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Sexual provinciality and characterization : a study of some recent Canadian fiction Corbett, Nancy Jean 1971

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"SEXUAL PROVINCIALITY" AND CHARACTERIZATION: A STUDY OF SOME RECENT CANADIAN FICTION by NANCY JEAN CORBETT B.A. , University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1969 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN .PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF Master of Arts i n the Department of ENGLISH We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard TEE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1971 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Depa rtment The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l umbia V a n c o u v e r 8, Canada CONTENTS. Chapter Page INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . .. ... T I . THE BIOLOGICAL THEORY," OF FEMALE PERSONALITY t BRIAN MOORE . . . . . . ^ .. ... TO I I . . AS FOR NE AND MY HOUSE: THE. COMPLEX MRS. I I I . CHARACTER AS SYMBOL AND THE THEME OF SACRIFICE: THE LOVED AND THE LOST AND THE WATCH THAT ENDS THE NIGHT .... . 42 IV.. CHARACTER AS SYMBOL AND THE THEME OF SACRIFICE: THE DOUBLE HOOK AND THE  SACRIFICE" . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61' V . THE IMPORTANCE OF POINT OF VIEW: DISTANCE. AND IDENTIFICATION I N TWO NOVELS BY ETHEL WILSON .. .. .. . . „ . . . . . 78 V r . WOMEN OF THE GARRISON:: THREE NOVELS BY MARGARET LAURENCE 99 CONCLUSION . . 121 WORKS" CITED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128 ABSTRACT From i t s e a r l i e s t beginning i n Frances Brooke"s The  History of Emily Montague, set. i n Canada and published i n 1 7 6 9 , women have been prominent i n Canadian literature:. Since that time, a very large number of Canadian novels written by both men and women have been p r i m a r i l y con-cerned with a female character.. In t h i s t h e s i s ,; an at-tempt has been made to determine to what extent an author's f i c t i o n a l world view and ch a r a c t e r i z a t i o n i s influenced by h i s sex; the area was narrowed to that of the Canadian novel i n the period! of approximately 1 9 5 0 - 1 9 6 5 * Novels by Brian Moore, S i n c l a i r Ross, Hugh MacLennan, Morley Callaghan,, A'd'ele Wiseman, S h e i l a Watson, E t h e l Wilson, and Margaret. Laurence were chosen as the main objects, of the study.*. A recurrent theme emerged during the study of these novels; many of the authors appeared deeply concerned with the problem of personal' and s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n , and concluded that e v i l and fea r , compassion and love neither originate outside the s e l f nor remain confined to i t . . The metaphor used to characterize the fear-based i s o l a t i o n was often that of the wilderness, which might be i n t e r n a l , e x t e r n a l , or both. A" f i n a l ! conclusion about these, novel's, which are almost a l l based p r i m a r i l y on female characters, i s that the ones created by women are generally more i n t e r e s t i n g and con-v i n c i n g . The male n o v e l i s t s tend to emphasize., the sexual r o l e s played by t h e i r female protagonists, while the women authors have a stronger tendency to write about women as people whose sex u a l i t y i s important, but whose total-p e r s o n a l i t y i s not constitued by t h i s one aspect. INTRODUCTION we any s t y l i s t i c c r i t e r i a f o r ascertaining the sex of the writer?" asks Harry Levin i n his essay, "Janes and Emilies, 1 or the Novelist as Heroine." He answers his own question i n part by asserting that "Coleridge's declaration that a l l great minds are androgynous may be the only solution to the dilemma. F a l l i n g short of that, one way or the other, we are a l l prejudiced by our sexual p r o v i n c i a l i t y , 2 whatever i t s province happens to be." This need not, of course, be a bad thing. On the contrary, i t may be that, as R.P. Blackmur puts i t , " i t takes a strong and 3 active prejudice to see facts at a l l , " i n the sense that an i n d i v i d u a l bias may serve as a focussing point, a key to facts and meanings which would otherwise be overlooked. Such a constructive prejudice, however, must be a conscious one, and the precise d i f f i c u l t y with sexual prejudice i s that i t tends, l i k e r a c i a l prejudice, to be la r g e l y un-conscious, stagnant, and uncreative. Debates over the merits of authoresses as compared to authors can be found i n the c r i t i c a l journals, and the 1 Refractions: Essays i n Comparative Literature (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, I966), p.252. 2 Ibid., pp.255-6. 3 The Expense of Greatness (Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1958), p.107. o p i n i o n s s e t down t h e r e i n e v i t a b l y r e v e a l more about the c r i t i c who expresses them than about the a b i l i t i e s of women w r i t e r s , whose s t y l e s , achievements, successes and f a i l u r e s v a r y as w i d e l y as do those o f male a u t h o r s , and f o r the same reasons. N e v e r t h e l e s s , s i n c e l i t e r a t u r e i s c r e a t e d w i t h i n a s o c i a l c o n t e x t , e x t r a - l i t e r a r y c r i t e r i a must be expected i n r e g a r d t o women w r i t e r s s the s o c i a l a r e a which they i n h a b i t i s so broad, so much i s b e l i e v e d , and so l i t t l e proven. Although new approaches t o t h i s q u e s t i o n a r e ap-parent, i t i s not a merely contemporary c o n s i d e r a t i o n : the c r i t i c a l tendency t o e x p l a i n the s t y l e and achievements o f female authors i n terms of t h e i r sex was commented on, r u e f u l l y , by C h a r l o t t e Bronte. She and her s i s t e r s assumed noms de plume which c o u l d have been mistaken f o r the names of men becuase "we had a vague impression t h a t authoresses are; l i a b l e t o be looked on with p r e j u d i c e ; we had n o t i c e d how c r i t i c s sometimes use f o r t h e i r chastisement the weapon of p e r s o n a l i t y and f o r t h e i r reward, a f l a t t e r y which i s not t r u e p r a i s e . " C r i t i q u e s based on b i o g r a p h i c a l or b i o l o g i c a l f a c t o r s , w h i le o c c a s i o n a l l y l e g i t i m a t e and u s e f u l , a r e used too o f t e n as the s o l e approach t o works by women a u t h o r s . As Mary Ellmann notes i n her chapter e n t i t l e d " P h a l l i c C r i t i -cism", "the l i t e r a l f a c t of m a s c u l i n i t y , u n l i k e f e m i n i n i t y , does not impose an erogenic form upon a l l a s p e c t s o f the L e v i n , p.258« person's career." Such an imposition i s unfair to the author, as well as l i m i t i n g f o r the c r i t i c . To f a l l back on such unsatisfactory c r i t e r i a when approaching recent Canadian f i c t i o n would be impossible to j u s t i f y , because not only does a very large proportion of i t have as i t s central concern the i d e n t i t y and experience of a female protagonist, but many or most of the successful authors are women. In such a s i t u a t i o n , where the t r a d i t i o n a l sub-group i s no longer a minority to be defined i n terms of i t s deviation from the majority or norm, the conventional c r i -t e r i a lose much of t h e i r usefulness. Our culture's t r a d i t i o n a l range of feminine images extends into l i t e r a t u r e i n various ways. Many f i c t i o n a l p o r t r a i t s of women are f l a t stereotypes t the changing fashions i n female characters are described at length i n an excellent study of the subject made by Robert Utter and Gwendolyn 6 Needham. They note that Pamela, the heroine of Samuel Richardson's novel of the same name, possesses "many t r a i t s and q u a l i t i e s , no one of which adequately represents her without the others. Her daughters, the heroines of l a t e r flection, too often have to get along with one t r a i t a p i e c e — 7 as i f the heritage had to be divided among the heiresses." The absence of depth and complexity i n many f i c t i o n a l women i s possibly a r e s u l t of the widespread c u l t u r a l t r a d i t i o n 5 Thinking About Women (New Yorks Harcourt, Brace, & World, Inc., 1968), p.31. 6 Pamela's 'Daughters (New Yorki The MacMillan Co., 1936). 7 Ibid., p.18. which perceives man as a complex being, s p l i t between his material and s p i r i t u a l aspects, and woman as a simpler creature who embodies either materialism or s p i r i t u a l i t y , but not both. From t h i s elementary difference a r i s e numerous stereo-types! the good woman, the bad woman; the greedy, grasp-ing b i t c h and the generous, self-denying martyr; Moll Flanders and C l a r i s s a Harlowe. Women i n our l i t e r a t u r e have, for the most part, been "either . . . o r " rather than "both . . . and." The dichotomy can be elaboratedt another of i t s pre-valent features i s an association of women with nature and of man with a r t ; t h i s leads i n turn to an equation of the creative achievement of male authors and a r t i s t s to c h i l d -b i r t h , and a b e l i e f that i t i s somehow "unnatural" for women to be v o l u n t a r i l y , rather than i n v o l u n t a r i l y , creative. These basic views are only part of a long t r a d i t i o n of assigning generalized c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s to both sexes. Typi-c a l l y , the q u a l i t i e s used to describe males tend to be con-sidered those which di s t i n g u i s h our species, that i s , they are "human" c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s or those of mankind, while women are assigned a more l i m i t e d set of distinguishing features. Her at t r i b u t e s tend to be negative; she i s what-ever man i s not, and possesses those q u a l i t i e s which he prefers not to have ascribed to himself, although he may profess admiration for them. The most common and deeply implanted stereotypic q u a l i t i e s of femininity have been summarized at length by Mary Ellman i n Thinking About Women (pp.?4-1^+5). The f i r s t one she notes i s formlessness i i n t h i s stereotype, the mind i s equated with the body, so that the s o f t e r female body i s assumed to be r e f l e c t e d i n feminine thinking processes. A good example of t h i s i n l i t e r a t u r e i s the stream-of-consciousness monologue of Joyce's Molly Bloom, where thinking becomes equated with menstruation. Another prevalent assumption i s that of pa s s i v i t y , and a common sexual p o s i t i o n i s taken as symbolic of the entire personality. The stereotypic p a s s i v i t y of women i s rela t e d psychologically to "Negro apathy": i n both cases, "the (male white) observer, having r e s t r i c t e d the p a r t i c i p a t i o n of the group, finds that i n a c t i v i t y i s an innate group 8 c h a r a c t e r i s t i c . " In order to f u l f i l l another c u l t u r a l l y -assigned t r a i t , that of i n s t a b i l i t y , women are permitted to move from p a s s i v i t y to hyst e r i a . The c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of confinement results from the "natural" law and s o c i a l practices which kept women li m i t e d to domestic p a r t i c i p a t i o n ; t h i s gives r i s e to a number of relat e d t r a i t s such as neatness, p r a c t i c a l i t y , s k i l l at small handiwork and, In the realm of ideas, a supposed confinement to small, narrow concepts and opinions. Piety, a much-admired feminine a t t r i b u t e u n t i l t h i s century, consists of s t r i c t observation of man-made rul e s . Being presumably more s p i r i t u a l l y i n c l i n e d , women were expected to improve t h e i r husbands and children, and uphold the moral tone of Ellman, p.81. the community. In opposition to thi s i s the b e l i e f that women have a narrower outlook and lack s p i r i t u a l depth, so that they are more concerned with immediate things and more; m a t e r i a l i s t i c than men. F i n a l l y , women are seen as more i r r a t i o n a l (less l o g i c a l and more i n t u i t i v e ) than men, and more compliant; because of t h e i r supposedly softer natures, lack of firm opinions, and i l l o g i c a l outlook, women are "natural-l y " more docile than are men. Two strongly recurrent images or archetypes based on some of these c u l t u r a l c h a r a c t e r i s i t c s are those of the whore, either as the nameless, cooperative and u n c r i t i c a l sex ob-ject or the d e c e i t f u l , grasping b i t c h , and the witch, an older woman who i s feared because she possesses knowledge which men lack. The witch often symbolizes any power or under-standing held by women which i s re l a t e d to t h e i r b i o l o g i c a l differences from men: thus, menstruation i s a curse, pur-gation i s required a f t e r c h i l d b i r t h , etc. These q u a l i t i e s and t h e i r archetypal manifestations recur i n f i c t i o n with depressing r e g u l a r i t y , from the e a r l i e s t f a i r y tales to the? most contemporary novels. Not a l l f i c t i o n a l heroines, of course, are e n t i r e l y sym-b o l i c or abstract. In a discussion of the novels of Brian Moore, George Woodcock comments that "the ultimate test of s k i l l among continental European novelists has always been the creation of a convincing heroine. . . . such novel-i s t s have shown the ultimate test of imaginative c a p a b i l i t y i n crossing sex l i n e s to create heroines more convincing than those of most women n o v e l i s t s : . . . they have made 9 t h e i r imaginary world complete and s e l f - c o n s i s t e n t . " In addition to t h i s , s i g n i f i c a n t changes i n the portrayal of women i n l i t e r a t u r e have p a r a l l e l e d the changing s o c i a l status of women over the centuries. In t h e i r study, Utter and Needham summarize t h i s l i t e r a r y evolution* The f i r s t stage i s that i n which a l l heroines of romance are perfect, and women who are bad are h o r r i d and have picaresque novels a l l to themselves. This i s the age of Pamela and Moll Flanders. Next the erring s i s t e r s are admitted to the same bui l d i n g as the perfect l a d i e s , but have a wing to themselves, with impermeable walls. The perfect heroine i s i n the main novel and the picara i n the interpolated t a l e — . . . Even so early as F i e l d i n g , however, the separation i s not water-tight; i n Amelia Miss Matthews plays more part than merely to re l a t e her story. The t h i r d stage i s that of the double heroine, the perfect and Insi p i d Amelia and the spicy Becky, the one "be a u t i f u l " and the other "but". The fourth stage combines the bea u t i f u l and the but i n one heroine, whose beauty i s set off by the qu a l i t y thought of as a blemish, as by a mole or a patch. The f i f t h stage might be c a l l e d "beautiful and . . . " or beauty plus, i n which the vivacious q u a l i t i e s are put forward as additions rather than subtractions. The six t h stage . . . comes i n the twentieth century, i n which the heroine ( s t i l l beautiful) does a l l that Tom Jones does and we regard her i n the same l i g h t . 10 Without disagreeing with t h i s conclusion, I think a further stage can be discerned as well. In the present, the heroine i s freed of the need to resemble a male hero, to "do a l l that Tom Jones does" i n order to be seen as a completely human, r e a l character. On the contrary, she can be something even more r a d i c a l : i n the hands of a s k i l l e d n o v e l i s t , she 9 "Rounding Giotto's C i r c l e : Brian Moore's Poor Bitches." Odysseus Ever Returning (Toronto/Montreal: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1 9 7 0 ) , p.kO. 10 Pamela's Daughters, pp.4 0 7 - 8 . can be herse l f , whatever that may be. The attempt by humans to explore and understand r e a l i t y i s timeless, but i t s manifestations have varied with d i f f e r e n t cultures and ages. In the f i c t i o n of t h i s century, the attempt has often been introspective; writers such as James Joyce, D.H.Lawrence, and V i r g i n i a Woolf worked to discover and communicate the mysteries which l i e deep within the s e l f , and helped to s h i f t the focus of l i t e r a t u r e from a character's external struggles with other people or with his environ-ment to the inner ones of understanding and accepting the s e l f . In I 8 3 8 , Anna Jameson made a t e l l i n g and caustic observation based on her experiences with women who were new emigrants to Canada: "I have not often i n my l i f e met wiith contented and cheerful-minded women, but I never met with so many repining and discontented women as i n Canada. I never met with one woman recently s e t t l e d here, who con-sidered h e r s e l f happy i n her new home and country: I heard of one, and doubtless there are others, but they are excep-11 tions to the general r u l e . " More than a century l a t e r , t h i s statement i s s t i l l of in t e r e s t ; although the contempo-rary search f o r security and meaning i s directed inward, i n -stead of outward against the external wilderness, i t has not ceased to be accompanied by fears, doubts, and discontent. The search by an i n d i v i d u a l f o r greater self-knowledge and a more deeply-founded i d e n t i t y , l i k e the attempt to establish a new society, necessitates leaving behind the old patterns 11 Winter Studies and Summer Rambles i n Canada (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd.. 1923). t>.13Q. which, although perhaps r e s t r i c t i v e , were also f a m i l i a r and comforting. In the unknown, there are unknown dangers. From i t s e a r l i e s t beginning i n Frances Brooke's The  History of Emily Montague, set i n Canada and published i n 1 7 6 9 , women have been prominent i n Canadian l i t e r a t u r e . The n o n - f i c t i o n a l documentary works of Susanna Moodie and Catherine Parr T r a i l l were among the f i r s t Canadian writings to cease imitating formal English styles 1 both Roughing It In the Bush (1852) and The Backwoods of Canada ( I 8 3 6 ) exhibit a d i r e c t , simple s t y l e and freer use of l o c a l Canadian idiom than most works of t h e i r period. Many subsequent Canadian novels have been written by women, and many of those written by men have been primarily con-cerned with a female character. To what extent an author's "sexual p r o v i n c i a l i t y " appears to influence his or her characterization, and the rel a t i o n s h i p of t h i s to the novels' themes, i s the basis of the following study. THE BIOLOGICAL THEORY OF FEMALE PERSONALITY: BRIAN MOORE No author's work i s completely f r e e from c l i c h e s , c u l -t u r a l t r u i s m s , or s t e r e o t y p e s . As r e a d e r s , we a c c e p t secon-dary f i c t i o n a l c h a r a c t e r s who l a c k o r i g i n a l i t y and complexity, s i n c e they a r e n e c e s s a r i l y s u b o r d i n a t e to the c e n t r a l f i g u r e s . I t i s not a c r i t i c i s m , t h e r e f o r e , but merely an o b s e r v a t i o n , t o note t h a t many examples of the female s t e r e o t y p e s mentioned i n the i n t r o d u c t i o n can be found i n the works of Canadian authors of both sexes: Ronnie and Midge of Such Is My Beloved a r e no more l i m i t e d than the l o n g - s u f f e r i n g D o r i s of The  Stone Angel, or Margaret A i n s l i e of Each Man's Son than Mrs. P l o p l e r of The S a c r i f i c e . I t i s from the c e n t r a l c h a r a c t e r s c r e a t e d by an author t h a t we demand depth and b e l i e v a b i l i t y : i t i s through them t h a t the author makes or misses h i s p o i n t . His r e l a t i o n -s h i p t o h i s p r o t a g o n i s t may be more or l e s s d i r e c t : i t i s u s u a l l y not v e r y u s e f u l t o s p e c u l a t e on the amount of auto-b i o g r a p h i c a l content i n any i n d i v i d u a l c r e a t e d s o l e l y f o r f i c t i o n . Without r e s o r t i n g t o t h i s p r a c t i c e , however, i t i s sometimes p o s s i b l e t o c a t c h s i g h t of a c o n s i s t e n t a n gle of v i s i o n which forms p a r t of a w r i t e r ' s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c ap-proach t o h i s m a t e r i a l . Such an angle can be seen i n some of the n o v e l s by B r i a n Moore; i t i s apparent i n the con-f i d e n t i a l , i n t i m a t e tone and the v e r s i m i l i t u d e of the world c r e a t e d through the p e r c e p t i o n s of the c e n t r a l female charac-t e r s of J u d i t h Hearne, I Am Mary Dunne, and, t o a l e s s e r extent, An Answer From Limbo. There i s a subtlety to the realism of his technique In these novels; he seems i n q u i s i -t i v e but a l i t t l e hesitant as he enters these worlds and explores t h e i r occupants. It i s p a r t i a l l y because of t h i s l i g h t touch that Moore almost never makes a serious mistake, in terms of tone, i n the d i f f i c u l t job of presenting a f i c t i o n a l world b u i l t around c e n t r a l characters so d i f f e r -ent, externally, from himself as author; paradoxically, his lack of an absolutely assured approach, his occasional hesitancy, give authority to the o v e r a l l e f f e c t . There i s no h e s i t a t i o n apparent i n Moore's acceptance of the underlying theme of I Am Mary Dunne, however; fo r t h i s woman at l e a s t , biology i s destiny. This i s not true only i n a general sense, but i n every s p e c i f i c d e t a i l of her e x i s t -ence, philosophy, experience, and f e e l i n g s . Her sexual c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s dominate every facet of her h i s t o r y and her personality. When she has the Curse, i t i s r e a l — h e r whole l i f e , for that time, i s cursed. It i s of such a time that the book's events consist. In the morning of the day of the Curse, Mary has the "Juarez dooms", named a f t e r the t r i p she took to Mexico to divorce her second husband. When she t r i e d at that time to see h e r s e l f as an outsider would, she r e a l i z e d that she no longer knew who she wass "I am a changeling who has changed too often, and there are moments when I cannot f i n d my way 1 2 back." Part of the problem, of course, i s that her name 1 2 Brian Moore, I Am Mary Dunne (Torontos Bantam Books of Canada Ltd., 1 9 6 9 7 , p . 