maynard, and Forth, operate in the background of chapters two through five even when I do not explicitly engage with the theory. Chapter two, immediately following the introduction, can be separated into two sections. The first examines Bertrand Sinclair’s The Inverted Pyramid. As I will explain in the chapter, Bourdieu’s theory of fields operates as a basic framing device. In accordance with Bourdieu, the first step is to understand and map out the field-structure of the novel. Like Bourdieu, I see the analysis of this structure as the beginning of understanding. While the concept of the Bildungsroman supports my use of Bourdieu’s theory, its role is secondary. Also important in chapter two is Bourdieu’s conception of habitus, loosely defined as “the acquirements, the embodied, assimilated properties, such as elegance, ease of manner, beauty and so forth, and capital as such, that is, the inherited assets which define the possibilities inherent in the field” (150). The overarching argument here is that Rod Norquay, Sinclair’s protagonist, disavows his habitus. Moving from an analysis of structure to meaning derived from this structure, it becomes clear that  35  Sinclair uses Rod as a fulcrum to depart from an exacting naturalist mode of realism (depicting the world in as “natural” a manner as possible) to develop critiques of the capitalist objectification of the body as well as particular constructions of hegemonic masculinity. Further, Sinclair represents, perhaps prefigures, a moment of environmental conservationism and imagines an economic model of cooperation, ethics, and responsibility that counters the basic premises of capitalism. In the second section of chapter two I examine On the Highest Hill and Timber by Roderick Haig-Brown. Here, I rely on close analysis in conjunction with historical information to read Haig-Brown’s novels as detailing particular aspects of the logging industry and history that have traditionally been ignored. Two such moments I examine are representations of injury and death in the forest economy of British Columbia, and the narrative of the work-camp men who built many of Canada’s national parks and infrastructure from 1915 to 1946. My chapter then draws on ecocriticism and the work of Lawrence Buell in The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture (1995), to read the novels of Haig-Brown as environmental texts that present labour as a means through which environmental knowledge is transmitted. Following the work of Buell, I suggest that the realism of Haig-Brown is a political approach to language that attempts to evoke the so-called natural world and thereby to use language as a catalyst for a deeper knowledge of and relationship to this world. Because Haig-Brown’s two novels represent, in detail, the resource extraction industry of logging, it becomes evident that he is attempting to deconstruct the binary between environmentalist and resource industry labourer. Finally, I read Haig-Brown as revising ideas about the construction of a hetero-normative  36  conception of gender in the male-dominated logging world through the close relationship of Johnny and Alec. In doing so he opens up the possibility of their homosexual relationship and thereby critiques the normative construction of gender that dominates life in the logging camp. In chapter three I shift from Sinclair and Haig-Brown’s novels to an analysis of three creative non-fiction texts by Harold Rhenisch: Out of the Interior: The Lost Country, Tom Thomson’s Shack, and The Wolves at Evelyn: Journeys Through a Dark Century. For my study of Rhenisch, I use Foucault’s discourse-centered concepts of archive and archaeology in conjunction with the autobiography theory of Paul Eakin. The impetus behind my transition to discourse as a framework for this chapter is that it is particular forms of discourse that Rhenisch deliberately deploys in attempting to map out or formalize a rural, agricultural (primarily orcharding) identity for the Interior British Columbia region. Furthermore, the work of Foucault in bringing together discrepant discourses about a particular object, in using complementary and contradictory discourses to constitute an archive, allows me to move beyond a study of the novel to include such discourses as advertising, tourism, autobiography, fiction, and non-fiction. In other words, my use of Foucault allows me to bring together a wide range of discourses to challenge and disrupt rigid ideas about “literature.” The contradiction between discourses of colonialism, tourism, and settlement on one hand and local experiences on the other is where the work of Rhenisch is located. His one-time home in the Interior of British Columbia is characterized by the tension between European settlement and the colonization of land already occupied by First Nations. Problematically, Rhenisch seems to present the agricultural society of the Interior as an  37  original (or first) society, while also being quite clear about the fact that this society is involved in land occupation through colonialism. In short, the work of Rhenisch occupies a multi-leveled site of tension and contradiction through which he presents his arguments. Keeping his contradictions in mind, I read Rhenisch as opposing the marginalization of rural, agricultural Interior identities by the allegorical national discourses of people such as Peter Gzowski and Margaret Atwood. I follow this reading by juxtaposing tourism discourse with the personal, relational discourse of Rhenisch. I maintain that the personal discourse of Rhenisch contests the official, impersonal or generic tourism discourse by foregrounding the life-stories of those who live in the region. Finally, I understand Rhenisch as creating a place-based identity which, though flawed in many ways, is rooted in an insider world connected to experiences of self and family, as well as to a shared set of experiences and histories. In chapter four I begin with white collar labour as a phrase used to describe nonmanual occupations in a stratified labour force. In part, I move from resource-driven narratives of logging and agriculture to so-called white collar labour in order to resist the stereotypical perception of the British Columbia economy as entirely resource dependant. To this end, I examine JPod by Douglas Coupland, Scann by Robert Harlow, and the end of east by Jen Sookfong Lee. In JPod, I briefly return to the field structure of Bourdieu to deal with conditions of dominance and subordination in the video-game technology industry that Coupland represents. Specifically, I explore the ways in which Coupland’s characters resist the oppressive conditions in the workplace which leave them with no sense of agency or self. One of the issues that emerges here is the question of whether or not, or to what extent, the characters are able to achieve a useful or actual  38  degree of agency. Is their agency simply symptomatic of the capitalist system they are trying to resist? Scann is also deeply concerned with agency and authorship. In part, I use an autobiographical reading of the text to interpret Amory Scann as powerless, or at least self-perceived as powerless, in his editorial position at the Linden Chronicle. As a result, he drives himself forward as an author of fiction—a position he identifies with freedom and mobility. My analysis of Scann also reveals a connection between Scann’s so-called white collar occupations of editor and author with the patriarchal subjugation of the women in his life. In many ways, Scann’s desire for control and authorship over story, over his narrative, is played out in his attempts to author the women around him and can be read as a metaphor for a patriarchal understanding of history. I close chapter four with an analysis of the end of east. This novel makes it clear that the label white collar labour fails to deal adequately with the subtleties and complexities of the role that race, gender, and class play in a stratified labour force. In other words, while families such as the Chan family in Lee’s novel enjoy a degree of privilege by owning a barber shop, and later going into the accounting business, this privilege must always contend with oppressive, racialized labour structures. The implicit critique Lee’s novel makes of white collar operates in the background of this section. My primary argument involves the role that labour plays in the family and in familial relationships. In particular, I suggest that labour practices can be directed toward freedom, intimacy between fathers and sons, and power and control within a family. Alternatively, the burdens of unpaid domestic labour and child-rearing women can result in pressures that lead to instability, psychological trauma, and breakdown.  39  I conclude by positioning Daphne Marlatt’s Ana Historic as a form of literary criticism through which the texts of chapters two through four can be reevaluated and critiqued. In some ways, the linear structures and history of books like The Inverted Pyramid, Out of the Interior, and Scann, make the fragmented, postmodern narrative of Ana Historic both possible and necessary. In other words, Marlatt is “writing back” to the male-dominant labour narrative. In regard to chapters two and three, I use Ana Historic to explore how the novels in question are implicated in patriarchal conceptions of history and how these conceptions are linked to histories where the stories of women are absent—a situation Marlatt is explicitly critiquing. The more the texts I study move away from representations of resource extraction labour, (as they do in chapter four), the less Ana Historic has to say about them. Nevertheless, Marlatt offers a productive approach to Amory Scann’s desire to write a male-dominated historical novel as well as to his overt sexism. In contrast, the end of east is both the least relevant and the most relevant with regard to Ana Historic. As a narrative primarily about the lives of women in the Chan family, the novel is explicitly engaged in telling the stories of women—a project Marlatt’s protagonist, Annie, is also involved in. Like Marlatt, Lee is committed to filling in the “holes” and putting together the “fragments” of a history.  Paths Not Travelled  I began this introduction by quoting from Bowering’s B.C.: A Swashbuckling History because his words allowed me to introduce the subject of fragments and holes in any narrative, whether in a historical text, a novel, or a doctoral dissertation. As with other  40  writers, my biggest regret in writing my dissertation is the fact that many fragments, sometimes important ones, have been left out. There are, for example, many authors who have written in and about British Columbia, who are notably absent from my dissertation. Among these are George Bowering, Ethel Wilson, Jack Hodgins, Margaret Laurence, Malcolm Lowry, and Irene Baird. If such a thing as a national census on British Columbia authors existed, likely these names would top the list. It is possible that these names would be the only names on such a list. Certainly, they do, at times, represent labour. Bowering’s Shoot! explores the inability of the mixed race McLean sons to obtain work against a backdrop of farming, ranching, and racism. Wilson’s Swamp Angel prefigures the tourist economy through Maggie’s work at an interior fishing lodge, which represents her liberation from unpaid domestic labour. Hodgins represents the clearing of land to begin a community in Broken Ground, and Margaret Laurence demonstrates the impact that a husband’s vocation can have on his isolated and over-burdened wife. Industry or demonic conceptions of labour-machinery sometimes operate in the background of Lowry’s work, and Irene Baird wrote the classic labour novel, Waste Heritage, of 1930s Depression-era Vancouver. With the exception of Baird, none of these authors has gone to great pains to detail a particular industry or aspect of work. The primary reason I did not include these authors is precisely because of their expected appearance on my imaginary census. By focusing on an analysis of lesser-known British Columbia authors, I am committing myself to broadening the understanding and knowledge of these authors and of British Columbia prose literature. I have also limited myself to prose writing. Poetry in British Columbia often deals with the subject of labour. There are poems about logging, fishing, mill-work, cannery  41  work and so forth. One of the most exciting and canonical works in British Columbia poetry, if not Canadian poetry, is Daphne Marlatt’s long poem Steveston, complemented by the photography of Robert Minden. Yet, long poems aside, it is the prose literature of British Columbia that offers both a sustained, detailed study of labour and a sufficient body of work for analysis; consequently, it currently represents the most productive subject for study. Yet, my analysis of prose literature does open up line of inquiry into the intersection of labour, poetry, and prose—in other words, a “chapter” I still wish to explore. There are also many other chapters that still need to be written. As I consider the reasons for not writing a chapter about fishing, for example, they now seem to be reasons for writing such a chapter. Initially, I avoided this subject because there was not enough written about it in prose. What has been written is fragmented into cannery work, river fishing, and ocean fishing. Where I once saw this formation as precluding a thorough examination of a given industry, I now see more possibility, interest, and value in analyzing how these three themes work together and against one another. What does one aspect of the industry have to say about another? How do representations of the surrounding population and society differ from or complement each other? Like fishing, ranching is a notable absence and a chapter that I still wish to write. Such a chapter would certainly have expanded the geographical reach of my study to the Cariboo and Chilcotin ranch land. Apart from brief mentions or background settings, the detailed workings of ranch life is a theme seldom dealt with in novel form. As I read through the literature of the province, two things occurred. One is that the distinction I had been making between fiction and non-fiction began to collapse, particularly as I  42  worked through the creative non-fiction of Harold Rhenisch and Daphne Marlatt’s novel Ana Historic. The second thing is that I began to read ranching memoirs. Two in particular stand out: Bob White’s Bannock and Beans: A Cowboy’s Account of the Bedaux Expedition (2009) and Richmond P. Hobson Jr.’s Grass Beyond the Mountains (1951). The former is unparalleled for its portrayal of the gritty reality of the work involved in the life of a cowboy. The latter is unequalled in its depiction of establishing a cattle ranch on the “last great cattle front” (35)—a statement that functions in the text as a complement to imagery of “discovery” in Hobson’s journey into the “blank space” (49) at the centre of the map. A British Columbia Heart of Darkness of sorts, Grass Beyond the Mountains is an excellent study of both ranch-style land settlement and how this settlement operates within a colonial ideology and set of practices. The genre of the ranch memoir is, like fishing, a subject worth further pursuit and study, and one I hope to return to. Even less represented than fishing and ranching is mining. There is the virtually unknown book called The Leases of Death published under the name M.B. Gaunt, a pseudonym for Richard (Dick) Edward Horsfield, but it is more of a murder mystery than a book about mining. Likely, and similar to ranching, mining appears most prominently in journals and memoirs such as Irene Howard’s Gold Dust on My Shirt (2008). Aside from a lack of primary material, the most significant objection to writing a chapter each on fishing, ranching, and mining, is that the dissertation would become one about resource-based narratives only. A more wide-ranging picture of labour is, I believe, most productive and historically accurate. By beginning with logging, moving on to agriculture, and finally to white collar labour, I examine a cross-section of possible  43  labour narratives in British Columbia and focus on those areas with the requisite critical mass of material. By structuring my dissertation in this way, I am able to open up the definition of labour to include activities such as writing and domestic labour on one hand as well as critique the dominant, patriarchal, racialized labour narrative—and thereby lay the foundation for a comparative analysis of dominant with marginalized but emerging narratives—on the other. Significantly, a more flexible definition of labour allows for other possible labour narratives, for identifying alternate—possibly hybrid—methods of organizing a study of labour representations in British Columbia, and for envisioning other chapters to write. One such chapter might address representations of women’s labour in British Columbia. Such a chapter would move beyond the largely segmented, industry style thesis here, not only to focus on the role of farm women, but to follow feminist thought on recovering the emotional, domestic, and care-giving or reproductive labour narratives of women. Possible texts might include Muriel Wylie Blanchet’s The Curve of Time, and the work of Sheila Watson, Gail Anderson-Dargatz, Audrey Thomas and Jeannette Armstrong. Another possible direction for further study would be to look at narratives that represent the labour of clearing the land or the labour of building a small community. Here the writing of Eric Collier, Robert Harlow, and Jack Hodgins would be compelling. More broadly defined, a study of labour might include the political labours of black Canadians as represented by Bill Gallaher in A Man Called Moses: The Curious Life of Wellington Delaney Moses and the work of Wade Compton. The most important omission from this dissertation is not fishing, mining, or domestic labour, however, but representations of First Nations labourers. Again, this is in  44  part due to a lack of material. Other than Henry Pennier’s ‘Call Me Hank’: A Stó:lō Man’s Reflections on Logging, Living, and Growing Old, there simply isn’t much writing on the subject—though the female protagonist of Jeannette Armstrong’s Whispering in Shadows ranges through many jobs in the course of the narrative, and the background of Eden Robinson’s Monkey Beach could be viewed through the lens of labour. Texts such as George Bowering’s Shoot! and Emily Carr’s Klee Wyck also represent First Nations peoples, but aside from brief mentions in Shoot!, neither text focuses on labour. In the opening of Morley Roberts’ The Prey of the Strongest, the reader is introduced to words that may be unfamiliar. His description of the work being done in the province includes the words “pannikin,” “tilikum,” and “cultus” (vi-vii)—examples of Chinook “jargon” or wawa, a trade and labour language that functioned primarily between Aboriginal Peoples and immigrants.6 His use of wawa implies something of a partnership or ongoing relationship with Aboriginal People. In fact, the novel centers around life and work at George Quin’s mill (Stick Moola) where labourers of many backgrounds work together. As the narrator explains, the mill “used the lives and muscles of high-toned High Binders from Kowloon and the back parts of Canton, and hidalgos from Spain with knives about them . . . to say nothing of the Letts, Lapps and Finns and our tilikums the Indians from the Coast” (Roberts 40).7 Racial stereotypes and prejudices freely circulate in this novel, and it is clear that White people are free to exert power over Aboriginal Peoples under and outside of the law. The presence of Aboriginal mill labourers (not to mention Chinese workers) in the work of Roberts is nevertheless unique. Such a representation is unique because this presence virtually disappears in later logging narratives. In fact, the use of wawa seems to disappear or is not represented in a form  45  recognizable as wawa until the publication of Lee Henderson’s The Man Game (2009). The central logging narratives I analyze in chapter two, Bertrand Sinclair’s The Inverted Pyramid as well as Roderick Haig-Brown’s Timber and On the Highest Hill, make little if any attempt to portray Aboriginal Peoples. While not an issue I take up directly in the body of my study, the question that haunts my examination of the dominant labour narrative is: What happens to First Nations workers in the logging industry? First Nations were, and continue to be, employed in the forestry industry—and in virtually every form of work in British Columbia. Rolf Knight, in Indians at Work: An Informal History of Native Labour in British Columbia 1858-1930 (1978; 1996), writes about the misconceived view “that with the passing of the buffalo, or the sea otter, and with the coming of the steam engine, native Indian peoples were shuffled off into some form of reserve dependence” (5). Instead, “[i]ndependent Indian loggers were delivering logs to early coastal sawmills by 1856” (15), and by “1910 members of at least 50 bands in BC were engaged in logging and sawmilling” (15). The much later work of John Sutton Lutz agrees with that by Knight. Lutz writes that, “in the 1860s and 1870s, Aboriginal People made up a significant part of the logging crews, constituted most of the sawmill labour, and numerically dominated the longshoremen and longshorewomen who loaded the timber onto the ships” (185). It is no surprise that Roberts’ The Prey of the Strongest, in 1906, represents this demographic. Yet, Lutz notes that “John Pritchard, who studied the economy of the Haisla, found that their logging practices peaked by 1924, although they were also logging during the Second World War and the immediate postwar period” (215). While information is scarce, and census data often unreliable, both the decennial census and Harry Hawthorn’s 1954 “survey of aboriginal occupations”  46  suggest “a relative increase in the importance of the forest industry between 1931 and 1961” (215). Furthermore, Lutz explains that Amy O’Neill’s interview of Stó:lō loggers, “found that, in the last half of the twentieth century, logging was a key source of livelihood for Aboriginal People in the Fraser Valley and a source of pride and identity for many Stó:lō men” (215). Despite the paucity of material and the unreliability of census data, it is absolutely clear that First Nations were involved in the logging industry throughout the time period represented by the novels of Sinclair and Haig-Brown studied here. In White Civility: The Literary Project of English Canada (2006), Daniel Coleman begins by recounting Himani Bannerji’s short story “The Other Family.” In the story, a young South Asian girl draws a picture of her family where her mother has blond hair and blue eyes, and her family all have white skin. Queried about her drawing, the girl answers that she drew it from a book. The point Coleman makes is that the anecdote “identifies books and the imaginative worlds they present as important means by which the pedagogy of White normativity is purveyed, and second, it demonstrates how the privilege of the norm operates paradoxically as being so obvious that it remains unexamined” (3). Hence, while I am reluctant to deal with such a contentious issue as authorial responsibility as it intersects with historical accuracy in fiction writing, it is nevertheless clear that the narratives of The Inverted Pyramid, On the Highest Hill, and Timber, function in a manner similar to the storybook upon which the young South Asian girl bases her drawing. Thematically, the logging novel is, at least to some degree, an imagined world “by which the pedagogy of White normativity is purveyed.”  47  Why this is the case is a complex and troubling question. Drawing on A.J.M. Smith’s “Nationalism and Canadian Poetry,” Coleman describes how, by envisioning Canada as a crucible in which overindulged British civility could be smelted and refined, Canadian imperialists imagined that, having proven its strength of purpose through overcoming the adversities of life in the northern frontier, the Canadian character would be able to benefit from Canada’s apparently unlimited supply of natural resources in such a way that it would gradually overtake England as the new centre of empire. (26) If, in the “smelter” of the logging industry narrative, First Nations and other non-white minority peoples were represented, such inclusion would undermine the claim of British or White society to national and racial superiority. In other words, if the White British character is not unique in withstanding and surviving the “rigours of life in a stern, unaccommodating climate [which] demanded strength of body, character, and mind . . .” (Coleman 24), then the whole artificial construction falls apart. I wouldn’t go so far as to label Sinclair and Haig-Brown as instrumental to this process or as deliberately involved in its construction, but rather their work certainly participates in a larger culture and discourse that are patterned on such a construction. As representations of a given culture at a given time, these books fit this cultural pattern of omitting First Nations figures from the historical narrative. This cultural pattern is partly why Sinclair represents First Nations populations as entities from the past—as people who have been conquered by families such as the Norquays and can only be narrated in this context. Such a narrative, as purveyor and pedagogy of white normativity, “allowed settlers to fantasize that the disappearance of Aboriginal peoples was an inevitability” (Coleman 29). In another context, Coleman explains this idea through the concept of racialized time which “equated whiteness with modernity and the administration of industrial development and non-whiteness with pre48  modern backwardness and manual labour (30). Significantly, “the simple sequence of racialized time meant that it was impossible to weave First Nations culture into the progressive narrative of Canadian development” (30). In both Sinclair and Haig-Brown, the narratives are represented in terms of progress and industrial development as the characters pass through various stages of the logging industry over time. In this sense, their narratives reflect Coleman’s concept of racialized time. Again, their books are part of a cultural pattern that cannot admit dynamic, central First Nations characters without undermining the blatantly mythological or artificial construction of a progressive, White, labour narrative. As is the case with logging, First Nations populations are actively engaged in agriculture. Knight explains that “Indian farming in viable areas in BC initially evolved independently of both mission and government direction and in a number of regions developed into sophisticated mixed farming” (11). Furthermore, “[b]y the late 1890s Indian farms in some locales were comparable to white-owned farms in those regions, with a full complement of barns, houses, tools, and livestock” (11-12). Lutz declares that “[d]espite the characterization of BC Aboriginal People as non-agricultural, at the beginning of the century and between 1910 and 1926 this sector supplied more income to BC Indians than any other” (210). Indeed, “it remained, even in 1961, the third largest source of income after fishing and forestry” (210). In his representation of the orchard and agriculture industry of the Interior, Harold Rhenisch makes it clear that the land occupied by European immigrants such as himself is land that was colonized, and that it is land that belonged—or is still in ownership disputes—to various First Nations. One of his characterizations of the Interior is that of  49  the First Nations trickster, Coyote. Nevertheless, Rhenisch does not go to great lengths to represent First Nations farms, orchards, wineries, or agricultural activities. Rather, he is focused on his own German heritage and how it plays out in the Interior. Yet, the agrarian discourse he puts forward in creating a place-identity for the Interior, and as a counterdiscourse to that of tourism, is problematic. In some ways, the discourse of Rhenisch makes claims toward being indigenous, and his work cannot be read as innocent of marginalizing First Nations concerns. Coleman is again productive in explaining this point: the settler must construct, by a double process of speedy indigenization and accelerated self-civilization, his priority and superiority to latecomers; that is, by representing himself as already indigenous, the settler claims priority over newer immigrants and, by representing himself as already civilized, he claims superiority to Aboriginals and other non-Whites. (16) In Sinclair, Haig-Brown, and Rhenisch, this position is legitimized. Concerning logging, it is the historical narrative of building a nation, of being the first generation of labourers in a new-found country, that makes a claim toward being indigenous. In Rhenisch, it is the idea of being the first agricultural society. In both cases, the discourse of indigeneity locates the loggers and farmers as superior to new immigrants (and thus “more authentic”), as well as to First Nations and other non-Whites, who are either historically located, dying out, or incapable of enduring harsh labour conditions—conclusions that seem as absurd now as they were then. Implicit in the idea of Canada, and thus British Columbia, as a smelter in which people could be hardened is the construction of a hegemonic-masculinity predicated on surviving the challenging conditions, on being the rough, hardened, male character and body. In some ways, discourses of racial superiority are interconnected with constructions of masculinity that subordinated racially constructed masculinities. In other 50  words, if First Nations men are constructed as being unable to endure the conditions meant to smelt British men, then First Nations masculinity necessarily precluded the qualities British men supposedly held that made them superior. Ironically, when viewed through the lens of capitalism, the supposed hyper-masculinity of men in the logging industry worked much to their own detriment. Not possessing any inherent hyperbolic “masculine” quality, these men, while enjoying the privilege of work and higher wages than non-Whites, were also forced to work in dangerous conditions. Furthermore, as studies such as Megan J. Davies’ “Old Age in British Columbia: The Case of the ‘Lonesome Prospector’” show, men in resource industries were likely to be marked by “poverty and ill health rather than freedom and independence” (42). Like studies of those narratives that focus on mining, ranching, fishing, land development, domestic labour, and First Nations labour practices, the connection between race, capitalism, and masculinity in resource narratives of British Columbia remains yet another fragment to be written. Such a study might depend on moving beyond prose literature and creative non-fiction to include oral literature, journal writing, and memoir. Ideally, my work here represents an opening up of British Columbia literary studies rather than a shutting down. Rather than a definitive account of labour narratives of British Columbia, I hope this dissertation serves as a catalyst for further articles, chapters, and fragments to come.  51  Notes  1  Hence my title, borrowed from Jean Barman’s history of British Columbia The West Beyond the West.  2  Of course, it is possible that this lack may be a problem of copyright or permissions.  