1 1 9 . Other quotes from th i s novel i n t h i s chapter w i l l be indicated by page numbers i n the tex£. has a c t u a l l y been changed so often, a process Inevitably accompanied by self-questioning and doubt. The r e a l i t y of a woman's loss of her own name and assumption of her husband's i s symbolic as well, underlying as i t does the c u l t u r a l b e l i e f that a woman becomes part of her husband and finds her i d e n t i t y i n his (but not vice versa). Mary's name has changed with each of her marriages, from Dunne to Phelan to B e l l to Lavery, and with each change has come a corres-ponding accomodation i n Mary. At the beginning of the novel she r e f l e c t s on her early s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n , "Memento ergo sum;" what she forgets and what she remembers are therefore of v i t a l importance. That morning at the beauty parlor i t i s her name which she forgets, thus Immersing herself i n the "Juarex dooms." The dooms are deepened by her encounter with the man i n the street, a f t e r she leaves the beauty parlor. Since she has no strong image r i g h t then of who she i s , his projected v i s i o n of her ("I'd l i k e to fuck you, baby") has the power to hurt and depress her. The part of her mind which she characterizes as sensible t r i e s to soften the impact by re-fusing to i d e n t i f y with his fantasy; "I decided that the r e a l crime of the man I'd just encountered was that to him women were not human l i k e himself, but simply objects he wanted to penetrate and hurt" (p.7) but t h i s attempt to be objective breaks down when she r e c a l l s Jimmy, her f i r s t hus-band, who "believed he loved me" but who a l s o , l i k e the man on the street, saw her primarily as an object for his use. She remembers how he showed her o f f l i k e a new car, and at t h i s point her "Mad Twin" makes e x p l i c i t both her subject-ive response to the man's assault, and her self-contempt« And me, how do I see me, who i s that me I create i n mirrors . . . When I think of that I hate being a woman, I hate t h i s sickening female role-playing, I mean the s i l l y degradation of playing pander and whore i n the presentation of my face and figure i n a man's world. I sweat with shame . . . and for what? So that men w i l l say i n the street, "I want to fuck you, baby," so that men w i l l marry me and keep me and l e t ' s not go into that i f I don't want the dooms i n spades. (p.33) But i t i s not she alone who creates herself; she i s a l s o a product of her husbands' visions of her. Her lack of s e l f -confidence and sense of her own i d e n t i t y made her believe both the Insults of Hat, who c a l l e d her a whore, and of Jimmy, who c a l l e d her f r i g i d , widely disparate as they werei "It's funny I believed Jimmy, just as I believed Hat. In those days, I thought men more i n t e l l i g e n t than women." (p.181) Much of the tension i n the character of Mary Dunne i s a r e s u l t of her sexual uncertainty and the d i f f i c u l t y she has i n freeing herself from destructive r e l a t i o n s h i p s . A l -though she knew before she married Hat that i t "would be the same thing a l l over again; the sex thing wasn't r i g h t with him, as i t had not been r i g h t with Jimmy," (p.193) she does not t r u s t h e r s e l f or her perceptions enough to act on them. She i s equally helpless i n dealing with less im-portant relationships, as when she cannot escape the embar-rassment and sadism of Ernie Truelove or Janice Sloane who, l i k e Jimmy, i n s i s t they love her. So Mary i s doomed, doubly cursed by her sexuality and Ik her s o c i a l p o s i t i o n as a woman: " A l l were men, a l l men judged me, a l l men were u n f a i r . " ( p . l 7 D This absolute statement of depression i s the farthest extreme of a pendulum swing around the fulcrum of Mary's sexuality; the other extreme i s her salvation. By t e l l i n g Hat the truth about t h e i r sex l i f e f o r her, she makes the f i r s t step toward a freedom with Terence i n which the curse i s replaced by blessings. "That's r i g h t , " I said. "Terence i s my saviour, I s h a l l not want, he maketh me to l i e down i n green pastures, he restoreth my soul. . . . He's l i f e a f t e r death." (p.113) With him, Mary's "doom dream, when naked i s panic, when naked i s the dooms" (p.177) becomes something very d i f f e r e n t . Even when she has begun making love with him "just as though I were a p r o s t i t u t e , . . . simply to prevent him from knowing the state I'm i n " (p.176) the act becomes a sacrament: ". . . for with you, naked i s make i t new, there i s no past, you are my resurrection and my l i f e . " (p.177) Mary Dunne's womanhood thus leads both to loss of s e l f , and to her s e l f -renewal. She i s redeemed from the curse by love and by the honesty which, as Mad Twin and Buddy, both tortures and re-wards her. The fact that Terence, the in d i v i d u a l man, i s equated with her redemption, however, raises a basic question. Does Mary have any development or i d e n t i t y i n herself a f t e r a l l ? She breaks out of the destructive r e l a t i o n s h i p with Hat, but not s o l e l y because i t i s bad for her. She leaves him only a f t e r she has Terence to go to, and the fact that her i d e n t i t y depends on the man she i s with i s as true with Terence as i t was with her e a r l i e r husbands. What i s she, he r s e l f , as an Individual within her relationships? That she i s aware of her dependence on men, and that i t forms a ce n t r a l part of her unhappiness, i s evident i n her words "I sweat with shame . . . so that men w i l l marry me and keep me and l e t ' s not go into that i f I don't want the dooms i n spades." (p.33) This seems a strange statement for a woman who has supposedly found redemption through marriage. It seems necessary to note here that the basic difference be-tween Mary's l i f e with Terence and her l i f e with Jimmy or Hat i s made clea r by Mooret with Terence, she experiences sexual climaxes. With her other husbands, i t was " f i n i s h i n g myself o f f i n the bathroom l a t e r , or l i e awake, unfinished, the man asleep beside me and I awake, a sad, female animal." (p.177) With Terence, however, " i t i s not as i t used to be with others, there i s no fear, there i s no 'Will I and when can I and i f I can't then can I pretend i t ? ' " (p.178) Without underestimating the importance of good sexual r e l a t i o n s i n the l i f e of any adult, i t c e r t a i n l y seems that Moore's sexual p r o v i n c i a l i t y i s evident here. The theory that a woman's problems, no matter what t h e i r source or manifestation, can be solved by good sex with the r i g h t man, i s a popular male myth. A b e l i e f i n the magical power of sexual climax to n u l l i f y a l l the fears, disappointments and self-doubts of either men or women seems almost s t a r t -l i n g l y naive. The only possible source of the presence of t h i s supposition i n the novel would seem to be an unexamined prejudice on the part of the author. There are two le v e l s to Moore's characterization of Mary Dunne; both are sexual. The hist o r y of Mary which emer-ges i n the book i s a sexual history, concerned almost ex-c l u s i v e l y with her relationships with men. Other dimen-sions of her personality are sketchy or non-existent. Secondly, t h i s h i s t o r y i s rela t e d through a screen or g r i d composed of premenstrual tension. We see Mary's l i f e , or rather her sex l i f e , through perceptions which are apparently temporarily d i s t o r t e d due to her menstrual cycle. At the end of the book, Moore suggests that the reader can disregard what he has learned; the problems, the unhappiness, the thoughts of suicide are not r e a l l y "real*', but merely a r e s u l t of pre-menstrual tension: "there i s nothing wrong with my heart or with my mind: i n a few hours I w i l l begin to bleed, and u n t i l then I w i l l hold on . . . I remember who I am and I say i t over and over and over, I am Mary Dunne, I am Mary Dunne, I am Mary Dunne." (p.241) By structuring his book as he does, Moore raises the question of whether female personality i t s e l f i s " r e a l " , i . e . a product of a l l the inherent and environmental forces on the s e l f , or whether women are dominated i n a l l aspects of t h e i r personality by t h e i r sexual cycle, which then appears, b i z a r r e l y , as a deus ex machlna instead of an in t e g r a l part of the i n d i v i d u a l . The fantasy that women are passively c o n t r o l l e d by t h e i r sexual cycle and sexual urges i s expressed by Moore i n his other novels as well; Jane Tierney, i n An  Answer From Limbo. cannot r e s i s t Vito, the "dark ravisher" of her dreams, even though she despises Mm. The same theme appears i n The Luck of Ginger Coffey, although i n t h i s case i t i s clear that Moore, as author, i s aware that i t i s because of Ginger's u n r e a l i s t i c sexual fantasies and his need to perceive Vera as his Dark Rosaleen, "exciting, a b i t of a whore" that he i s unable to r e a l l y know or love her. Per-haps i t i s because the inner feelings expressed are those of Ginger and not Vera that Moore's treatment of the theme, i n t h i s case, seems more r e a l i s t i c to me than does i t s pre-sentation i n sections of I Am Mary Dunne or i n An Answer From Limbo, where Jane"s fantasies of "dark-complected, 13 amoral, f i e r c e young men" are a close but unconvincing counterpart of Ginger's. Something i s l o s t when Moore at-tempts to portray the secret sexual thoughts of women; they are almost always masculine c u l t u r a l projections. The plot of An Answer From Limbo i s sharply i l l u s t r a t i v e of c e r t a i n aspects of North American culture i n the 1950*s. It i s over l a i d with a•heavy Freudianism which decrees that Jane cannot possibly co-exist with Brendan's mother, that the 13 Brian Moore, An Answer From Limbo (New York: D e l l Publishing Co., Inc., 19^3), p.22. Other quotes from t h i s novel i n t h i s chapter w i l l be designated by page number i n the text. necessity of Jane's working w i l l destroy her family, and that an a r t i s t must s a c r i f i c e ; his wife and children i n order to succeed. Ty p i c a l of that era also i s Jane's acceptance of a surface, sexual d e f i n i t i o n of her i d e n t i t y . Unlike Mary Dunne, who i s d e f i n i t e l y a woman of the 1960's, strongly aware of what she c a l l s "the s i l l y degradation of playing pander and whore i n the presentation of my facjeeand figure i n a man's world," Jane Tierney "worried that her breasts were too small and her bottom a l i t t l e too lush, but she had her own s t y l e , she knew that? and that s t y l e extended from her clothes and make-up to her surrounding; i t was her." (p.24) Thus she defines h e r s e l f , e s s e n t i a l l y , as a body, complemented by i t s s t y l e of dress and make-up. The f i n a l state of loss i n which she finds herself i s a c l a s s i c cap-sule description, i n almost s o c i o l o g i c a l terms, of a middle-class American woman of the 1950's» "She remembered herself at sixteen when she had hoped to become a painter. She re-membered he r s e l f at twenty when she had wanted to make a career as an i l l u s t r a t o r . At twenty-two she had l o s t f a i t h even i n her talents f o r that. She wanted babies: motherhood would give her l i f e a meaning. At twenty-four, married and a mother, she had f e l t she needed some other cause to l i v e f o r . She d i d not f i n d one." (p.2?6) Judith Hearne i s a novel which, l i k e I Am Mary Dunne, i s concerned almost exclusively with one woman's point of view. In t h i s book, Moore paints an empathetic p o r t r a i t of a poverty-stricken, unattractive, unimaginative spinster i n a c u l t u r e where the only acceptable r o l e f o r a woman i s that of wi f e or nun. To some extent, J u d i t h too i s defined i n terms of her menstrual c y c l e ; the c r i s i s i n her l i f e which the book describes i s p r e c i p i t a t e d a t l e a s t p a r t i a l l y by her menopause. E a r l i e r i n her l i f e , J u d i t h had t r i e d w i t h a l l her meagre resources to f i n d a place f o r h e r s e l f i n her narrow s o c i e t y . Against the wishes of her guardian aunt, she taught h e r s e l f shorthand and t y p i n g , secured a job, and worked f o r three m o n t h s — u n t i l her aunt had a s t r o k e . A f t e r n u r s i n g her f o r some time, Judy again brushed up her s k i l l s , h i r e d a housekeeper, and went back t o work. Because of her aunt's emotional b l a c k m a i l , however, Judy was fo r c e d t o giv e up her work a g a i n , and returned home t o nurse the o l d lady u n t i l her death. Afterwords, there was l i t t l e money l e f t f o r Judy; she t r i e d t o f i n d work, but was t o l d they wanted only young g i r l s . Since then she had s u b s i s t e d on her i n h e r i t a n c e , eked out by the t i n y sums she was p a i d f o r teaching piano and em-b r o i d e r y t o c h i l d r e n . The almost t o t a l l a c k of choice and opportunity o f f e r e d Judy, combined with her intense l o n e l i n e s s , the years of r e -p r e s s i o n of her f e e l i n g s , and her inexperience i n most areas of l i f e create f o r her a r e a l i t y c h a r a c t e r i z e d by confusion and d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t . Such a r e a l i t y i s understandably d i f f i c u l t t o accept. Judy escapes from i t s narrowness i n t o f a n t a s i e s of romance, which become more sexual i n nature when she d r i n k s . S i n c e her experience i s so l i m i t e d , these dreams a r e e i t h e r c o m f o r t i n g l y t r a d i t i o n a l images of her-s e l f as "an a n g e l , she devoted her whole l i f e t o a s i c k 14 aunt" or as a l a t e - b l o o m i n g beauty, f i n a l l y admired by men a f t e r a l i f e t i m e of r e j e c t i o n . Her s e x u a l f a n t a s i e s a r e e q u a l l y two-dimensional; they c o n t a i n no elements of s e n s u a l i t y , but r e s t r i c t themselves t o s t o c k c u l t u r a l c l i c h e s of gypsy g i r l s and Hollywood-style Roman o r g i e s . In the events of the n o v e l , J u d i t h i s trapped by her i n a b i l i t y t o a c t or respond i n any but the c o n v e n t i o n a l p a t t e r n s she has l e a r n e d . Part of the t o r t u r e she under-goes i n her confused a f f a i r with James Madden i s because "the male must pursue. Miss Hearne b e l i e v e d t h i s . I f Mr. Madden d i d not seek her company, she would be abandoned." (p.110) F i n a l l y , however, her d e s p e r a t i o n f o r c e s her t o a c t a g a i n s t h e r own code, and she pursues him so t h a t he must f l a t l y , e x p l i c i t l y r e j e c t her. T h i s u n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c behaviour on Judy's p a r t , and i t s r e s u l t s , a r e a t u r n i n g p o i n t f o r her. In the ensuing s t r u g g l e with her r e l i g i o u s f a i t h , she r i s e s as an i n d i v i d u a l above the l i m i t a t i o n s e s t a b l i s h e d by her s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n and her narrow imagina-t i o n . Her doubts grow r e l e n t l e s s l y ; years of unanswered pray e r s haunt her. She f a i l s i n her e f f o r t s t o suppress her doubt, and the p r i e s t f a i l s her a l s o , answering her 14 B r i a n Moore, J u d i t h Hearne (Toronto« M c C l e l l a n d and Stewart L t d . , 1964), p.121. Other quotes from t h i s n o v e l i n t h i s chapter w i l l be d e s i g n a t e d by page number i n the t e x t . only with the f a m i l i a r phrases which she has already t r i e d , and f a i l e d , to console herself with: "Now, my c h i l d , we a l l have burdens put upon us i n t h i s l i f e , crosses we have to bear . . . We should never be lonely because we always have God to t a l k to. And our guardian angel to watch over us. . . . A l l we need to do i s pray." (pp.142-3) Feeling that her doubts are confirmed, Judith makes a pathetic a t -tempt to have a s i n f u l spree, permitted now that there i s "no heavenly reason to f e e l g u i l t . " (p.153) She v i s i t s her old f r i e n d Edie i n a nursing home, pi t y i n g , with unconscious irony, " a l l those old women, poor old creatures, nobody to care about them, nobody." (p. 157) After the nuns throw her out f o r bringing Edie a b o t t l e of gin, she v i s i t s Moira, and s t r i p s away the years of i l l u s i o n and hypocrisy which they have b u i l t between them. With b r u t a l c l a r i t y , she demon-strates the extent of her desperation: "and I never l i k e d you, Moira, that's the truth, I never l i k e d you." (p.163) She also shows an astute awareness both of her own r e a l s i t u a t i o n and the culture which produced i t : "you're too l a t e , you've missed your market. Then you're up f o r any o f f e r s . Marked-down goods. You're up f o r auction . . . No o f f e r s . Then second best. No o f f e r s . Third? No o f f e r s . . . ..That's what I've come to, Moira. Turned down by a doorman. And what's more, I didn't want to be turned down. I'd take him yet." (pp.164-5) At t h i s point, there i s no p o s s i b i l i t y of reversing the process of s e l f -exposure, no matter how cruel and humiliating the explora-t i o n i s . Everything must be attempted. Judith returns to the p r i e s t , who cannot understand her need and scolds her l i k e a c h i l d . She enters the church and t r i e s , v a i n l y , to open the s a c r i s t y . She does the unthinkable. And nothing happens. In a world where an unimaginably daring action produces no response, there i s no p o s s i b i l i t y of i l l u s i o n or romance, no hope of r e b e l l i o n . In the rest home, Judy responds mech-a n i c a l l y to Moira's o f f e r to resume t h e i r old r e l a t i o n s h i p , and to Father Quigley's assumptions about her f a i t h . Her mirror, which once showed her he r s e l f as a gypsy, permits no more i l l u s i o n . "Old, she thought, i f I met myself now, I would say: that i s an old woman." (p.180) The pictures of the Sacred Heart and of her aunt are f a m i l i a r objects to her and she keeps them near, but what they once represented no longer exists for her. In the creation of the l a t e r p o r t r a i t s of Jane Tierney and Mary Dunne, Moore seems to believe that by understand-ing a woman's sexuality, the point of her difference from him as a man, he can understand a l l . Such a b e l i e f i s l o g i c a l i n that i t seems evident that i f we can understand those areas i n which we d i f f e r , and the rest i s s i m i l a r , we w i l l have a t o t a l grasp of the other. Unfortunately, however, the r e s u l t of Moore's a p p l i c a t i o n of t h i s p r i n c i p l e to his female characters i s that i n some cases they are reduced to nothing more than that point of difference, t h e i r sexuality. Judith Hearne i s perhaps the f u l l e s t and most developed of a l l Moore's female characters. Unlike the others, she has l i t t l e i n herself which i s i n t r i n s i c a l l y i n t e r e s t i n g . It i s p r e c i s e l y because her a b i l i t i e s and resources are so narrow that one responds to her struggle with inte r e s t and compassion: were she young and pretty, i t i s u n l i k e l y that Moore could have become as engaged i n the d i f f e r e n t aspects of her personality as he has. She i s , i n f a c t , the only one of his heroines who i s not completely dominated by s p e c i f i c a l l y sexual c r i t e r i a . Her spinsterhood and sexual repression are important parts of her, but they are not everything. And, since t h i s corresponds more c l o s e l y to external r e a l i t y , Judith i s , for me, a more outstanding character than Jane Tierney or even Mary Dunne. AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE: THE COMPLEX MRS. BENTLEY As For Me and My House, by S i n c l a i r Ross, i s another novel which employs the technique of a f i r s t - p e r s o n , feminine narrator, and l i k e Moore's I Am Mary Dunne, the c e n t r a l female " I " i s the creation of a male n o v e l i s t . In sp i t e of the vast s o c i a l differences between the l i t t l e p r a i r i e town of Horizon of the 1930's and the world of New York City of the 1960's, Mrs. Bentley and Mary Dunne share a number of c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . They are both b a s i c a l l y strong people who are sometimes c r i p p l e d by self-doubt and g u i l t : neither f e e l s that she f i t s e a s i l y into the world around her, and they are both made as uncomfortable by the s o c i a l roles which they wish to f u l f i l l as by the ones they r e j e c t . Both women are c h i l d l e s s , and each f e e l s that her husband i s the centre of her l i f e and her chief raison d'etre. The external demands for adherence to a r i g i d set of sexual roles made by the p r o v i n c i a l culture of small towns l i k e Horizon are a great s t r a i n on the Bentley*s r e l a t i o n -ship. This factor i s one of the f i r s t things revealed by Ross i n his novel, which begins with a description of the Bentley*s moving into a new manse. Mrs. Bentley i s a better carpenter than P h i l i p , but small town mores decree that he must do t h i s kind of work, not she. For her to use a ham-mer "in the parsonage, on c a l l i n g days, . . . simply i s n ' t 15 done." They are not quite brave enough to drop openly S i n c l a i r Ross, As For Me and My House (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1961), p.3. Other quotes from t h i s novel w i l l be indicated i n the text by page number. t h e i r f r o n t of c o n f o r m i t y t o t h e i r congregation's expecta-t i o n s , and much of the emptiness and f a l s e n e s s which e x i s t s between them r e s u l t s from t h e i r consequent l a c k of s e l f -r e s p e c t . There i s a wide v a r i e t y o f c r i t i c a l responses t o Mrs. Be n t l e y . In h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n t o the New Canadian L i b r a r y e d i t i o n of the n o v e l , Roy D a n i e l l s s t a t e s t h a t she r e p r e -sents a l l those women of the r e g i o n who "never f a i l e d t o r e -spond with courage, i n t e l l i g e n c e , sympathy, and hopefulness to the worst of s i t u a t i o n s " ; (p.x) t o another c r i t i c she i s 16 "smug," but a l s o "candid and r e f l e c t i v e . " W.H. New concludes t h a t she i s "the m a n i p u l a t i n g woman who has a l r e a d y d e s t r o y e d her husband by c o n f i n i n g h i s a r t i s t i c t a l e n t s , and who even 17 now does not l e t up." Donald Stephens f e e l s t h a t "her major redeeming f e a t u r e i s her earnest d e s i r e f o r r e c o n c i l i a t i o n 18 wirh her husband," w h i l e another c r i t i c f i n d s her t o be 1 9 " a l l too o b v i o u s l y more a mother t o him than she i s a w i f e , " a judgment which i s rendered more harsh than i t might seem because o f P h i l i p ' s contempt and h a t r e d f o r h i s own mother. 