3  Also important here are anthologies of B.C. literature. Volumes such as David Stouck and Myler  Wilkinson’s West by Northwest: British Columbia Short Stories (1998) and Genius of Place: Writing About British Columbia (2000) have become classics in the field. Nowhere else is there such as range of writing about the province. Where West by North West deals with First Nations myths and legends as well as short stories, Genius of Place is primarily non-fiction and moves from journal excerpts of early explorers to accounts of the protest at Clayoquot Sound. More recent anthologies, such as Daniel Francis’ Imagining British Columbia: Land Memory and Place (2008) continue the tradition. 4  Originally published in Theory and Society 5.14 (1985), and subsequently in Harry Brod’s The Making of  Masculinities: The New Men’s Studies (1987). The text I use is from The Masculinity Studies Reader (2002), by Rachel Adams and David Savran. 5  Nancy Quam-Wickham’s “Rereading Man’s Conquest of Nature: Skill, Myths, and the Historical  Construction of Masculinity in Western Extractive Industries” offers a productive introduction to the subject, yet I have favored writers such as Hak and Maynard for their focus on logging and found them more directly applicable to the arguments I make here. 6  “Pannikin”: small metal pan or cup; “tillicum”: according to Parkin’s WetCoast Words, “Chinook jargon  for ‘relatives, people, or friend’” ( “tillicum” 142); Lang, in Making Wawa, translates tilicum as “man or people” but also includes Alexander Ross’ “tilloch-cum” to mean Indians” ( “tilikum” 157). Ross’ work is one of the two “first surviving systematic lists of Chinookan” dating from the early nineteenth century (Lang 56). Parkin defines “cultus” as “the word for ‘worthless, bad, defective, impolite, stinking, and dirty”  52  among “two dozen other Chinook meanings” ( “cultus” 42). Lang defines “cultus” as “common, nothing” and cites Ross’ meaning as “idle talk” ( “cultus” 152). 7  Highbinder can mean ruffian or assassin; hidalgo a Spanish gentlemen; Letts, people from Latvia; Lapps,  people from Lapland; and Finns, people from Finland (Oxford English Dictionary).  53  2. Literary Representations of the Logging Industry: The Novels of Bertrand Sinclair and Roderick Haig-Brown  In British Columbia writing the logger combines antitheses that make Marvell’s ambiguities seem mild: he is at once the hero and villain. He is the hero, whether viewed in Marxist or other economic terms as the worker whose hard, skilled, and dangerous labour has long been the foundation of the coastal economy, or seen from the more romantic perspective of well established folk traditions; but he is also the destroyer of nature and the producer of devastation on a scale that reduces Marvell’s mower to insignificance. - Allan Pritchard, “West of the Great Divide: Man and Nature in the Literature of British Columbia,” 1984, 44.  One of the earliest novels set and written in British Columbia is Martin Allerdale Grainger’s Woodsmen of the West, published in 1908. Significantly, the publication and critical reception of this novel mark the beginning of fictionalizing one of the most represented and academically ignored themes present in the novels that have been written about British Columbia: that of the logging industry. Most recognized among this littleknown group of texts are Morely Roberts’ The Prey of the Strongest (1906), George Godwin’s The Eternal Forest (as early as 1914; 1929), Bus Griffiths’ Now Your Logging (1978), Peter Trower’s Grogan’s Cafe (1993), Dead Man’s Ticket (1996), and The Judas 54  Hills (2000), and to a lesser extent Jack Hodgins’ Broken Ground (1998). Also important are Brian Fawcett’s autobiographical Virtual Clearcut or, The Way Things are in My Hometown (2003) and John Vaillant’s non-fictional The Golden Spruce (2005). In some ways, the two authors I have omitted from this list are the most central. Bertrand Sinclair wrote Big Timber: A Story of the Northwest (1916), The Hidden Places (1922) and The Inverted Pyramid (1924), while Roderick Haig-Brown wrote Timber (1942) and On The Highest Hill (1949). Taken together, these books demonstrate a growing mass of logging narratives in British Columbia writing. Indeed, it is a representation that has flourished in British Columbia. One possible reason for this is the centrality of forests and logging to the province. According to Roderick Haig-Brown in The Living Land, “In 1900 the sawmills produced just over a quarter of a billion board feet. By 1910 the annual cut passed a billion feet; by 1920, two billion; by 1928, three billion.” In other words, “[l]umber had replaced fur, gold and base metals as the mainstay of the province” (16). Economically, politically, and environmentally, the forests of British Columbia are a ubiquitous presence, a touchstone of both public and academic discourse. As such, it is both logical and productive for writers to explore the forest economy and culture. Chronologically, both in date of publication and in historical scope, the novels written by Haig-Brown follow from that of Sinclair. Further, where Sinclair writes from the topdown perspective of the upper-class Norquay family, Haig-Brown writes from the point of view of the blue-collar labourer. Thus these novels form counterparts to one another, and I have maintained their chronological order in structuring this chapter. With regard to patterns in British Columbia literature, critics like James Doyle list Bertrand Sinclair as one of the “three notable Canadian writers [who] emerged in the  55  [Ralph] Connor-Kipling-London tradition to expound fictional critiques of modern capitalism” in “the first two decades of the twentieth century” (39). Consequently, the publication of The Inverted Pyramid in 1924 can be seen as a precursor to the currents of socialism and Marxism that have been traced through Canadian writers such as Dorothy Livesay, Irene Baird, and Frederick Philip Grove.1 Charles Lillard, in “The Past Rising From our Midst,” ties Sinclair to a tradition of landscape writing in British Columbia from Hubert Evans to Dick (Richard) Horsfield (M.B. Gaunt), to Frederick Niven and Morely Roberts. Speculatively, Sinclair may even be the direct, person-to-person connection between the Roberts/Niven relationship and the Evans/Horsfield relationship. According to Lillard, Evans and Horsfield knew Sinclair, and Sinclair “likely . . . had know Niven” (14). Hence, Lillard states that “From Roberts it [tradition] can be traced through Sinclair, Niven, Horsfield, and to O’Hagan’s Tay John” (20), and, as a landscape tradition, it can then be followed through Evans to Ethel Wilson, Sheila Watson, and Robert Harlow. Furthermore, it seems strange to think that Sinclair, who lived from 1881 to 1972, and Roderick Haig-Brown, who lived from 1908 to 1976, did not know one another, or at the very least know of each other’s work considering their overlapping careers. First-hand knowledge of other writers neither constitutes a tradition in and of itself, nor is it necessary. Certainly both Sinclair and Haig-Brown had a separate yet common interest in both the logging and the fishing industries. Anthony Robertson, in Above Tide, describes Haig-Brown’s early interest in fishing and how he adopted “the discipline of the sportsman’s ethic” (7) from his mentor, Major Greenville. In A River Never Sleeps, Haig-Brown relates how he had to “know everything—the identity of the  56  birds by their flight, the line that rabbits would take in bolting from a certain place, [and] any shift of wind” (qtd. in Robertson 7-8). It is likely that this same ethic caused HaigBrown to find “the society of loggers and logging camps so attractive” (Robertson 10). Indeed, Robertson remarks that on Vancouver Island “nature was all around him [HaigBrown] on a scale and in a nearly unspoiled grandeur unlike even the wildest parts of England” (10). Haig-Brown arrived in the Nimpkish River and Campbell River areas of British Columbia around 1926, a time when these places were still considered to be a wild frontier. Yet, during his lifetime, the extraction of timber, fish, and minerals “devastated much of the region, destroying enormous tracts of softwood timber, polluting the rivers and streams, and decimating the big salmon runs” (Robertson 18). The sportsman ethic of Haig-Brown, in combination with his experience of the changing British Columbia landscape, immersed him in discourses of resource extraction and conservationism alike—subjects that inform much of his work. Like Haig-Brown, Sinclair developed a sportsman’s ethic. Betty C. Keller describes Sinclair’s ethic as an advocacy of ‘the strenuous life,” a belief that “vigorous physical activity was the key to mental activity” (7). Moreover, Sinclair “came to believe that it was necessary to live that life in order to write about it” (7). This ethic was honed in the cattle country of the United States where Sinclair worked such jobs as cowpuncher in Montana. He arrived at Vancouver in 1911, and like Haig-Brown, encountered a colonial frontier landscape. From 1912-1913, Sinclair began to learn about logging from his observations of logging camps around Harrison Lake, “the largest body of fresh water in southwestern B.C.” (Keller 73). Another similarity between the two authors is their interest in hunting and fishing. During his breaks from logging observation, Sinclair spent  57  his time fishing “for huge Dolly Varden trout” in the streams of Harrison Valley and “hunting deer in the nearby mountains” (Keller 73). In 1917, he bought a 37-foot boat called the Hoo Hoo which he used to troll for salmon or as a base from which to explore the coast of British Columbia and Vancouver Island. In other words, like Haig-Brown, Sinclair was immersed in the discourses of the sportsman as well as those of resource extraction. Considering they were faced with the same shifting landscape and immersed in similar discourses, it is no surprise these experiences formed the basis of much of their writing. Sinclair and Haig-Brown can also be thematically linked to American novels that incorporate logging, such as Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion and more recently John Irving’s Last Night in Twisted River. As narratives of resource extraction, representations of logging can be traced back to such books as Émile Zola’s Germinal— about a coal miner’s strike in 1860s France. Following both the American and French contexts, Sinclair and Haig-Brown can be argued to belong to the traditions of naturalism and social realism. Though Sinclair received little formal education, he read voraciously. Among the writers Sinclair admired are Upton Sinclair, author of the social realist novel The Jungle; William Sidney Porter, whose stories often focused on everyday people and occupations in New York City; and Stewart Edward White whose fiction often dealt with outdoor life and occupations such as lumbering. In contrast to Sinclair, Haig-Brown was educated at Charterhouse School, “one of the great Victorian schools” of England, but did not pursue his formal education any further. Both writers have much in common with Zola’s practice of naturalism, a concept associated with Zola’s twenty-novel series Les Rougon-Macquart—which includes  58  Germinal. The Oxford Companion to English Literature describes naturalism as “characterized by a refusal to idealize experience and by the persuasion that human life is strictly subject to natural laws” (688). Furthermore, naturalists believe that “the everyday life of the middle and lower classes of their own day provided subjects worthy of serious literary treatment” (688). These remarks agree with Zola’s statement in “The Novel” that “[t]he novelist . . . invents a plan, a drama; only it is a scrap of a drama, the first story he comes across and which daily life furnishes him with always” (72). Zola further elaborates by suggesting that “in the arrangement of the work this invention is only of very slight importance. The facts are there only as the logical results of the characters. The great thing is to set up living creatures . . . in the most natural manner possible (723). Indeed, Zola’s insistence on naturalness and the everyday is such that “all efforts of the writer tend to hide the imaginary under the real” (73). The insistence of Sinclair and Haig-Brown on the everyday, and on having their characters play out their drama in the “most natural manner possible,” by which I mean that which most closely approximates or represents “real” life, locates them in the naturalist tradition. Haig-Brown, especially, draws on his almost scientific knowledge of plants and animals. Yet, the deterministic naturalism of Zola, fused as it is with the scientific work and method of Claude Bernard,2 is only an imperfect match with the narratives of Sinclair and Haig-Brown. Unlike Zola, neither Sinclair nor Haig-Brown invest their narratives with an entirely deterministic perspective, and they do not consistently follow his overly scientific approach. In addition to having much in common with naturalism, then, both authors can be connected to social realism, a term “used loosely to describe a realistic, objective, yet socially aware and detailed method of presentation” (qtd in “socialist realism” 917). Regarding  59  Sinclair’s and Haig-Brown’s work, this translates into narratives that often pay close attention to the details of everyday life, but also ones that depart from a naturalist sense of realism to grapple with social issues—in many cases this involves a departure from representing Zola’s sense of “the real” in favour of imagined circumstances and projected outcomes. With regard to the existing criticism of Sinclair, Richard Lane remarks that “this most marginal of British Columbian writers is also somehow the most central, writing about industries and idealisms that have constructed the modern-day place called British Columbia” (6). Likewise, Allan Pritchard remarks that “[t]he transition to the major writers [in BC] is most easily made by way of Roderick Haig-Brown, who has good claims to be regarded as the first to sustain a long and distinguished career as a writer in British Columbia” (“A View of” 102). In 1979, Gordon Philip Turner stated that “Roderick Haig-Brown’s On the Highest Hill is surely the most underrated novel in Canadian fiction,” yet since its publication “no important critical analysis of this novel, either for its merits or its relation to the larger concerns of Canadian literature, has been made” (116). Timber, Anthony Robertson argues, “is a remarkable historical record, a detailed and loving description of the mostly unfamiliar world of logging and the men who do it. It raises complex questions—all of them still with us. As a chronicle of a way of life it is unique” (63). The common denominator is that little attention has been paid to either author, especially in regard to their logging narratives. My work continues along the path set forth by critics such as Pritchard, Lane, Turner, and Robertson, and foregrounds the relevance and interest these novels, these writers, and these narratives continue to hold within the larger body of Canadian literature.  60  Bertrand Sinclair  ‘It’s a condemned book, my good friend, because it doesn’t go like that: and joining his long, elegant yet robust hands, he made a pyramid.’ - “declaration to Henry Céard about Sentimental Education” ( in Bourdieu 210)  In 2004 Roger Pearson asks a series of questions about Émile Zola’s Germinal: So where does Zola stand on the issue of people and politics? Is Germinal a blueprint for revolution or reform? Or neither? Is it perhaps a reactionary demonstration of the impossibility of change? Should we read it as a largely impersonal, documentary which happens to end with the vaguely optimistic prospect that the seeds of a better future lie buried in the mud and muddle of today? Or does it offer the more considered and authentic vision of a Darwinian evolution in which nature nurtured becomes a second nature? (xvii) While Pearson’s incisive and penetrating series of questions explicitly address Zola’s narrative of a miners’ strike set in Northern France during the 1860s, his questions lie at the heart of my work on Bertrand Sinclair’s The Inverted Pyramid and provide a starting point for my analysis. To these questions I would add: Does The Inverted Pyramid espouse environmental protectionism or conservationism? Or neither? To what extent is it a chronicle of entrepreneurial industrial capitalism in the British Columbia forest industry? Together, these questions point to Sinclair’s use of naturalism and social realism as a mode of writing, his stance on the struggle between labour and capital, his  61  criticism of capitalism as a viable economic model, and his concern about the struggle between resource extraction and environmental sustainability. To return to Pearson’s question, “[s]hould we read it as a largely impersonal, documentary which happens to end with the vaguely optimistic prospect that the seeds of a better future lie buried in the mud and muddle of today?” I would cautiously answer, “yes.” While I do not see The Inverted Pyramid as “largely impersonal,” I do argue that it is precisely in its naturalist, documentary style that value can be found. As Herb Wyile states in Speculative Fictions: Contemporary Canadian Novelists and the Writing of History, “the historical novel in its classical or traditional formulation” operates under the imperative that it is a “perfectly suitable vehicle for conveying a sense of the lived experience of past eras” (8). Indeed, Wyile invokes the words of Avrom Fleishman who states that “‘the historical novel is pre-eminently suited to telling how individual lives were shaped at specific moments of history, and how this shaping reveals the character of those historical periods’” (9). Wyile is quick to note that, in line with contemporary historical novels, “[h]istorians have increasingly concerned themselves not just with the recovery of the neglected history of women, of working people, and of marginalized ethnic groups, but also with reshaping the very terms in which history is written” and that “[p]erhaps more important than the recognition that history has been narrowly defined has been the increasing recognition of history as a kind of constructed consensus about the past rather than a narrative about a “given” historical reality (7). In Sinclair’s The Inverted Pyramid, both conceptions of historiography are present. The novel provides a literary history, “a sense of the lived experience,” of the forest industry and capitalism between 1909 and 1920. Published in 1924, it is also an antecedent to contemporary  62  fiction in its focus on the neglected history of “working people”—in particular, loggers. While Sinclair can be interpreted as a precursor to contemporary historical fiction, it should be noted that despite the heavy irony of phrases such as “first people” (16) and “first families” (19), which allude to the history of colonization, repression, and displacement that serve as the foundation of the Norquay family’s status, wealth, and ownership of land, First Nations peoples and individuals, and, in fact all non-white populations, are largely absent from the narrative. Richard Lane, in Literature & Loss: Bertrand William Sinclair’s British Columbia argues that “in making an ethical case for the accurate historical record of the economic and cultural expansion of the Pacific North West, Sinclair invites a postcolonial reading of his texts which examines such a claim to historical veracity” (80). An interesting text to read in this light is Henry Pennier’s ‘Call Me Hank’: A Stól:õ Man’s Reflections on Logging, Living, and Growing Old, or the work of John Lutz in “After the Fur Trade: The Aboriginal Labouring Class of British Columbia 1849-1890.”  In analyzing The Inverted Pyramid, Pierre Bourdieu’s focus on structure and form in the realist novel Sentimental Education by Flaubert offers an excellent entry point. Indeed, just as Bourdieu’s model allows him to “reveal the structure of Sentimental Education ” and enables his reader “to understand the novel’s logic as both story and history” (147), so too does this model reveal the narrative and historical structure of The Inverted Pyramid. Thus, my first task will be to outline Bourdieu’s ideas to delineate the logic and structure of story and history in The Inverted Pyramid: what Bourdieu refers to as the field of power. This section will be partly argumentative in the sense that it  63  proposes a particular social structure embedded in the novel, but also descriptive in exposing the literary history informing the novel. Arising out of what I identify as the polarized field structure of The Inverted Pyramid is the oscillating position of Rod Norquay, the “hero” of the novel. In my second section I contend that Rod Norquay is a figure who initially resists choosing between one or another pole in Bourdieu’s field of power. Here I use the nature of the Bildungsroman to support the work of Bourdieu in revealing Rod’s disavowal of the trajectory set forth by his position in the field of power and his habitus—a concept I will elaborate in the following section. It is through this disavowal, in the form of Rod’s opposition to Grove Norquay, that Sinclair’s economic vision in the novel begins to emerge. Third, I shall build upon the analysis established in preceding sections to explore Sinclair’s departure from a naturalist mode of realism and dominant discourses to a social realist mode. In particular, I suggest that through Rod’s alignment with working class characters Sinclair departs from the naturalist mode to resist the capitalist disposition toward the objectification of the body, to resist or oppose the rhetoric of loggers and other workers as “a breed apart,” and to locate a moment where conservationism coexists with resource extraction and thus foregrounds the environmentalism of the time. Finally, I argue that taken together, these “departures,” through the character of Rod Norquay, represent an economic model based on a knowledge of industry, an ethics of responsibility, and contingent political alliances between ruling and working classes—a model that supplants capitalism, which holds profit as its raison d’être.  64  Sinclair’s novel ranges in both its time period (between 1909 and 1920) and its content. The novel opens with Rod Norquay—at eighteen, the youngest of the Norquay family—in a canoe with Mary Thorn, daughter of Oliver Thorn, navigating the waters off Little Dent Island. It is approximately 1909, and the families of the Norquays and the Thorns are set up immediately as foils. The primary narrative thrust revolves around Rod Norquay as he “comes of age” and eventually takes control of the family timber industry upon the death of his father, Roderick Norquay Senior. Sinclair goes to great pains to maintain historical accuracy in describing the workings of the timber industry from the point of view of the owners (the Norquay family), from that of the workers as represented by Jim Handy and labour-agitator Andy Hall, and from that of Rod Norquay Jr. after his apprenticeship in the woods. As Rod obtains an understanding of the industry, so too does the reader. In addition to Norquay Senior and Junior, the family is composed of Phil and Grove Norquay, Rod’s two older brothers. Grove, the eldest, is pitted against Rod in the narrative and pursues capital and investment by establishing the Norquay Trust. Phil takes the middle path and initially heads the timber business until his death in the First World War. As a result of the death of Phil and the failure of Grove and his Norquay Trust, Rod must take over the timber business to save the family name. Everything the Norquays have in terms of possessions, class-position, recognition, and wealth, the Thorns do not; instead, their focus is on the relationships between people and living honestly through their labour. It is Mary Thorn who eventually weds Rod. Moving through the economic cycles of bust and boom, and through the First World War, the novel eventually closes around 1920. While the final pages of the novel are open to  65  interpretation, it is clear that only the family of Rod, Mary and their son survives into the next generation. Before proceeding to the claims and arguments I will make, I would first like to offer a brief outline of Bourdieu’s concept of field—the concept which figures most prominently in my analysis. One of the most cogent definitions of Bourdieu’s concept of field is that formulated by Randal Johnson in his introduction to The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature. Johnson suggests that “according to Bourdieu’s theoretical model, any social formation is structured by way of a hierarchically organized series of fields,” and that “each field is relatively autonomous but structurally homologous with the others. Its structure, at any given moment, is determined by the relations between the positions agents occupy in the field” (6). In essence, Bourdieu is describing a structure similar to that of matryoshka or Russian nesting dolls—an interchangeable series of homologous fields within fields that each contain a negative and positive pole.3 Johnson further explains that “in any given field, agents occupying the diverse available positions . . . engage in competition for control of the interests or resources which are specific to the field in question” (6), and further that it is “up to the analyst to establish through research what the specific interests of the field are and what strategies of accumulation (which may or may not be based on conscious calculation) are employed by the agents involved” (8).4  The Field of Power in The Inverted Pyramid  In his examination of the structure and logic of Sentimental Education, Bourdieu states that “[w]hen Flaubert describes the structure of the field of power, he gives us the key 66  necessary for the comprehension of the novel which reveals this structure” and that Flaubert thus “presents us with a generative model” in which “the first element of this model is a representation of the structure of the ruling class, or as I put it, of the field of power” (147). Likewise, the social space in The Inverted Pyramid is organized around two poles represented on one side by the Norquay family, which consists primarily of sons Phil, Grove, and Roderick Norquay as well as Norquay Senior. On this side are material wealth, profit, reputation, politics, power, and influence. The other pole is represented by the Thorn family, which consists primarily of Oliver Thorn and his daughter Mary, as well as workers such as so-called agitator Andy Hall. On this side are values of personal security, leisure, physical labour, comfort, art and knowledge. To delineate the forces of the field of power Sinclair’s narrative follows the paths of four characters. The primary focus is on Rod Norquay, a figure in constant tension and oscillation between both poles, with a secondary focus on the characters of Mary Thorn as well as Grove and Phil Norquay. The construction of the social space within the field of power is derived from my structural analysis of the roles and associations of each character in combination with physical description. The Norquays are defined by the arrival of Phil and Grove Norquay in a “white power cruiser, all agleam in the afternoon sun, her housework varnished oak, bright flashes reflected off polished brass and copper . . . her bow wave spreading like an ostrich plume” (6). The Norquay family is ostentatiously wealthy, and they associate with like-minded families such as the Walls, whose daughter Laska Wall “cut quite a figure in Vancouver society” (11)—a direct reference to the importance of reputation and influence at this pole. Indeed, “to dine at Hawk’s Nest was the equivalent of dining in the  67  home of any cultivated person in New York, Paris, London,—” (29). Here we have the importance of material possessions, reputation and high fashion firmly established as aligned with the Norquay family. In contrast to the power cruiser and “high society” of the Norquays is the “gaudy cedar dugout canoe,” piloted by Mary Thorn and Rod Norquay, that is “got up in the Siwash style of high-curving bow and stern, both ends grotesquely carved and brilliantly coloured” (1). The phrasing here adopts a colonial point of view where the canoe is described as “second-class” precisely because it is identified with First Nations culture through the derogatory term “Siwash”—originally used in Chinook jargon to indicate “a native Indian of the northwest” and later used derogatorily to mean a “shiftless [or] lazy person” or something “‘done in Indian fashion’” (“Siwash,” 125-26). In combination with the canoe is the scene “across the channel [where] . . . Oliver Thorn’s weatherbeaten house” marks “a drab spot on the forest’s edge” (10), and the “caulk-punctured board steps of Oliver Thorn’s house” (87) symbolize the importance of physical labour. The Thorn family, and the pole it represents, is, in status, desire and description, everything that the Norquay pole is not. As Bourdieu remarks, “these two poles are completely incompatible, as is fire with water. What is good at one pole is bad at the other, and vice versa” (148). In terms of what Johnson refers to as the “resources” or “specific interests of the field,” we can, in the case of Sinclair, interpret the concrete meaning of resources to indicate control over the physical resource of timber, and all that such control entails. Set on the south coast of British Columbia on Little Dent and Big Dent Island, approximately thirty miles northeast of the Vancouver Island community of Campbell River, The  68  Inverted Pyramid (1924) spans the period from 1909 to 1920. Gordon Hak in Turning Trees into Dollars: The British Columbia Coastal Lumber Industry, 1858-1913 describes this location as “the coastal region.”5 Hak further states that “this zone between the mountains and the ocean contains Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, and its climate, topography, and soil created the great temperate rainforests, with their massive cedar and fir trees, the backbone of the coastal forest industry” (6).6 The link between the Norquay timber dynasty and geographical location is immediately evident, as is the fact that control over the resources of land and timber is a hallmark of the field of power in the novel. Hak’s history of the lumber industry outlines an industrial development through which “the industrial capitalist emerged, replacing the small artisanal producer or the merchant-trader as the key business figure” (30). Rod Norquay, in his recollection of Roderick Sylvester Norquay’s voyage to British Columbia7 with Captain George Vancouver in 1792, recounts that “the first venture was a very profitable one” and that on the second “he brought a couple of dozen extra men, artisans of different trades, and set up a trading post here” (17). Rod further recalls the movement from fur-trading under the “Northwest Fur Company,” to the gold rush of 1859, and finally to the time that the Norquay family “got title” to their land and “Grandfather began to operate in timber” (19). Sinclair thus establishes a direct line from resource-rich geographical location, to artisanal producer and merchant-trader, to the figure of the industrial entrepreneurial capitalist. It is this direct line that invokes British Columbia as a colonial outpost or settler economy, and it is the activities of resource extraction that are directly involved in the process of colonization. In short, we begin to see in Sinclair a particular history of a  69  settler economy and industrial entrepreneurial capitalism as it played out in British Columbia, and the specific resources at play in the field of power. With respect to the timber industry, Hak asserts that in the establishment and operation of the production system, profit and loss were concerns at all stages. Labour power, machinery, timber, and credit were purchased at the lowest possible cost, and finished commodities were sold at the best price possible. It was not enough to be able to physically produce lumber; it had to be produced in a way that allowed for profit. Production systems that transformed the most timber into profitable market commodities, and did so in the fastest manner, were the most successful. (5) The Norquays, therefore, faced with an impending strike at the Valdez camp due to low wages and poor camp conditions, do not heed Grove’s suggestion to “pay off the works and have a new crew sent up” (153). He would rather be rid of so-called agitators than negotiate. Yet, replacing the crew would be an unprofitable maneuver considering both their skill and the time lost in replacing the old crew as well as training the new one. In fact, Rod maintains that if the crew at the Valdez camp “were paid on the basis of production, they’d get bigger wages than they’re asking” because “for six months straight [they] put out twenty per cent more timber per man than Hardwicke Island” (159). In other words, the Valdez crew is producing twenty per cent more than other crews, and this makes them quite valuable. These remarks establish that, as in Hak’s analysis, profit is also the fundamental precept of entrepreneurial capitalism as represented in the novel. Furthermore, with regard to the field of power, the strategy of accumulation pursued by the Norquay family is focused on control over the timber industry, and thus the accumulation of capital. Yet, under the umbrella of resources, Hak’s analysis, in combination with the conversation of the Norquays, reveals labour power, labour conditions, and the wages of the workers to be a further site of competition. I suggest that 70  the field of class relations, which I locate within the field of power, thus comes into play. In the field of class relations, the workers occupy the negative pole, being dominated by the ruling class and located at the negative pole of the field of power. As a case in point, the Valdez camp strikers demand “‘fifty cents a day raise for every outside worker on the job, from whistle-punks to hook tenders,’” as well as for the Norquays to “‘put in at least half a dozen baths, tubs, or showers . . . [t]hat’s all’” (155). To deny individuals the ability to be clean is to impose control over the body through a cost-benefit analysis of the needs of a logging camp. The denial of bodily control is both dehumanizing and a denial of the humanity of the workers. While the demand to bathe may seem fictional, conditions arising from cost-benefit analyzes are historically accurate. In No Power Greater: A Century of Labour in British Columbia, Paul A. Phillips, cites the 7 June 1918 edition of the B.C. Federationist to report that the “deplorable” conditions in logging camps were “an important factor in radicalizing the lumber workers” (77). The report further describes how “the workers complained of having no bath or drying rooms, of ‘muzzle-loading’ bunks that had to be entered from the ends, of over-crowding, of ‘pigs, lice and other vermin swarming all over the place . . . .” (77). Donald MacKay, in Empire of Wood: The MacMillan Bloedel Story, citing the same report, explains that the “‘muzzle-loading’ bunks wherein a man had to crawl into his bunk from the end, [were] an arrangement which allowed more bunks to be crowded into little space” (196). While it is unclear that these arrangements were precisely the ones at the Valdez camp, Phil Norquay’s remark: “[w]hy should we supply casual labor with baths when there is a running stream through the camp and the sea is at the door” (156), makes it clear that bathing facilities were unavailable. This initial denial  71  of basic bodily needs makes it clear that in the field of class relations the dominant or ruling class is asserting control over the dominated, working class by seizing control of the body of the labourer; concurrently, the labourer is resisting this control through the demands of the strike committee. In the field of power, capital, profit, and labour power are the contested interests in the dispute over control of the human body and cleanliness. The Norquays resist the demands for bathing facilities and wage increases in their drive for capital accumulation, and the power, influence, and reputation this provides. The strike committee, in turn, also seeks control over their labour power and wages. In the words of Bourdieu, now knowing the stake, resource or interest which has to be held or seized, and having established a “polarized space,” the “game is set up” (150). What is made clear through the revealing of the structure set up by Sinclair, whether consciously or not, is that there is an initial line to be drawn between the Norquays and the Thorns with secondary lines dividing the workers from the Norquays.  Rod Norquay  It is ultimately through Rod Norquay that “all the lines of force converge on the pole of political and economic power” (Bourdieu 148). In fact, it is through Rod’s attempt to reconcile or inhabit both worlds that the struggle between poles is most concretely realized. Rod, like Frédéric in Sentimental Education, breaks “the golden rule of the field of power [in] trying to bring about the marriage of opposing extremes, the coincidentia oppositorum, by attempting to maintain a position of untenable equilibrium between the two worlds” (153). Indeed, Bourdieu’s remarks about Frédéric seem equally applicable to Rod: 72  it is through Frédéric that one can demonstrate most fully all the implications of Flaubert’s model. An heir who does not wish to be taken up by his inheritance and made what he is, i.e. a ‘bourgeois’, he wavers between reproduction strategies which are all quite incompatible with one another. By persistently refusing to follow the normal course of sociological and biological reproduction, for example, through a marriage with Louise, he ultimately jeopardizes those chances of reproduction that he does possess. At different stages his contradictory ambitions drive him toward each of the poles which dominate the social space in which he moves. (152-3) Like Frédéric, Rod resists his inheritance. Unlike Grove—representative of the extreme, positive pole in the field of power—Rod refuses exclusive association with families such as the Walls and aligns himself with the Thorn family instead, with Mary Thorn in particular. Rod thus pursues a “reproduction strategy” incompatible with that set forth by his father.8 Rod is criticized for this association by his father who, motivated by Grove, remarks “‘[y]ou’re almost a man . . . [i]t’s time your taste in feminine associations rose a little above the half-wild daughter of a dreamy-eyed incompetent. Especially when it begins to attract attention. You seem to have forgotten, the last two or three days, that we have guests here’” (24). With these words, the elder Norquay asserts his patriarchal control over Rod and signifies what he believes to be Rod’s rightful place in the family and social hierarchy. In short, the elder Norquay insists on Rod’s trajectory along the path set before him by his habitus, “that is to say, the acquirements, the embodied, assimilated properties, such as elegance, ease of manner, beauty and so forth, and capital as such, that is, the inherited assets which define the possibilities inherent in the field” (150). In his introduction to The Field of Cultural Production Randal Johnson states that the habitus is “a set of dispositions which generates practices and perceptions. The habitus is the result of a long process of inculcation, beginning in early childhood, which becomes a ‘second sense’ or a second nature” (5). Here, Old Norquay demands Rod follow his class 73  trajectory, supposedly “second nature,” in bourgeois society toward the positive, dominant pole in the field of power and the field of class relations.9 Rod’s refusal of this trajectory comes in the form of the narrated monologue: “But he could not wholly conceal the small tempest that began to stir in him [ . . . ] This was not the first time Rod had manifested a variation from family type in his mode of expressing himself” (24-25). Rod’s narrated monologue (free indirect discourse), “a choice medium for revealing a fictional mind suspended in an instant present, between a remembered past and an anticipated future” (Cohn 126), reveals both the remembered past acts of his refusals of his inheritance, of his habitus so-to-speak, as well as his suspension—implying a removal from rational thought (the stormy tempest) and the dispersion of particles in a liquid—in the present moment, while using the term “began” to anticipate future instances of refusal.10 This early scene in the novel also helps to establish the novel as a Bildungsroman. Hence, in Rod’s refusal I locate a moment of formation, especially that of his inner self, in consideration of the narrated monologue which undercuts the ostensible, observable, albeit somewhat sarcastic, acquiescence to his father’s patriarchal authority. In short, it is through this encounter that Rod is seen to be “becoming” through the emotional effects of resistance and self-assuredness that result from the encounter with his father over his romantic connection to Mary Thorn. In the words of Bourdieu, Rod’s “contradictory ambition” causes him to refuse “the normal course of sociological and biological reproduction” (by pursuing a so-called acceptable “feminine association”), and he swings toward the negative pole of the field of power and the field of class relations. However, Rod ultimately follows his father’s orders and, like his brothers before him, is “packed  74  off to McGill”—located in central Canada, the familial and national symbol of power and culture— for his education and thus oscillates once again toward the positive pole. All three brothers are given the benefit of a private education at the hands of the tutor, Mr. Spence, followed by an education at McGill; all three are firmly located on a trajectory that positions them at the positive pole of the field of power, in the continuing dominant position of the Norquay family. The result of this trajectory is Phil Norquay’s position as the head of the family timber business, and, fuelled by the “two years he spent in New York and London financial circles” (61), Grove Norquay’s single-minded pursuit of profit and power through the establishment of the Norquay Trust.11 Phil describes Grove as talking “in millions,” and as associated with “five or six of the shrewdest buccaneers on the coast, —Deane, Arthur Richston, Mark Sherburne, and his father-inlaw, John Wall” (61). In the Norquay Trust building, Mr. Grove Norquay appeared to feel that he moved at last in his proper sphere. He loved the sound and echo of huge sums, of complicated transactions, of facing men over a massive desk and deciding matters that involved much money. He liked noise, action—it gave him a sense of power, or irresistibility—just as he liked being master on his own yacht. (70) In these words, Grove is located at the far extreme of the positive pole in the field of power. Described with terms such as “proper sphere,” power,” irresistibility,” and “master,” Grove’s concerns consist entirely of money, power, influence and the “social page of the Vancouver Province” (68). He is everything that the Thorns are not and comes to serve as Rod’s polar opposite in the novel.12 As Georg Lukács reminds us, quoting Hegel, the social purpose of education under capitalism [is] as follows: ‘during his years of apprenticeship the hero is permitted to sow his wild oats; he learns to subordinate his wishes and views to the interests of the society; 75  he then enters that society’s hierarchic scheme and finds in it a comfortable niche.’ (112) Grove, whose affairs with women “still reverberated faintly along the St. Lawrence” (53), rather than subordinating his wishes to the “interests of the society,” follows the logic and structure of his habitus and his position in the field of power. He not only enters, but embraces society’s “hierarchic scheme” and finds “it a comfortable niche.”13 In contrast, Rod’s first two years of education, far from propelling him along the trajectory set forth for him, propel him further toward the negative pole in the field of power, encompassing, as mentioned above, the world of art. Indeed, the narrator explains that “[i]n four semesters he had listened to and taken part in many a sophomoric discussion where Art and Beauty went on the dissecting table” (51). These remarks hearken back to the opening scene of the novel where, sitting on the shore of Little Dent Island, Rod wonders “why no poet had sung the song of this swirling water; why no novelist had lovingly portrayed this land as a back drop for his comic and tragic puppets?”(1-2). Rod’s literary thoughts continue to occupy his mind until his second departure for school when he reflects that there is written “[n]o Iliad of the pioneers” and thinks to himself “I wonder if I could” (79).14 Given this polarity of the field in terms of Rod and Grove, Rod’s first adult encounter with Grove is confrontational. In Bourdieu’s terms, this encounter can be read as an “accident, an unforeseen collision between social possibilities, each of which would normally exclude the others” (153). Explaining the Norquay Trust, Grove declares, “‘I organized it. It’s a pretty big show, and it’s my show’” (71). Rod responds by pretending innocence in a sarcastic tirade: ‘After all, it’s only a money-making scheme, isn’t it? You don’t make anything or do anything, do you? You just handle sums of money and grab off a percentage. Eh?’ Rod said innocently. He was thinking of Phil’s phrase: glorified pawnbroking. (71)15 76  This exchange between the brothers, the negative and positive pole in the field of power, foregrounds the underlying competition over power within this field. Grove’s Norquay Trust, backed by the fortune of the family, signifies a social possibility denied to Rod by the family inheritance structure that states “as a working principle for his [the senior Norquay] heirs . . . the home place and the bulk of the holdings shall pass into control of the eldest son” (20). In this reading, Rod’s condemnation of the scheme is concurrently an admission of the mutual exclusivity of the social possibilities of the two brothers. It is more likely, however, that Rod’s denunciation of the Norquay Trust serves as a denunciation of the economic model it represents. In the Norquay Trust, Sinclair represents an economic model of finance and investment, a model that doesn’t “make anything,” a model where the resources are the monies and interests of others (savings accounts and investments), and a model which elides the manual labour that supports and underlies it. Ultimately, the collision between Rod and Grove, the gradual alignment of Rod with the process of manual labour (the negative pole), and the demise of the Norquay Trust, ensure that the economic model of finance and investment is contested and undermined. To return to the frame of the Bildungsroman, I suggest this moment is another one in which Rod is “‘becoming’ through himself as well as through that which is not himself” (Morgenstern in Martini 17). That is, Rod is “becoming”—finding his place in society as an adult—both through his growing economic knowledge and through his increasing opposition to Grove. Aspects of the form of the Bildungsroman reinforce my interpretation that Sinclair is using the character of Rod to undermine the model symbolized by Grove. As Barbara Foley suggests in Radical Representations: Politics and Form in U.S.  77  Proletarian Fiction. 1929-1941, “readers generally come to identify with the perspectives, or at least the interests, of bildungsroman protagonists and are therefore positioned to want what has been established to be ‘good’ for these protagonists” (321), and further that “the use of free indirect discourse to render a character’s thoughts provides a crucial means of positioning the reader as an automatic accomplice to the narrator’s values” (270). Thus, Rod’s drive toward art and literature, presented in the form of free indirect discourse, positions the reader alongside Rod at the negative pole of the field of power and thus predisposes the reader to accept Rod’s criticism of the economic model signified by the Norquay Trust. Dorrit Cohn makes a similar point in her work on the narrated monologue: But no matter how ‘impersonal’ the tone of the text that surrounds them, narrated monologues themselves tend to commit the narrator to attitudes of sympathy or irony. Precisely because they cast the language of a subjective mind into the grammar of objective narration, they amplify emotional notes, but also throw into ironic relief all false notes struck by a figural mind. A narrator can in turn exploit both possibilities . . . (117)16 Given the predominant identification of the narrator with the “figural mind” of Rod, statements such as “Grove was a brilliantly successful young man in a city where success was most completely estimated by the noise a man and his money made”(69), are cast into the ironic mode and, as representations of Rod’s subjective mind, contribute to the general condemnation of the model Grove represents. Furthermore, considering Foley’s stipulation that the narrated monologue locates the reader as an “accomplice” to the “narrator’s values,” the ironic false success of Grove, the false success of the “noise”— sound and movement without purpose or function—is a position or point of view taken up by the reader through the figural mind of Rod. In summary, Sinclair is using the  78  interplay between poles in the field of power, between Rod and Grove, to foreground his own emerging economic vision.  Shifts in Realism  The framework set forth by Bourdieu in his analysis of Flaubert’s Sentimental Education can be applied to The Inverted Pyramid to encompass Rod’s decision to become a logger, enlist as a soldier in the war, marry Mary Thorn, and redress the economic havoc created by the failure of Grove and the Norquay Trust.17 Now having established the presence and utility of this framework in the novel, I turn more specifically to the arguments and positions that arise from it. I contend that the interplay between the Bourdieuian framework, supported by the form of the Bildungsroman, and Sinclair’s departures from the naturalist mode (to be explained subsequently), leads to several arguments. The first, already briefly mentioned, is Sinclair’s resistance to the bodily control exerted over the resource extraction labourer by the entrepreneurial capitalist. I then take up Sinclair’s stand against the logging rhetoric of “a breed apart,” and his vision of a moment where conservationism coexists with the resource extraction worker to foreground contemporary environmentalism. Finally, I argue that, taken together, these “departures” represent an economic vision that contests and supplants the premise of capitalism that holds profit as its paramount principle. In Turning Trees into Dollars, Gordon Hak explains that after 1900, “employers and social reformers became increasingly concerned with the lifestyle of loggers in Vancouver. Loggers were characterized as careless, gullible, and shiftless, making no provision for their futures” (144). This attitude suggests a split between general society 79  and loggers—a group defined by society but which is also viewed as outside of society. This view is most directly represented by Grove in the scene involving the Valdez camp workers’ demand for bathing facilities. Grove’s sneering assertion, “‘They never bathe . . . They don’t look as if they did. I never got close enough to smell ’em, but I suppose they don’t mind it themselves’” (160), is particularly telling. Grove’s use of the third person pronoun “they” immediately bifurcates the situation into an “us” and a “them”; in this way, Grove draws a distinct hierarchical line between the society, characteristics, and indeed humanity of the Norquays, and that of the loggers. Only through Rod’s appeal to the economics of the situation is he able to convince Phil to fulfill the demands of the loggers. Privately, Rod considers “how little either of his brothers knew about the men they were discussing” and that “they didn’t discuss them as men, so much as material,—a commodity . . .” (160). While “labour-power can appear upon the market as a commodity” (Marx 336), the condition for its sale by the individual is that “he. . . must be the untrammeled owner of his capacity for labour, i.e., of his person” (Marx 337). In this example, the point is not that the men cannot sell their labour-power, but that they, their persons, are reduced to it. Moreover, they neither appear “untrammeled” nor able to deal with the owner “on the basis of equal rights” (Marx 337)—another of the conditions Marx sets out for the sale of labour-power such that both the buyer and the seller might be “equal in the eyes of the law” (337). The divide between human and “material” (resources to be used) identified by the narrated monologue here supports Grove’s ideological position while also working to undermine it. Again, the narrated monologue aligns the reader with the interests of the hero. This monologue, followed by the reflection that Rod “would never be able to think of them except as men” (160), is  80  structured to dictate that Grove’s view is automatically dismissed in favour of the reflection and knowledge seemingly put forward by the subjective mind or represented thoughts of Rod, which, in turn, gestures outward to Sinclair. In this way, Sinclair resists the objectification of the bodies of the loggers as well as the reduction and ownership of them as material (resources) and commodities. Furthermore, he subverts the social stratification and bifurcation signified by the words of Grove. In Bourdieu’s terms, Rod’s identification as logger and his subversion of Grove’s ideology indicate that his position is growing more firmly grounded in the negative pole of the field of power. The acquiescence to the loggers’ demands, and Rod’s shifting position, signals a departure from the naturalist mode (attempting to be exactingly accurate) of realism toward a social realist mode (his remarks are unlikely in the context of his position as owner of the means of production), and a shift of power toward the negative pole in the field of power. In other words, Grove begins to lose, and this losing, this departure from realism (typically Grove’s position would prevail)—in the form of departing from a purported mimetic representation of historical events and conditions—marks a shift of power and elaborates Sinclair’s growing economic vision of an alternative to profit through capitalism. Alongside the negative image of the logger, Hak suggests, “was a much more complementary perspective” (145). Hak explains that “[l]umber trade journals, which emerged specifically to deal with British Columbia around the turn of the century, began to construct a written history of the coastal lumber industry and articulate a vision of loggers and logging” (145). As part of this vision, the trade journals “celebrated the particular jargon of loggers, a unique and colourful language, understood only by workers and those familiar with the industry, used to define things and processes in the woods,  81  reinforcing the notion of loggers as a breed apart” (145-6).18 Sinclair provides a sense of the lived experience of the era through descriptions of “the clink of axes, the whine of steel cable in iron blocks, the shrill tooting of donkey whistles” (105) and the bunkhouses that “echo[] with everything from downright obscenity to analytical discussions of the entire social order” (109). Notably, however, the “management trade journals omitted the fact that logging was an industrial job, ignoring wage cuts, monotony, unemployment, cruel bosses, and the pain of death and injury . . .” (Hak 146). The identity of the logger was “intertwined with masculinity” and “ideals of what constituted a logger were contradictory” (147): Were loggers special men who endured conditions that were unacceptable in other walks of life or did they deserve basic domestic amenities enjoyed by most others in society? Did real men embrace adverse conditions without whining, independently dealing with employers and moving to a different camp if conditions did not meet their standards, or did real men act collectively with their fellow workers in a protest against unacceptable situations? (147-8) What Hak doesn’t mention, and what Sinclair alludes to, is that while the perception of loggers from both within and without may have privileged an image of loggers as hypermasculine figures “who endured conditions that were unacceptable in other walks of life.” These conditions, from the inception of the industry, were created by what Hak refers to as the “fundamental precept of capitalism” (5)—the drive for profit. This drive results in a tendency, if not a directive, to maintain the lowest possible operating costs. As such, the articulation of loggers as “a breed apart”—however true—ultimately serves the interests of entrepreneurial industrial capitalists, such as the Norquay family, who maintain these operating costs and unacceptable conditions.19 Hence, the Norquays rely on logging boss Jim Handy, “a man with a reputation for getting out timber” (108) and who admits to firing “three or four of the mouthy” loggers during the Valdez conflict. 