16 Donald G. Stephens, "Wind, Sun and Dust." Canadian  L i t e r a t u r e 23 (Winter, I 9 6 5 ) , pp. 20-21. 17 " S i n c l a i r Ross's Ambivalent World." Can. L i t . 40, p.26. 18 Stephens, I b i d . , p.22. Warren Tallman, "Wolf i n the Snow." Can. L i t . 5, p.8. Such a d i v e r s i t y of responses i s a t r i b u t e to the depth and subtlety of Ross's characterization. There are several l e v e l s of development inherent i n the f u l l p i c -ture of Mrs. Bentley, some more obvious than others, and the conscious and unconscious reactions to each l e v e l a l l contribute to the f i n a l impression of her. On the surface, Mrs. Bentley's character i s revealed by what she admits openly; the novel's structure i s that of a diary. It i s intimate i n tone, and since ostensibly private i n nature, the narrator i s free to be as open and i n c l u s i v e , honest and self-searching, as i t i s possible for her to be. She inadvertently reveals much i n her private comments on her l i f e , but the f i r s t area to examine i s that which emerges from her c l e a r l y conscious description of he r s e l f . One recurrent feature of her s e l f - p o r t r a i t i s her f e e l i n g of inadequacy. She b e l i t t l e s h e r s e l f and i s often overwhelmed with feelings of g u i l t i n r e l a t i o n to P h i l i p . In these f e e l i n g s , as throughout the book, everything i s r e l a t i v e to him; when she wishes f o r a c h i l d , i t i s not for h e r s e l f but to "give back a l i t t l e of what I've taken from him, that I might at least believe I haven't altogether wasted him." (p.5) Her g u i l t and consequent anxiety form a permanent state of mind for her; as she admits, near the beginning of the story, "I've always been a l i t t l e a f r a i d , r i g h t from the day we met." (p.10) The continuing nature of t h i s fear i n her l i f e i s not d i f f i c u l t to understand: she believes that she has ruined P h i l i p ' s true career as an a r t i s t , and although she says repeatedly that that she hates the hypocrisy of t h e i r l i f e together and that she wishes P h i l i p would l e t go and get out of the ministry, she just as repeatedly hinders him from doing so. At the church meeting c a l l e d to discuss t h e i r semi-adoption of Steve, for example, she i s aware of a p o s s i b l i t y of his breakthrough, and she squelches i t s "I could f e e l the hot throb of a l l the years he has curbed and hidden and choked h i m s e l f — f e e l i t gather, break, the sudden reckless stumble fo r re-l e a s e — a n d before i t was too l a t e , before he could do what he should have done twelve years ago, I interrupted." (pp.72-3) Again and again, she provides a f a l s e front for P h i l i p , even as she p i t i e s and d i s l i k e s him for making use of i t . As D.G. Jones observes i n his recent book, Bu t t e r f l y on Rock, "she knows he i s a true a r t i s t and a f a l s e minister. Neverthe-less she devotes he r s e l f e n t i r e l y to maintaining that f a l s e p o s i t i o n . It i s i n large part due to her s k i l l i n dealing with people that her husband has been able to go on l i v i n g a l i e . She i n i n t h i s respect divided against her husband as 20 well as h e r s e l f . " She i s i n an authentic dilemma. Feeling g u i l t y because she has (she believes) l i m i t e d P h i l i p , she t r i e s to make amends by protecting him as much as she can from the c r i t i c i s m of the town, and from the open declara-20 B u t t e r f l y on Rock: A Study of Themes and Images i n Canadian Literature (Toronto/Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1970), p.39. A t i o n of t h e i r l i f e together. This makes i t even harder for him to face and deal with the s t e r i l i t y of t h e i r exis-tence: she devotes so much e f f o r t to making his l i f e less i n t o l e r a b l e that he i n fact tolerates i t , which he should not do and which she says she wishes he would not do. The s t r a i n imposed on the Bentley's marriage by the culture's expectations of what men and women should do i s a constant burden for them both. In addition to the i r r i t -ations and tensions which they both f e e l , there i s an ad d i t i o n a l s t r a i n on Mrs. Bentley as a r e s u l t of her e f f o r t s to conform to her own view of what she should be as a wife. Her s e l f - s a c r i f i c e i n t h i s area benefits neither he r s e l f nor P h i l i p ; her continuing e f f o r t s to deny her own interests have made her a parasite on, rather than a supporter of, her husband. She he r s e l f i s not f u l l y aware i n t h i s area, although she returns to i t again and again as i f i t nags her f o r understanding: It's a man's way, I suppose, and a woman's. Before I met him I had ambitions too. The only thing that r e a l l y mattered f o r me was the piano. It made me s e l f -s u f f i c i e n t , a l i t t l e hard. A l l I wanted was opportunity to work and develop myself. But he came and the piano took second place. I was teaching and saving hard f o r another year's study i n the East, wondering i f I might even make i t Europe; and then I forgot i t a l l , almost overnight. Instead of practice i n my spare time i t was books now. Books that he had read or might be going to r e a d — so that I could reach up to his i n t e l l e c t , be a good companion, sometimes while he talked nod comprehendingly. For r i g h t from the beginning I knew that with P h i l i p i t was the only way. . . . Submit t i n g t o him t h a t way, y i e l d i n g my i d e n t i t y — i t seemed what l i f e was int e n d e d f o r . (p.16) The language i n t h i s passage shows a l a c k o f c e r t a i n t y ? " i t ' s a man's way, I suppose," and " i t seemed what l i f e was intended f o r . " Even the most d e f i n i t e statement o f a l l , " f o r r i g h t from the b e g i n n i n g I knew t h a t with P h i l i p i t was the onl y way," i s thrown i n t o s e r i o u s q u e s t i o n by her own a s s e r t i o n t h a t her music a t t r a c t e d P h i l i p i n the f i r s t p l a c e — h e proposed t o her the n i g h t she pl a y e d L i s z t so w e l l — a n d by her r e t u r n t o p r a c t i c i n g f o r the church s o c i a l i n the e x p l i c i t hope of winning him a g a i n . Perhaps, i n f a c t , she has made a v i r t u e of a s a c r i f i c e which he never wanted her t o make. I f t h i s i s so, i t g i v e s an edge of t e r r i b l e i r o n y t o a l l her a s s e r t i o n s of p i t y f o r P h i l i p ' s wasted a r t i s t r y , and e x p l a i n s i n p a r t the urgency of her need t o p e r c e i v e him as a s a c r i f i c e d a r t i s t J perhaps i t i s h e r s e l f she mourns f o r . Her c l a i m t o a r t i s t r y i s a t l e a s t as c o n v i n c i n g as i s P h i l i p ' s . In p l a c e s , she r e v e a l s c l e a r l y t h a t she under-stands f i r s t h a n d the e s s e n t i a l power of a r t as a r e l e a s e and as a weapon: "Tomorrow I must p l a y the piano a g a i n , p l a y i t and hammer i t and charge with i t t o the to-wn's complete a n n i h i l a t i o n . " (p.13) But she r e j e c t e d t h i s power and a b i l i t y when she married P h i l i p , p r e f e r r i n g i n s t e a d t o c a s t h e r s e l f i n the r o l e of a t r a d i t i o n a l w i f e p l a y i n g a secondary r o l e t o her husband. I t i s not c l e a r t h a t P h i l i p himself wanted t h i s , and perhaps the resentment she inevitably f e e l s at suppressing something which was so central to her i s not r i g h t f u l l y directed toward him at a l l . It was the piano f i r s t , then P h i l i p . They were the essentials; the rest I took casually. One of my teachers used to wonder at what he c a l l e d my masculine a t t i t u d e to music. . . . I never thought or cared for anything but the music i t s e l f . . . . And that's the hard part, remembering how strong and r e a l i t used to be, having to admit i t means so l i t t l e now. . . . That's what he's done to me, and there are times I can nearly hate him for i t . I haven't roots of my own any more. I'm a fungus or parasite whose l i f e depends on h i s . (p ,15D Having thus given up something " e s s e n t i a l , " she pours a l l her energy into P h i l i p , who must replace i t . Her l i f e "depends on his"s the consequent burden on him i s enor-mous. He must l i v e and achieve enough for both of them, and i f he f a i l s , he f a i l s f o r both. His resentment of such a demand, which neither of them consciously understands, would explain a great deal of his f r u s t r a t i o n and impotent anger, as well as his i n a b i l i t y to respond to her. In such a s i t u a t i o n every a d d i t i o n a l manifestation of her s e l f -s a c r i f i c e and accomodation of him would increase the unspoken demand which he f e e l s , increase his anger and separation from her, and increase her anxiety and g u i l t , leading back again to her self-defeating attempts to please him. They are i n a vicious c i r c l e , continually exacerbating each other's feelings of f a i l u r e and inadequacy. Since Mrs. Bentley has chosen P h i l i p over her music, whether such a choice was necessary or not, he i s a l l she has. Since he i s a l l she has, she wants to possess him t o t a l l y . She i s quite honest about t h i s : " A l l these years I've been t r y i n g to possess him, to absorb his l i f e into mine, and not once has he ever yielded." (p.64) Faced with such a need, and such a threat of being absorbed, P h i l i p ' s only hope of retai n i n g his i d e n t i t y i s to with-draw from her, and since she feels that she has submitted and yielded her own i d e n t i t y to him, the fact that "not once has he ever yi e l d e d " takes on added strength. Mrs. Bentley understands the dynamics of t h e i r c o n f l i c t c l e a r l y , and makes a perceptive statement about i t : "his own world was shattered and empty, but at that i t was better than a woman's. He remained i n i t . He was no longer young, had nothing much l e f t to dream about, but at least he could shut himself away from me." (p.64) Then, c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y , she t r i e s to explain i t away by f a l l i n g back on her usual theme of P h i l i p the a r t i s t , and by generalizations about the nature of men and women, expressed with the lack of conviction noted above i n a s i m i l a r context: "partly be-cause he was an a r t i s t , because he had to draw; par t l y be-cause he was a man, and the solitude of his study was his la s t stronghold against me. I understand i t well enough tonight. It's a woman's way, I suppose, to keep on t r y i n g to subdue a man, to bind him to her, and i t ' s a man's way to keep on just as determined to be fre e . " (p.64) Having given up so much of her own i d e n t i t y , she clin g s to the b e l i e f that P h i l i p i s a r e a l a r t i s t , infusing that con-cept with enough prestige to do for both of them. P h i l i p i s about as f a r from being "free" as i t i s possible for a man to be; she wishfully ascribes such q u a l i t i e s to him because she l i v e s through him, v i c a r i o u s l y . The generaliza-tions about a "man's way" and "woman's way" are cold comfort i n the Bentley's f a i l u r e to achieve any s a t i s f a c t i o n with each other. It takes courage to face and r e a l l y see such a b i t t e r truth, a courage Mrs. Bentley does not have here. Later, however, the theme emerges more p l a i n l y , and she enunciates a pierci n g awareness of her part i n t h e i r s i t u a -t i o n 8 I must s t i l l keep on reaching out, t r y i n g to possess him, t r y i n g to make myself matter. I must, for I've l e f t myself nothing else. I haven't been l i k e him. I've reserved no retreat, no world of my own. I've whittled myself hollow that I might enclose and hold him, and when he shakes me of f I'm just a s h e l l . Ever since the day he l e t me see I was less to him than Steve I've been t r y i n g to f i n d and l i v e my own l i f e again, but i t ' s empty, unreal. The piano, even—I t r y , but i t ' s just a t i n k l e . And that's why I mustn't admit I may have l o s t him. (p.75) The degree to which Mrs. Bentley i s conscious of the complex threads i n her l i f e with P h i l i p i s impressive, and so i s her bravery i n t r y i n g to untangle them. Perhaps we learn even more, though, from what she reveals inadvertently. The overt theme of her diary i s her attempt to be close to P h i l i p . She f e e l s that she has hurt him, perhaps i r r e p a r a b l y , by marrying him, and her s t o r y i s l a r g e l y con-cerned w i t h her repeated e f f o r t s t o please him, understand him, help h i s p a i n t i n g and, h o p e f u l l y , t o i n j e c t some warmth i n t o t h e i r s t e r i l e r e l a t i o n s h i p . Her need to perceive P h i l i p as a f r u s t r a t e d a r t i s t , no matter what the context, i s 21 the c e n t r a l myth of t h e i r marriage, from Mrs. Bentley*s point of view, and a c t s as a c a t c h - a l l e x planation of and excuse f o r P h i l i p ' s i n d i v i d u a l f a i l u r e s and f o r a l l t h e i r l a c k s as a couple. A c e n t r a l f u n c t i o n of the myth i s t h a t i t a l l o w s Mrs. Bentley, who professes t o respect her hus-band, to overlook h i s apparent emptiness as a person. On t h e i r v a c a t i o n , when P h i l i p shows t o such disadvantage and i s so u n i v e r s a l l y d i s l i k e d , she e x p l a i n s i t away by saying t h a t "when he's r e a l l y impossible, i t ' s because the a r t i s t i n him gets the upper hand."(p.102) The tone of t h i s e x p l a n a t i o n , and the explanation i t s e l f , r ecur so o f t e n t h a t "methinks the lady doth p r o t e s t too much." " I t was simple enough. There was no hard t h i n k i n g t o do, nothing t a n g l e d t o get s t r a i g h t . He's an a r t i s t , t h a t ' s a l l . . . " (p.102) Her compulsion to c h a r a c t e r i z e P h i l i p i n t h i s way may stem p a r t l y from the opportunity i t gives her t o a v o i d becoming r e a l l y Involved with him, and r i s k i n g a r e a l c o n f r o n t a t i o n . A f t e r she l e a r n s of h i s a f f a i r with J u d i t h , f o r example, she masks her i n a b i l i t y t o take a 21 I use the word "myth" to mean, not something untrue, but an unexamined b e l i e f or value system which both accept, and which forms the fundamental b a s i s of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p . chance on l o s i n g him by e x p r e s s i n g her f e e l i n g s . Instead, she f a l l s back on the f a m i l i a r r e f r a i n i "with a man l i k e P h i l i p you can't a f f o r d r i g h t s or p r i d e . " (p.126) Another p o s s i b l e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f t h i s theme i s t h a t Mrs. Be n t l e y i d e n t i f i e s a l l too c l o s e l y with P h i l i p ' s i n a b i l i t y t o c r e a t e . Perhaps she, l i k e P h i l i p , was unable t o remain t r u l y committed t o an a r t i s t i c d i s c i p l i n e ; she, however, had a s o c i a l l y a c c e p t a b l e excuse f o r g i v i n g i t up, and he does not . To r e c o g n i z e t h a t P h i l i p j u s t does not have the q u a l i t i e s needed t o be an a r t i s t might mean f a c i n g an u n f l a t t e r i n g p i c t u r e o f her own " s a c r i f i c e . " I t i s i m p o s s i b l e t o s p e c u l a t e on P h i l i p ' s r e a l a b i l i -t i e s as a p a i n t e r , s i n c e we see e v e r y t h i n g through Mrs. Ben t l e y * s eyes, but i t i s not r e a l l y important. Whether or not he can c r e a t e , he doesn't, and Mrs. Be n t l e y ' s assumption t h a t i t i s e n t i r e l y due to her i s uncon v i n c i n g . In a d d i t i o n , i t undercuts her i n s i s t e n c e t h a t she r e s p e c t s him; i t seems u n l i k e l y t h a t she r e a l l y r e s p e c t s the man whom she c o n s i s t e n t l y p o r t r a y s as such a p a s s i v e v i c t i m of circumstances. Beginning with her d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e i r marriage, she assumes f u l l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r what he i s . T y p i c a l l y , the passage begins with a g e n e r a l i z a t i o n about women and men, and proceeds with an automatic r e f e r e n c e to h i s a r t i s t i c n a t u r e . In t h i s case, i t i s advanced as the reason why he cannot l o v e her: "Perhaps, too, he knew i n s t i n c t i v e l y t h a t as a woman I would make claims on him, and t h a t as an a r t i s t he needed above a l l t h i n g s t o be f r e e . I was p a t i e n t . I t r i e d hard. Now sometimes I f e e l i t a k i n d of triumph, the way I won my p l a c e i n h i s l i f e d e s p i t e him; but other times I see h i s eyes f r u s t r a t e d , s l i p p i n g past me, a spent, d i s i l l u s i o n e d s t i l l n e s s i n them, and I'm not so s u r e . " (p.33) The key phrase i s "de s p i t e him;" does she r e a l l y b e l i e v e t h a t such a "triumph" i s p o s s i b l e , t h a t she somehow broke h i s w i l l t o such an ex-t e n t ? I t would h e l p t o e x p l a i n why she f e e l s so g u i l t y , but i t i s hard t o b e l i e v e t h a t such a t h i n g i s p o s s i b l e . In a d d i t i o n t o her i n s i s t e n c e t h a t i t i s she who has prevented P h i l i p from r e a l i z i n g h i s p o t e n t i a l , Mrs. Bent-l e y assumes complete r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r t h e i r l i f e t o g e t h e r s i n c e t h e i r marriage. Some p a r t of t h i s , s u r e l y , i s an i l l e g i t i m a t e assumption: " f o r these l a s t twelve years I've kept him i n the C h u r c h — n o one e l s e . The l e a s t I can do now i s h e l p get him out a g a i n . " (p.107) S u r e l y P h i l i p , t o o , had something t o do with i t ; i t i s t r u e t h a t the r e s t r i c t i o n s of a s m a l l town m i n i s t r y erode h i s s e l f -r e s p e c t , but he i s e s s e n t i a l l y a h y p o c r i t e because he does not b e l i e v e i n the t h i n g s which he continues t o do. There a r e i n d i c a t i o n s t h a t he does not concur with h i s wife's p i c t u r e of her r o l e i n h i s l i f e ; a f t e r Steve has been taken away from them, he makes one of h i s few c l e a r statements of the n o v e l when he says t h a t " i f a man's a v i c t i m of circumstances he deserves t o be." (p.119) Mrs. Be n t l e y cannot hear t h i s . Perhaps i t i s i m p o s s i b l e f o r her t o admit t h a t P h i l i p i s a f a i l u r e because of h i s own inadequacy. T h i s assumption of i l l e g i t i m a t e a u t h o r i t y i s her g r e a t e s t f a u l t , and shows i t s e l f i n many u n a t t r a c t i v e ways. She does not r e a l l y r e s p e c t P h i l i p as an e qual, capable of t a k i n g r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r h i m s e l f . In f a c t , she o f t e n r e f e r s t o him as i f he were a c h i l d — " P a u l ' s gone, and I've put P h i l i p t o b e d " ( p . 3 5 ) — a n d the f a c t t h a t she i s aware of her tendency t o "get impatient b e i n g j u s t h i s w i f e , and s t a r t i n t r y i n g t o mother him t o o " (p.4) seems to i n d i c a t e t h a t she i s not r e a l l y conscious of i t s i n c o n -g r u i t y w i t h her p r o f e s s e d awe of h i s s u p e r i o r i t y . She c o n s t a n t l y i n t e r f e r e s with the n a t u r a l flow of t h i n g s out of a misguided sense of what i s r i g h t f o r P h i l i p . She r e f u s e s t o teach Steve piano, f o r i n s t a n c e , a l t h o u g h he i s more i n t e r e s t e d i n music than p a i n t i n g , because she does not want P h i l i p t o be h u r t . She thus r e s t r i c t s everyone's freedom; Steve's, her own, and P h i l i p ' s too. Here a g a i n her awareness of t h i s f a u l t does not d e t e r her i ndulgence of it» " i t always turns out the same when you make up your mind t h a t what's r i g h t f o r you must be r i g h t f o r someone e l s e . I made up my mind about P h i l i p o n c e — and as a r e s u l t see what he i s today." (p . 