82  As high-rigger Andy Hall explains, Handy “has exactly the same idea as most employers—keep wages down and prices up—get all the work possible out of the men . . . . For the last month every time anybody has tried to talk to him about wages or camp conditions, somebody has got fired” (155). In contrast to documented history, Sinclair is not explicit regarding the specific conditions the men endure. The omission of these details is symptomatic of the pride involved in any articulation of the masculine identity of loggers—“real men” don’t dwell on these sorts of things. This symbolic omission at once indicates that the articulation of loggers as a breed apart does, in part, come from within, but that this identity, as can be seen from the Valdez camp conflict and the character of Jim Handy, ultimately serves the interest of the entrepreneurial capitalist. Concurrently, the resolution to the Valdez camp conflict as noted above, along with the men’s demands for improved camp conditions, Rod’s inability to treat the loggers as anything “except as men” (160), and his later fair treatment of the loggers subsequent to the collapse of the Norquay Trust, all combine to signify Sinclair’s resistance to the ideology that labels loggers as a breed apart. Rod’s work in the logging camps and his refusal to deal with the loggers “except as men” in itself collapses the distinction and thus the rhetoric of “a breed apart.” Considering Hak’s statement that “[b]y the first decade of the twentieth century, too, competing discourses that addressed the connection between the job culture and notions of masculinity divided workers and undermined collective activity” (149), Sinclair can be seen to depart further from naturalist mode in the narrative. Power continues to shift toward the negative pole of the field of power to the extent that the polarity between them begins to decrease as the interests and forces of the dominant pole and the negative pole begin to converge through the character of Rod.20  83  Sinclair’s representation of environmental conservation further contributes to his developing economic vision. Importantly, the conservation movement of the first quarter of the twentieth century “was not a coming together of the ideas that circulated in the province from the 1860s through the 1890s . . . it was a shift, a different way of looking at the world, that supplanted the older critical tradition” (83). Hak’s description of the earlier view is that connections among monopoly capitalists, abuses of government regulations, wasteful logging practices, politicians, and the destruction of the forests, with little return to the people of the province, were rolled together in a dissenting vision. In this vision, evil forestry and political practices stunted economic growth . . . undermined democracy; and perverted a sense of community [ . . . ] Human beings, social and economic institutions, and the environment were all important and interconnected. (83-4) The later movement emphasized science and technology; further, “the principles of the later conservation movement in British Columbia supported large, well-capitalized companies over smaller operations” (84). The tension between these competing conservation movements is represented by the words of Norquay Senior upon hearing of Rod’s desire to work as a logger. Norquay suggests that his son become a forester so that he can “inaugurate a campaign of necessary reforestation. Outside of two or three concerns, logging in B.C. to-day is an orgy of waste. They’re skimming the cream of the forest, spilling half of it. Kicking the milkpail over now and then, refusing to feed the cow they milk” (97). Norquay’s use of “They’re” seems to point to an opposition between the Norquay entrepreneurial capitalist model and one which is larger in scale. I interpret his words as synonymous with the early vision of conservation that is largely a critique of wasteful, large-scale logging operations—in other words, a critique of emerging monopoly capitalism that is an active 84  threat to entrepreneurial capitalists like Norquay. Yet, the elder Norquay does advocate a forest management program of “necessary reforestation.” This statement echoes the more scientific approach to forest management that began to emerge at the turn of the century. Both visions agree on exploitation of the forest despite their conservationist agenda; the central difference between them is that one vision favors entrepreneurial capitalism and the other monopoly capitalism. Indeed, as Hak argues, it was clear that any belief that forest policy would be guided by scientific principles expounded by trained, dispassionate experts was puffery. Markets and the interests of business prevailed . . . .Policy decisions remained with the cabinet, whose decisions were shaped by the financial interests of loggers and millmen, and the dynamics of the market. (114) The importance of this moment in the text is that it does seem to prefigure a vocabulary that only began to emerge in the mid-twentieth century. Bruce Braun in The Intemperate Rainforest: Nature, Culture, and Power on Canada’s West Coast argues that “In a province built on the exploitation of natural resources, clearcuts and smokestacks represented progress . . . .Further, the forest resources of the province were considered limitless” (213), and certainly the Norquay timber dynasty represents this ideology. Rod’s first return home from school is marked by the words “it was as if the puny axes and saws of man could no more than make tiny openings in that incredible stretch of coastal forest. Pygmies attacking a giant in the vast amphitheatre of the changeless hills” (50). The diminished size of humanity in comparison to the “changeless” and thus “limitless” forest in conjunction with Norquay Senior’s forest management plan substantiates Braun’s remarks. As noted above, however, Norquay Senior does, in fact, propose a method that contemporary society might identify as sustainable yield management: “limits we logged when I was a young man . . . will bear  85  merchantable timber by the time your children are grown” (97). Braun suggests that compared to the economic vision of limitless exploitable forests, foresters thought otherwise, and it was primarily among them that a new vocabulary was emerging—‘forest inventory,’ ‘sustainable yield,’ ‘mean annual increments’—that would eventually . . . be in part responsible for the new social and spatiotemporal logics of forest management that were set in place at mid-century. (Braun 213-4), This new logic of forest management is, at least in part, evident in the work of Sinclair. This is a strength of literature—to, at least in part, imagine or foresee eventual realities. Sinclair foresees a conservationist discourse that would not be formalized for some time. The strength of this presence is arguable, and despite proclamations such as Oliver Thorn’s to Rod that “your people . . . log enough each year to bring in the necessary revenue” rather than “fill the woods with loggers” (57), the central point I take from these examples is that they depict the production of the forest as a commodity external to larger social, ecological, and cultural contexts. In other words, while the Norquay timber practices may be better than others, the forest is still seen as an isolated entity for consumption. As such, Norquay Senior remains firmly located at the positive pole of Bourdieu’s field of power. Braun’s readings of George Mercer Dawson’s geological writings and surveys in the 1870s and 1880s are effective for understanding the production of the forest as a commodity. Braun, for example, cites Dawson’s reports on the Queen Charlotte Islands: While appearing to merely document the landscape, the very organization of Dawson’s survey was more than just incidental to the operation of colonial power. Its general overview, for instance, gave to readers in distant centers of administrative power a cartographic orientation, one that permitted the islands’ constitutive parts to be placed within a larger whole, and the islands, in turn to be situated within a wider national geography. At the same time, Dawson’s report divided the islands into discrete domains; plants, animals, rocks, and Indians were documented separately, as if unrelated entities. (48) 86  Braun relates this in slightly different terms when he states that the nation was “anatomized or divided into its component parts, whereby specific entities—minerals, trees, Indians—were apprehended entirely apart from their cultural and ecological surrounds and displaced and resituated within other systems of signification” (50).21 While Braun’s emphasis is on the impact Dawson’s style of work had on First Nations communities, his work also sheds new light on how forests are produced as commodities. As Oliver Thorn reports, the “‘pushing, bustling kind of man . . . doesn’t see anything in the woods but so many thousand board feet per acre’” (57). Concerning the Norquay timber dynasty, Rod reflects that the first Norquay, who was a petty officer on the Discovery, “had the journal habit” and “tells about the surveys they made that year [1792] and the next” (17). Thus, I argue, a line can be drawn from the surveys and writings of Dawson to the writings and surveys in the journals of the first Norquay. These surveys, in the words of Braun, facilitated the enclosure of the landscape now called British Columbia into imperial structures such as the North West and Hudson’s Bay companies,22 and later the national structure of Canada—in short, these surveys lead directly to the possibility of Norquay land ownership.23 Furthermore, these surveys, “atomized” the specific entity of “trees” to become resituated in systems of signification such as economic capital, and as the specific interests and resources under contest in Bourdieu’s field of power. In other words, nature here has become separated and distinct from culture. As Bruno Latour remarks, “[o]nce you begin to trace an absolute distinction between what is deaf and dumb and who is allowed to speak, you can easily imagine that this is not the ideal way to establish some sort of democracy” (476). In Sinclair, it is clear  87  that this binary serves to silence many ecological and First Nations land ownership concerns. This anatomization and commodification of the forest is further reinforced by the scientific conservationism alluded to by Norquay Senior in his remarks about the role of the forester. Consider, for example, Braun’s reference to MacMillan Bloedel’s forest management system when he argues that “[d]iscourses of scientific management efface the many ways that British Columbia’s forests are contested spaces, as well as the historic practices by which the forest was produced as a domain separate from people” (38). Sinclair takes up the premise that forests are produced as a domain separate from people and follows this premise to its logical conclusion. In doing so, Sinclair demonstrates such a premise to be ultimately ecologically and economically untenable. The collapse of the Norquay Trust has left it with “liabilities practically four hundred thousand in excess of available assets” (253); in order to meet these obligations Rod decides to convert all of the Norquay timber holdings into money to meet the liabilities: “But there was still timber which with labour and machinery he could transform into money. He owned that clear of all encumbrance, thousands of acres of it, the finest virgin timber on the Pacific coast” (256-7). To borrow a phrase from Braun, the image left by following out this logic is “an apocalyptic image” (216). While Braun suggests that by the 1930s there was not “a language readily available by which to understand forestry as destruction” (214), I find the apocalyptic imagery of destruction to be precisely what Sinclair is portraying as the result of producing the forest as a commodity. Consider, for instance, the following description: Where living green had clothed the hills there lifted stumps, torn earth, bald rock ledges. Desolation. The Granite Pool lay in its cliffy hollow, 88  bared to the hot eye of the sun. The deer and the birds had withdrawn to the farther woods. Animal life banished, vegetation destroyed. Barren. Bleak. Ugliness spread over square miles. (320) Framed in terms of absence (“desolation”) and infertility (“barren”), timber is nevertheless repositioned here as part of a larger ecological system involving interconnected systems of plant and animal life, a system which recalls Rod’s earlier experiences: He would have preferred to let Phillips Arm retain its beauty and solitude, its forested valley a home for deer and bear and coveys of grouse, its shining river the highway of spawning salmon to their spawning grounds . . . he liked to look south from Hawk’s Nest on a slope of unbroken green. (107) In this latter description the landscape is seen to be a complete ecosystem, the forested valley not a utility but a home for animal life, a birthplace for salmon, and a place of human leisure where Rod can gaze upon the “unbroken green” of the forest. In the former passage, however, death is the focus rather than birth and possibility. The lifted stumps, torn earth, and bald rock ledges evoke images of the western front of World War I as much as the scarred earth left by logging activity. As the impact of the destruction filters through the figural24 mind of Rod in this narrated monologue, the grammar begins to break down and fragment into monosyllables while the conscious mind of Rod struggles to comprehend the scene before him. In following the “timber as utility” premise to the logical conclusion of environmental apocalypse, Sinclair departs from the dominant discourse to reveal capitalist exploitation of the idea of timber as an isolated commodity. Consider this stance in conjunction with the following narrated monologue: “[t]o Rod it seems chiefly an excuse for some financial juggling and to strip a lovely valley of timber, to pollute a beautiful stretch of sea-floored inlet with waste from sulphurous acid bleaching vats” 89  (107). Here, it begins to become clear that Sinclair uses a language of environmental destruction to signify his active resistance to the separation of timber from larger sociocultural contexts. At the same time, the location of moments of conservationist rhetoric in the novel combines with this resistance to signal a larger economic vision in opposition to capitalism. Furthermore, by locating this critique of capitalism in the character of Rod, Sinclair subverts, in part, the binary logic of “pristine nature/destructive humanity” that seems to “authorize certain actors to speak for nature’s defense of its management (environmentalists, transnational capital, and the state)” while “marginalizing others (local communities, forest workers, First Nations) who understood, and related to the forest in very different ways” (2)—namely, the figure of Rod as logger. As Bourdieu reminds us, those agents who occupy the dominant, positive pole of the field of power— Grove, Deane, Arthur Richston, Mark Sherburne, and John Wall—depend on the articulation of the forests as a utility, as a harvestable crop. Thus, the positions outlined above in Sinclair’s departures from naturalistic, mimetic realism through Rod Norquay— Rod’s assumption of positions unlikely considering his class position and ownership of the means of production—continue to collapse the polarity or opposition of these poles and the power continues to shift away from the positive pole in the field of power.  Sinclair’s Economic Vision  What then emerges out of these arguments? In answer to this question I turn to Raymond Williams’ definition of “the emergent” as meaning “new meanings and values, new practices, new relationships and kinds of relationships” (123) being constantly created. Williams further qualifies this definition by stating that “since we are always considering 90  relations within a cultural process, definitions of the emergent, as of the residual, can be made only in relation to a full sense of the dominant” (123). While, in my opinion, Williams is seeking a model with which to analyze the “real world,” his model seems equally applicable to Sinclair’s fictional world. Indeed, as regards a “full sense of the dominant” I have demonstrated how the dominant pole of the field of power is represented, in turn, by the Norquay family, Grove Norquay, and the entrepreneurial industrial capitalist. I have also identified how the interplay between agents in the field is focused on the resources of the physical timber resource in British Columbia; the physical body, human rights, and description of resource labourers; and, lastly, the status and definition of the forest. When these arguments are taken together (the valuing of the rights of the worker, the echoes of sustainable yield management, and the subversion of the forest as utility doctrine) they present a model that runs contrary to the model of capital accumulation. Indeed, as James Doyle suggests in Progressive Heritage: The Evolution of a Politically Radical Literary Tradition in Canada, “[a]s far as Sinclair can see, industrial capitalism is by its very nature unable to create durable prosperity” (45). In terms of Jean Barman’s remark that “supported by government, employers refused to recognize, much less negotiate with, representations of their employees” (219), it must be noted that one response was that “by violent means if necessary, capitalism would be replaced by a socialist order in which the means of production were publicly owned to ensure economic and social equality” (220). What I see emerging from my analysis of Sinclair, is a third possibility, one in which Sinclair can be seen as writing in a style similar to those whom Lodge refers to as the politically engagé writers of the 1930s—Auden, Isherwood, Spender, . . . .—[who] criticized the modernist poets and novelists of the preceding 91  generation for their elitist cultural assumptions, their failure or refusal to engage constructively with the great public issues of the time and to communicate to a wide audience. (47) Structurally, Sinclair is representing a cooperative economic model where entrepreneurial capitalists such as the Norquays operate in a partnership of sorts with their employees. In fact, in a 8 October 1923 letter to Stewart White, Sinclair remarks that I may be a wild-eyed theorist, but I am of the opinion that if American capital desires to perpetuate itself it will have to lay down the principle that the collective industry of the country will and must assume the burden of supporting the collective labour which motivates such industry. [...] A good many people are agreed that ultimately any industry which cannot guarantee its labour a secure livelihood, a reasonable provision for old age, and freedom from uncertainty while it works, should be eliminated ruthlessly. [...] I should like to see Mr. Leitch [Man to Man: The Story of Industrial Democracy]25 devise a scheme whereby after introducing good will and cooperation into privately owned plants he could guarantee continuous operation and continuous employment to labour and unfailing dividends to the employers. (n. pag.) Sinclair’s remarks, in tandem with the narrative of The Inverted Pyramid, prefigure to an extent the idea of the modern welfare state. The Inverted Pyramid, published in 1924, reflects the basic thrust of this conversation toward a new economic model. In addition to the arguments developed in the preceding section, I suggest that the first precept of this model, as represented in the novel, is the requirement of an intimate knowledge of the industry and labour in question. Thus, out of the dominant ideology “‘one doesn’t need to do a laborer’s work in order to acquire knowledge of labor’” (96) represented in the words of Norquay Senior, emerges Rod’s claim to “want to know all there is to be known about timber, from the standing tree to the finished product” (96), to 92  know “about the men who actually do the handling” (97). This emergent position-taking allows Rod to collaborate with Phil in resolving the dispute at the Valdez camp. Furthermore, the knowledge he learns as a logger allows him to build a political alliance with agitator Andy Hall, who is hired by Rod to help redress the liabilities created by the Norquay Trust collapse later on in the novel. In Rod’s choice to take on the liabilities of the Norquay Trust lies a second component of Sinclair’s model. While Rod’s decision to plunder the Norquay timber holdings to support the Norquay Trust is a disaster in environmental terms, it does introduce an ethics of responsibility into the capitalist process. The impersonal word “liabilities” masks the fact that “practically all” of the Thorn family money “is in the Norquay Trust” (258), as are the life savings of “eleven thousand dollars” which Mr. and Mrs. Stagg, the family caregivers, had saved over the years (275). When queried about such trust accounts and depositors, Richston, spokesperson for the board of directors of the Norquay Trust, asserts that “circumstances are too strong for us . . . .it isn’t criminal to fail in business” (228). In contrast to the dominant practice of valuing profit over an ethics of responsibility, Sinclair rejects this opposition and constructs a hierarchical business model where ethics supplants profit. In Rod’s words, “[w]e aren’t legally responsible; we are morally” (254). The most important component of Sinclair’s model is what he refers to as “supporting the collective labour which motivates such industry” (Letter to Stewart White). In the novel this means forestalling “agitation for better conditions by setting an example in the way of conditions. We provide first-class living quarters. We serve the best food available. We pay top wages, with the added inducement of a bonus based on  93  production. No man is to be fired for any sort of economic heresy” (283). In other words, the model is based on “security of livelihood, [and] a recognition of their rights as human beings,—two things that were everywhere recognized in theory but frequently disregarded in practice” (285). Rod’s words echo Sinclair’s statement that industry should “guarantee its labour a secure livelihood” (Letter to Stewart White). As noted above, Hak tells us that “in the establishment and operation of the production system, profit and loss were concerns at all stages. Labour power, machinery, timber, and credit were purchased at the lowest possible cost” (5). In Sinclair’s vision these ideals in the service of profit have been clearly superseded. One direct result of the displacement of the capitalism-for-profit economic model is the political alliance, contingent though it may be, that it generates. In the busteconomy after the war, when the “post-war orgy of production had run its artificial course” (Sinclair 305), profit margins or timber were decreasing to the point of virtual loss. However, rather than shut down operations or inflict severe restrictions on wages and camp conditions, Rod chooses to explain in detail his economic situation to the loggers, to have them take part in the decisions to be made in the face of economic depression. Their response “‘[w]e don’t want a shutdown. We want to keep workin’. For pretty near two years now we’ve set wages and hours. Now that times are bad again, we’re willin’ to leave it to you’” (312), signals the ethic of cooperation that has been created between labour and capital. Furthermore, it indicates a contingent political alliance that allows the company to maintain production during bust-time conditions that troubled other industrial capitalists. In Bourdieu’s framework, Rod ultimately succeeds in the “loser takes all” game (154). Here, the “underlying law of this paradoxical game is  94  that it is to one’s interest to be disinterested: the advantage always falls to those who seek none” (154). Thus Rod’s disavowal of the trajectory set forth by his habitus and his position at the dominant end of the field of power—his choice instead to occupy the dominated pole, to wed Mary Thorn, to work as a logger, to choose ethics and human dignity over profit—is the “winning” choice. This is also true regarding the Bildungsroman as theorized by Lukács. In response to Hegel, Lukács states that “the educational process does not always culminate in acceptance of, and adaptation to, bourgeois society. The realization of youthful convictions and dreams is obstructed by the pressures of society; the rebellious hero is broken, and driven into isolation, but the reconciliation with society of which Hegel speaks is not always extracted” (112). Rod is indeed broken, and does spend time in isolation, yet the “reconciliation with society” is not extracted. However, while Sinclair does leave Rod in semi-isolation, he closes his novel with an image of movement, of the “loser as winner.” Rod’s words, the final words of the novel, “There’s one thing to be said for shirt sleeves. They give a man room to swing his arms” (339), present an image of fighting, of mobility, of freedom, of labour, and of success. As Sinclair puts it, “It seems to me that the man – or woman – who keeps going when he has nothing much to go on but his nerve is a much more dramatic spectacle than any number of explosions” (Letter to Mrs. Bodger).  95  Roderick Haig-Brown  I recall dozens, if not hundreds of bunkhouse discussions not a fraction less intense, if possibly less recondite, than those of the most vigorous intellectual groups. My friends were realists to a man; they begged me to tell the truth, all the truth, not as poets and writers and film directors see it, but as they themselves saw it—the daily truth of hard work and danger, of great trees falling and great machines thundering, of molly hogans26 and buckle guys and longsplices. They made a profound impression. -Roderick Haig-Brown, “The Writer in Isolation: A Surprised Exploration of a Given Subject,” Writings and Reflections, 1959 60.  In this passage from “The Writer in Isolation: A Surprised Exploration of a Given Subject,” Roderick Haig Brown invokes the themes and ideas that I find most intriguing and captivating about his work—realist descriptions of the logging industry in general, the dangerous labour conditions and practices of this industry, the conservationism and unionization that arose as a result of these conditions and practices, the conflation of environmental knowledge (of “great trees”) and physical labour, the community and friendship between men in virtually all-male environments, and the unique intellectual and linguistic community within these environments. More difficult to tease out of his remarks is the implicit construction of gender, yet I suggest that the phrase “to a man”  96  signals the construction of “logger” as masculine, while also indicating or alluding to the exclusion of women from this labour community—a theme prominent in both Timber (1942) and On the Highest Hill (1949). Most evident of these themes, however, is Haig-Brown’s attempt to convey the “daily truth of hard work and danger” in the woods. These novels represent a detailed account of the timber industry and its surrounding influences and institutions from approximately 1930 to 1947. Further, Timber and On the Highest Hill mark important moments, insights, and shifts in thinking during this period—one of these being the forgotten narrative of injuries and fatalities. I further contend that alongside this account, and still within the realist frame that Haig-Brown sets forth for his writing, is what I call his recovery-narrative of the “more than ten thousand men” (Waiser 251) who were involved in building Canada’s national parks and infrastructure between 1915 and 1946. More important, though, is my reading of these two texts as environmental texts according to the criteria set forth by Lawrence Buell in The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture (1995). Reading these texts as environmental texts is crucial to an understanding of Haig-Brown’s ecocritical project of “evoking the natural world through verbal surrogates and thereby attempting to bond the reader to the world as well as to discourse” (Buell 102). Haig-Brown also represents physical labour as a source of environmental knowledge and thus destabilizes the typical construction of an opposition or binary between environmentalism and resource extraction labourer. As I read Timber and On the Highest Hill in search of what they have to say about labour, it becomes clear that the most important insight into labour that they provide concerns gender construction.  97  Indeed, though I have decided to treat dangerous working conditions, the creation of parks, and the reading of these novels as environmental texts in discrete sections, the undercurrent or underlying connection between them is the role that gender plays in each instance. Here, my primary contention is that Haig-Brown, within his portrayal of the male-dominant industry and culture of logging, consciously or not, foregrounds and opens the door to an examination of homosocial and homosexual relationships between men within this culture. The plot of Timber revolves around the characters of Johnny Holt, Alec (Slim) Crawford, Julie Morris and the relationship among all three. Johnny is the naturally gifted labourer and Alec, while also a gifted labourer, is the more cerebral of the two. Julie is Alec’s cousin and eventually marries Johnny Holt. The majority of the novel details in great depth the nature, conditions, and community of work in the logging industry during the 1930s while representing historical events such as the gradual, complex, and conflictridden formation of unions within this industry. While logging is the primary focus of the novel, leisure activities such as hunting and fishing also play a prominent role—not a surprise given these were life-long passions of Haig-Brown. Alec and Johnny work in a variety of positions and camps, are eventually blacklisted for their supposed tendency toward agitation, and eventually resign themselves to working in a less-than-ideal camp where Alec is killed in an accident. In contrast to the focus found in Timber, the plot of On the Highest Hill ranges widely both in content and the historical period of the early 1930s to approximately 1947. Here the plot follows the character of Colin Ensley through the various stages of his life, including work in the logging industry, his travels across prairie Canada during the Depression, his role in World War II, his return to the town of  98  Blenkinstown, and his eventual self-exile and death in the mountain wilderness. In some sense, On the Highest Hill can be read as a Bildungsroman as Colin’s transition from youth to adulthood is aided by a cast of supporting characters.27 Will and Martha Ensley are Colin’s parents and set forth for him an ideal of work and masculinity to live up to. His school teacher Mildred Hansen represents his romantic or sexual mentor, neighbour Earl Mayhew teaches Colin to hunt and provide for his family, and timber-cruiser Andrew Grant tutors Colin in the methods of surveying the land for timber and introduces him to the reclusive trapper Robbie. In my analysis of these two novels, I treat them as one. Where Timber is the microcosm, On the Highest Hill is the macrocosm, and in some sense the latter can be read as an answer or at least counterpart to the former. Both portray the realities of labour and both seem to answer the call of Haig-Brown’s realist friends to “tell the truth . . . as they themselves saw it” (Writer in Isolation 60).  Dangerous Conditions and National Parks  The man withdraws the saw snaps it silent leans against a stump gropes for a smoke on a tearing hinge of wood the tree tips hisses down but the faller’s aim has been faulty the hemlock strikes a standing cedar the butt breaks free kicks back like a triggered piston. There is no time to run the butt connects like a wooden hoof pins the man to the stump his ribs snap like sticks fastidious to the end he pulls free his wallet 99  places it safely above the blood on the tree that has felled him -Peter Trower, from “Collision Course,” Haunted Hills and Hanging Valleys, 2004, 71  In More Deadly than War! Pacific Coast Logging, 1827-1981, Andrew Mason Prouty asserts that [t]he lumber industry in the United States and Canada has a history of almost unremitting violence (if that is the proper word)—violence committed against the land by the loggers and the reciprocal violence endured by the men themselves while ‘opening up the country.’ This element of violence has been overlooked in an otherwise comprehensive body of forest literature. (xvii) Prouty further contends that “perhaps this is an instance of that phenomenon which the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence label ‘Historical amnesia . . . a kind of selected recollection that masks unpleasant traumas of the past’” (xvii) and that “because many writers fail to mention the human wastage in logging and milling, one comes to conclude a tacit willingness to pretend that the violence never took place” (xviii). This failure or continuing historical amnesia is precisely what Haig-Brown addresses and redresses in Timber. By situating his narrative in the 1930s logging industry, and including both fatalities and the continued possibility of injury and fatality in his narrative, Haig-Brown forces his readers to deal with the very real “reciprocal violence endured by the men” in the woods. Furthermore, Haig-Brown demonstrates the emotional and psychological trauma that resulted from this violence, contrary to the rhetoric that men in this industry were impervious to emotional or psychological weakness. If it is Prouty’s contention that—  100  of these human victims—not insentient trees and rivers but rather living, breathing men cut in two by flailing steel rigging, smashed by crumpling snags and falling limbs, crushed by rolling logs, dismembered by the spinning saws in the mills—about these victims, the forest protectionists and environmentalists have nothing to say. (xx) —then Haig-Brown’s contention is that this violence does matter and is crucial to understanding the nature of work in the logging industry. The most striking example of the role violence plays in Timber is Haig-Brown’s use of death-by-workplace injury to frame his narrative. The novel begins with an inquest into the death of Charlie Davis and ends almost immediately after the death of Alec Crawford, a death which occurs despite his central role in the narrative. Charlie Davis is killed while fitting the back tongs, attached to a guy line, onto the rear of a log in order to load it onto a railcar from its position on the landing (the front was already suspended – see Figures 1 and 2). In the process of attaching the back tongs, Davis failed to see the new “turn” or group of logs being “yarded” or dragged to the landing (Figures 3 and 4 offer an approximation); this turn of logs hits Davis and kills him. Fatalities such as this were unfortunately common in the logging industry. Consider the spar tree and cable rigging (Figure 4) as an illustration of Prouty’s claim that the new “highball [high lead] methods and fast machinery, which sent the singing cables flying over their heads in the West Coast forests, allowed loggers to maim and kill themselves in ways unheard of, and in numbers so great, that the appalling problem went unaddressed in the industry” (87). The spar-tree cables in Figure 4, under tension, upon breaking, or simply in motion, could easily kill, injure, or maim a logger. Indeed, Alec, in considering there was “four hundred feet of steel mainline to whip in and coil up on the landing,” reflects that “if a man gets a piece of that wrapped around his neck he can quit worrying” (214)—he would be killed  101  Figure 1: Logs being loaded onto rail cars. Note the figure to the bottom left of the suspended log. From the Capilano Timber Company Collection fonds; BC Historical Photograph Collection: Library Digital Collections. BC 1456/33/59. Date listed as “1919”  102  Figure 2: A logging crane about to load a log onto a rail car. MacMillan Bloedel Limited fonds. BC Historical Photograph Collection: Library Digital Collections. BC 1930/19/42. Date listed as 1942.  103  Figure 3: A yarder using a skyline to bring logs to the landing. MacMillan Bloedel Limited fonds; BC 1930/19/50; date listed as 1942.  104  Figure 4: An example of a wooden spar, steel rigging, and donkey engine loading logs onto a waiting flatcar. MacMillan Bloedel Limited fonds. BC Historical Photograph Collection: Library Digital Collections; 1930/547/1449. Date listed as 194-?. Photograph by Jack Cash.  105  by strangulation or decapitation. Other injuries include Ted who, in a collision between train and speeder car, was left “lying awkwardly on a pile of split rock and the wrecked speeder was on his legs” (220). While the case of the fire that was racing through the camp (230), or the near tragedy of a train derailment (262), represent the continued potential for accident and injury, the image of Alec’s death with a “chunk” of tree “across his thighs, pinning him down” (373) near the close of the novel represents the indiscriminate nature of the violence in this vocation. How do these fatalities, injuries, and near-accidents function? On one hand, they simply serve as the historical backdrop to the logging narrative, a fact of life that the loggers dealt with regularly, and one which perhaps adds to the perceived romantic heroism of the occupation. On the other hand, they represent the forgotten narrative of death and injury in the woods; in the words of Prouty when he considers the list of “Fatal Accidents” published in industry journals: “Taken individually the ‘Fatal Accidents’ recited do not amount to much; in their cumulative effect, they have the horror of a battle report” (xxv). Indeed, at a glance, Timber describes a death by an impact with a turn of logs, a crash between a speeder car and a train, the threat and presence of fire, a near-derailment, and a crushing death under a chunk from a broken spar tree. Together, these images, like the published list of “Fatal Accidents,” present a far more gruesome and horrific picture of life as a logger than their individual presentation might convey. Despite the horror and tragedy of these accidents, it is tempting to read them as integral to the identity of the logger as a hyper-masculine, outlaw-type figure. Indeed, to return to the rhetoric of “a breed apart,” which I used in my analysis of The Inverted Pyramid, it was often assumed that loggers were “special men who endured conditions  106  that were unacceptable in other walks of life” (Hak, Turning 147). Furthermore, a degree of mythology arose out of the harsh conditions of logging life and the wild characters that this life attracted. As Donald MacKay states, these “[c]haracters became small legends” (195). There was “‘Eight-day Wilson’ . . . [who] had a reputation of never working in a camp for more than a week or eight days,” “‘Rough-house Pete’ Olsen . . . [who] was talked about in more camps than he can possibly have worked” and who, “complaining that there were hemlock leaves in” the stew, “stuck his big, greasy caulk boots right into the pot,” and “‘Johnny-on-the-Spot’ [who] was . . . a fighter when he went to town, but in camp was quiet, even studious . . .” (MacKay 195). What stands out in these descriptions of legendary characters is that reputation is crucial. The reputation for endurance, and the willingness to do that which others would shy away from, are central to the image of the logger. This reputation functioned to aid owners in maintaining poor camp conditions, as an ideal for loggers to “live up to,” but also as a tool of the trade. As Richard Rajala suggests, “when times were slack, loggers who had travelled widely and established a reputation of proficiency were more likely to find work” (170). For very real and functional reasons, therefore, the fact of death and injury in the woods is tied directly to ideas of reputation and success via the concepts of endurance and perseverance. One consequence of the interconnected construction of fatality, injury, and reputation, however, is the elision of the psychological or emotional trauma experienced by loggers when faced with these events. This trauma, in effect, is subsumed in the socially constructed and idealized reputation of loggers—a reputation that by its very nature does not leave room for tender or intimate emotion. In defining the male body, for example, Christopher E. Forth maintains that “the male body is conceptualized as an  107  ideally bounded entity, equipped with psychological and physical resources that maintain a sharp distinction between self and other while containing (or at least channeling) aspects of emotional life, which in the case of men often include the feelings of fear, sorrow, love and aggression” (8-9). In the case of the male-dominated industry of logging, this “other” can be seen as other men; thus, reputation effectively maintains an emotional division between men that precludes feelings of sorrow and fear in the face of tragedy. At the same time, “reputation” maintains the division between so-called weak, emotional women and strong, stable men. This construction is an abstraction, a particular articulation or social construction of male loggers. Indeed, I argue that this articulation of “the logger” is contested and destabilized by Haig-Brown through the narrated lives of characters who experienced these injuries and fatalities. Here I turn to what Dorrit Cohn’s refers to as psychonarration or “the narrator’s discourse about a character’s consciousness” (14), a style of narration used to summarize “diffuse feelings, needs, [and] urges” (135). Cohn further states that one advantage of psycho-narration lies in its verbal independence from self-articulation. Not only can it order and explain a character’s conscious thoughts better than the character himself, it can also effectively articulate a psychic life that remains unverbalized, penumbral, or obscure. Accordingly psycho-narration often renders, in a narrator’s knowing words, what a character ‘knows,’ without knowing how to put it into words. (46) Consider, for example, Johnny’s reaction to the death of Charlie Davis: Johnny hung behind and looked at the big body on the stretcher. You wanted to be able to say something, tell the guy he had been good . . . You wanted to tell him it hadn’t meant a goddamned thing when you cursed him out for doing something crazy—not a thing except that you didn’t want him to get killed. (5)  108  This scene opens with a note of narratorial omniscience; the distance between narrator and character is readily apparent through the third person use of “Johnny.” By using the name of the character, the narrator—and by extension the reader—is located at a distant spatial and temporal vantage point, in particular, one where the narrator can both look upon and back (third-person, past tense) at the character. By the second sentence, however, this vantage point is no longer marked; the narrator recedes into the background while the reader is propelled forward through the transition into the second person, marked by the pronoun “you.” Crucial to understanding the above passage is the fact that it ends with “He turned again and went back into the courtroom” (5); this is a thirdperson monologue and is consistent with the general tense of the book. Thus, the “you” is not the “you” of the distant narrator in the first sentence, but the “you” of the consciousness, or psycho-narration of Johnny—but nevertheless still translated through the narrator, given that no direct quotation is indicated. While the “you” statements may seem to be second person, unsignaled, self-quoted monologue, they, in fact, represent a point at which the narrator and figural mind of Johnny converge. Further, because the passage makes claims about the Johnny’s emotional state, I read it as psycho-narration. This psycho-narration is also located in the repetition of both the word “wanted” and the speech indicators of “say” and “tell.” Here the verb “wanted” signals the unexpressed, emotional desire of Johnny to communicate with Charlie. The verbs “say” and “tell” represent the confessional mode of Johnny’s thoughts, his need for articulation, speech, and unburdening—his inability to establish this communication with Charlie, his inability to assuage himself of the guilt and regret he feels, mark the lingering psychological damage Charlie’s death has inflicted upon him. Also consider the use of  109  “goddamned” following the speech indicators. The sequential order of these terms signifies Johnny’s anger both at the death of Charlie and at his inability to tell Charlie that his reprimands arose from goodwill and care; the residual anger here is a further marker of psychological trauma. A similar instance of psycho-narration occurs in the following passage: Johnny felt again the tightness of chest and throat that wanted to reach out and back, to say all the words that had not been said and live the years of strong life, of work and drinking and talking and laughing that were shut away for ever now in Charlie’s big body. (23) The point of view in this passage is, again, clearly that of Johnny’s, yet the language is just as clearly the language of the third-person narrator; the language does not correspond to the sometimes ungrammatical, sharp, unemotional idiom that marks Johnny’s dialogue. Also clear is the sorrow indicated by the clenched chest and throat following the introspective verb “felt,” as well as the desire and yearning to bring Charlie back, to speak and talk with him once again. Yet, Johnny’s want is forever located in the impossible condition of the past tense, an unrealizable hope or dream—the inability to fulfill Johnny’s unspoken desires suggests feelings of powerlessness and helplessness, and again marks the lingering trauma caused by Charlie’s death. Ironically, the verbalization of Johnny’s sorrow, regret, desire, and anger is ultimately articulated not by Johnny, but through the filter of the narrator, and in turn, identified with by the reader. In other words, the narrator here verbalizes “what a character ‘knows,’ without knowing how to put it into words” (Cohn 46). A further example of Sinclair’s articulation of Johnny’s emotional life is his reaction to the death of Alec: “he felt his heart fast and sick inside him and his eyes were blurred with furious tears so that everything about him seemed indistinct” (373). Noting 110  that this passage is written in the third person and uses the verb “felt,” I read this sentence as an example of psycho-narration. Here, the narrator uses a lack of punctuation to indicate the fluid and confusing mass of emotions that are spinning through the mind of Johnny—there is no comma, no period, to slow down, measure, or adequately indicate the depth and complexity of grief and sorrow that Johnny feels in this moment. Grammar ultimately breaks down in the expression of these emotions. Of course, it is precisely this manipulation of grammar that makes it clear that it is the narrator, not Johnny, who is responsible for articulating emotion in this manner. While these moments of psychonarration, of reflection and emotion dealing with trauma and death, are not a central focus of the novel, they nevertheless challenge the articulation and construction of the logger as a hyper-masculine, unemotional individual. Just as much, they also challenge the construction of the logger as a romantic, mythological being, a standard to live up to. Paramount, however, is the fact of the violence and emotional trauma in itself; it is these moments in the text that redress the “historical amnesia” regarding violence in the logging industry and the “tacit willingness” of some writers and historians to ignore such violence.  If in Timber Haig-Brown redresses the historical amnesia of death and injury in the logging industry, in On the Highest Hill he redresses the historical amnesia surrounding the use of so-called relief workers in creating and maintaining Canada’s national parks. Bill Waiser in The Untold Story of Canada’s National Parks, 1915-1946, argues that [w]hile the country was gripped by a seemingly unshakable economic malaise and the government searched vainly for a cure, the Parks 111  Department enjoyed the luxury of several hundred labourers, who toiled at a variety of development, recreation, and maintenance projects. These were not the ‘lost years’ for the national parks in western Canada; the national playgrounds would be ready for the return of prosperity. Out of work and in many instances out of hope, many of these men, in spite of the conditions of their employment, found in the park camps a temporary refuge from the worst ravages of the Depression. (84) The Encyclopedia of British Columbia states that the “first camps in BC were organized by the provincial government in 1931” and “were absorbed by the federal government in 1932” (“Relief Camps” 596). The Encyclopedia further reports that “inmates received accommodation, meals, work clothes, medical attention and a daily cash allowance of 20 cents,” and that “in BC there were 237 relief camps, more than in any other province” (596). One of Waiser’s central points is that this use of relief workers in building parks is “untold.” Indeed, his statement that “the national park camps were silent by 1937, and little time was lost removing the structures and clearing the sites” (126), seems to point to the erasure of this aspect of provincial and national history. In fact, the entry “relief camps,” in the Encyclopedia of British Columbia, contains no specific mention of park labour at all. Haig-Brown, in contrast, specifically names “‘relief work’” (191) in the context of building parks during the latter half of the 1930s. Colin, hired to be a “push,” a “straw-boss” or a “symbol of authority” (192) in the camp and to teach his charges the necessary skills to complete the work, reflects that “they were developing a small park near the low, slanting falls across the Strathmore River, building roads and trails, flights of steps down awkward places, bridges across the tributary creeks, signs to guide the summer visitors” (192). Thus, in the first instance, as he did with violence in Timber, Haig-Brown redresses the historical amnesia surrounding the creation of parks by simply including this episode in his novel; he peoples the “cleared landscapes” and creates his  112  own literary and linguistic structures in place of the physical structures were later removed. Equally important is that in representing the relief camp park labour, Haig-Brown represents the collapse of a particular ethos of labour. In the words of Will Ensley this ethos dictates that “‘[a] man that’s good never has to work. Work looks for him’” (29). Implicit in this ethos is the construction of masculinity, of the constructed social male role as provider. As Waiser explains, “[i]t was widely believed in early twentieth-century Canada that there was always work to be had and that any able-bodied person on relief was lazy . . .. Relief carried with it a stigma—it was a badge of failure and disgrace” (54). This failure and disgrace is not simply a failure to obtain work but a failure to provide for self or family, a failure to measure up to the socially constructed masculine standard in circulation at the time. Consider the exchange between Colin and his brother-in-law Clyde Munro: Colin: ‘What is it? . . . Relief work?’ Clyde: ‘The camp is. But you’d be more like on the staff.’ Colin: ‘Sounds like it might be O.K.’ (191) Colin, prepared to simply “pull out” and leave once again, is quite skeptical about work in the relief camp; his initial questioning indicates his hesitation—a reflection of the popular attitude toward relief work and one likely inherited from his father. It isn’t until Clyde states that Colin would be “on the staff” as opposed to on relief that Colin accepts the proposition; the work-ethos passed on to him by his father, and his masculine identity thus remain intact. In contrast to Colin’s staff position are the men of the camps. The first crew under Colin’s charge were the “‘single unemployed’ of the province, most of them young and  113  city-bred” (192). These men, presumably because of their youth and “city-bred” work experience, are attracted to Colin and the type of physical labour and “craftsmanship” (192) which he represents and is able to teach them. The second crew under Colin, however, are men “a good deal older the Colin” and had no interest in the work he had to show them. Rather, they “were careful to do no more than the barest minimum of work” (195). Here, Haig-Brown represents the collapse of the work ethic represented by Will Ensley. In fact, Will, having been blacklisted, is described as “‘not a sure man anymore’” (190). Clyde Munro, Will’s son-in-law, explains that “‘[i]t’s his pride that’s gone’” and that “‘the things he [Will] believes in haven’t worked out for him’” (190). Clyde further remarks that “‘[i]t’s not easy for a man as old as Mr. Ensley to change his whole way of life. Especially when he’s been one of the top men in his trade’” (190). When the attitude toward labour of the second, older group of men under Colin’s charge is examined alongside Will’s failing pride and confidence, it seems clear that the unwillingness of the men to labour under Colin indicates not their laziness, but rather the psychological effects of the failure of their work-ethos, of their need to work in a relief camp. Indeed, when Colin is challenged about his own interest in labour, he responds by stating that he is “‘[j]ust trying to earn [his] keep’” (195). This response is met by the rejoinder of Mel Ross who remarks “‘[g]o ahead . . . [y]ou’re the one that’s getting paid to work, not us’” (195). While Ross and his remarks ostensibly represent the sarcastic attitude of the men and their general tendency toward agitation, this interpretation is belied by the undercurrent of concern indicated by Ross’ mention of wages. His mention of “pay” reminds the reader of the twenty-cent per day wage the men received as well as the more serious fact that the labour they are performing is inherently seen as valueless, as labour  114  that, no matter how skilful or productive, is not assigned value according to the men’s idea of a fair or living wage. Implied here is thus the collapse of the ethos or ideology that dictates skilful and productive labour is a guarantor of good wages and further employment. While it is tempting to dismiss this older group of men as lazy or as professional agitators, I argue that they are men who, like Will, have witnessed and suffered the collapse of their ethos, their pride, and their “whole way of life” (190). Thus situated, these men can be interpreted as either psychologically broken and unable to accept the new conditions of their labour or as actively rebelling against these new conditions. Possibly, they “simply see” through the capitalist system that treats them as exploitable labour. These positions are reinforced by the narrated monologue attributed to Colin: They wanted a higher rate of pay, without the planned hold-back that was supposed to help them out when they left, and a promise that the camps would be continued through the year instead of closing down in early spring, when work became more plentiful . . . most of all they want to be sure of something, not to go back to town at the end of a couple of months and start looking again with only a few dollars between them and hunger . . . They are one little part of hundreds and thousands and hundreds of thousands of people, all across North America, who aren’t sure they can do enough and get enough to keep them alive. (197-8) In using the park relief camps as a part of his narrative, Haig-Brown recovers the narrative of these men; he tells a part of their story. Part of this story is the idea that personal and family security, the sense that the workers and their family would not face hunger or demise, is no longer possible; security and surety, stability, and the ability to feed person and family—these were guarantees that could no longer be made by recourse to skill and hard work. Haig-Brown, therefore, in his representation of these men, and of these camps, in part fulfils the demand made by Waiser to tell the story of Canada’s  115  national parks. To use Prouty’s words, Haig-Brown refuses to participate in the tacit willingness to ignore this part of Canadian history.  Haig-Brown and the Environmental Text  The decision of those of us who profess English has been, by and large, that the relationship between literature and these issues of the degradation of the earth is something that we won’t talk about. Where the subject unavoidably arises, it is commonly assigned to some category such as ‘nature writing,’ or ‘regionalism,’ or ‘interdisciplinary studies,’ obscure pigeonholes whose very titles have seemed to announce their insignificance. [...] [A} nature-oriented literature offers a much needed corrective, for one very important aspect of this literature is its regard—either implicit or stated—for the non-human. — Glen A. Love, “Revaluing Nature.” The Ecocriticism Reader, 1996, 227-8; 229-30.  Roderick Haig-Brown is most often identified with his work in environmental politics, especially in the dispute involving Buttle Lake (Strathcona Park, British Columbia) in the middle of the twentieth century. It was a dispute with “dimensions and strategies” such that, in the words of Arn Keeling, it “earn[s] it the label of the province’s first  116  environmental controversy” (Dynamic 258). Nevertheless, and surprisingly, little work has been done to examine Haig-Brown’s narratives through the lens of ecocritical theory. Arn Keeling, in both “The Profligate Province: Roderick Haig-Brown and the Modernizing of British Columbia” (co-authored with Robert McDonald) and “‘A Dynamic, Not a Static Conception’: The Conservation Thought of Roderick HaigBrown,” touches on Haig-Brown’s novels, but remains focused on his conservation work. Likewise, writers such as Allan Pritchard in his two part “West of the Great Divide,” Anthony Robertson in Above Tide: Reflections on Roderick Haig-Brown, E. Bennett Metcalfe in A Man of Some Importance, and W.J. Keith in “Roderick Haig-Brown,” all touch on the subject, but do not offer a sustained analysis of his work in this regard— especially of the novels Timber and On the Highest Hill. I suspect part of the problem lies with the pedagogically useful but overly simplistic term “setting” in combination with the reputation of Haig-Brown’s novels as naturalist. I suggest that setting as such recedes into (or is reduced to) the background; it is of little importance—simply a function or characteristic of a particular type of novel. As Buell suggests, setting “depreciates what it denotes, implying that the physical environment serves for artistic purposes merely as a backdrop, ancillary to the main event” (85). One way out of this impasse is, of course, to read a text ecocritically, as an environmental text. Indeed, both Timber and On the Highest Hill are environmental texts according to the four criteria outlined by Buell: 1. The nonhuman environment is present not merely as a framing device but as a presence that begins to suggest that human history is implicated in natural history. 2. The human interest is not understood to be the only legitimate interest.  117  3. Human accountability to the environment is part of the text’s ethical orientation. 4. Some sense of the environment as a process rather than as a constant or a given is at least implicit in the text. (7-8) Establishing these two novels as environmental texts provides a framework for analysing setting as more than simply a backdrop “ancillary to the main event,” but rather as a method of bonding the reader with the environment by means of written description. Further, through the lens of ecocriticism Haig-Brown’s novels can be seen to destabilize the binary between the environmental advocate and the resource extraction labourer by conjoining labour and environmental knowledge. To return to Buell’s criteria, both novels clearly evince the idea that human history is implicated in natural history. Indeed, the acts of logging in Timber and timber cruising and logging in On the Highest Hill during the 1930s and 40s directly implicate human beings, through the acts mentioned, in the physical alteration of the natural wilderness. That is, the activities of logging and timber cruising cannot be extricated from the alteration of the forest to logging slash.28 In fact, Colin’s job in timber cruising, the act of surveying and classifying a given landscape to locate and estimate timber in terms of species, characteristics, quantity and cost, results in the transformation of the land from live ecosystem to commodity since timber cruising produces the anatomization and isolation of particular forest products from other forest and animal systems for the purpose of production and profit. As with Bertrand Sinclair’s representation of surveying, Haig-Brown reveals the divide between nature and culture. Latour is again instructive in explaining that “for purely anthropocentric—that is political reasons—naturalists have built their collective to make sure that subjects and objects, culture and nature remain utterly distinct, with only the former having any sort of agency” (483). In this case, 118  human history is seen to actively construct an androcentric articulation of nature distinct from culture, and according to its use and value. By representing this activity, and its outcome—namely the destruction of forest land in “Colin’s Valley” (215)—Haig-Brown ties human history directly to natural history through physical transformation and social construction alike. This representation of physical transformation and social construction, in turn, also fulfils Buell’s fourth criterion, that of the environment as a process rather than as a constant or a given. Illustrating Buell’s second and third criteria Haig-Brown creates long descriptive passages about the natural environment, which indicate that human interests are not the only ones in the novel, and that there exists a human accountability to the environment.29 Consider Timber when Alec treks through the South Fork of a canyon where “the whole of the canyon was already in shadow, and looking away from it he saw the sun, huge and red, far down towards the gulf. He felt softness under foot and found that he was standing on a heavy blue-green mat of juniper; he stepped back from it, ashamed to have crushed it under his caulks” (357). Alex feels shame at the destruction of the juniper, and though a brief moment in the novel, it suggests the novel’s ethical orientation toward nature, one where human interests are not the only ones and that a man can feel accountable to nature. On the Highest Hill presents this same ethical attitude. Colin, a naturally gifted hunter, reflects while hunting a deer: I don’t want to shoot him, I don’t want to hurt the silence, I don’t want to see him dead and see his blood. I hate the blood . . . We have to have meat and I’m yellow to be afraid of the blood and not to want to shoot . . . [is it] his dead eyes and the sound he would make when I put the knife in his throat? (62) Important here is the assignment of gender to the buck. Rather than dehumanize the buck as an “it,” Colin’s reference to “him” humanizes the buck and underlies the empathy 119  Colin feels toward the animal. In short, it is through Colin’s empathy for the pain and suffering the buck might feel, as evidenced by the “sound” the buck would make while dying, that the non-human interest is foregrounded and the reader, through the bond inherent in the first-person “I,” feels an accountability toward the environment.30 Moments such as these abound in both texts, whether they are complex descriptions of a trout stream in Timber, or condemnations of logging practices at the close of On The Highest Hill. When taken together, these moments confirm these two novels as environmental texts and highlight the relevance of an ecocritical analysis. In Timber and On the Highest Hill Haig-Brown devotes much time to descriptions of the natural landscape. In the naturalist mode, he attempts to provide as much detail and minutiae as possible in his rendering of the so-called natural world. Yet, as Buell remarks in a slightly different context, there are many “filters through which literature sifts the environment it purports to represent” (84). Buell further explains that These filters begin with the human sensory apparatus itself, which responds much more sensitively for example at the level of sight than of smell and even at the visual level is highly selective . . . For these reasons our reconstructions of environment cannot be other than skewed and partial. Even if this were not so, even if human perception could perfectly register environmental stimuli, literature could not. Even when it professes the contrary, art removes itself from nature. (84) As Buell notes, this argument seems somewhat obvious, as is the idea that follows from this argument that there is a high level of intention and deliberate selection involved in the art of portraying any environment. Nevertheless, one reason why the novels of HaigBrown have been ignored is a result of the debates over the value of realism that has lead to somewhat of an anti-realist or anti-referential theoretical stance in the contemporary academic study of literature. This stance, in the words of Buell, “forbids the project of evoking the natural world through verbal surrogates and thereby attempting to bond the 120  reader to the world as well as to discourse” (102).31 In other words, “we need to recognize stylization’s capacity for what poet-critic Francis Ponge calls adéquation: verbalizations that are not replicas but equivalents of the world of objects, such that writing in some measure bridges the abyss that inevitably yawns between language and the object-world” (italics added, Buell 98).32 The power of environmental representation to bridge the abyss between language and the object-physical world, to connect the reader with the world as well as to, and through, discourse, is easily illustrated by a passage from Timber: He sat down with his back against a big alder, but stood up again almost at once and went down to the river. He squatted by the edge of the water and began turning over the rocks, searching for caddis grubs and mayfly nymphs and the other small insects of a troutstream. It surprised him to find stonefly crawlers still there and he began to search with a new interest, turning over rock after rock until he had found a dozen or more. He put one hand down in the water and held it there until the cold became uncomfortable. That’ll be it, I guess, he told himself; cold enough to make them late. (341-2) Notice the movement of Alec from his sitting position beneath the alder to beside the stream. The reader, located in a distant spatial-temporal vantage point, is drawn by this motion into the action by the stream; as Alec squats and begins to turn over rocks, the reader’s vision narrows from the alder to the rocks in the stream—all focus is centered here on the curiosity generated by Alec’s search. As Alec turns over each rock, so too does the reader; as Alec searches for grubs and nymphs, the scene becomes entirely foreground; all background is removed. Alec’s surprise thus becomes the reader’s surprise to find stonefly crawlers, and both minds search with a renewed interest toward discovery; both eagerly continue to turn over rock after rock. In this way, the scene comes alive for the reader; we share the curiosity, the surprise of discovery, and can imagine the feel of the cold stream on our hands. Moreover, Haig-Brown integrates a 121  pedagogical style into the action of the scene to give the reader a lesson in ecology: the alder is a tree to be found beside a troutstream; caddis grubs and mayfly nymphs are both fishing bait and food for trout and can be located beneath the rocks in a stream; stonefly crawlers generally appear prior to the cadis grubs and mayfly nymphs but can persist in the food chain depending on the temperature of the stream; and the temperature of a stream can be judged by its effect on the human hand. In this way, Haig-Brown provides insight into the ecosystem of the stream as well as entomological knowledge concerning the sport of fishing. The concurrent simplicity and complexity of this passage makes it superb. Through a microscopic lens, Haig-Brown imagines, in words, what many individuals could not and thus bridges the divide between language and object-world and links the reader with the environment. A similar pattern can be seen in On the Highest Hill. Consider the narrated monologue of Colin when describing a gully along his travels: It was bad country, a narrow little valley, steep-walled so that the sun scarcely found a way into it, damp and moss-grown . . . .on the slopes the second-growth conifers were so thick that it was difficult to force a way between them; near the creek salmonberry and devil’s club, alder and salal strove together in fantastic competition. (280) Here again, Haig-Brown builds a dense, complex image of a particular ecosystem and interweaves environmental knowledge with the representation of landscape. This stylized image of the gully is used to demonstrate the growth pattern of second generation conifer trees in terms of location, spacing, and light; also seen is the growing location of salmonberry, devil’s club and salal alongside their competitive and interwoven growing patterns. A similar scene occurs when the narrated monologue of Alec presents a scene a “few feet above the river” where “[d]eep-orange tiger-lilies dropped far out over the trail and occasionally there was the strong scarlet of late-blooming columbine” (343). Readily 122  apparent here is the seasonality of particular plants, their growing location, and their colours in bloom. Through these patterns, through this knowledge, Haig-Brown once again invites his reader into the natural environment. In these moments, Haig-Brown destabilizes the anthropocentric tendency of fiction—an action that is especially pressing given the environmental concerns and troubles of the twenty-first century. Why is HaigBrown’s position here important? In my mind the most compelling answer is one I again borrow from Buell who asks us to think of environmental representation as akin to a novel of manners . . . To require late twentieth-century urbanites to discriminate between edible and inedible plants in the forest [or growing seasons of grubs, nymphs and flies] . . . seems about as finicky as to require them to be as conscious as Jane Austen and Henry James were of modes of proper chaperonage, polite replies to engraved invitations, and rituals for making social calls. Yet both are forms of competence in external affairs on which prestige and sometimes even survival have depended. (107) The common theme that runs through the preceding examples of Haig-Brown’s portrayal of the connection between reader and environment is the transmission of environmental knowledge. Furthermore, all of these examples center on individual journeys into nature, into a space that presumed to be somewhat outside of urban and rural development, a space where leisure is conflated with the labours of hiking, fishing, and hunting, and observation. These journeys, however, are not the sole method by which Haig-Brown represents environmental knowledge. Indeed, one of the most startling and perhaps counterintuitive aspects of Haig-Brown’s novels is that they represent physical labour as a means of gleaning environmental knowledge. What I am suggesting is that the characters in the two novels represent a “way of knowing” nature, a scientific, physical, ecological, and emotional knowledge of, and connection to, nature that urges the reader to re-examine and break down the binary between labourer and environmentalist. 123  In “‘Are You an Environmentalist or Do You Work for a Living?’: Work and Nature,” Richard White suggests that many environmentalists “ignore the ways that work itself is a means of knowing nature” (171), and that “[e]nvironmentalists have come to associate work—particularly heavy bodily labor, blue-collar work—with environmental degradation. . . . Nature seems safest when shielded from human labor” (172). White further explains that “[t]his distrust of work, particularly of hard physical labor, contributes to a larger tendency to define humans as being outside of nature and to frame environmental issues so that the choice seems to be between humans and nature” (172). These remarks are similar to those of Bruce Braun, some of which I quoted earlier: In the popular press, and in the rhetoric used by key actors, debate over the future of these forests [Clayoquot] was often cast in terms of a binary logic (pristine nature/destructive humanity). This I feared, presented the complex politics of the rainforest in far too simple terms, and in a manner that stood in the way of a progressive ecopolitics attuned to the profusion of entangled events, actors, and practices that constituted BC’s ‘war in the woods.’ Not only did this binary logic authorize certain actors to speak for nature’s defense or its management (environmentalists, transnational capital, and the state), it risked marginalizing others (local communities, forest workers, First Nations) who understood, and related to, the forest in very different ways. (2) In contrast to this binary logic and dismissal of work as a means to environmental knowledge, White demands a recognition that “work provides a knowledge of, and a connection to, nature” (178). Similarly, Braun states that in contrast to the “forest politics in BC,” which often assumes the forest to be “self evident” and existing in a “space outside politics,” a more productive question is “how something called the ‘forest’ is made visible, how it enters history as an object of economic and political calculation, and a site of emotional and libidinal investment” (3). When White’s insistence on the connection between work and nature is combined with Braun’s assertion that the forest enters history as a site of emotional investment, it is no great leap to contend that Braun’s 124  “emotional investment” is one aspect of the knowledge of and connection to nature, and that this knowledge is one way in which nature enters history. For example, Colin Ensley, in On the Highest Hill, is taught early in the novel how to cut cordwood for the family—a rite of passage that “meant for him a long advance toward manhood” (39); when Will Ensley remarks that “‘I was a year younger than you when my father started me cutting cordwood’” (40), it becomes clear that this rite of passage is multi-generational. Will’s advice to Colin is not to cut down young trees because “‘you’ll want trees twenty years from now,’” and to “‘drop’” a tree “‘across the lean’” because in this case “‘there’s nothing to hurt there and it’ll let your tree down easier’” (41) A few pages later, Colin has taken over the task of cutting cordwood entirely, but becomes embarrassed when his childhood chum asks why he won’t accept help. The subsequent third-person mixture of narrated monologue and psycho-narration reveals that Colin “did not want to admit to Johnny that he loved the work, the sharp clean bite of the axe-strokes, the flight of white chips from the deepening cut, the scent of crushed leaves and stripped bark; or that he wanted the whole job to be his own achievement, from start to finish” (45). In this early experience in the woods, Colin’s emotional investment with both work and nature is clear. On one hand, the pride and accomplishment in his work is expressed through the sense of success embodied by the “flight of white chips,” the “deepening cut,” and the desire for achievement. On the other hand, the emotional experience of these feelings of pride, accomplishment, and success, is linked to, and anchored by, the physical and sensory experience of nature—the trees he is cutting down and the scent of the “crushed leaves and stripped bark.”  125  At the same time, Colin is building a hierarchy or schema of knowledge about nature that encompasses the physical and sensory characteristics of the alder tree through the process of its life and death—at what age he can cut it down, its lean in relation to surrounding trees, the damage it could cause as it falls, the scent that arises from its death, and the physical feel of the chips, branches, bark, and axe as he chops it down. Importantly, this passages also highlights the idea of nature as a process, as a concept constructed and produced by humanity. In this example, nature is constructed by Colin as producing desirable physical, sensory, emotional, and social effects. The pleasure of physical labour, the sensory experience of colour and scent, the feelings of success and accomplishment, and the social belonging of participation in the family community are all produced by, and thus produce nature as a site of labour, belonging, pleasure, manhood and utility. In Timber, the monologue of Alec most clearly demonstrates the coupling of environmental knowledge with labour: There was felled timber all about him, the fresh cut ends of logs showing redly out of tumbled masses of broken limbs, the bluish underside of the needles making a piled and cushioned background for red-brown bark of fir logs, the gray of hemlock and occasional silver of balsam. (38-9) [...] Before noon he had picked and marked six trees, one of them a small hemlock that would be used only to raise a larger tree into position, but the others, good solid firs, well placed to country and track and on ground that would make fair landings. (40) The first example is one of observation and is ostensibly a literal description of the waste and havoc left behind by a logging operation. Indeed, from this point of view, the double entendre “broken limbs” humanizes the devastation and the scene becomes one of carnage and reminiscent of war. On another level, however, a knowledge of the 126  environment is implicit in this industrial scene. The marking of trees according to colour supports this view—blue marks the underside of needles, red-brown marks fir, gray marks hemlock, and silver marks balsam. As the observant eye of Alec travels across the logging slash, he sees the destruction of industry, but he simultaneously labels and categorizes this destruction according to species and colour of tree—a knowledge and expertise that is here inextricably linked to the forest industry. 33 In the second example, more action-oriented than the first, a similar theme is clear. In this passage, Alec’s knowledge of trees is demonstrated through the selection of particular species for a particular task. The hemlock that Alec identifies must be selected according to its position in the landscape, its relation to other trees, and most importantly, its strength— the latter a characteristic necessary for its role in raising a larger tree into position. Similarly, the two “good solid firs” are identified in relation to the shape of the landscape, their overall straightness, and again, most essentially, their sturdiness and strength. These trees will likely become spar trees and will be used to yard fallen trees to the landing—identifying them according to strength is thus crucial and would likely demand a thorough knowledge of such characteristics as growth rates and root structures. Ironically, it is an incorrectly chosen spar tree that later kills Alec, a fact that underlies the expertise and knowledge that are essential in this activity. In both examples, HaigBrown is marking out a socio-political position that foregrounds the fact that environmental knowledge is learned through and is essential to the resource extraction labour of logging. In On The Highest Hill, these connections and constructions are further evident in the scenes where Colin is employed in surveying. Here, the narrator remarks, “he found  127  no monotony in the great trees of the flat valley because to his eye no two of them seemed alike; each had its own particular way of surging upward from its roots, each its own lean, its own colour and texture of bark, its own climb to its lowest branches, its own marked position in relationship to its neighbors” (97-8). Now Colin has moved beyond the basic physical and sensory knowledge of a single species of tree and has begun to learn all the constituent parts of an ecosystem: the identification of individual species of trees, their growing conditions, the manner in which they are positioned in order for growth to occur, and how the conditions of each tree relate to the surrounding trees. While some simply see a wall of green, Colin’s discerning eye registers the wonderment and diversity of the westcoast landscape, and, at the same time, this discernment and lack of monotony suggests Colin’s growing emotional investment in nature, which is facilitated through his labour. This association of wonder (the opposition of monotony) with nature produces a concept of nature that includes wonder. White argues that these connections are a part of what Pierre Bordieu calls “habitus.” To add to the definition of habitus in my work on Sinclair, I return to Bourdieu who, in Outline of a Theory of Practice, asserts that The structures constitutive of a particular type of environment (e.g. the material conditions of existence characteristic of a class condition) produce habitus, systems of durable, transposable dispositions, structured structures predisposed to function as structuring structures, that is as principles of the generation and structuring of practices and representations which can be objectively ‘regulated’ and ‘regular’ without in any way being the product of obedience to rules . . . . (72) The best formulation in my mind is when Bourdieu quotes Durkheim: ‘ . . . in each of us, in varying proportions, there is part of yesterday’s man; it is yesterday’s man who inevitably predominates in us, since the present amounts to little compared with the long past in the course of which we were formed and from which we result. Yet we do not sense this man of 128  the past, because he is inveterate in us; he makes up the unconscious part of ourselves . . . .’ (79) According to White, “working—how one works, how one wields a spade, how one handles a horse—imparts a bodily knowledge and a social knowledge . . . .Working communicates a history of past work; this history is turned into bodily practice until it seems but second nature. This habitus, this bodily knowledge, is unconsciously observed, imitated, adopted, and passed on in a given community” (179). I would extend White’s assertion to include emotional connection and investment. Colin’s bodily knowledge of swinging the axe, a knowledge learned and inherited from his father and grandfather, as well as the associated sensory and emotional linkages of love, pride, and success, are thus transmitted to the community through a process of observation, imitation, and adoption. All activities are thus implicated in the gathering and transmission of environmental knowledge. By connecting work to a practical and emotional investment in and knowledge of nature, Haig-Brown implores us to deny and disrupt the binary between environmentalism and resource extraction labourers. He asks us to see nature not as a static entity outside of politics, not as a universal or romanticized essentialist wilderness, not as an reified object to be battled over, but as an idea, as an integrated part of the world, and as a process that is constantly shifting, changing, and being produced in myriad ways. Lastly, he urges us not to deny the fundamental emotional and epistemological connection between work and nature. I believe that Haig-Brown’s novels represent an emergent environmentalism that includes work. He points to the real-world division between environmentalist and labourer while admonishing us to redress and bridge this division. The political importance of this stance is simple. To recognize the 129  validity of the labourers’ emotional investment in nature, to recognize the many ways in which nature is produced, is to open up the possibility for contingent political alliances that can work together toward common ethical-political goals, whether these be sustainable wages or the preservation of old growth forests.34  Friendship and Homosexuality in Timber  That masculinity should be incorporated into working-class studies only makes sense given that historically men workers themselves often made very explicit connections between their work and their gender identity as men. -Steven Maynard, “Rough Work and Rugged Men: The Social Construction of Masculinity in Working-Class History,” 1989, 159-69.  Given the long history of the brutal subordination of gay men—a subordination often aimed directly at gay men’s gender identities—this would have been an obvious place to mention gay masculinities. -Stephen Maynard, “Queer Musings on Masculinity and History,” 1998, 186.  While I find the historical veracity of Timber in regard to the mechanics and concerns of the logging industry to be one of the most compelling features of the book, and indeed of 130  Haig-Brown’s writing in general, I also concur with Anthony Roberson who, in Above Tide: Reflections on Roderick Haig Brown, argues that “[t]he relationship between Johnny and Alec provides the human centre of the book. It is a friendship that recognizes the erotic element in all friendship, though neither man seems consciously aware of the sexual side of their affection for each other” (58). In fact, the homosocial, if not homosexual, relationship between Johnny and Alec opens the door to an examination of same-sex relationships in the male-dominant culture of logging camps.35 Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick explains that while “homosocial” may “be characterized by intense homophobia, fear and hatred of homosexuality” her work attempts to “[d]raw the ‘homosocial’ back into the orbit of “desire,” of the potentially erotic” and thereby “hypothesize the potential unbrokenness of a continuum between homosocial and homosexual” (1). With regard to the force of desire and eroticism, Sedgwick remarks that how “far this force is properly sexual . . . will be an active question” (2)—precisely the question involved in the relationship between Johnny and Alec. Haig-Brown in this sense writes, through fiction, an unwritten—perhaps to some, unwritable—part of history. Indeed, homosexual acts were criminal in Canada during this period; Roy Cain in “Disclosure and Secrecy among Gay Men in the United States and Canada: A Shift in Views” explains that “the dominant clinical position on homosexuality during the 1950s and 1960s held that it was a psychopathological condition” (26) or that it was “a mental illness” (28). One result of these beliefs and positions is that “secretiveness about one’s homosexuality was widely viewed as normal and desirable; openness, conversely, was seen as an expression of personal and social pathology and as a political liability to gays in general” (25). Thus, Haig-Brown’s Timber, written in 1942, marks an important  131  moment in signalling an acceptance, or at least presence, of homosexual disclosure. If, as Andrew Lesk argues in The Play of Desire: Sinclair Ross’s Gay Fiction, to consider “As For Me and My House to be in any fashion homosexual also poses, like [Laura] Robinson’s ‘lesbian’ Anne [Anne of Green Gables] a threat to the academic sense of a heterosexual national literature” (4), then so too does considering the relationship between Johnny and Alec in Timber pose such a threat—or, in other words, continue to build upon a well-established tradition in Canadian literature. Were there homosexual relationships in west coast logging camps? The probable answer is “yes.” Yet, the answer also depends in part on how these relationships are defined. Steven Maynard, in “Queer Musings on Masculinity and History,” suggests that the early twentieth century was a “historical period in which homosexual activity did not necessarily confer a homosexual identity” (191). In examining nineteenth-century British Columbia, Adele Perry states that “relations between men could range from the practical to the emotional to the sexual” (515). Her claims would logically extend into the twentieth century and are supported by Maynard, who makes it clear that homosexual relationships between men were at least possible in the logging camps. He argues that “[e]vidence for northern Ontario in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, for example, makes it clear that men in bush camps not only played cards and the fiddle, but they also engaged in sex with each other” ( “Rough” 167). Maynard does, however, qualify his position in a later article where he modifies his original position to argue that “[i]n the complex sex/gender system of the early 20th century, some working-class men had sex interchangeably with women and men without calling into question their identity as ‘normal’ workingmen” (“Queer” 18990). In the end, I agree with Maynard when he suggests that  132  Evidence from places such as logging camps, then, opens up a variety of interesting questions. Certainly it points to the malleability and social construction of sexual identity and forces us to ask how the material conditions of the bush camp transformed and loosened the hegemony of a rigid heterosexual masculinity. (“Rough” 168) The first encounter in the novel between Johnny and Alec occurs after the inquest at the beginning of the novel. The two friends have not seen one another for some time, and upon learning Alec is back in town, Johnny leads a group of men to his hotel. The third-person narrator describes their greeting: He turned to Johnny and held out his hand. Johnny took it and felt the moment of shyness between them, the knowledge in each that this was something he had looked forward to and the quick fear that it might not be as he had hoped, that a month of different things and places and people might have changed something. (15) There is no immediate dialogue between the two characters. One reason for this is posited by Robertson who argues that “Haig-Brown gets around the inarticulateness of his characters by presenting their thoughts discursively, giving them an expressiveness of idea and feeling that couldn’t be demonstrated in dialogue” (55). Thus, while the scene is a simple scene of greeting, a handshake and a hello, it is also a discursive representation of ideas and feelings that cannot be otherwise demonstrated, the signal of a relationship that for social and political reasons cannot be publicly disclosed or even articulated by the men themselves. In fact, Johnny does not shake Alec’s hand, but takes it—a subtle, ambiguous gesture that runs the gambit from handshake to gentle caress. The shyness and “quick fear” of Johnny, in this reading, indicates psychological anxiety over the nature of their unspoken-unspeakable relationship as much as whether or not the friendship has altered. One of the most significant methods Haig-Brown uses to reveal the homoerotic relationship between Johnny and Alec is that of the voyeuristic moment or gaze. Crucial 133  in analyzing these moments is the work done by Laura Mulvey in “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” Mulvey explains that “[t]he cinema offers a number of possible pleasures. One is scopophilia (pleasure in looking). There are circumstances in which looking itself is a source of pleasure, just as, in the reverse formation, there is pleasure in being looked at” (1174). She further comments that “[i]n a world ordered by imbalance, pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female. The determining male gaze projects its fantasy onto the female figure, which is stylized accordingly” (1175). The dynamics of the gaze are readily apparent when Johnny considers the figure of Alec; the third-person narration reads like a poetic blazon: his red mouth twisted with that smile and his blue eyes looking at you from his smooth evenly brown face. Slim was like a swell-looking woman sometimes; brown curly hair, always lighter in summer time just above his forehead, where he pushed his hat back; long round chin, full lips and straight nose. It was good to look at him. But he wasn’t like any woman you could come near, or any soft woman. . . . His hands were big, longfingered and wide, and there were long hard muscles across his back and on his flat belly. It wasn’t right to think Slim was like a woman, except for his face sometimes and when he talked sometimes. (47-8) It is immediately clear that Johnny, at least within the third-person narration, sees Alec as an object of desire. It is also clearly Johnny’s gaze that renders Alec in a particularly desirable, handsome way; in the words of Mulvey, Alec has been stylized according to the fantasy of Johnny. One way of analyzing this scene is to argue that the only acceptable form Johnny’s desire can take is that of desire for a woman and thus he stylizes or constructs Alec in the only acceptable form his desire can take, the only form through which his desire can be disclosed.36 The push/pull tension of the passage supports this reading. Following the lingering gaze on Alex’s “full lips and straight nose” Johnny reflects, “It was good to look at him,” but at once states that “he wasn’t like any woman you could come near” 134  and thus resists his own fantasized stylization of Alec. To participate fully in his own fantasy of Alec as a woman, or as enjoyable to look at, is to fully give voice to his erotic desire for Alec, to the erotic vision of his friend; his refusal of his own fantasy is symptomatic of the anxiety Johnny experiences about his homoerotic feelings and a resistance to these feelings. At the same time, the passage can be read as an affirmation that it is precisely in the ways that Alec is not like a woman that Johnny finds him desirable. It is no surprise, therefore, that the narration proceeds directly into a stylization of the more typically masculine attributes of Alec’s body, the repetition of “big” and “long” an oblique reference to his imagined penis. Again following a lengthy erotic description of Alec, Johnny mentally pulls away to reflect “It wasn’t right to think Slim was like a woman”—a repeated commingling of resistance and affirmation of the homoerotic feelings he is experiencing. Yet, in the same line, Johnny’s thought is modified to become “except for his face sometimes and when he talked sometimes,” a last desperate attempt to make the articulation of his desire acceptable in thought, if not in dialogue. A second more explicit and powerful moment where the male gaze operates occurs when Johnny and Alec are in the “wash house”: Slim [Alec] was already stripped . . . He straightened up and watched Johnny take off his shirt. Johnny’s skin was very white, smooth as a girl’s . . . Slim watched the movement of firm, rounded muscles as Johnny stripped; his body was so smooth that you didn’t judge the strength at first. Good shoulders, yet not spectacularly wide; chest heavy with muscle, very thick through; big triceps, thick forearms, thick belly leading straight down from ribs to hips; round buttocks, round thighs, thick calves, small, high-arched feet. Then the firelight from the boiler outlined the muscles in shadows and you saw for one sharp moment the marble of the Greek athlete . . . . (70)  135  Here the gaze is both explicit and directed as indicated by the repeated verb “watched.” In what may be read as a masturbatory moment, Alec stands naked in the wash house and stares at Johnny as if he were putting on a striptease—watching as Johnny takes off his shirt, watching the movement of his muscles, and watching him strip off his remaining clothes. Given the proximity of the men and the presumably small confines of the camp wash house, it is logical to conclude that Johnny is aware of Alec’s gaze, that in the words of Mulvey “there is pleasure in being looked at.” In this erotically charged scene Alec’s gaze travels downward, anatomizing Johnny from his shoulders to his “higharched feet.” In this passage, however, the gaze is Alec’s, and it is he who stylizes Johnny as the receiver of his gaze; it is Johnny who exhibits a marker of femaleness—the smooth skin of a girl—that initially attracts Alec’s attention. It is just as evident, however, that it is the naked, muscled, masculine body that Alec desires. As Richard Dyer explains in “The White Man’s Muscles,” “the built body presents itself not as typical but as ideal. It suggests our vague notions of the Greek gods and the Übermensch” (265). 37 As a prefiguration of the “built body” Dyer describes, Johnny is stylized as having the ideal body and is explicitly linked to notions of Greek gods and homosexuality in ancient Greece through mention of the “Greek athlete” of the final line. A further inspection of the passage reveals a preponderance of adjectives describing size and girth: big, wide, heavy, round, thick. The word “thick” itself is repeated four times in the passage, especially in the movement from forearms, to belly, to hips, to buttocks, to thighs, forming a circle around the absent phallus while forcing the gaze to consider that which cannot be expressed as an organ of desire, even in thought; the anatomization of Johnny’s naked body with the exception of the genitals is itself a technique for rendering it visible  136  through omission. As Alec’s vision of Johnny is crystallized in the shadows of the boiler, so is his half-shadowed desire for Johnny crystallized in the mind of the reader. The homoerotic relationship between Alec and Johnny reaches its apex in the marriage between Johnny and Julie. In describing Julie, Johnny reflects that “[t]hey were alike; he had known that in his first sight of her as they brought Hank’s boat into the wharf . . . The girl’s face was lighter, softer, yet fuller and more rounded than Alec’s, but as her changing expressions lighted it Alec was in each one . . . Her lips were very soft and full, bright with life under the smooth skin, yet they were shaped as Alec’s were” (94-5). The marriage of Johnny to Julie, when read through this lens, is in actuality a marriage between Johnny and Alec. Each moment of expression by Julie is a moment where Johnny sees Alec; each intimate kiss of Julie’s lips is concurrently a kiss of Alec’s lips. Julie is reduced to a function of the relationship between Johnny and Alec; she is the embodiment of their socially, politically, and legally forbidden union.38 Stephen Maynard reports that Radforth suggests that no ‘openly acknowledged’ subculture of same-sex relations existed in northern Ontario shanties. But must a subculture—or something not quite so elaborate as a subculture, perhaps sexual networks—be openly acknowledged in order to exist? Sedgwick would be the first to encourage us to ponder whether the epistemology of the shanty closet was one that functioned on the basis of the ‘open secret,’ that is, something known by many but rarely acknowledged in any overt way. (Maynard, “Queer” 192)39 Likewise, as far as my research has taken me, no openly acknowledged subculture of same-sex relations existed in the logging camps of British Columbia. The questions Maynard asks are, however, worth repeating: must such a subculture, sexual network, or sexual relationship be acknowledged in order to exist? In my mind, the answer is an unquestionable “no.” Were same sex relationships in logging camps something known by 137  many but rarely openly disclosed? Certainly the political and psychological, not to mention social, discourse of the time valued secrecy over disclosure. Analogues such as those written about by Maynard and Perry, in addition to the analogues of other male environments such as the military, seem to warrant further investigation in the area of logging camps and logging camp narratives. The presence of the homoerotic relationship between Johnny and Alec—possibly based on Haig-Brown’s experiences and observations in logging camps—seems to support the claims made by Maynard and Perry. More importantly, the representation of a homoerotic relationship in a 1942 novel set in the male-dominant industry of logging, marks a starting point in understanding the dynamics of this environment and further destabilizes what some might call a heteronormatic literary tradition in Canada. In other words, by interpreting the relationship between Johnny and Alec, I hope to continue, in some small measure, the path set forth by Peter Dickinson when he seeks to transform “the invisible presence of queerness in Canadian literature into a more manifest or embodied presence” (3).  Reflections on the Logging Industry in Literature  One of the persistent questions of this chapter is: “what does this have to do with labour?” One answer is that often narratives that represent labour have as much to do with surrounding ideas and conceptions as they do with the representation of a particular industry. Thus, Sinclair’s novel is just as much about creating a particular narrative structure and about presenting a particular economic model as it is about the precise nature of logging. It is just as much about the presence of the highly intelligent Andy Hall  138  in a logging camp and the particulars of his philosophy as it is about the complex nature of union formation. Similarly, Haig-Brown’s novels, while often uniquely specific and precise about the activities of logging or broad-axe work, are just as much about male relationships or bonding the reader to the environment though labour—whether this labour is industrial or leisure oriented; they are just as much about marking particular moments in time and omissions from history as they are about the blacklist system or the politics of logging camps. All three novels continue to produce meaning and suggest further research. Christopher E. Forth argues that “developments central to modernity at once reinforce and destabilize the representation of masculinity as an unproblematic quality of male anatomy” (5). One result of this is what Forth calls the “double logic of modern civilization, a process that promotes and supports the interests of males while threatening to undermine those interests . . .” (5). An example would be the paradox of technology where “the great machines that extend male powers also threaten to constrain or diminish them at the same time” (5-6). It is easy to see this double logic in the case of Rod Norquay and Will Ensley; a reading of these texts through the lens of this double logic would be particularly compelling and productive. Another possibility would be a reading that examines the roles of Mary Thorn, Julie Holt, and Martha Ensley. In the case of Martha Ensley, a particularly forceful argument could be articulated which builds on the work done by critics on the role of the farm woman in rural communities. In On the Highest Hill, it is Martha who is ultimately responsible for the survival of the family and it is Martha who literally works herself to death in order to ensure that her family survives.  139  Also fruitful would be a further examination of these texts in historical terms, to analyze the construction of masculinity in light of the blacklist system in opposing union formation and how this system led to the demise of a skill-based articulation of masculinity for those who were blacklisted and unable to get work, and how, in turn, a new sense of masculinity emerged and was wedded in part to the idea of unionization in contrast to the prior focus on the individual. However, above all, in examining realist texts that purport to give us “the truth,” it is crucial to undertake an exacting postcolonial reading. To refuse such a reading is to refuse the labour and presence of all nonimmigrant populations in British Columbia and to participate in a tacit compliance to render these presences invisible. In the words of W. Peter Ward, it is to cling “tenaciously to the myth of the ethnic mosaic: the belief that the nation has evolved more or less harmoniously as a multicultural society” (x).  140  Notes  1  See James Doyle’s Progressive Heritage.  2  Zola’s well-known “The Experimental Novel,” from the same collection I use here, is where he uses the  scientific experiments and methods of Claude Bernard to, in part, develop his ideas of the naturalistic novel. 3  While Bourdieu does not explicitly state that the fields are interchangeable with respect to one another  they do appear to change positions within his own analysis. For example, he describes the literary and artistic field (also the field of cultural production) as “contained within the field of power” (37), which in turn is “itself situated at the dominant pole of the field of class relations” (38). Equally imaginable, however, is a situation where the field of class relations operates within the field of power, or indeed within the field of cultural production—though Bourdieu would likely frame the latter structure in terms of agentpositions instead of as a field per se. 4  I see this last remark as similar to Fredric Jameson’s dialectic between dominated and dominant where he  argues that “a ruling class ideology will explore various strategies of legitimation of its own power position, while an oppositional culture or ideology will, often in covert and disguised strategies, seek to contest and to undermine the dominant ‘value system’” (Political Unconscious 84). 5  All references to Gordon Hak in my work on Bertrand Sinclair are from this work. His subsequent work,  Capital and Labour in the British Columbia Forest Industry, 1934-74, will, in part, inform my work on Roderick Haig-Brown. 6  Rod Norquay’s recounting of the stages of the family’s success from fur-trading, to the gold rush of 1859,  to the current timber dynasty, firmly locate the narrative in the history of British Columbia outlined by the Staples Thesis of Harold Innis.  141  7  Despite the anachronism, I have chose to refer to the province of British Columbia here for ease of  reading. 8  If, as many small indications in the text suggest, Mary Thorn’s heritage is of mixed race, then race too  would play a significant role in the tension between poles, between upper-class expectations and Rod’s desire for Mary Thorn. 9  Descriptions of the Norquay family support this definition of habitus. Descriptions such as “Rod himself  did not realize the lightning-quick quality of his own perceptions” (23) or “Grove, the eldest son of the house [is] a true Norquay in physique” (23) are common. If Bourdieu is proposing a form of essentialism in his concept of habitus, some essential physical, social, financial, biological or genetic characteristic that distinguishes the bourgeoisie from other classes, I would vehemently object. On the other hand, socially constructed ideals in these categories would provide benefits to particular individuals from particular classes seems logical—particularly where the ideals are constructed by a particular class or group for the further benefit of that class or group. It is this latter definition of habitus that I follow here and that I believe to be represented by Sinclair. 10  While “narrated monologue” has come to be “free indirect discourse,” or, in the case of Bourdieu, “free  reported speech and quotation” (157), I have maintained the use of “narrated monologue” to adhere to the terms specified by Dorrit Cohn in Transparent Minds: Narrative Modes for Presenting Consciousness in Fiction, the text that figures most importantly in my own understanding and definition of the style. 11  The Norquay Trust, first mentioned in the novel in the time period of 1911, is based on the Dominion  Trust in Vancouver, British Columbia, founded in 1903. Daniel Francis in L.D.: Mayor Louis Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver relates that “since it was founded in 1903, Dominion Trust had become one of the largest investors in the local real estate market” (104), and that at the time Dominion Trust was “the city’s  142  first skyscraper” and “enjoyed the distinction of being the tallest building in the British Empire” (104). Historically, as property values tumbled, loans made against real estate had to be written off and investments that looked like sure things in boomtime turned out to be busts. As well, the thirty-two-year-old general manager of Dominion Trust, William Arnold, had been making unauthorized loans that became worthless. On October 12, 1914, in the garage of his Shaugnessy home, Arnold shot and killed himself. (104) Francis states that “less than two weeks later, Dominion Trust went bankrupt” (106). In comparison, Grove is seen in the novel to be somewhat a victim of manipulation by financial investors more shrewd than himself. Other details, such as the bankruptcy and death remain similar. E.L. Bobak in “Seeking ‘Direct, Honest Realism’: The Canadian Novel of the 1920’s” suggests that The Inverted Pyramid is “based on the collapse of the Dominion Trust Company” and that “Sinclair’s purpose in the book is to make clear the link between the building of shaky financial empires and the war” (96). This aligns with Laurie Ricou’s statement that the novel is interesting because of “the economic effects of World War I on a familycontrolled timber dynasty” (“Bertrand William Sinclair”). I find, however, that other than representing the shaken, postwar character of Rod, and the fact that Phil “went west” (197), Sinclair spends little time dwelling on the war or its effects. The Dominion Trust, while a catalyst for Rod’s actions in the second half of the novel, and a polarizing device for the novel’s structure, plays a diminished role in the book. 12  In terms of the Thorn position at the negative, dominated pole of the field of power, consider Oliver  Thorn’s description of his life to Rod: [t]here’s the fellow like me; more a dreamer than a doer; inclined to be contemplative rather than actively constructive—or destructive; more apt to take pleasure in seeing a tree grow than in cutting it down; able to work and plan and think clearly in respect of his individual acts, but somehow incapable of herding and driving and compelling other men to function for him [ . . . ] My family’s wants are simple. A reasonable amount of security. A chance to read and think. Freedom from hurry and worry. That seemed good enough for me. (58)  143  This speech in combination with descriptions of the Thorn family, locate them firmly at the negative pole of the field of power and in opposition to all that is represented by Grove and the Norquay family. 