150) In a s i m i -l a r way, Mrs. B e n t l e y * s o s t e n s i b l e sympathy f o r P h i l i p becomes, a f t e r innumerable r e p e t i t i o n s , almost unbearably p a t r o n i z i n g . She c o n s t a n t l y excuses him by assuming r e -s p o n s i b i l i t y h e r s e l f f o r e v e r y t h i n g t h a t happens i n t h e i r l i v e s , thus e f f e c t i v e l y n e g a t i n g him as a person. I t seems u n l i k e l y t h a t t h e r e i s as great a "discrepancy be-tween the man and the l i t t l e n i c h e t h a t holds him" (p.4) as she i n s i s t s . A g r e a t man c o u l d not r e a l l y be h e l d f o r twelve years i n a l i t t l e n i c h e i f i t pinched him too severe-l y . T h i s image seems t o r e f e r both t o the s o c i a l r o l e o f m i n i s t e r and, l i t e r a l l y , t o Mrs. Ben t l e y " s s e x u a l h o l d on him through marriage. She d e n i g r a t e s h e r s e l f but never-t h e l e s s a s s e r t s her h o l d over him, thereby d i m i n i s h i n g him even more. In a few p l a c e s i n the book, Mrs. Ben t l e y * s d e s i r e to c o n t r o l P h i l i p a c t u a l l y emerges as s i n i s t e r . She examines and a n a l y z e s him, c r e a t i n g him i n her own image and d e f i n i n g him as she wants him t o be. A f t e r a c o n f l i c t with him, she goes t o bed and " i n the q u i e t darkness t h e r e I d e f e a t e d the P h i l i p who a l i t t l e w h i l e b e f o r e had r e p e l l e d me with h i s l a u g h t e r . Away from him, without the i n s i s t e n c e of h i s v o i c e or f a c e , I was a b l e t o r e s t o r e him t o h i s a c t u a l s e l f . " (p.145) The " a c t u a l s e l f " she r e s t o r e s him t o , how-ever, i s a n e u r o t i c f a n t a s y of "him s u f f e r i n g and a l o n e and i n need of me." (p.146) In another i n c i d e n t , although she i s aware of how unhappy P h i l i p was u n t i l Steve came to l i v e w i t h them, she remarks a f t e r the boy has been sent away t h a t " i t was good to have him t o myself a g a i n . " (p.118) She does not r e a l l y want him t o be happy, content, mature, or r e s p o n s i b l e ; her s t r o n g d e s i r e i s f o r him t o be s i c k and h e l p l e s s , dependent on her: "I t h i n k i t ' s what I've been w i s h i n g f o r ever s i n c e we met . . . And j u s t f o r once I'd l i k e t o have him h e l p l e s s enough r e a l l y t o need me, t o g i v e me a chance t o reach him, prove myself." (p.122) The q u e s t i o n a b l e tone of t h i s wish i s m i r r o r r e d i n her e x p l i c i t statement a f t e r Steve has gone t h a t she hopes P h i l i p ' s w i l l , h i s d e s i r e to c r e a t e and be f u l f i l l e d , i s t r u l y broken: " i t w i l l be e a s i e r i f i t ' s r e a l l y r e s i g n a t i o n , i f the dreams have run themselves out, i f he submits a t l a s t t o the i n -e v i t a b l e , t o me." (p.120) T h i s p a r t i c u l a r statement throws i n t o doubt a l l her p r o t e s t a t i o n s of support f o r P h i l i p ' s s e l f - f u l f i l l m e n t as a person and an a r t i s t ; i t a l s o b r i n g s i n t o q u e s t i o n her e x p l a n a t i o n s of P h i l i p ' s avoidance of her. Her u s u a l r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n ^ e x p r e s s e d i n v a r y i n g ways, i s t h a t P h i l i p "resents h i s need of me. Somehow i t makes him f e e l weak, a l i t t l e unmanly. There a r e times when I t h i n k he has never q u i t e f o r g i v e n me f o r being j u s t a woman." (p.23) In view of what she h e r s e l f says, however, P h i l i p ' s f e a r s and withdrawals a r e well-founded. S i n c e she r e a l l y wants him s i c k , h e l p l e s s , and submissive, he has l i t t l e c h o i c e but to attempt to preserve h i m s e l f by s u p p r e s s i n g any need f o r her he may have. Operating s i m u l t a n e o u s l y with Mrs. Bentley's overt and i n a d v e r t e n t s e l f - d i s c l o s u r e s i s the symbolic l e v e l of As For Me and My House. Ross has drawn on a deeply-based c u l t u r a l t r a d i t i o n which equate^, f e m i n i n i t y with nature. In t h i s case, the dry p r a i r i e landscape m i r r o r s Mrs. Bentle y * s s t e r i l i t y ; she i s , as Donald Stephens notes, "a 22 k i n d of r e v e r s e e a r t h mother" who i s both a t t r a c t e d t o the p r a i r i e because o f i t s openness, freedom, and r e l a t i v e honesty compared t o the mean l i t t l e f a l s e - f r o n t e d town, and r e p e l l e d by i t s emptiness and drought. The c h a r a c t e r of J u d i t h , l i k e the landscape, symbolizes t h a t p a r t of Mrs. Ben t l e y which i s unconscious, r e p r e s s e d , and yet v i t a l . The two women a r e , i n many ways, o p p o s l t e s . While Mrs. B e n t l e y i s f u l l of words, e n d l e s s l y a n a l y t i c and i n t e l l e c t u a l , J u d i t h i s s t i l l . She i s f e r t i l e and po-t e n t . Determined t o be independent, she had saved and s t u d i e d s i n g l e m i n d e d l y and the surrender of her i n t e r e s t , u n l i k e t h a t of Mrs. Bent l e y , was the r e s u l t of e x t e r n a l f o r c e and d i d not come from a s e l f - b e t r a y a l . J u d i t h i s a s a c r i -f i c i a l f i g u r e ; she embodies g r e a t e r l i f e than Mrs. Ben t l e y as w e l l as imminent death, and she i s l i t e r a l l y s a c r i f i c e d i n the c r e a t i o n of a new l i f e a t the end of the book. I f she i s seen as r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f a pa r t of Mrs. Be n t l e y which i s suppressed and hidden, then her death ensures t h a t the narrow, c o n t r o l l i n g aspect of Mrs. Bentl e y * s c h a r a c t e r w i l l c o ntinue t o dominate. Both women l o s e much, i f t h i s i s so. 22 " L i l a c s Out of the Mosaic Land: Aspects of the S a c r i -f i c i a l Theme i n Canadian L i t e r a t u r e . " Dalhousie Review 48, p.501. Ross's characterization of Mrs. Bentley i s profound and perceptive. Only i n a very few places i s the p o r t r a i t unconvincing; once or twice, f o r example, he puts into her mouth general statements about women which do not r i n g true. On the whole, however, Ross's creation i s both consistent and convincing. The novel ends on a note of i r o n i c ambiguity. The Bentley's decision to leave Horizon, and the presence of P h i l i p and Judith's baby, seem to denote a r a d i c a l break with the h y p o c r i t i c a l world of f a l s e fronts, f a l s e minis-t r y , and s t e r i l i t y . On the other hand, the ii. fact that i t is Mrs. Bentley once again who makes a l l the d e c i s i o n s — to leave, to adopt the baby, to name him P h i l i p too (so that she w i l l not always know the difference between them) might also indicate that nothing fundamental has a c t u a l l y changed, and that she i s merely increasing her scope f o r dominating and manipulating P h i l i p . This suspicion i s i n t e n s i f i e d by her private decision to continue to " s a c r i -f i c e " h erself to himi "I thought at f i r s t that we'd put the piano i n the store and s e l l music too, but the more I think about i t the more I'm convinced that P h i l i p would be better without me. In workaday matters I'm so much more p r a c t i c a l than he i s that i n a month or two I'd be pne of those domineering females that men abominate." (p.160) In view of the entire picture, t h i s l a s t state-ment i s heavily i r o n i c . The book ends with Mrs. Bentley's remark about the future interchangeability of P h i l i p and hi s c h i l d : "that's r i g h t , P h i l i p . I want i t so," (p.165) which may be variously interpreted as optimistic, q u i e t l y confident, hopeful, threatening, or ominous. The lack of a clear-cut conclusion i s one of the factors which makes the novel profound, and i s p e r f e c t l y consistent with Ross's characterization of Mrs. Bentley throughout i t . Early i n the story, Mrs. Bentley says of the town that "we're detached, strangers, seeing i t a l l objectively, and when you see i t that way i t ' s just bickering and petty and contemptible." (p.44) One might see the Bentley's r e l a t i o n s h i p i n these same terms, " a l l o b j e c t i v e l y " had Ross not succeeded so well i n creating an i n t e r e s t i n g , complex and engaging narrator who makes i t possible f o r the reader to become more deeply involved i n the events and themes of the book. CHARACTER AS SYMBOL AND THE THEME OF SACRIFICE: THE LOVED AND THE LOST AND THE WATCH  THAT ENDS THE NIGHT Neither Morley Callaghan's The Loved and the Lost nor Hugh MacLennan's The Watch That Ends the Night i s s o l e l y or even predominantly concerned with a female character. The f i r s t i s b a s i c a l l y the story of a man, Jim McAlpine, and his relationships over a b r i e f period of time; the second i s as much or more concerned with George Stewart and Jerome Martell as with Catherine. In both novels, however, the major woman i s assigned a unique r o l e and i s of primary importance i n any understanding of the author's theme. There i s a strong s i m i l a r i t y between Catherine Stewart and Peggy Sanderson; they have many of the same c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and play s i m i l a r roles i n the authors* f i c t i o n a l worlds. The most dominant c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of both women i s t h e i r symbolic qua l i t y . Neither i s very convincing as a r e a l , fully-developed personality, although they possess some humanizing idiosyncrasies, but the elements of an archetypal female figure can be c l e a r l y discerned i n both. Eugene F. Tlmpe*s description of the archetype may serve as an approach to t h i s concept: Graphically, the Feminine archetype may be thought of as a c i r c l e with two diameters crossing i t at ri g h t angles. One diameter represents the s t a t i c or elementary c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s ; the other represents the dynamic or transformative. The elementary diameter extends from the absolute negative to the absolute p o s i t i v e , from the T e r r i b l e Mother, t y p i f i e d by the mysteries of death, to the Good Mother, rel a t e d to the mysteries of vegeta-t i o n , b i r t h , r e b i r t h , and immortality. Transformatively, the diameter passes from the p o s i t i v e , the i n s p i r a t i o n mysteries, to the negative, the mysteries of drunkenness, ecstasy, madness, impotence, and stupor. 23 Both Peggy and Catherine are described as being very beauti-f u l women, but t h e i r physical beauty i s only part of t h e i r a t t r a c t i o n to the men i n t h e i r l i v e s . At the heart of t h e i r beauty i s a sense of self-possession. Because of i t , Catherine appears d i g n i f i e d , even st a t e l y , although she is a small woman. Peggy's "small face had a c h i l d l i k e p r e t t i -ness, and yet she was not baby-faced; she possessed a strange 24 kind of s t i l l n e s s . " This juxtaposition of q u a l i t i e s not usually found together i s repeated i n the description of other aspects of t h e i r p e r s o n a l i t i e s . Peggy i s perhaps less c l e a r l y r e a l i z e d as a character than i s Catherine, but her stature as a strongly r e l i g i o u s symbol i s unquestionable. She practices the humanity which her minister father preached and, l i k e a saint, i s martyred for i t . Catherine i s also described i n r e l i g i o u s terms. To George, i n f a c t , she is. r e l i g i o n : "I had made Cather-ine the rock of my l i f e . As a boy, at least f o r a time, I had been r e l i g i o u s and believed that God cared for me 23 ""Ulysses* and the Archetypal Feminine," Perspectives in L i t e r a r y Symbolism (Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 1966), p .205. 24 Morley Callaghan, The Loved and the Lost (Toronto: The MacMillan Co. of Can. Ltd., 1951), p.15. Other quotes from t h i s novel w i l l be indicated by page number i n the text. p e r s o n a l l y . In the T h i r t i e s I had s a i d t o myself: There 25 i s no God. Now I had Ca t h e r i n e . . . " One of h i s e a r l y impressions o f her, as a boy of seventeen, was of a goddess c l o t h e d i n green or i n l i g h t i t s e l f , with "a nimbus around h e r , " (p.54) and when she k i s s e s him, i t i s h i s " f i r s t experience of a m i r a c l e . " (p.33) Peter B u i t e n h u i s suggests t h a t MacLennan may have modelled t h i s c h a r a c t e r on S t . C a t h e r i n e of Siena , who wrote of her ex-pe r i e n c e with what she c a l l e d the "inner c e l l " o f know-ledge o f God, " i n t o which the i n d i v i d u a l can withdraw t o 26 g a i n s t r e n g t h with which t o encounter the worl d . " C a t h e r i n e Stewart has a s t i l l n e s s , an "inner c e l l " of be i n g which enables her t o cope with her i l l n e s s . George admires and l o v e s C a t h e r i n e f o r "her s t r e n g t h , her essence, her mystery i n which o c c a s i o n a l l y I had almost drowned," (pp.26-7) but he a l s o r e s e n t s i t , because i n order to m a i n t a i n t h a t s t r e n g t h she sometimes r e t r e a t s t o a p l a c e of s o l i t u d e w i t h i n h e r s e l f . Her a b i l i t y t o cope with her i l l n e s s and t o l o v e l i f e i n s p i t e o f i t i r r i t a t e s him; i t giv e s her "a strange s e r e n t l y t h a t . . . had the odd e f f e c t of e x c l u d i n g me, as though she had gone t o some pl a c e t o which I would e v e n t u a l l y a r r i v e . . . " (p.28) When she i s near death a f t e r an a t t a c k , he f e e l s d e s e r t e d by her; 25 Hugh MacLennan, The Watch That Ends the Night (Tor-onto: S i g n e t Books, 196677 p.8 . Other quotes from t h i s n o v e l w i l l be i n d i c a t e d by page number i n the t e x t . 26 Hugh MacLennan (Toronto/London/Sydney: Forum House P u b l i s h i n g Co., I 9 6 9 ) , P«58. she "disappeared i n t o a f o r c e I knew to be n o t h i n g but an impersonal s p i r i t f i g h t i n g f o r e x i s t e n c e " (p.312) and he f e e l s angry because she a p p a r e n t l y does not need him. Sometimes h i s complaint i s more g e n e r a l , more r e l a t e d t o her e n t i r e p e r s o n a l i t y . As he says, "sometimes t h i s imper-s o n a l i t y of her f e e l i n g f o r o t h e r s , f o r l i f e i t s e l f , made me r e s e n t f u l because I f e l t myself excluded. She under-sto o d what i t i s l i k e t o d i e , and I d i d n ' t , and t h a t made the d i f f e r e n c e . " (p.37) I t i s not o n l y C a t h e r i n e ' s i l l n e s s or her f a m i l i a r i t y with death which make George f e e l ex-c l u d e d , however. The same theme appears i n the midst of h i s a d m i r a t i o n f o r her p a i n t i n g . D e s c r i b i n g her as an a r t i s t he says, "This C a t h e r i n e was a m b i t i o u s . T h i s C a t h e r i n e was a l s o s t r a n g e l y s o l i t a r y i n her core a n d — I dare say t h i s n o w — t h e r e were days when she seemed t o t a l l y t o ex-clude me because of t h i s communion she had e s t a b l i s h e d with c o l o r and form. Yes, she was r u t h l e s s . A l l a r t i s t s a r e . . ." (p.26) (Shades of Mrs. Bentley!) Whatever the excuse, however, whether C a t h e r i n e ' s i l l n e s s , or p a i n t i n g , or mar-r i a g e t o Jerome, George o f t e n f i n d s h i m s e l f f u l l o f c o n t r a -d i c t o r y f e e l i n g s because he r e s e n t s her way of a c h i e v i n g the v e r y q u a l i t i e s he l o v e s i n her. Jim McAlpine f i n d s h i m s e l f i n a s i m l i a r p o s i t i o n with Peggy Sanderson. Having been a t t r a c t e d t o her because she i s s t r o n g enough t o be h e r s e l f , he begins t o r e s e n t her s e l f - p o s s e s s i o n and calmness. I t becomes f o r him "an i r r i t a t i n g s e r e n t i y (which) made him f e e l he wasn't r e a l l y Interesting her." (p.33) The same qual i t y i n both women simultaneously a t t r a c t s and repels, arouses love and anger. In a further example of the r e l i g i o u s mold i n which both women are cast, neither Peggy nor Catherine wishes to conform to the demands of the material world, but neither i s allowed to r e l i n q u i s h i t without making a s a c r i f i c e . Catherine, who t r i e s to avoid the world of p o l i t i c s and s o c i a l involvement, who believes that " i f only the world would leave us alone . . . our days would be a paradise," Z(p.205) loses Jerome to that world. Peggy loses jobs, suffers personal slander, and f i n a l l y dies f o r her f a i l u r e to conform to i t s expectations. Secondary female characters who act as contrasts to Peggy and Catherine are used by both authors. At the be-ginning of Catherine and George's story, Catherine i s set in opposition to George's domineering Aunt Agnes, who repre-sents a l l the forces of established order and the status  quo. In discussing the c o n f l i c t between the world of ap-pearances and the world of spontaneous f e e l i n g which runs throughout much of Canadian Literature, D.G. Jones has pointed out that figures who represent the l a t t e r tend 2? to be "marginal members of society, outcasts"} Catherine's i l l n e s s sets her apart from the conventional s o c i a l world and makes her such a fi g u r e . S i m i l a r l y , Peggy i s i m p l i c i t l y 2? B u t t e r f l y on Rock, p.43. compared t o C a t h e r i n e Carver and e x i s t s i n o p p o s i t i o n t o her and the va l u e s which she r e p r e s e n t s . Although C a l l a -ghan's p o r t r a y a l of C a t h e r i n e Carver i s not unsympathetic, her world u l t i m a t e l y d e s t r o y s Peggy. Peggy l i v e s c h a o t i c a l l y , j u x t a p o s i n g people and experiences i n unusual ways, and she expects other people t o li w e t h e i r own l i v e s with no i n t e r f e r e n c e from her. C a t h e r i n e Carver, on the other hand, has a p a s s i o n f o r s t r a i g h t e n i n g up the t h i n g s around her, i n c l u d i n g other people's l i v e s . In s p i t e of her s t r o n g d e s i r e f o r l o v e and understanding, she f i t s too w e l l i n t o the s u p e r f i c i a l s o c i e t y of the c i t y which i s d e s c r i b e d as b e i n g completely "her town, a t l e a s t the s m a l l p a r t o f i t t h a t was not French." (p.5 ) She u n c o n s c i o u s l y a r t i c u -l a t e s her r o l e with p e r f e c t c l a r i t y a t the hockey game when she remarks t o Jim, "Why q u a r r e l with the home crowd?" ( p . l 6 6 ) Peggy cannot a v o i d seeming t o do j u s t t h a t a l l the time; because of her unique p e r s o n a l i t y , she i s almost always i n o p p o s i t i o n t o the s t a t u s quo. Ca t h e r i n e Stewart's t r u e a n t i t h e s i s i s Norah Black-w e l l . Norah, l i k e C a t h e r i n e , i s feminine i n c e r t a i n conven-t i o n a l ways: she i s s l i m , d e l i c a t e , and b e a u t i f u l , with a low, m u s i c a l v o i c e . She i s a l s o "exceedingly competant . . . her s l i m , s m a l l hands were s t r o n g and d e f t , and i n her work she thought l i k e l i g h t n i n g . . . . about her work she was as p r o f e s s i o n a l l y o b j e c t i v e as a surgeon." (p.112) In view of, Norah's r o l e i n the story, i t seems possible that t h i s description of her professional competence i s meant as a warning that there i s something unnatural about her; such a supposition would be quite consistent with the author's somewhat narrow and sentimental picture of women. Catherine i s wholeheartedly loving and completely f a i t h f u l sexually, f i r s t to Jerome and then to George. Norah deceives her husband and f i n a l l y leaves him; a f t e r her a f f a i r with Jerome, she becomes indiscriminatingly promiscuous. A more important difference, i n view of Catherine's reluctance to be involved in the world and her insistence that "I'm a woman ancla personal l i f e i s a l l I can understand," (p . 