13  Phil, as the head of the family timber business, can also be located in this position.  14  Bourdieu states that “we know that one of the aspects of Frédéric’s impotence is that he cannot write”  (157). Likewise, Rod does not seem able to write. Of his own attempt to write the “Iliad of the pioneers,” his family history, Rod says “‘it’s dead. I’ve got to breathe the breath of life into these people. And I don’t know how” (99). In fact it is Mary Thorn who proves to be a successful writer with her novel The Swirl. Rod asserts that “There’s truth and power in the thing [ . . . ] some corking good description, some fine characterization, and some almost brilliant writing” (205). The interplay between potency and impotency in terms of writing works well in terms of Bourdieu’s analysis, but is, perhaps more fruitful in terms of an examination of how gender is constructed in the novel. Richard Lane, for example, in the chapter “War of Two Worlds” from Literature and Loss, suggests that “Although she has written the novel that Rod failed to write, the covert gendered opposition is that of active male fighter / passive female writer” (51). 15  Following this exchange, Grove abruptly changes the scope of the conversation and criticizes Rod’s  relationship with Mary Thorn through the pronouncement “‘[i]t’s hardly the thing for you to cultivate her publicly...A fellow can’t carry on these country kid acquaintances in town’” (71). Considering Rod’s growing intimacy with Grove’s wife Laska Wall in the pages that precede this exchange, it is tempting to engage in an examination of how masculinity is constructed in the novel. It is possible here to view both Rod’s friendship with Laska and his marriage to Mary as a response to the rivalry with Grove. In this sense, one might follow the path of critics such as Gayle Rubin, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick and René Girard and posit that the novel operates through Girardian erotic triangles of rivalry between men with women positioned as objects of exchange.  144  16  Interestingly, Cohn is using Frédéric from Flaubert’s Sentimental Education as her example here.  17  To continue the analysis, it is possible to consider Rod’s logging career and marriage to Mary alongside  the definition of Bildungsroman given by Martin Swales in “Irony and the Novel”: In its portrayal of the hero’s psychology the Bildungsroman operates with a tension between a concern for the sheer complexity of individual personality on the one hand, and, on the other, a recognition that practical reality—marriage, family, a career—is a necessary dimension of the hero’s self realization, albeit one that by definition implies a limitation, indeed constriction, of the self. (51) This definition works in tandem with the tension between Rod’s position as a Norquay, his search for fulfillment, his desire for some undefined sense of freedom, and his desire for Mary. In short, it represents his oscillation within the field of power. 18  While Sinclair does give readers some sense of the construction of masculinity in the logging industry  and the technical terms used, a more accurate and all-encompassing narrative of these aspects of the industry can be found in the trilogy written by Peter Trower, and, to a lesser extent, the recent novel The Man Game by Lee Henderson. 19  A further consequence is that the construction of masculinity here is detrimental to the loggers; their  bodies may literally be “used up” by suffering through unacceptable working conditions. This does not bode well for any future search for work, for longevity, or for physical comfort in old age. 20  This departure from historical mimesis is supported by Jean Barman’s account of this period in her  chapter “Reform and its Limits: 1871-1929” in The West Beyond the West: A History of British Columbia. Here she reports that “[d]issatisfaction over lack of safety or low rates of pay was from time to time expressed in strikes, but usually to no avail. Supported by government, employers refused to recognize, much less negotiate with, representatives of their employees” (219). Furthermore, Hak states that “coastal  145  loggers in 1913 remained hostage to fluctuating markets and the control of employers. They had no union organization and were still unable to mobilize strike action to further their goals” (149). 21  While not a focus here, Braun’s work in this area dovetails with my earlier citing of Richard Lane’s  statement that “Sinclair invites a postcolonial reading of his texts which examines such a claim to historical veracity” (80). Bringing together the remarks of Braun and Lane in this manner works to tie forestry narratives directly to processes of colonization and is a fruitful avenue of further inquiry. 22  By “imperial” I mean that these two companies function as outposts of the French and English Empires  and as part of these empires, they work to further the process of colonization and resource exploitation. 23  See Cole Harris, The Resettlement of British Columbia.  24  While Cohn does not explicitly define “figural mind” in Transparent Minds, I take her meaning (and  mine) to be the mind as represented in language. Importantly, Cohn makes the distinction between an authorial mind and a figural mind. The figural mind, albeit as a representation, is as close to a real mind and its workings as possible. 25  Leitch suggests a system of organization based on an employee House of Representatives, middle  management Senate, and executive office Cabinet. Bills must pass all three levels of industrial government and can be vetoed by the executive Cabinet. The result is a much stronger voice for the workers where none was had before. 26  "molly hogan" means a single strand of wire rope rolled into a circle with six complete wraps that may be  used as a temporary method of connecting the eye splices of two lines of the same size or in pin shackles to replace the cotter pin; “buckle-guys” are guy lines around the middle of a spar tree. 27  See Gordon Philip Turner’s doctoral thesis The Protagonist’s Initiatory Experiences in the Canadian  Bildungsroman 1908-1971 (1979).  146  28  Debris such as bark, small trees, tree tops, branches, limbs and brush left behind after logging operations.  29  In Haig-Brown’s “Hardy’s Dorset” (in Writings and Reflections), he makes it clear that Hardy knew his  grandfather—interestingly, a figure who twice held the post of Mayor of Castor Bridge, a position held subsequent to and following the publication of Hardy’s novel by the same name. Haig-Brown met Hardy in 1924. 30  As a side note, this position coincides with that of Haig Brown in “On Hunting” (Measure of the Year).  Here he states “I still love hunting as a supreme sport . . . . But I have realized, and admitted to myself at last, that I don’t like killing; that I never did like it” (184). 31  While any representation of the environment is necessarily a construction and sees the environment as an  object that can be represented in literature, the point is that attention to environmental details, however constructed or selected, can “in some measure” bond the reader to this world. While this idea is not limited to the realist mode, I suggest that realism is particularly well suited to representing what Buell calls “verbalizations that are not replicas but equivalents of the world of objects” (98). 32  There is, in my mind, a crucial problem with this premise: it does not interrogate the type of world that is  forming a bond with the reader. For example, while I see Haig-Brown bonding the reader to a pastoral landscape at times and a natural landscape at other times, both landscapes are devoid of non-white settlers, immigrants, and any presence of First Nations peoples, habitations, and artifacts. While I do not see this as a reason to invalidate this particular ecocritical mode of interrogation, the postcolonial theoretical paradigm must always be kept in mind considering the ethical consequences of such a structure. 33  In fact, Haig-Brown himself remarks that, “[o]ne of the first jobs I had in North America was scaling  timber behind contract fallers. . . . It meant knowing the species, recognizing them quickly and accurately by bark, by grain, and by leaf” (Measure 45)  147  34  For brief accounts of Roderick Haig-Brown’s position on the environment, see Alan Pritchard’s “West of  the Great Divide” (1982; 1984), Laurie Ricou’s introduction to On the Highest Hill, and Haig-Brown’s The Living Land (1961). 35  The idea of homosexuality as a theme in Haig-Brown’s work is not foreign. In fact, in his introduction to  On The Highest Hill, Ricou brings up the theme of homosexuality as written about in the correspondence of Haig-Brown with his editor, Richard W. Erickson—though in this novel it is “female homosexuality” (xxii) that is being represented. 36  Of course, in the context of homosexuality, this reading poses the problem that homosexuality is here  understood as rooted in the desire for markers of femaleness—unless, the reader is to believe that this is how, in 1942 or in the 1930s of the novel, homosexuality was understood by Haig-Brown (himself or to represent it) and by extension Johnny and Alec. 37  Dyer also remarks that “until the 1980s, it was rare to see a white man semi-naked in popular fictions”  (262). While Dyer is working primarily with film, his remarks ring true for fiction. In contrast to white bodies, Dyer states that “in the Western, the plantation drama and the jungle adventure film, the non-white body is routinely on display” (262). One reason for this is that “clothes are bearers of prestige, notable of wealth, status and class: to be without them is to lose prestige” (262-3). Conversely, there is also “value in the white male body being seen” (263). Here, the argument is that “whites—and men—are where they are socially by virtue of biological, that is, bodily superiority. The sight of the body can be a kind of proof” (263). Johnny’s naked body is both surprising and possibly a marker of superiority. While, I don’t think Haig-Brown is making this point, I do see this moment as productive in relation to the absence of nonwhite characters.  148  38  I am alluding here to the work of Sedgwick in Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial  Desire. 39  Here, Maynard is referring to Ian Radforth’s “The Shantymen” in Labouring Lives: Work and Workers in  Nineteenth-Century Ontario (1995), edited by Paul Craven.  149  3. Discourses of Resistance: The Object of the Interior in the Creative Non-Fiction of Harold Rhenisch  Instead of seeing, on the great mythical book of history, lines of words that translate in visible characters thoughts that were formed in some other time and place, we have in the density of discursive practices, systems that establish statements as events (with their own conditions and domain of appearance) and things (with their own possibility and field of use). They are all these systems of statements (whether events or things) that I propose to call archive. —Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, 145  Archaeology describes discourses as practices specified in the element of the archive. —Michel Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, 148  The BC Studies field trip to the southern Interior provides a forceful reminder of the complex relationship that exists in British Columbia between the whole and its parts. To understand this province, we need to stand on its head the old adage that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It is to the parts that we must look. —Jean Barman, “Seeing British Columbia,” 9 150  Graeme Wynn, in his introduction to the Winter 2010/11 issue of BC Studies, a special issue dedicated to the Okanagan, remarks that, “[t]hrough more than four decades, and 167 issues, the pages of BC Studies have included little about the province’s Okanagan region” (3). In fact, Wynn states that a “keyword search (‘Okanagan’) of all back issues returns thirty-eight entries” (3)—an abysmal statistic given that the sole purpose of the journal is the study and exchange of ideas in British Columbia. Perhaps, as Jean Barman seems to suggest, it is the inability of British Columbians to “stand on its head the old adage that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” (9) that has led to the neglect of the Okanagan region of British Columbia. Barman further explains that “[i]t is the whole that is most often evoked in print or other media” and therefore, “[w]e take the whole as our reference point, sometimes so much so that we forget that the parts exist at all” (9). Even more strongly, she declares that “[t]hose of us who live in urban settings are the most neglectful. Our smugness in being Vancouverites or Victorians causes us to conflate our part with the whole . . . .We equate ourselves with British Columbia” (9-10). It is precisely this identification of urban centers as synonymous with British Columbia that Harold Rhenisch takes issue with and resists in three of his works of creative non-fiction: Out of the Interior: The Lost Country, Tom Thomson’s Shack, and The Wolves at Evelyn: Journeys Through a Dark Century. Despite the neglect or systemic invisibility of certain aspects the Okanagan, it is just as clear that the Interior1 holds a special fascination; as Wynn points out, “the Okanagan has long been an alluring fragment (or figment) of Canadian (and wider) imaginations” (3).  151  Indeed, discourses about the Interior are diverse and plentiful. Wynn cites the travel section of the November 2010 New Zealand Herald as featuring a “spectacular selection of photographs with the phrase: ‘Canada’s Okanagan region has the potential to spellbind with its mix of nature and development’” (4). Similarly, the 2010 Thompson Okanagan Vacation Guide, produced under the auspices of British Columbia’s Ministry of Tourism, Trade, and Investment, describes how “[s]heltered behind ridges that rise to the Thompson Plateau in a climate moderated by the waters of Okanagan Lake, blessed with rich soils deposited by volcanic eruption and glaciation, the West Kelowna and Westbank areas have long been renowned for agricultural bounty” (8). Confederation poet Bliss Carmen, in “In the Okanagan,” writes “Here time takes on new leisure / And life attains new worth / And wise are they who treasure / This Eden of the North.” (487). In an equally Edenic description, Emily Carr in “Cariboo Gold,” a selection from Growing Pains, writes that “[t]he foliage of the trees were threaded with the cottonwood’s silver-white sterns. Long, level sweeps of rippling gold grain were made richer and more luscious by contrast with the dun, already harvested stubble fields” (419). George Bowering, in a story from The Box, describes how “[v]ineyards stretch along the formerly light brown benches of the valley’s hills” (15), and, in the novel Caprice, he recalls how “you would have seen late-morning sunlight flooding the light brown of the wide grassy valley and making giant knife shadows where the ridges slid down the hillsides” (1). In Red Dog Red Dog, Patrick Lane suggests that “[i]t was stone country where a bone cage could last a thousand years under the moon, its ribs a perch for Vesper sparrows, its skull a home for Harvest mice” (14). Harold Rhenisch, in Out of the Interior, remembers that “In the week before the apples blossomed, storms that had come  152  two hundred miles over the mountains from the sea broke over the ridges and filled the valley with a liquid light, surging” (7). Also noteworthy for their evocations of the Interior are the three-volume series of sketches, stories and poems published under the title Heart of the Cariboo-Chilcotin, Eric Collier’s autobiographical Three Against the Wilderness, the Turtle Valley novels of Gail Anderson-Dargatz, and the stories of Paul St. Pierre that led to the CBC drama series Cariboo Country. Common to almost all these descriptions are the oblique references to labour: the “agricultural bounty” of the Interior region. While not an exhaustive list, these descriptions and publications, these figments and fragments—ranging from a travel advertisement to fiction, tourism literature, autobiography, memoir, television, poetry and non-fiction—indicate the allure of the Interior and its need for critical attention. In Foucauldian terms, I consider these figments and fragments to be discourses about the object of the Interior, or more precisely, the Interior comes about in and through these discourses. This is what I believe Foucault means when he talks of the “density of discursive practices” (145), and that, when brought together, these practices constitute an archive—a series of discourses and statements about a particular object. Discussing French writers from different fields of study, Foucault explains: But what it [unity characterized by the positivity of a discourse]2 does reveal is the extent to which Buffon and Linnaes (or Turgot and Quesnay, Broussais and Bichat) were talking about ‘the same thing’, by placing themselves at ‘the same level’ or at ‘the same distance’, or by deploying ‘the same conceptual field’, by opposing one another on ‘the same field of battle.’ (142) Again, the idea here seems to be the attempt to bring together writers who work in various fields, in different discourses, but who share a particular discourse-object, who are, in effect, talking about “the same thing” despite their different approaches, practices, 153  and intentions. Collectively, these writers, or likewise those who write about the Interior of British Columbia, can be constituted as producing or constituting an archive, “that which describes discourses in their multiple existence and specifies them in their own duration” (146). Once such an archive is established, the work of archaeology begins. According to Foucault, archaeology “describes discourses as practices specified in the element of the archive” (148). Each individual discourse, therefore, whether this be the discourse of poetry and fiction, on one hand, with creative non-fiction and tourism literature, on the other, is a practice or series of statements in the archive, which are elements of study in an archaeology. In other words, archaeology “is the systematic description of a discourse-object” (156).3 For my purposes, I am defining an archive as it relates to the discourse-object of the Interior. It is important to note that any archive is by its own nature open. Definition, in my view, does not close the archive, but rather is one archival construction among many possible archives that could be defined in relation to the same discourse-object. Specifically, I am interested in the autobiographical discourse of Rhenisch in his three works of creative non-fiction. I use the term autobiographical discourse hesitantly. On one hand, Rhenisch himself terms his works creative non-fiction. On the other hand, all three works in question do seem to align with Paul John Eakin’s approach to autobiography which asks “what such texts can teach us about the ways in which individuals in a particular culture experience their sense of being ‘I’” (4). In each of his three works, Rhenisch has positioned himself in a variety of cultures and experiences that seem intended to tell his readers something about his sense of “being ‘I.’” In reference to the texts themselves, Petra Fachinger states that Out of the Interior “blurs the genres of  154  autobiography, biography, poetry, fiction and documentary” (169), Laurie Ricou reminds us of “its subtle direction to read the political economy of Kenyan coffee plantations against the colonialism of a Keremeos orchard” (89), and that one level of history in the book “is the satisfying detail of the orchard economy, a subject little written into British Columbia literature” (90). Indeed, Out of the Interior revolves primarily around Rhenisch’s orchard experiences in the Okanagan area of what is referred to as the British Columbia Interior and involves such cities as Naramata, Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, and Keremeos, as well as the Similkameen Valley. The book opens with the image and chapter title “My Father’s Hands” and is very much about the experiences Rhenisch has with his father, almost all of which are used to create, in narrative form, a history of the orchard industry in the area. The narrative is episodic, and while there are brief forays into Rhenisch’s German background, this is not the focus of the book. In terms of style, the narrative ranges from factual description of the Okanagan landscape to a detailed, poetic list of “Rosy Apple Aphid, Ambrosia Beetle, European Red Mite, Bruce Spanworm, Leafroller, Budmoth . . .” —a paragraph-long inventory of the various insects his father encountered and tried to eradicate. All of these textual particulars, however, are in some fashion directed toward Rhenisch’s represented “experience” or “sense of being ‘I’” (Eakin 4). In style, narrative voice, and structure, Tom Thomson’s Shack is much the same as Out of the Interior. Bryan N.S. Gooch suggests that Tom Thomson’s Shack revolves around “glimpses of a boy growing to become a worker at various trades and a writer, of coming to terms with the land, of the impact of mining and commercialism on smalltown British Columbia [and] of orchards and bee-keepers . . .” (n.p.). In the words of  155  Rhenisch, “this is a book of the forest where I live and of the farms which brought me to it, told in the conversational style of an orchardist’s coffee breaks” (4). The focus on the orchard, on the farm, is still crucial to the narrative of Tom Thomson’s Shack, but is not the only focus of the book. Rather, the book uses the orchard and the forest (the forest being Rhenisch’s residence in the Cariboo region near Spences Bridge) as counterpoints to the city of Toronto where Rhenisch is promoting the book of poems, Iodine. The country/city divide is ever-present in this text as Rhenisch works out the ways in which the farms he came from and the forest where he lives are connected to and alienated from Toronto, but also support the urban culture, lifestyle and architecture he encounters there. The Wolves at Evelyn stands out as significantly different from, and darker than, Rhenisch’s two previous works of creative non-fiction. In The Wolves at Evelyn, Rhenisch details his family’s past from Germany to their move to Evelyn, British Columbia, and the Interior farms of his childhood. In her review of The Wolves at Evelyn, Lisa Szabo describes the text as “a conflation of family memoir, autobiography, history, and oral storytelling” (167). Similarly, Alex Rettie categorizes Wolves as “[p]art history, part memoir and part extended essay,” and suggests that “it explores the nature of our relationship with our surroundings . . . through the prism of Rhenisch’s German immigrant family” (59). Impossible to encompass in a summary, Wolves is a book of stories. Here, there is the story of the firebombing of Dresden, of the burning of an apricot orchard in the Okanagan, of the Wandervögel youth movement in Germany, and of the cold in Northern British Columbia. More importantly, the volume demonstrates how all of these stories are, in fact, the same story, and how Canadian identity makes  156  sense (or doesn’t) for those who live in a space, time, and history largely ignored in official and public discourses about what it means to be Canadian. Clearly, these three works are not autobiographies in the most restricted definition of the term. Just as clearly, however, I suggest, along the lines of Eakin, that they do constitute autobiographical discourse in that we must “accept the gambit of autobiography’s referential aesthetic” (4). In other words, Rhenisch is basing his work on biographical fact, however much these facts are “necessarily mediated by available cultural modes of identity and the discourses in which they are expressed” (4). More important for my purposes is Eakin’s work on relational identity. Here Eakin reminds his readers that when considering the subject of autobiography, the first-person pronoun “I” is “neither singular nor first” (43), and that the self “is defined by—and lives in terms of—its relations with others” (43). Drawing on writers such as Susanna Egan, Nancy K. Miller and Shirley Neuman, as well as his own work, Eakin arrives at the phrase the relational life, a phrase he uses “to describe the story of a relational model of identity, developed collaboratively with others, often family members” (57). Importantly, “the story of the self” in terms of relational lives, is “not ancillary to the story of the other, although its primacy may be partly concealed by the fact that it is constructed through the story told of and by someone else” (58). In blurring or defying the traditional boundaries of the genre of autobiography in its strictest construction, these types of narratives are autobiographies “that offer not only the autobiography of the self but the biography and autobiography of the other” (58). Thus it is that the work of Rhenisch ranges from the image of his father’s hands in an Okanagan orchard, to memories of poetry readings in Toronto, to the fire-bombing of Dresden.  157  The underlying premise behind the work of Rhenisch comprises his resistance and challenge to discourses he locates as dominant in the Interior. Furthermore, he seeks to redress this dominance, in part, by creating or maintaining a place-based identity centered around his particular understanding of agriculture and history in the region. In many ways, Harold Rhenisch’s challenging of the dominant discourses of the Interior and his position as an advocate for the Interior region are characterized by tensions and paradoxes. The first such paradox is alluded to on the first page of the Prologue to Out of the Interior. Here, Rhenisch refers to the Interior as a “lost colonial island,” an “abandoned country” that is now “being re-colonized” (1). Yet, for Rhenisch, the “real Okanagan . . . still . . . exists”; it is an Okanagan characterized by the orchards and visions of men like Jake van Westen, Hugh Dendy, and Bill Embrey. The problem here is that Rhenisch seems to be locating the orchard-culture of the Interior as a “first society” through the word “real” when, as even his remarks about colonization make clear, it is European settlers of the Interior who colonized the land in the first place. Farming and orcharding are activities directly related to the dispossession and displacement of First Nations people in the area. In this sense, the “Okanagan” Rhenisch yearns for seems to be precisely that of the “lost colonial island.” Furthermore, the reduction of a populated and thriving contemporary landscape to images of abandonment mirrors the colonial exploration and settlement discourse that falsely rendered this same landscape empty for the purposes of settlement in the 19th and early 20th centuries. That is, the true irony or paradox in Rhenisch is that he reads the contemporary Okanagan as a victim of processes that, at least in part, his orcharding culture precipitated and participated in.  158  A source of further irony or tension is the way that Rhenisch locates tourism and tourism discourse as a colonial power, as one of the instruments whereby the Interior is being re-colonized. The irony here is that it is international discourses of tourism that often led to European settlement in the region to begin with. David Dendy explains the late 19th-century policy of the government of offering land on easy terms to genuine settlers (160 acre pre-emptions available at one dollar per acre, payments deferrable) and liberal bonuses of lands to railway promoters. Success of this policy is shown in the 800% increase between 1881 and 1911 of employment in agriculture. (Cent 5-6) Similarly, Michael Dawson describes how British Columbia’s “coastline and interior regions offered not only the sublime s