2 3 0 ) i s Norah's passionate partisanship i n s o c i a l issues. That she i s a re a l f o i l f o r Catherine, and not just a two-dimensional minor figure, i s made evident by George's response to her. Pre-pared to hate her for hurting Catherine, he finds her con-v i n c i n g l y gentle and sincere, "her whole being l i k e a flower which had opened a f t e r a long f r o s t . " (p.257) It i s i n terms of the central theme of the n o v e l — the acceptance of death which i s p r i o r to r e a l l i f e — t h a t the two women are most obviously i n contrast. Catherine learns to " l i v e her death," as Jerome puts i t ; she i s f u l l of a force, an essential power of l i f e which equals and thus negates death. George describes i t as a force which "refuses to be bounded, circumscribed or even judged. It creates, i t destroys, i t recreates. Without i t there can be no l i f e ; with much of i t no easy l i f e . It seems to me the sole force which equals the merciless fate which binds a human being to his mortality." (p.27) Norah, who i r o n i -c a l l y pictured Catherine as a symbol of a sick c i v i l i z a t i o n , has none of t h i s power, and when her l i f e becomes b i t t e r , she seeks out death and k i l l s h e r s e l f . There i s an evident r e l a t i o n s h i p between the symbolic function which both Peggy and Catherine f u l f i l l and the ambiguity of response which they provoke. Catherine's occasional withdrawals to renew her strength threaten George, and Peggy's goodness seems to act as a reproach to those around her, arousing t h e i r h o s t i l i t y . In t h i s respect, she i s a true l i t e r a r y daughter of C l a r i s s a Harlowe; her s p i r i t u a l i t y and r e f u s a l to compromise i n order to defend he r s e l f seem to i n v i t e attack. Remembering the leopard she showed him on t h e i r f i r s t meeting, Jim says of her that "she had been held i n the s p e l l of a l l the f i e r c e jungle wildness the cat suggested. She had waited, rapt and s t i l l , f o r the beast to spring at her and devour her. He must have suspected then that her gentle innocence was a t t r a c -ted perversely to violence, l i k e a temperament seeking i t s opposite." (p.101) Whether or not Jim's f e e l i n g i s correct, the passage i l l u s t r a t e s the mixture of reactions which she provokes. Jim i s strongly at t r a c t e d to her unconven-t i o n a l ways, and almost as strongly repelled by them. The men of both novels also share s i m i l a r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . Peggy and Catherine teach not so much the acceptance of death as a f u l l , conscious acceptance of l i f e i t s e l f , and both George and Jim learn the lesson p a i n f u l l y and l a t e . Part of the r e a l acceptance of l i f e i s acceptance of l i f e as i t is., and t h i s George finds almost impossible to do bea"cuse i t means accepting Catherine's i l l n e s s and her im-minent death. Jim finds i t d i f f i c u l t because, i n order to accept Peggy as she i s , he must tr u s t and have f a i t h i n her and i n others; he cannot do t h i s because he does not t r u s t himself. He projects his inner feelings onto others, and torments himself with doubt, jealousy, and hatei "If she were so f r i e n d l y with them, wouldn't she l e t them come to her room? And they, of course, would be charmed by her unspoiled freshness and want to possess i t as he, himself, had wanted to possess i t when he t r i e d to kiss her." (p.56) Since he i s unable to accept his own feelings, he searches for someone to blame f o r his f r u s t r a t i o n and finds himself i n a paradoxical s i t u a t i o n where innocence equals guilt« "Her own l i f e could be blameless. But was there another side to her nature suggested by her actions? Blamelessness could be c a r r i e d too f a r — i t could have dreadful consequences. When he had t r i e d to kiss her, she had been blameless; she had merely turned her head away. But i t could have been taken as a coy gesture. It could have provoked him to grab her and kiss her and go ahead." (p.44) Since he i s unable to believe i n her completely, he sees her actions through a d i s t o r t e d perception. Peggy i s an ambiguous figure, a l s o , Uftless Callaghan intended an almost unbelievable naivete to be part of her character, so Jim's ambivalence i s not completely unfounded. What i s at f a u l t i n his a t t i t u d e to her, however, i s that he never concedes to her the a b i l i t y to order her own l i f e or to know her own mind. One of his f i r s t reactions to her i s a desire to protect her, i n spi t e of her wish to be independent; i t i s very important to his ego that he be able to f e e l a l i t t l e superior to her, a l l i t t l e patronizing. Peggy f i t s into his fantasy of what women should be l i k e only once; one evening when she i s more dressed up than usual i n a conventional way, Jim feels that "now he knew that she had always belonged i n his own world. She looked l i k e an exquisite l i t t l e f i g u r i n e done with a del i c a t e grace and belonging i n some china cabinet." (p.125) It would c e r t a i n l y be extremely d i f f i c u l t f or Jim, who wants a woman who would f i t t h i s image, to accept the unorthodox, independent part of Peggy which i s so cen-t r a l to her i d e n t i t y . A f t e r the fi g h t i n the nightclub, he betrays her because once again he i s unable to believe that she r e a l l y does know what she wants; i n t h i s case, she i n s i s t s that she wants him, but he gives i n to his mistrust, and she i s murdered. Later, he r e a l i z e s what he d i d * "That was the s i n . I couldn't accept her as she was. . . . In a moment of jealous doubt, h i s f a i t h i n her had weakened, he had l o s t h i s view of her, and so she had vanished." (pp.232-3) F i c t i o n a l characters whose f u n c t i o n i n a work i s as s t r o n g l y symbolic as i s Peggy's and Cath-e r i n e ' s r a r e l y undergo s i g n i f i c a n t development during the s t o r y ; they are created whole, as i t were, or a t l e a s t w ith t h e i r major c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s f u l l y formed. There i s a change i n Peggy a t the very end of The Loved and the Lost; having l o s t her b e l i e f t h a t she could not b r i n g harm to others i f her own motives were pure, her s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e f a l -t e r s and she seems ready t o accept Jim's values and guidance. This apparent change, brought about by exhaustion and d i s -i l l u s i o n m e n t , comes too c l o s e t o her death t o know what i t would have meant i n terms of her p e r s o n a l i t y . Perhaps her f a i t h i n h e r s e l f had weakened, as Jim's had, and could not have been regained. Catherine Stewart has more p a r t i c u l a r i d e n t i t y as a cha r a c t e r than Peggy does, and she a l s o undergoes a s i g n i f i -cant change w i t h i n the course of the no v e l . From her c h i l d -hood she s t r u g g l e s a g a i n s t the l i m i t a t i o n s imposed on her by her i l l n e s s and t r i e s t o e x t r a c t from l i f e as much of i t s essence as she can. At seventeen, she o f f e r s h e r s e l f t o •George s e x u a l l y , and comforts him w i t h a maturity f a r be-yond her years when he i s unable to respond t o her. As a u n i v e r s i t y student she i s reckless i n her pursuit of ex-perience, and when she marries Jerome, she l i v e s as f u l l y as possible with him. Her world i s an intensely personal one i n which the main feature i s her love f o r Jerome; i t i s because of t h i s that she r e s i s t s h is p o l i t i c a l involve-ment so f i e r c e l y , and hates the external world for i t s i n t e r -ference with the personal l i f e which, for her, i s a l l of l i f e . Jerome says simply at one point that "a man must be-long to something larger than himself." (p.252) Believing t h i s , he leaves her to f i g h t fascism i n Spain, and Cather-ine's private world collapses. She undergoes a period of complete breakdown, a death of s e l f * "I don't know where I am. I don't know who I am. I don't know anything." (p.265) Into t h i s emptiness comes, f i r s t , an awareness of what has been l o s t — " i t ' s so awful for a woman to learn that human love i s n ' t s u f f i c i e n t , " (p.266)—and then, a f t e r a time, a r e a l i z a t i o n that Jerome was r i g h t . She too finds that, to l i v e , she must belong to somethings "Sally i s what I must l i v e for now. Poor l i t t l e g i r l , she's the bigger thing that gives her mother a reason f o r e x i s t i n g . " (p.291) The personal, narrow kind of love she had f e l t f o r Jerome she now refuses. When George asks her to marry him, she says, "I'm t i r e d of love. . . I'm exhausted by i t . A l l of me, body and soul. Now I'm beginning to be free ot i t , and how can I face i t again?" (p.295) After t h i s point, although she accepts love again when she marries George, there i s a knowledge i n her which gives her a unique distance, a q u a l i t y of "otherness" which i s increased by her personal awareness of the imminence of death. George Woodcock des-cribes t h i s q u a l i t y i n her when he says that "Catherine i s just about as near as we are ever l i k e l y to get i n modern Canadian writing to the princesse l o i n t a i n e of chivalrous romance, and her distance from the other characters and from r e a l i t y i s there throughout, u n t i l i n the end she i s shown receding from George towards death, a kind of l i g h t -28 f i l l e d phantom." Some manifestations of t h i s distance make George f e e l frightened and resen t f u l ; at other times, however, he i s able to perceive and accept the strange im-personality of her w i l l to l i v e : "the es s e n t i a l C a t h e r i n e — what now was the es s e n t i a l Catherine—sometimes seemed to me l i k e the container of a l i f e - f o r c e r e s i s t i n g e x t i n c t i o n . " (p .304) His acceptance of that part of Catherine which withdraws from him remains painfu l and incomplete, however, u n t i l the f i n a l stages of the story. George's character undergoes more development than that of any of the others i n the novel. He i s a shy, con-fused, easily-dominated youth who grows into a man seriously lacking i n self-confidence or inner d i r e c t i o n . His state-ment early i n the narrative that "I have never f e l t safe. 28 Hugh MacLennan (Toronto: The Copp Clark Publishing Co., 1969)7 p.109. Who of my age could, unless he was stupid?" (p.6) i s not merely a reference to the p o l i t i c s of the age he l i v e s i n , but i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of his outlook i n a l l areas. In his personal l i f e , he avoids commitments by i d e a l i z i n g Cather-ine, who i s conveniently unattainable a f t e r her marriage to Jerome. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , i t i s a f t e r Jerome leaves for Spain and Catherine i s more accessible to George than she has been since they were children that George voices his f i r s t c r i t i c i s m of h e n "This f i x a t i o n I had on Catherine had endured so long i t had become part of my l i f e . . . . There was no sense i n pretending that there had not been moments when I had f e l t angry with Catherine for not having dismissed me outright. . . . Why t h i s acceptance and non-acceptance of me? Had she, perhaps without knowing i t , thought of me as a kind of insurance p o l i c y ? " (p.288) The passage shows George's ess e n t i a l p a s s i v i t y as well as his very low self-esteem. Perhaps to compensate fo r what he believes to be his i n f e r i o r i t y , he wants Catherine to be perfect. At one point, attempting to describe her, he says, "I don't know how a man can describe his wife to somebody else, unless he d i s l i k e s her . . . women seem able to recognize with perfect c l a r i t y the flaws i n the men they love. Men lack t h i s a b i l i t y . " (p.25) This i s not a very convincing generalization; i t seems more l i k e l y that George i s unable to love Catherine unless he can i d e a l i z e her, no matter how much of r e a l i t y he has to suppress i n order to do so. Catherine and George spend several happy years together a f t e r t h e i r marriage, but when Jerome returns, so do George's jealousy and self-doubt. Catherine has a serious attack, and he panicst ". . . her expression excluded me. . . . I had made her my rock and my salvation, and now she was not my rock and not my salvation. . . . Her calmness almost an n i h i l a t e d me." ( p . 3 H ) P u l l of fear and anger, he lashes out against what i s happening with some of the force he has always repressed: "This i s destruction! I heard myself say. Of her. Of me because of her. Yes, she has destroyed me. Jerome has destroyed me. L i f e has destroyed us a l l . A l l f o r nothing. For nothing, for no-thing, for nothing." (p.317) It i s George's turn to learn, through t h i s destruction or extinction of s e l f , the secret which Jerome and Catherine have learned before him. He feels his ego and i d e n t i t y endangered, l i k e "a t i n y canoe at the mercy of an ocean," (p.321) and he i s f i n a l l y over-whelmed. But he survives the darkness, i s healed, and comes to understand that the destruction i s not "for nothing" but f o r l i f e ; that his fear of death has been a fear of l i f e , and that " l i f e f or a year, a month, a day or an hour i s s t i l l a g i f t . " (p.322) As she paints her joyous p i c -tures between operations, Catherine i s the embodiment of t h i s t ruth. George finds his own strength, his own peace, a place within himself to retreat to as Catherine does, in order to be renewed. His rock and his salvation are no longer external, so they can no longer be threatened. "Within, not without. Without there i s nothing to be done. But within." (p.321) The key to his understanding i s his accep-tance of the dual nature of l i f e , the mysterious paradox which must be grasped with f a i t h and not with logics "This, which i s darkness, also i s l i g h t . This, which i s no, also i s yes. This, which i s hatred, also i s love. This, which i s fear, also i s courage. This, which i s defeat, also i s v i c t o r y . " (p.322) George finds a new salvation i n t h i s , and i t i s lar g e l y through Catherine and Jerome, who have "des-troyed" him, that he i s reborn into a person who can open himself to his l i f e and l i v e i t , aware of a l l i t s dangers and Inevitable pain. He knows and accepts and welcomes the knowledge that "to be able to love the mystery sur-rounding us i s the f i n a l and only sanction of human exis-tence. " (p.3^9) The s i m i l a r i t i e s noted between the roles of Peggy and Catherine are p a r t l y explained by the fact that C a l l a -ghan and MacLennan are both attempting primarily to communi-cate an idea; both novels are, i n a sense, extended exempla whose f i r s t purpose i s d i d a c t i c . The lesson each professes i s s i m i l a r J that, to be whole, one must accept uncertainty, doubt, and death, to r i s e above them i n affirming a l i f e which includes a l l these dark q u a l i t i e s . In both novels, the main female character i s both teacher and example of t h i s philosophy, and i t i s lar g e l y because of t h i s r e l a t i o n to the theme that they emerge as such symbolic characters. Both succeed i n t h e i r r o l e of teacher and s p i r i t u a l mother, although to d i f f e r e n t degrees. From the beginning of The Watch That Ends the Night, Catherine i s , as Peter Buien-huis puts i t , "a partly mythical figure. She seems to stand for the emotional and i n t u i t i o n a l power that the best women have t r a d i t i o n a l l y represented i n Western l i t e r a t u r e . She possesses also mysterious powers of s u r v i v a l and motherhood, for her weak heart should l o g i c a l l y have condemned her to a 29 l i f e of inaction and s t e r i l i t y . " After her operation, Catherine recovers, although she remains very f r a i l and transparent. George i s now her equal i n understanding and can accept her lesson i n a continuing way; as he says, " l i g h t came from her constantly into me." (p.3^8) In The Loved and the Lost, Jim does not r e a l l y grasp the meaning of Peggy's l i f e and example u n t i l a f t e r i t i s over. She too had t r i e d to communicate to him that mystery and paradox of l i f e which was at her core; i f he had been able to understand her when she t o l d him how she became aware that "beauty could be painf u l i n a strange way," (p.40) or why, f o r her, the leopard and the l i t t l e church belonged to the same pattern of meaning, he would have known Hugh MacLennan, p.58* not only her but himself. Her acceptance of apparent contra-d i c i t i o n s seemed perverse to him, and i t i s only a f t e r her death that a beginning of understanding comes to him. Peggy had threatened to disturb the status quo of the various groups she moved i n because she did not respect the custom-ary l i n e s between them; she i s a martyr to the desire of those groups to remain separate, to preserve the security of t h e i r i s o l a t i o n and exclusiveness. In the end, the order i s maintained at the expense of freedom, tolerance, and joy. The church and the leopard are to be kept separate; the church, and Peggy, are annihilated as a r e s u l t . Like Father Dowling at the end of Such Is My_ Beloved, Peggy i n -habits a world of love, which does not deny i t s opposite, but embraces i t , and not the world of law which seeks to define and exclude the "other" from the s e l f and, i n attemp-t i n g to destroy i t , i s i t s e l f destroyed. In order to teach t h e i r lesson, Peggy and Catherine both move from the desirable, birth-oriented "Good Mother" aspect of the feminine archetype described above through the phase of "Terrible Mother" who reveals the mysteries of death (as when George feels himself "destroyed" and Jim loses his future career as well as Peggy) and then back again to a new phase of "Good Mother" which t y p i f i e s re-b i r t h and immortality. In response to t h i s transformation, George and Jim also move from t h e i r i n i t i a l r o l e of lover to a p o s i t i o n more l i k e that of a son; because of Peggy's death, Jim remains at t h i s unequal stage, but George moves through his own transformation to become Catherine's lover once again and f o r the f i r s t time, i n terms of the book's did a c t i c theme, her true equal. CHARACTER AS SYMBOL AND THE THEME OF SACRIFICE: THE DOUBLE HOOK AND THE SACRIFICE The main function of the characters i n The Double Hook, l i k e those in the novels discussed i n the previous chapter, i s symbolic. Unlike Catherine Stewart and Peggy Sanderson, however, they are much more integrated with t h e i r f i c t i o n a l surroundings. The objective world pictured i n t h i s novel r e f l e c t s an i n v i s i b l e , absolute order or pattern; the con-densed syntax and c l u s t e r i n g of images around the central metaphor of the double hook res u l t s i n an intense, complex work which makes one es s e n t i a l point r i c h l y and strongly. In the novels by Callaghan and MacLennan, the symbolic female character i s set apart from the others and from her s o c i a l context, but a l l the characters of The Double Hook are part of the novel's symbolic pattern. They are what they are; they exist i n r e l a t i o n s h i p to themselves, to each other, and to the dry landscape which they inhabit. Nowhere does the author step i n , either d i r e c t l y or through one of the characters, to imply that any of them could be any d i f f e r e n t . Kip comments on the various q u a l i t i e s which i d e n t i f y them, but his observations rest on a basic acceptance of the others, not a questioning. The symbolic aspects of Peggy's and Catherine's characters are present largely f o r di d a c t i c reasons and not because the novels themselves are expres-sions of symbolist l i t e r a t u r e ; each author, wishing to prove an e s s e n t i a l l y i n t e l l e c t u a l point, has created a woman who f u l f i l l s the function of s p i r i t u a l guide and teacher to the main male characters of the novel. In addition, both women possess Individualized c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , but such r e a l i s t i c or i n d i v i d u a l i z i n g aspects are extremely minimal i n The Double Hook. Without being e x p l i c i t l y described as such, the characters i n th i s book are f a r more l i k e elemental forces or s p i r i t s than those of Callaghan and MacLennan, who seem to have attempted to graft t h i s q u a l i t y onto r e a l i s t i c , rounded f i c t i o n a l types created from d i f f e r e n t basic premises. The attempt i s not wholly successful i n either case; Peggy and Catherine are neither f u l l y devel-oped as r e a l i s t i c characters, nor as powerful as they would be had they been presented more f o r t h r i g h t l y as symbols, as i s the case with Sheila Watson*s characters. The atmosphere of The Double Hook i s , at the begin-ning, one of s t e r i l i t y and pa r a l y s i s . The land and the people are dry, parched, and hopeless under the domination of the old matriarch, Mrs. Potter, a figure whom even the animals shun: "they'd turn t h e i r l i v i n g f l e s h from her as 30 she'd turned hers from others." Under her influence, the people of the community are i s o l a t e d from each other, i n -a r t i c u l a t e and blinded by the w i l f u l ignorance and cutting-30 Shiela Watson, The Double Hook (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1966), p.21. Other quotes from t h i s novel w i l l be indicated by page number i n the text. o f f of perception which i s symbolized by Coyote (representing fear) and his s i n i s t e r promise! "In my mouth i s f o r g e t t i n g / In my darkness i s r e s t . " (p.29) Mrs. Potter i s an example of the "Terrible Mother" aspect of the feminine archetype 31 described above, or the black goddess of death i n the mythology of Robert Graves' The White Goddess. She i s omni-present i n the beginning, quenching l i f e i n the community and i n her children, an inverted figure with great emotional power since she i s a mother who has given l i f e only to strangle i t . Her grip extends even beyond the human community to the barren land i t s e l f ! "the old lady was there i n every f o l d of the country," (p.43) and i t l a s t s beyond her death because she has created a successor i n her daughter Greta. More than anyone else, Greta i s a v i c t i m of the old woman's negative, l i f e - f e a r i n g aura and, although she had been as eager as James to be r i d of her mother's oppressive presence, she i s not freed by her death. On the contrary, she becomes even more l i k e her, taking her place, i n s i s t i n g on being mistress of the s t e r i l e house, dominating James, and f i n a l l y destroying h e r s e l f . As James r e a l i z e s a f t e r he has k i l l e d his mother, Greta has merely replaced her* she had "sat i n the old lady's chair. Eyes everywhere. Nothing had changed." (p.43) Ara r e f l e c t s a f t e r the f i r e that "Greta had inherited destruction. . . . She l i v e d no Chapter 3, pp.42-3. longer than the old lady's shadow l e f t i t s s t a i n on the ground. She sat i n her mother's doom as she sat i n her c h a i r . " (p.113) Part of the doom i s the r i g i d , fear-based repression which masquerades as morality i n the wasteland of the old woman's world. The gr i p on the young g i r l s i s e s p e c i a l l y harsh; William admits that Greta was the v i c -tim of far more pressure than he or James, and that she too had once been young and free* "You wouldn't know how she was. S l i d i n g down the stacks and f a l l i n g into the creek. Ma was hard on her, he said. She thought g r i e f was what a woman was born to sooner or l a t e r , and that men got t h e i r share of g r i e f through them." (p.113) Lenchen i s subjected to the same uncharitable hardness .• i n her mother's eyes she i s "a fat pig of a g i r l " (p.29) since she has l o s t the p r i c e of marriage, her v i r g i n i t y . "Men don't ask f o r what they've already taken." (p.29) Lenchen accepts t h i s view, at least p a r t i a l l y , but there i s a note of r e b e l l i o n i n her words when she t e l l s Kip that she has nothing f o r him: "Nothing worth having. Nothing that someone else wouldn't take back from you. G i r l s don't have things to give. I've got nothing of my own." (p.62) The c o n f l i c t between the older, repressed, death-oriented figures led by Mrs. Potter and t h e i r children r e s u l t s i n Lenchen's e x i l e , Greta's death, and "femes' bl i n d i n g of Kip. As D.G. Jones observes, "as long as the members of the community remain under the old woman's s p e l l they cannot act, they cannot love, they remain frustrated, 32 i s o l a t e d , divided one from the other." Greta's death breaks the s p e l l , however; the balance of power s h i f t s to the young and the creative, regenerative aspects of l i f e begin t h e i r ascendancy. Although his mother's hold i s s t i l l strong enough on James that he betrays Lenchen, he i s deter-mined a f t e r her death to free himself. He rides to the town, and there learns that escape i s impossible; the town i s merely an extension of the wasteland. His f i r s t sight there i s the r i v e r , and "the dark figure of h i s mother playing her l i n e out into the f u l l f l o o d . " (p.92) A f t e r l o s i n g the money for his escape i n an encounter with a whore, he thinks of Lenchen and t h e i r c h i l d , and "saw c l e a r l y f o r a moment his simple hope." (p.121) Prom secret love-making, denial, and escape he moves to openness, determina-t i o n , and a sense of value i n his l i f e : "Whatever the world said, whatever the g i r l said, he'd f i n d her. Out of his corruption l i f e had leafed and he'd stepped on i t c a r e l e s s l y as a man steps on spring shoots." (p.127) The change which has taken place i n him i s rewarded; fate grants him a new beginning when he returns to f i n d his mother's house i n ashes. He experiences l i b e r a t i o n and r e b i r t h with t h i s dramatic ending to his mother's powers "He f e l t as he stood with his eyes closed on the destruction of what his 32 B u t t e r f l y on Rock, p.85. heart had wished destroyed that by some generous gesture he had been turned once more into the f i r s t pasture of things." (p.131) He resolves to b u i l d a new house for him-s e l f , Lenchen, and the new generation, a house further down the creek and a l l on one l e v e l . James i s the most active agent i n the novel; his trans-formation and assumption of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y most c l e a r l y exem-p l i f y what Margaret Morriss c a l l s "the r e l i g i o u s r i t u a l 33 celebrating the re-entry of love into the wasteland." A l l the other characters, however, are part of the pattern too. F e l i x Prosper*s p a s s i v i t y i s replaced by his proper r o l e as the community's s p i r i t u a l leader; Angel and her children return to him, restoring the s a t i s f y i n g balance which exists between his v i s i o n and tenderness and her p r a c t i c a l , i n t u i t i v e wisdom. William's view that " i t ' s better to be t r u s t i n g and l o v i n g , " (p.75) comes closer to r e a l i z a t i o n , and Ara, barren and unsure of h e r s e l f , has a v i s i o n of the parched land flowing with water and the promise of redemptions "Everything s h a l l l i v e where the r i v e r comes, she said out loud. And she saw a great multitude of f i s h , each f i s h springing arched through the slanting l i g h t . " (p.114) Kip, blinded because he betrayed James' trust and perverted his unique g i f t of perception, accepts his a l t e r e d state and finds a place f o r himself at F e l i x Prosper's; Lenchen i s transformed from g u i l t ( " a l l because of me the whole world's "The Elements Transcended," Can. L i t . 42, p.57. wrecked" (p.117) ) to a madonna, bearing new hope for them a l l . Even her b i t t e r mother i s able to open her heart and prepare a welcome for the new c h i l d . The community experi-ences a c o l l e c t i v e miracle of u n i f i c a t i o n , centering on F e l i x ' s housej i t i s marked outwardly by the b i r t h of Len-chen and James' c h i l d and by F e l i x ' s experience of transcen-dence as he watches the b i r t h i "If only he could shed his f l e s h , moult and feather again, he might begin once more. His eyelids dropped. His f l e s h melted. He rose from the bed on soft owl wings. And below he saw his old body crouched down l i k e an ox by the manger." (p.126) He i s the s p i r i t -ual father of the new baby, and of the renewed community, just as James i s the physical one. The v i c t o r y of l i f e and unity over the d i v i s i v e forces of fear i s accomplished; a new order, more v i t a l and more humane, has replaced the old. The c l a r i t y and concentration of the dialogue and description i n the novel are outstanding. The work ap-pears simple because of the spareness of the s t y l e and the primitive, c i r c u l a r movement from death to l i f e which i s simultaneously i t s structure and i t s content. It has a c l a s s i c a l e f f e c t , a f e e l i n g of ongoing truth which i s not bounded by s p e c i f i c time or place or people, and t h i s ele-mental nature i s emphasized by the fact that the l i n e s be-tween man and the land are blurred,*; Greta's housecoat, f o r example, makes her appear to be "a tangle of wild flowers grown up between them," (p.62) and the old woman i s inex-t r i c a b l e from the entire landscape. Coyote, who makes fear a r t i c u l a t e , i s both animal and human, a totemic figure of prophecy and adversity. He speaks l a s t ; i t i s clear that the new order i s not a simple replacement of the old re-pression with unrestricted freedom, but something more sub-t l e and d i f f i c u l t ! an acceptance of the dual nature of exis-tence, and a r e f u s a l to l e t the presence of fear continue to block everything p o s i t i v e . Fear i s s t i l l present, but i t i s no longer a l l . As the c h i l d ' s b i r t h symbolizes hope, Coyote's f i n a l message i s a reminder of the price of hope: l i f e i s both pain and pleasure, and i f the pain i s not ac-cepted, there can be no l i f e at a l l , only a barren nothing-ness. L i f e i s a double hook, and both sides are swallowed together or not at a l l : "when you f i s h f o r the glory you catch the darkness too. . . . i f you hook twice the glory you hook twice the fear." (p.61) This i s the same theme as that of The Loved and the Lost and The Watch That Ends  the Night. Only through a f u l l acceptance of l i f e with a l l i t s contradictions, apparent i n j u s t i c e s and c r u e l t i e s , i t s immutable death sentence, can one t r u l y l i v e with free-dom and joy. George Stewart f i n a l l y comes to accept the double-edged nature of l i f e , the meaningful paradox which can be grasped only with f a i t h . He i s describing what Shfela Watson c a l l s the double hook when he says, "This, which i s darkness, also i s l i g h t . This, which i s no, also i s yes. This, which i s hatred, also i s love. This, which i s fear, also i s courage. This, which i s defeat, also i s v i c t o r y . " The Double Hook succeeds to a greater extent i n communica-t i n g t h i s truth than does The Watch That Ends The Night; i t i s a better book, more consistent, intense, and o r i g i n a l . Its images form an e f f e c t i v e , integrated pattern which i s as spare, complex, and c a r e f u l l y structured as a poem. The r e l i g i o u s or mystical truth embodied i n i t i s more suited to t h i s pseudo-poetic form than to the broad s o c i a l surface of MacLennan's novel. The Double Hook also surpasses The  Loved and the Lost, because i t makes no pretence at realism. It i s not anchored so s p e c i f i c a l l y i n one time and place; i t has a timeless, transcendent q u a l i t y which i s necessary to properly support the s p i r i t u a l and mythological content. The Loved and the Lost s t r i v e s f o r t h i s , but Callaghan weakens his e f f e c t by placing the entire burden of creating and carrying t h i s aspect on one character, Peggy; her function i n the novel thus i s o l a t e s her from the other characters and disrupts the novel's unity. A l l the characters i n The  Double Hook are symbolic; a l l inhabit the same kind of r e a l i t y and r e f l e c t a correspondence between t h e i r inner selves and the external landscape of t h e i r l i v e s . The  Double Hook says e s s e n t i a l l y the same thing as the other two novels, but i t says i t much more e f f e c t i v e l y . A novel which deals with the same basic theme, but handles i t from an extremely unusual angle, i s Adele Wise-man's The S a c r i f i c e . The novel i s unique i n that i t i s the only example i n recent Canadian f i c t i o n of a book writ-ten by a woman but concerned almost exclusively with a mascu-l i n e protagonist; the book's s u b t i t l e i s "a novel of fathers and sons." One of the things which i s immediately obvious about the character of Abraham i s the extent to which he assumes a rol e customarily designated as feminine i n non-Jewish North American culture. His background i s strongly p a t r i a r c h a l ; because of t h i s , many of the "natural" pre-rogatives which women o r d i n a r i l y enjoy because of t h e i r a b i l i t y to give b i r t h are superseded and replaced by male ceremonies and priveleges. In countless ways, Abraham assumes f u l l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for a l l of his family's a f f a i r s . His wife, Sarah, plays only a minor ro l e i n the family and in the novel. It i s Abraham who chooses t h e i r house and plans i t s imrovements, consulting his son Isaac but not his wife. As a parent, he f i l l s the place of both father and mother, reducing Sarah's a c t i v i t y i n t h i s area to a marginal l e v e l . His memory of his dead sons i s passionate; as he states f l a t l y to Chaim, his children were hi s whole purposes "my mission was my family, to bring up my sons." When Isaac approaches them, ?he says simply, "My l i f e . " (p .60) Sarah's r e l a t i v e unimportance i s r e f l e c t e d i n the p o r t r a i t s of the other women i n the novel. Almost a l l are two-3-* Adele Wiseman, The S a c r i f i c e (New York: The Viking Press, 1956), p.59. Other quotes w i l l be indicated by page number i n the text. dimensional, narrow creations who serve merely to f i l l i n the background dominated by Abraham. They are types, not people: Sarah, the meek, de^feated wife; Laiah, the grossly sensual semi-prostitute; Mrs. Knopp, the a s p i r i n g s o c i a l climber, and Mrs. Plopler, the narrow-minded gossip. Only Ruth, Abraham's daughter-in-law, has some elements of com-l e x i t y . The emphasis throughout the novel i s almost to-t a l l y on Abraham and, to a lesser extent, Isaac. The s a c r i f i c i a l theme i s central to many novels pub-l i s h e d i n Canada over the l a s t two decades; The Loved and the  Lost i s one example of the recurrent pattern. Peggy Sander-son t r i e s to l i v e by love and not by fear, embracing rather than excluding that which her c u l t u r a l background rejects as foreign. She i s f i n a l l y s a c r i f i c e d to the desire of those around her to remain i s o l a t e d , to maintain b a r r i e r s between themselves. The v i s i o n which motivates Peggy (as well as Catherine i n The Watch That Ends the Night and the entire structure of The Double Hook) i s of a world perfect i n i t s imperfections; D.G. Jones describes the v i s i o n as one which "not only comprehends s u f f e r i n g and death but sees i n them 35 the conditions that make possible the highest human values." Abraham i s no stranger to suf f e r i n g , having l i v e d through the apparently purposeless tragedy of his sons' murder, and he hopes desperately that he w i l l not be required to s a c r i -35 B u t t e r f l y on Rock, p.139. f i c e his t h i r d son too. Although i t i s not possible f o r Isaac to study as long as Abraham would l i k e , he grows and works and Abraham i s proud of him. Like his father, Isaac sees himself as one who nurtures; thinking of his family, he f e e l s that "he himself would keep them a l i v e , feed them from his inexhaustible store of life-energy." ( p . l 4 l ) But i t i s only a moment l a t e r that he has his f i r s t serious attack of i l l n e s s , and not long afterwards he takes the act i o n which ultimately r e s u l t s i n his death. Abraham sees him carrying the S c r o l l s from the burning synagogue " l i k e a r e v e l a t i o n bursting from the flaming heavens" (pp.195-6) surrounded by f i r e and glory. Isaac never quite recovers from t h i s experience; his claustrophobic dreams of entrapment torture him while he grows p h y s i c a l l y weaker. It i s i r o n i c but p e r f e c t l y con-s i s t e n t with the story that the Torah he rescued from des-t r u c t i o n at the cost of his l i f e i s a symbol of his father's, not his own, b e l i e f s ; the story i s Abraham's, and he never r e a l l y sees his son nor accepts i n him anything which he does not wish to see. It i s because of t h i s w i l f u l b l i n d -ness that Isaac i s , i n a sense, s a c r i f i c e d by his father. Ruth has been aware of i t , and a f t e r Isaac's death there i s c o n f l i c t between her and her father-in-law. On the night of t h e i r f i n a l argument, she accuses him of d r i v i n g Isaa to deaths "You wanted one son should make up for three. What did you care that God only gave him heart enough fo r one." (p.290) The centre of the novel, the meaning of the s a c r i f i c i a l r i t u a l , i s c l o s e l y t i e d to Abraham's p a t r i a r c h a l background. The r i t u a l of s a c r i f i c e i s , e s s e n t i a l l y , a substitute f o r the natural act of b i r t h : the sacredness of creation, of giving l i f e , i s replaced by the sacredness of taking i t . The s a c r i f i c i a l slaughter, l i k e b i r t h , i s a mystery. For Abraham, i t was also an i n i t i a t i o n into adulthood and a transcendent, god-like experience, which he describes i n words which could apply equally well to the act of giving b i r t h : " i t was not u n t i l a f t e r I had been forced to take a l i f e that I r e a l l y changed and was no longer a c h i l d . . . . Who has to take a l i f e stands alone on the edge of creation. Only God can understand him then. . . . I f e l t as though I had suddenly been taken out of myself, as though t h i s moment did not r e a l l y exist and as though i t had existed forever, as though i t had never begun and would never end." (p.37) Along with the fear and horror he f e l t at being forced to k i l l , there i s a sense of indes-cribable power. Abraham cannot r e s i s t the temptation to see himself as god-like, the creator and destroyer of l i f e . In his discussion of procreation with Isaac, the motif recurs; he replaces the b i o l o g i c a l facts of l i f e with a version i n which man i s the sole giver of l i f e , l i k e God, and woman merely the ine r t s o i l i n which the l i f e grows: "a man could be compared to the wind, which must r i f f l e through l i f e , always seeking. A woman waits, rooted i n the earth, l i k e a tree, l i k e a flower. Patiently she l i f t s her face to receive the g i f t of the wind. Suddenly he sweeps across the earth and stoops to blow the dust. Then she comes to l i f e ; she seizes i t , clasps i t , and works with i t the miracle of creation." (p.110) Abraham i s very proud of his o r i g i n a l i t y i n describing creation thus, but the prototype i s the B i b l i c a l story of God's creation of man. In the confused depression into which Abraham f a l l s a f t e r Isaac's death, aggravated f o r him by Ruth's growing independence, he comes to spend some time with Laiah. He does not l i k e her, but he i s lonely and they are thrown together p a r t l y by circumstance. Slowly, she comes to repre-sent, i n his mind, a l l that i s s t e r i l e and unnatural, l i k e the deaths of three sons before t h e i r father: " A l l her l i f e from the time when he had f i r s t heard of her she had used the means and denied the end. She was l i k e a great over-r i p e f r u i t without seed, which hung now, long past i t s season, on the bough. . . . She had denied creation, and to deny i s to a n n i h i l a t e . " (p.261) On the night of his quarrel with Ruth when she accuses him of k i l l i n g Isaac with his expectations, he goes to Laiah. He i s tempo-r a r i l y insane; a l l his repressed g u i l t and f r u s t r a t i o n come o. to the surface. Believing that he has f i n a l l y come to her for love, Laiah experiences an unaccustomed hope (which renders the ensuing dialogue even more grotesque) that he w i l l compensate for a l l her disappointments and "give her back more, a l l that had been taken and a l l that had been f r e e l y given." (p.295) Abraham i s not sure at f i r s t why he i s there, and they engage i n a conversation which i s an exercise i n almost t o t a l misunderstanding on both sides; for her, i t i s a r i t u a l of love and for him, one of death. Abraham's mind fastens on words and phrases which b u i l d his conviction that she i s "the other part of him—that was empty, unbelieving, the negation of l i f e , the womb of death. . . . Did he come at l a s t to accept the shadow, to embrace the emptiness, to acknowledge h'is oneness with the f r u i t without seed, with death, his other s e l f ? " (p.300) Thus projecting onto Laiah that part of himself which he cannot accept, he grows more and more desperate: he wants to do the impossible, to k i l l death. He begins to believe that she i s mocking the death of his sons, and as he h e s i -tates on the brink of taking her life>?hshe, s t i l l thinking of love, urges him to hurry. In that moment, i n his confu-sion between l i f e and death, she appears b e a u t i f u l to him for the f i r s t time; he i s standing once again "on the brink of creation where l i f e and death waver toward each other . . . now was the time f o r the c i r c l e to close, to enclose him i n i t s safety, i n i t s peace." (p.303) Once again he i s illuminated by the s a c r i f i c i a l r i t u a l , but the truth which flashes into him now i s of his t r a g i c s e l f -deception. Almost before the act i t s e l f i s complete, the word " L i f e " rings i n his mind and he begs Laiah to l i v e again. He i s made b l i n d i n g l y aware of that which he had t r i e d to denyi that l i f e i s precious above a l l things, and inseperable from death. His r e f u s a l to accept the death of h i s sons and his wish f o r god-like powers of creation have led him to the destruction of l i f e , and he r e a l i z e s that the "womb of death" i s not within Laiah, but himself. He understands himself at l a s t , seeing the arrogance of his denial of death i n himself. He sees that the negation and the emptiness were his own, that "I have taken l i f e . . . that I have k i l l e d my sons, that I have made myself equal with my enemies, that i t was i n me, womb of death, f e s t e r -ing, i n no one else. . . . It was i n me. I was not content to be as He w i l l e d i t . I wanted more. I had to be creator and destroyer." (p.326) In the insane asylum he i s humble, f u l l of love and tenderness, no longer angry even with himself but f i l l e d with sadness and acceptance. "I took what was not mine to take," fte-tells his grandson Moses. "What was given to me to hold gently i n my hands, to look at with wonder." (p.344) Here, as i n The Double Hook, there i s a resolution at the end and a hope i n the new generation. While s t i l l young, Moses learns from Abraham the truth which his grand-father a r r i v e d at so l a t e and with so much d i f f i c u l t y : that the enemy i s not external. His hand, and the hand of his grandfather, "the hand of a murderer," (p.3^5) are not so d i f f e r e n t : Abraham's hand i s strong, warm, and fuses n a t u r a l l y with his own. The boy f e e l s love f o r the old man. By t h i s acceptance, Moses i s freed from the bitterness of the past, his heart i s opened, and the chains of denial, misunder-standing, and repression are loosened. Once again the point i s made that true freedom l i e s i n being caught on the hook which has points of both transcendence and death, i n being committed to l i f e i t s e l f . The theme of a l l four novels might be rephrased as a question from John Glassco's poem, " V i l l a n e l l e " : "Why has the darkness and the distance 36 grown,/Why do we fear to l e t the stranger i n ? " and i n each case, the answer i s the same. The stranger i s the s e l f , and through understanding and acceptance of the stranger within, fear loses i t s stranglehold and becomes just another of many experiences, not the b l i n d r u l e r of a whole l i f e . 36-Love Where The Nights Are Long (ed. Irving Layton) (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1962), p.33. THE IMPORTANCE OF POINT OF VIEW: DISTANCE AND IDENTIFICATION IN TWO NOVELS BY ETHEL WILSON The f i c t i o n of Ethel Wilson, l i k e that of most Canadian women authors, deals almost exclusively with female charac-t e r s . The p o r t r a i t s of men i n her books tend to be s l i g h t ; they are introduced mainly to move the plot along or to f i l l out the pictures of the central women. Her f i c t i o n does not, however, follow a s t r i c t formula: considerable v a r i a -t i o n i n the a u t h o r i a l point of view re s u l t s i n the creation of unique and memorable characters. Of those novels i n which there exists a f a i r l y close i d e n t i f i c a t i o n between author and protagonist, Swamp Angel i s the most e f f e c t i v e . The Inno-cent T r a v e l l e r , also excellent i n i t s way, i s more biography than f i c t i o n , and Hetty Dorval and Love and Salt Water are less f u l l y r e a l i z e d . The two novellas which comprise The  Equations of Love are the best example of Mrs. Wilson's s t y l e and characterization when the point of view i s more detached. There i s l i t t l e or no i d e n t i f i c a t i o n between the author and the heroines of The Equations of Love. Both Tuesday  and Wednesday and L i l l y ' s Story are the creations of a con-sciousness which very obviously feels i t s e l f superior to i t s work. There i s an element of mockery, a patronizing l i g h t -ness of tone i n Mrs. Wilson's approach to her characters i n t h i s book. This q u a l i t y appears to r e s u l t i n part from the fact that she i s dealing with people from a lower s o c i a l class than herself; Myrtle Johnson i s a cleaning woman, while L i l l y i s f i r s t a waitress i n a Chinese restaurant, then a servant, and f i n a l l y a h o s p i t a l housekeeper. Both women are e s s e n t i a l l y two-dimensional, although c l e v e r l y drawn. They are s t r i k i n g , as f i c t i o n a l caricatures often are, but neither i s developed f u l l y enough as a character to r a i s e her story above the l e v e l of an extended anecdote. Tuesday and Wednesday i s less a u n i f i e d short novel than an entertaining c o l l e c t i o n of personality sketches. Myr-t l e Johnson controls the novella, as she controls her hus-band Mort, by apparently inexplicable s h i f t s of temperament. Mort's f i r s t , necessary consideration each morning i s whether Myrtle was "pleased l a s t night and w i l l she be pleased 37 t h i s morning when she wakes up, or am I i n wrong again . . . " In a d d i t i o n to being "a complete mistress (or victim) of the volte-face, of the turnabout," (p.6) she has a way of droop-ing her eyelids that can make anyone except Aunty Emblem "f e e l insecure and n e g l i g i b l e . " (p.6) To the author, her enigmatic manner i s merely a way of b u l l y i n g people, and she dwells at some length on Myrtle's i n j u s t i c e to the woman on the bus and to her employer, Mrs. Lemoyne. It i s clear i n 37 Ethel Wilson, The Equations of Love (London: MacMillan & Co., Ltd., 1952), p.5. Other quotes from th i s novel w i l l be indicated by page mamber i n the text. both incidents that Mrs. Wilson i s s l i g h t l y defensive about her own p o s i t i o n v i s - a - v i s her cleaning-lady character; she takes pains to vindicate the woman with the a l l i g a t o r shoes whom Myrtle has contemptuously dismissed as "a society woman." (p.10) "The woman was a c t u a l l y a school teacher on leave of absetoce, and she had put her small house to r i g h t s , prepared dinner ahead of time, packed her nephews down to the beach with t h e i r lunches, put on her best clothes of which she was very proud, and was going to have lunch with her favourite s i s t e r - i n - l a w to show her the new a l l i g a t o r shoes." (p.10) Mrs. Lemoyne i s not defended quite so ex-p l i c i t l y , but her t i m i d i t y i s treated sympathetically and Myrtle i s c r i t i c i z e d f o r exp l o i t i n g i t . This marked sensi-t i v i t y to s o c i a l differences intrudes i n an odd way be-tween the author and her character, creating a distance which, although not bad i n i t s e l f , tends at times to sound sarcas-t i c and carping. She i s even more patronizing towards Mort, but her basic c r i t i c i s m of him i s the same as that of Myrtle t he i s lazy, r e b e l l i o u s , and gives himself a i r s to which he i s not e n t i t l e d by his st a t i o n i n l i f e . When his employer deserts him at her husband's return, Mort tum-bles from his fantasy of himself as "successful male, suc-c e s s f u l gardener, o ld and trusted employee, unique land-scaper" to "a working man insu l t e d and snubbed by a r i c h man who ho doubt had made h i s money by g r a f t , " (p.17) an att i t u d e of working-class defensiveness with which Mrs. Wilson i s obviously out of sympathy. % A J i f f f f This edge of apparent snobbery i n the author's a t t i t u d e i s repeated i n her description of other aspects of Myrtle's l i f e ; she i s presented as unimaginative, s e l f i s h , and not very clean: "she did not see that the room was dingy and needed cleaning. . . . that there was no attempt at cheer or colour i n the room; that, i n short, everything was uni-formly dingy and need not be so." (p.8) Even when Myrtle appears to t r y to do something nice, i t i s dismissed as mere play-acting: "by the time she had climbed the two uncar-peted f l i g h t s of s t a i r s to the top of the house, she was the housewife, the loving wife u n s e l f i s h l y arranging a pleasant evening f o r Mortimer." (p.18) When she learns that Mort has been drowned while i n the company of his f r i e n d Eddy Hansen (an event so major compared to the succession of small anecdotes which precede i t that i t almost unbalances the novella completely) her tears quickly give way to "rage and scorn and hate." (p.118) She i s concerned only with her own image: "For her, Myrtle Johnson that was Myrtle Hopwood, to be now an object of p i t y as a woman whose husband was no good, and had died a drunken death i n poor company— . . . a l l t h i s was not to be borne by Myrtle." (p.119) So b i t t e r i s she at t h i s blow to her self-esteem that, had Mort reap-peared, "she would not have welcomed him back to the l i v i n g ; she would have r e v i l e d him; she might have struck him." (p.U19) Only the surp r i s i n g insistence of Vicky T r i t t that Mort i s a hero and Myrtle a hero's widow makes i t possible f o r Myrtle to think kindly of him agains a l l i s surface, a l l i s ego. The other characters i n the story are equally two-dimensional, although somewhat more sympathetically presen-ted. Aunty Emblem i s the pe r f e c t l y womanly woman, a stereo-type which i s s u p e r f i c i a l but a t t r a c t i v e . Her lower-class c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are included i n the p o r t r a i t — s h e reads movie magazines, dyes her ha i r , wears too much rouge, and plays cards with her gentlemen friends on Saturday n i g h t — but they are played down i n contrast to the description of Myrtle. The author i s tolerant, even fond, of Aunty Em-blem. She may play-act too, but she does i t n i c e l y ; she i s a "comely golden old comedy actress playing her part very w e l l . " (pp.23-4) She i s soft , f orgiving, a good manager of men, "born to be a wife and a mistress, and to each of her three husbands she has been honest wife and true mis-t r e s s . ^ (p5D She would pamper a husband when he drank too much, not scold him; i n t h i s and other things she seems designed to put Myrtle to shame. Mrs. Wilson's patronizing tone i s s t i l l d i s c e r n i b l e , but i t i s softer and more bene-volent. The other woman i n the story, V i c t o r i a May T r i t t , i s Mrs. Emblem's opposite. While Aunty Emblem knows nothing else, Vicky T r i t t "does not know what i t feels l i k e to be a woman." (p.56) She i s almost pathologically shy, a spinster who i s so repressed and colourless that she makes Rachel Cameron of A Jest of God seem vibrant and daring by-contrast. The chapter devoted to describing Vicky's l i f e i s a set-piece, a s t r i k i n g picture of a figure who i s as close to zero, i n terms of personality, as i t i s possible to get and yet r e t a i n some i d e n t i t y as a human being. As Aunty Emblem observes, no one wants her; her only t i e s are to her employer, her landlady, and her cousin Myrtle, none of whom have any personal i n t e r e s t i n her. "She i s anony-mous, as a f l y i s anonymous." (p.66) Sometimes she feels lonely, but she i s not often aware of i t ; she l i v e s i n a routine which somehow manages to f i l l the seven days of the week. Romance and excitement touch her l i f e only through the "Personal" i n the c l a s s i f i e d advertisements. It i s Vicky, however, who transforms Mort into a hero with her amazing l i e (which i s i r o n i c a l l y close to the truth) to Myrtle, an action so out of character and so astonishing that i t eclipses Mort's death and makes i t seem almost mun-dane i n comparison. It i s Vicky's story which i s the r e a l climax of Tuesday and Wednesday. The novella, ultimately, i s a t r i v i a l work. The author's position of supe r i o r i t y i n regard to her charac-ters i s too obvious, while the cleverness of her descrip-t i o n r e s u l t s i n a series of sk i l f u l l y - e x e c u t e d sketches held together very loosely by an a n t i c l i m a c t i c p l o t . It i s not r e a l l y a novel, nor yet a short story, but something between the two: an episode padded with set-pieces of description and characterization. The character vignettes are si m i l a r to those i n The Innocent T r a v e l l e r , but i n Tuesday and Wed-nesday they are required to bear the whole weight of the f i c t i o n ' s content, and they are not enough i n themselves to be s a t i s f y i n g . In L i l l y ' s Story, the other section of The Equations of Love, the author does not d i s l i k e her main character as much as she does Myrtle. There i s no temptation to assume that Mrs. Wilson a c t u a l l y i d e n t i f i e s with L i l l y , however; once again, although some admiration for L i l l y i s expressed, the viewpoint i s from a pos i t i o n of supe r i o r i t y . In terms of p l o t , L i l l y ' s Story Is an i n t e l l e c t u a l i z e d "True Confes-sion": L i l l y comes from a "bad" family i n which the mother i s portrayed as an irresponsible drunkard and the father a woman-chaser; she herself i s eas i l y bought by a Chinese houseboy i n return f o r a few stolen presents; she has an i l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d , goes str a i g h t , pays for her crime with years of devoted service to the ide a l of r e s p e c t a b i l i t y , and i s f i n a l l y rewarded by marriage to a decent man. The i n i t i a l descriptions of L i l l y are harsh. She i s "the pale s l u t " (p.145) running from the police , a "homeless worthless b i t c h " (p.164) who l i v e s with a miner because i t "seemed the easiest thing to do." (p . l 6 l ) She i s to be saved, however, and the thing which saves her i s her desire for r e s p e c t a b i l i t y . This foreign idea i s born i n her by her encounter with the wealthy young g i r l s i n the Nanaimo grocery shop. L i l l y , on seeing them, "was conscious of something bright and sure which these g i r l s had and which she had not. She could not see what i t was,,nor touch i t ; but i t was bright and sure, bright and sure. L i l l y suddenly f e l t cheap and dusty." (p.166) This f i r s t i n k l i n g of a v a s t l y d i f f e r e n t way to l i v e becomes a passion to L i l l y , and the b i r t h of her daughter i n t e n s i -f i e s i t . She names the baby Eleanor, a f t e r one of the g i r l s i n the shop, and she herself i s transformed into Firs. Walter Hughes, the widow of a farmer. She dedicates he r s e l f to the notion that "Baby must be l i k e f o l k s " (p.173) and she i s quick to learn the ways of Major Butler's household, quick to sense the correct ways of gaining favour. Here again, as i n Tuesday and Wednesday, there i s a picture of a mistress-servant r e l a t i o n s h i p which, while drawn p r i -marily from the servant's point of view, i s strongly sym-pathetic to the mistress. L i l l y i s single-mindedly maternal, i n her narrow way; her "whole body and s p i r i t which had never known a direc-t i o n were now s o l e l y directed towards giving Baby every-thing that L i l l y could give her." (p.173) She cooljty avoids an entanglement with Major Butler, for Eleanor's sake. She works hard and keeps to h e r s e l f , apparently requiring no physical, i n t e l l e c t u a l , or emotional s a t i s f a c t i o n of any kind except for the reward of seeing that her daughter i s "not common. She's better than f o l k s , she's l i k e she was Mrs. Butler's k i d . " (p.187) The event which makes her leave the security of the Butler's i s hearing Eleanor referr e d to casually as "the maid's c h i l d ; " (p.195) t h i s i s enough, with her new system of values, to make her look for a more respected and independent kind of occupation. She becomes the housekeeper of a country h o s p i t a l , remaining there u n t i l Eleanor has grown up and f a r beyond L i l l y h e r s e l f . Through-out the years at the h o s p i t a l , L i l l y ' s single-mindedness makes her refuse the p o s s i b i l i t y of an advantageous marriage to the chairman of the h o s p i t a l Board, and r u t h l e s s l y repress i n h e r s e l f the strong a t t r a c t i o n she feels for Paddy Wilkes. Her s a c r i f i c e s are rewarded; Eleanor grows up to be a well-educated, cultured and sen s i t i v e woman with whom L i l l y has almost nothing i n common and whom she does not understand. With the reappearhace of Yow, the Chinese ghost of her distant past, L i l l y f l e e s from the h o s p i t a l where she has worked f o r twenty-five years. But she has been punished enough; she has earned some peace and security. Once safe i n Toronto, she begins to take a l i t t l e interest i n her ap-pearnace, meets a d u l l but kindly widower, and agrees to marry him: "She would be without fear; nothing, surely, could touch her now. There would be security and a l i f e of her very own i n the house of Mr. and Mrs. Sprockett." (p.277) Mr. Sprockett does not seem to be a very great reward for so many years of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e , but t h i s i s perhaps another instance of Mrs. Wilson's rather smug way of dealing with characters of a lower s o c i a l c l a s s . Not knowing them per-sonally, she apparently assumes that they are simple, and i t i s for t h i s reason that L i l l y ' s Story, l i k e Tuesday and  Wednesday, i s somewhat disappointing. It too has some ex-ce l l e n t set-pieces of description, and short pictures of at least two women who r i s e above the li m i t a t i o n s placedd&n the others (Mrs. Butler and the wise, kindly matron of the hos-p i t a l ) but the plot i s weak and L i l l y ' s character and motiva-t i o n unconvincing. It must be concluded that Ethel Wilson i s dealing with the unknown when she attempts to present the feelings and ideas of the central women i n The Equations of  Love : she makes i n t e l l i g e n t guesses and indulges i n specu-lations which are often i n t e r e s t i n g , but the sto r i e s operate almost exclusively i n a s o c i a l sphere. They are not deeply engrossing, because of thi s narrowness of focus, and the characters lack depth and believable complexity. The author's point of view i n regard to her main charac-te r i n Swamp Angel i s r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t from that of the novellas. Maggie Lloyd i s a f u l l y three-dimensional charac-t e r , a s t r i k i n g woman who has her f a i r share of weaknesses and more than enough strengths to compensate for them. There i s a s l i g h t family resemblance between her and L i l l y : both women can be resolute and s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g i n order to gain an objective, and both are remarkably s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t , but Maggie i s fa r more i n t e l l i g e n t , s e n s i t i v e , and aware of the beauty and complexity of the world around her. L i l l y can see l i t t l e beyond her goal f o r her daughter. Maggie, much more imaginative and conscious of the people and things sur-rounding her, i s both more c r i t i c a l and more compassion-ate than L i l l y . S i m i l a r l y , Mrs. Severance i n Swamp Angel i s reminiscent of Aunty Emblem i n Tuesday and Wednesday, but she too i s a more f u l l y developed character and i s more understanding, sophisticated and a r t i c u l a t e than Mrs. Emblem. The tone of Swamp Angel i s markedly d i f f e r e n t from that of The Equations of Love as a re s u l t of the s h i f t i n Mrs. Wilson's point of view. Instead of condescension, which i n t h i s novel i s reserved for the r e l a t i v e l y minor characters of Edward Vardoe and Vera Gunnarsen, there i s a strong sense of a u t h o r i a l approval of the main characters, and espe c i a l l y of Maggie. The awareness of mystery and harmony which i s the book's central theme i s expressed mainly through the development of t h i s character. Maggie's integration with the motion and flow of the natural world i s a s p i r i t u a l journey which begins when she escapes from the c i t y and an inharmonious marriage to a man she does not respect, and she i s symbolically reborn into singleness and newness during her stay on the Similkameen River. Her sanisatHiiXHg outstanding c h a r a c t e r i s t i c , the most C h r i s t - l i k e one a hu-man may possess, i s compassion. As her desertion of Edward shows, however, she i s capable of an almost ruthless resolu-t i o n i n pursuing what i s r i g h t and good for her. Maggie i s not a common f i c t i o n a l woman i n that she i s both sym-pathetic to the reader and yet endowed with a strong and unmistakeable w i l l . Part of the reader's sympathy i s e l i c i t e d because Edward i s so thoroughly unlikeable. He i s a "human 38 d o l l , " a mechanical man f r a n t i c with ego, a mink with sharp teeth, a dog with spaniel eyes. It seems inconceivable that Maggie could have married such a man i n the f i r s t place, but Ethel Wilson ast u t e l y places the motivation within that aspect of Maggie's personality which i s most dominant: she married him because i t i s her nature to care f o r others. It was "an act of compassion and f a t a l s t u p i d i t y . " (p.16) This surprising juxtaposition of concepts i s only one of many instances which make cl e a r that even the most apparent-l y benevolent q u a l i t i e s and acts can be double-edged. Closely r e l a t e d to the natural symbolism which carr i e s much of the novel's meaning i s the characterization of Maggie as a swimmer. The image occurs f i r s t a f t e r her ob-servation of the b a t t l e between the eagle and the osprey (a passage which i s much better integrated thematically than the s i m i l a r one i n L i l l y ' s Story): "As she returned to the shore and r e a l i t y , Maggie f e l t l i k e a swimmer who w i l l dive i n , and w i l l swim strongly, t h i s way, that way, 38 Ethel Wilson, Swamp Angel (n.p.: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1962), p.26. Other quotes from t h i s novel w i l l be indicated by page reference i n the text. straight ahead, as he s h a l l choose. But he w i l l swim." (p.90) The image i s expanded as her relationships with others, es p e c i a l l y Vera, are described i n terms of i t s "Maggie thought sometimes It's l i k e swimming; i t i s very good, i t ' s nice, she thought, t h i s new l i f e , . . . but now I am alone and, l i k e a swimmer, I have to make my way on my own power. Swimming i s l i k e l i v i n g , i t i s done alone. . . . I w i l l swim past obstacles (Vera i s sometimes an ob-stacle) because I am a strong swimmer." (p.99) The a b i l i t y to swim i s ce n t r a l to her characterization. Because of i t , the water transforms her into something graceful and beauti-f u l , (a seal or a god) but i f she could not swim, i t "would no doubt k i l l her and think nothing of i t . " (p.llDO) Ed-ward, i n contrast to Maggie, cannot swim; he i s i n danger of drowning i n his s e l f - p i t y before Mrs. Severance rescues him. She warns him that he " w i l l go down and out of s i g h t " (p.48) i f he does not change his ways and t r y to swim a l i t t l e . It may be d i f f i c u l t ; even Maggie sometimes f a l -ters s "It was not so easy sometimes to say I am a swimmer and I swim round obstacles. The words became smug and f l a t u -l e n t . " (p.140) Her self-doubt has good grounds! she i s not a paper figure, and she has major struggles and t r i a l s i n the novel. It i s i n her r e l a t i o n s h i p with Vera Gunnarsen that her weaknesses are most f u l l y exposed. Vera i s Mag-gie's a n t i t h e s i s : she i s weak, s e l f - p i t y i n g , u n i n t e l l i g e n t and jealous of Maggie. Because of her self-centeredness, her r e f u s a l or i n a b i l i t y to lay down her unhappy past, she poisons the l i f e of her family and i s constantly out of har-mony with her environment. For her, the natural world i s threatening. Trees s t r i k e out at her and she cannot f i n d a path through the dark woods; she even t r i e s to drown her s e l f i n the lake where Maggie swims with so much pleasure. The curse she labours under i s v i v i d l y a r t i c u a l t e d by Mrs. Severance, who sees her as "the unhappy Vera; house-bound without an opening window, hell-bound, I think." (p.152) In the context of Maggie's r e l a t i o n s h i p with Vera, the description of her stay at Three Loon Lake as "a happy marriage" (p.84) i s heavily i r o n i c . The dapable Maggie takes over most of Vera's duties at the lodge, and her as-sumption of control i s apparently " j u s t i f i e d " because she i s helping Vera, who cannot manage alone. She handles Vera's resentment and weaknesses as well as she can, and her s e l f -confidence i s hardly disturbed even by Vera's strongest out-bursts: "she was deeply hurt and she was angry, but she knew that she was stronger-and she thought that she was wiser, too-than Vera . . . " (p.89) The language i n t h i s passage i s c l e a r l y that of a struggle for power, and Mag-gie i s eventually defeated, at least temporarily. Her de-feat i s due to her overconfidence i n her own a b i l i t i e s as much as to Vera's stubbornness: "With a l l her f i n e t a l k and with a l l her high thinking she had not been able to cope with one unhappy human being. . . . Human re l a t i o n s . . . how they defeat us." (p.142) Maggie appears at her worst i n t h i s incident. Her c a p a b i l i t y s l i p s over the l i n e into domination and manipulation, and she i s not only unkind but also h y p o c r i t i c a l to Vera, whose pent-up anger i s touched off by Haldar's o f f e r of t h e i r house to Maggie for the win-te r . Maggie h i t s back i n a way which i s as unfair as i t i s harsh: "You l i t t l e damn f o o l . You should go down on your knees and be thankful. You s t i l l have your husband and your c h i l d , don't you?" (p.89) Both Vera and the reader are t o t a l l y unprepared f o r t h i s . The statement has nothing to do with the r e a l c o n f l i c t between the two women, and seems to be nothing more than a cheap t r i c k of Maggie's to shame Vera. She had no previous knowledge of the facts of Maggie's l i f e , and such a crushing remark allows no r e j o i n -der. Vera i s l e f t with her i n i t i a l anger unresolved, and an a d d i t i o n a l burden of unearned g u i l t . The statement that Vera should go down on her knees i n gratitude because she s t i l l has her husband and c h i l d i s absurd; Haldar i s pre-sented as cold, gruff, unreasonable, and h o s t i l e to his wife. The fact that Maggie her s e l f deserted her husband makes her admonition to Vera dishonest as well as cr u e l . Does she apply a d i f f e r e n t standard to Vera, or i s Haldar irreproachable because he l i k e s f i s h i n g and the outdoors, as Maggie's father and f i r s t husband did? Maggie's inex-p l i c a b l e a t t i t u d e on t h i s point i s revealed again the night that Vera attempts suicide; i n c r e d i b l y , Maggie t e l l s her that she i s "a happy woman with a husband and a c h i l d and a home." (p.89) This i s the only occasion on which Maggie i s presented i n a t r u l y unsympathetic way, however. There are elements of ambiguity i n the response of others to her, expressed mainly through the conditional language used i n the d i c t i o n ("perhaps she was b e a u t i f u l , " (p.14) "he thought she seemed strong" (p.75) ) "but there i s no question about the essen-t i a l s u p e r i o r i t y of her character. She i s perceptive, prac-t i c a l , and kind; she rescues A l l a n from loneliness and old Mr. Cunningham from the cold; i n the end she i s even ready to try to rescue Vera from her self-destructiveness. The novel i s an account of the freeing and strengthening of her most authentic s e l f , that s e l f which i s b e a u t i f u l , "divine and human i n . . . s e l f - f o r g e t f u l n e s s . " (p.91) If i t i s sometimes necessary f o r her to be ruthless or to appear almost arrogantly s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t i n order to achieve t h i s , i t i s an acceptable paradox and one which i s quite i n keep-ing with the r e l i g i o u s aspect of her development; she re-nounces much of the ordinary human experience i n order to achieve a deeper harmony with a l l of creation, the "miraculous interweaving" (p.150) of which she i s so much a part. Ethel Wilson does not completely surrender the d i s -tance between her s e l f and her heroine i n Swamp Angel, how-ever, although i t i s cl e a r that there i s a much higher l e v e l of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with her character here than i n The Equa-tions of Love. Unfortunately, the devices she employs to establish the distance are i n t r u s i v e , and they weaken the novel. At times there i s a teasing q u a l i t y i n her r e f u s a l to commit her s e l f completely to Maggie; the r e p e t i t i o n of conditional statements becomes annoying. In addition, the author sometimes overtly c o n t r a d i c t s her character i n parenthetical comments which are coy and i r r i t a t i n g ? "she thought that she could read e a s i l y the faces, of her own race (but she could not); ( p . 2 5 ) "She could never sink, she thinks, (but she could)." (p.100) "Her avatar t e l l s her that she i s one with her brothers the seal and the por-poise . . . but her avatar had better t e l l her that she i s not r e a l l y seal or porpoise . . . ." (pp.99-100) This de-vice does establish distance between author and character, but i t does so at the expense of the novel's surface flow and unity. Except for t h i s flaw, however, the s t y l e i s close to perfect. Mrs. Wilson's tendency to judge her charac-ters i s not e n t i r e l y absent, but i t i s minimal i n t h i s novel, and the condescending tone which i s so i n t r u s i v e i n The Equations of Love i s also kept under control. The f i n a l impression i s of a s k i l l f u l l y - c r a f t e d , consistent work which succeeds i n presenting i t s d i f f i c u l t theme large-l y through the very high l e v e l of characterization achieved i n Maggie Lloyd. WOMEN OF THE GARRISON: THREE NOVELS BY MARGARET LAURENCE When considered together, the heroines of Margaret Laurence's three most recent novels comprise a p o r t r a i t of Canadian women which i s greater than the sum of i t s parts. Rachel and Stacey are a c t u a l l y s i s t e r s within the structure of the novels, but Hagar i s no less an ancestor for being unrelated by blood. Understanding her character permits a f u l l e r comprehension of the other two; the s o c i a l forces which have shaped her are modified but s t i l l pre-dominant two generations l a t e r . Since a l l three novels are written as f i r s t - p e r s o n nar-r a t i v e s , the tone i s an ess e n t i a l part of the characteriza-t i o n , and that of The Stone Angel i s caustic and self-con-fident from the f i r s t . Hagar i s a rebel; she i s the strong daughter of a strong father, and her powerful w i l l makes i t hard for her to compromise and co-exist with others, i n c l u -ding her father. A Presbyterian storekeeper, he values d i s c i -p l i n e , the accumulation of wealth, and proper appearances to the exclusion of a l l else. No charity or imagination disturbs his hard complacency; as a c h i l d , Hagar both i d e n t i -f i e s with him and feels herself superior to the other people i n the town, and resents him, since she i s bound by his r i g i d s o c i a l r e s t r i c t i o n s . She cooperates with his narrow v i r -tues for the most part, although i t i s clear from the f i r s t that there i s another, unacknowledged, aspect of h e r s e l f which underlies her decorous exterior. Remembering how she walked i n the graveyard because i t had well-kept paths, free of mud and t h i s t l e s , she pictures h e r s e l f : "How anxious I was to be neat and orderly, imagining l i f e had been created only to celebrate t i d i n e s s , l i k e p r i ssy Pippa as she passed. But the scent of wild cowslips from beyond the " c i v i l i z e d " plots encroached upon her even then, and she "could catch the f a i n t , musky, dust-tinged smell of things that grew un-tended and had grown always, before the p o r t l y peonies and the angels with r i g i d wings . . . " (pp.4-5) In Hagar's early years, the i n h i b i t i o n s are so strong that she cannot get beyond them even to comfort her dying brother, Dan, by putting on t h e i r mother's old shawl and holding him: "I was crying, shaken by torments he never even suspected, wanting above a l l else to do the thing he asked, but unable to do i t , unable to bend enough." (p.25) Jason Currie sends her east f o r two years to a f i n i s h i n g school, so that she w i l l be a c r e d i t to him i n the town; on her return, she i s f i l l e d with fury by his reaction to her, which i s "to nod and nod as though I were a thing and h i s . " (p.43) She wants to teach school, but he forbids i t . Her independence would be u n f l a t t e r i n g to his self-esteem, and his t h i n l y -disguised sexual jealousy i s aroused by the idea of her 39 Margaret Laurence, The Stone Angel (Toronto/Montreal: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., I 9 6 8 ) , p.4. Other quotes from t h i s novel w i l l be indicated by page reference i n the text. mingling with common men. Speaking from his lack of s e l f -t r u s t , he t e l l s her that "men have t e r r i b l e thoughts." (p.44) Hagar stays home, but has her revenge i n ignoring the " s u i t -able" men her father brings home and f i n a l l y eloping with Bram Shipley, a widowed, s h i f t l e s s farmer. She and her father never speak to each other again. Her r e l a t i o n s h i p with her husband i s a strange mixture of contempt and awe; as she r e f l e c t s i n her old age, they married each other "for those q u a l i t i e s we l a t e r found we couldn't bear, he for my manners and speech, I for his f l o u t -ing of them." (p.79) She never stops t r y i n g to change his lazy ways, improve his manners, and generally mould him to the likeness of the father she rebelled against but whom she resembles so strongly. She i s attracted to Bram, however, because he i s so foreign to her; he i s handsome, v i r i l e , and sexually experienced. He introduces her to a world of which she knew nothing at a l l before t h e i r marriage, and of a l l the people i n her l i f e , he alone relates to her i n a d i r e c t , personal way. At one point he interrupts her nagging of him with a t e l l i n g remark: "You know something, Hagar? There's men i n Manawaka c a l l t h e i r wives 'Mother' a l l the time. That's one thing I never done." (p.80) Re-membering that incident, she r e f l e c t s that " i t was true. He never did, not once. I was Hagar to him, and i f he were a l i v e , I'd be Hagar to him yet. And now I think he was the only person close to me who ever thought of me by my name, not daughter, nor mother, nor even wife, but Hagar, always." (p.80) This r e a l i z a t i o n comes to Hagar l a t e , long years a f t e r Bram has died. Her father's shadow proves too strong f o r her while she l i v e s with her husband; she cannot bend enough to get along with him. S o c i a l and psychological i n h i b i t i o n s keep her s i l e n t wtfh she should speak; the r e s u l t s , both t r a g i c and i r o n i c , are a l l too commonplace i n i n t i -mate re l a t i o n s h i p s . Bram i s an excellent example of the outsider or m i s f i t , whom D.G. Jones sees as representative of the unconscious parts of the mind i n many works of Cana-dian f i c t i o n ; his association with horses, themselves sym-b o l i c of repressed v i t a l energy, underlines th i s aspect of his character. Hagar struggles with her fear of Brain's horses, but because of her pride, she never t e l l s him that i t i s fear she feels s she preferred to " l e t him think I objected to them because they were smelly." (p.83) She i s the p r i n c i p l e v i c t i m of her own pride, however. Trapped within conventions which she h e r s e l f reinforces, she cannot respond openly to Bram even when she would l i k e to. In an insight which i s at the same time admirable and pathetic, Hagar describes the situations His banner over me was love . . . He had a banner over me f o r many years. I never thought i t love, though, a f t e r we wed. . . . His banner over me was only his own skin, and now I no longer know why i t should have shamed me. People thought d i f f e r e n t l y i n those days. Perhaps some people didn't. I wouldn't know. I never spoke of i t to anyone. It was not so very long a f t e r we wed, when f i r s t I f e l t my blood and v i t a l s r i s i n g to meet h i s . He never knew. I never l e t him know. . . . I prided myself on keeping my pride i n t a c t , l i k e some maidenhead. (pp.80-81) It i s i r o n i c but inevitable that Bram unwittingly cooperates i n the hypocrisy and mutual ignorance which marks t h e i r sexual r e l a t i o n s . After one of Hagar's rare expressions of tenderness towards him, when he had l o s t a favourite horse, he turns to her i n bed and she " f e l t so gently i n c l i n e d that I might have opened to him openly. But he changed his mind. . . . 'You go to sleep now,' he said. He thought, of course, i t was the greatest favour he could do me." (pp.87-8) In the end, she leaves Bram, r e j e c t i n g f i n a l l y the parts of herself which he represents and returning to the barren security of a world of proper appearances. Her son John accompanies her to Vancouver; he i s per-haps the only person whom she ever t r u l y loves. He grows from a bright, charming, dishonest boy into a b i t t e r , drunken adult .who returns to Manawaka to nurse Bram as he dies and who mocks Hagar when she i n s i s t s that he i s d i f f e r e n t from and better than his father. Hagar i s tormented by the same unacknowledged sexual jealousy which her own father s u f f e r -ed from, and she cannot bear John's attachment to another woman. She arranges f o r his g i r l f r i e n d to be sent away, despite the fact that i t i s due to her that John i s "just about okay, a f t e r a long time." (p.237) Too s e l f i s h and jealous to accept them, she pushes them apart; John gets drunk one l a s t time and k i l l s himself and the g i r l he loves i n a crash. It i s only much lataer, when Hagar i s very old, that she experiences a resurgence of her early reb e l l i o u s s p i r i t . It brings with i t the courage to encounter some of the truths of her past. Elated by her own resourcefulness i n escaping from Marvin and Doris, frightened by the i s o l a t i o n and v u l -n e r a b i l i t y of the cannery, her mind opens to many forgotten memories and she longs, a f t e r a l l those years, f o r Bram. He would make short work of intruders, she thinks; with him, she would not be alone i n the wilderness. This, and the nearness of the sea, which c a r r i e s strong connotations of death, "a black sea, sucking everything into i t s e l f , " (p.225) and her picture of h e r s e l f i n the water, "waiting u n t i l my encumbrance of f l e s h f l o a t e d clear away and I was free and s k e l e t a l and could journey with tides and f i s h e s , " (p.162) although she i s quick to say that she'd "not hasten the moment by as much as the span of a breath" (p.192) a l l remind her of her youth with Bram, when she did move with the tides even within her "encumbrance of f l e s h . " The adventure, the wine, and the unusual intimacy with a stranger lead her mind back also to John, and enable her to remember and accept her r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i n his deaths to admit that i t was her jealousy and pride which destroyed him. At ninety, she learns a hard truth, and although she i s unable to change her be-haviour much at t h i s point, she becomes more conscious of her tyranny towards Doris and her lack of charity to Marvin, who has t r i e d to please her for so many years, and she i s ashamed. In the h o s p i t a l , she experiences a moment of under-standing which was prepared f o r by the revelations she gained i n her journey into the forest; Mr. Troy sings "Come ye before Him and r e j o i c e , " and Hagar i s illuminated* I must always, always, have wanted t h a t — s i m p l y to re-joic e . How i s i t I never could? . . . Every good joy I might have held, i n my man or any c h i l d of mine or even the p l a i n l i g h t of morning, of walking the earth, a l l were forced to a s t a n d s t i l l by some brake of proper appearances—oh, proper to whom? When did I ever speak the heart's truth? Pride was my wilderness, and the demon that l e d me there was fear. I was alone, never anything else, and never free, for I c a r r i e d my chains within me, and they spread out from me and shackled a l l I touched. (p.292) Hagar, brought up within the confines of a culture which was created i n opposition to the natural world, reinforces i t s barri e r s and enslaves herself and her children within i t . By attempting to suppress or ignore those human parts and ch a r a c t e r i s t i c s which are not neat and orderly, she has re-pressed not only her sexuality, but also her tenderness, empathy, and p i t y . Cut o f f from others, she has l i v e d alone, understanding no one and misunderstood by a l l i n turn. It i s too l a t e , at ninety, for Hagar to change much, but she does see Marvin's patience and his need f o r her approval, and she experiences a kind of unselfish love at l a s t when she i s able to t e l l him, out of her p i t y f o r him, what he needs to hear: that he has been a better son to her than John was, Rachel and Stacey inhabit very d i f f e r e n t worlds from that of Hagar, but i t i s a f a l l a c y , as Hagar observes i n r e l a t i o n to Rev. Troy, "to think that h a l f a century makes a l l the difference i n the world." ( p , 4 l ) It does not; "the brake of proper appearances" i s almost as strong and as des-t r u c t i v e for the younger women as i t was f o r t h e i r f i c t i o n a l ancestor. In fact, although some external r e s t r i c t i o n s have been modified,! neither Rachel nor Stacey possesses the sheer strength or willpower of Hagar, and i t i s thus a c t u a l l y harder for them to break through the barr i e r s which i s o l a t e them from warmth and contact with others. Hagar would undoubt-edly d i s l i k e her "grand-daughters"; Stacey would probably remind her of "that f at Doris" and Rachel i s the image of Regina Weese, another d u t i f u l daughter of Manawaka whose s e l f -s a c r i f i c e Hagar cannot f i n d i t i n herself to p i t y : "I always f e l t she had only herself to blame, f o r she was a flimsy, gutless creature, bland as egg custard, caring with martyred devotion f o r an ungrateful fox-voiced mother year i n and year out." (p.4) Hagar would be p a r t i a l l y correct i n these impressions, and perhaps even e n t i t l e d to the contempt which accompanies them, because she i s a stronger woman. It i s that very strength, however, which defeated and dehuman-ized her and which, reaching out beyond her i n the culture, has created and strengthened the barriers against s e l f -r e a l i z a t i o n which Rachel and Stacey encounter. In a sense, Rachel f u l f i l l s one part of Hagar, and Stacey anbthter. By t h e i r time i t i s quite respectable, even for the daughter of a "good" family, to be a schoolteachers some of the s o c i a l l i m i t a t i o n s on women have disappeared. Stacey, although c e r t a i n l y not f u l l y free sexually or mater-n a l l y , i s f a r more so than Hagar was. Outwardly, then, t h e i r l i v e s are d i f f e r e n t and freer, but inwardly, l i t t l e has changed. Rachel Is tortured by her own self-consciousness; she l i v e s i n a continual agony of embarassment and anticipated embarassment. Blackmailed by her hypochondriacal, demanding mother and chafing i n her job under the patronization of Willard Sidley, she escapes into a lonely fantasy world i n 40 which a "shadow prince" w i l l come to her rescue. The novel's c e n t r a l theme i s Rachel's search f o r some v a l i d i d e n t i t y , a sense of s e l f which cannot be present i n the narrow circumstances of her emotional l i f e . Teaching i s not enough; she remembers with s e l f - d i r e c t e d sarcasm her i l l u s i o n 40 Margaret Laurence, A Jest of God (Toronto* Popular Library, 1966), p.22. Other quotes from t h i s novel w i l l be indicated by page reference i n the text. that i t once seemed "a power worth possessing." (p.?) She worries about becoming eccentric, and about her attachment to some of the children she teaches. More than anything, she fears the open expression of emotion: her precarious facade of compliance to Manawaka's expectations i n regard to un-married ladies caring f o r t h e i r i n v a l i d mothers would top-ple i f her own anger were ever released. This i s what hor-r i f i e s her most about the fundamentalist church which Calla takes her to: "How could anyone display so openly? . . . People should keep themselves to themselves—that's the only decent way." (p.35) A world i n which a l l strong f e e l i n g i s repressed must be governed by formal rules and proper ap-pearances, the conventional morality of the small town. In such a value system, v i r g i n i t y i s "a woman's most precious possession" (p.84) and behaviour i s governed by such petty dictates as "women shouldn't phone men. Everyone knows that." (p.116) It i s t h i s world which Bachel questions, belatedly, i n A Jest of God: her overdue r e b e l l i o n against i t i s tentative at f i r s t , but f i n a l l y decisive. It requires a shadow prince, an outside agent to enable her to begin to be aware of her own needs and to act on them. Nick helps her to discover h e r s e l f : "Am I l i k e that? I never knew." (p.92) She learns l i t t l e about him, but much about herself and her re l a t i o n s h i p with her mother, her fantasy world, and her defences against r e a l i t y . Before Nick leaves, she has overcome much of her overscrupulous-ness of manner and much of her pride, a loss which renders her " a l l at once calm, inexplicably, and almost f r e e . " (p.125) Nick's r o l e i n her l i f e i s c l e a r l y that of the "knifing r e a l i t y " which she knows she needs!? "the layers of dream are so many, so many f a l s e membranes grown around the mind, that I don't even know they are there u n t i l some k n i f i n g r e a l i t y cuts through." (p.132) After he leaves her and she thinks she i s pregnant, Rachel embarks on a journey into a personal wilderness of emotion which contains the threat of death and a struggle between c o n f l i c t i n g desires. The fantasy world which she customarily retreats to can no longer help her; she must "choose between two r e a l i t i e s , " (p.117) and the accomplishment of her d i f f i c u l t choice leads to a new acceptance of herself* "I am not so clever as I hiddenly thought I was. And I am not as stupid as I dreaded I might be. Were my apologies a l l a kind of monstrous s e l f - p i t y ? How many sores did I refuse to l e t heal?" (p.149) With t h i s surrender of the s e l f - p i t y which has characterized her, Rachel becomes an adult. No longer controlled by her own weakness, nor by the reactions of other people, she comes to the conclusion about her baby which i s best for hers "Look, i t ' s my c h i l d , mine. And so I w i l l have i t . I w i l l have i t because I want i t and because I cannot do anything e l s e . " (p.149) Rachel finds a kind of salvation i n t h i s l i b e r a t i n g act, although not the kind she had once envisioned, and even the heavy disappointment of learning that she i s not pregnant a f t e r a l l and the trauma of theroperation, which leaves her "a dried autumn flowerstalk . . . an empty egg- . s h e l l s k u l l , " (p.161) do not destroy her newly-found inde-pendence and resolution. She announces to her mother that they are going to move, rejects a l l the blackmail which her mother t r i e s to use on her, and surrenders her old role of passive victim. "I am the mother now," (p.170) she says, accepting r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for her own l i f e and also for her mother, who i s , i n fact* dependent on her. There i s an open-ness now i n Rachel to p o s s i b i l i t i e s which her apprehension had never allowed her to experience before: "Where I'm go-ing, anything may happen. Nothing may happen. . . . It may be that my children w i l l always be temporary, never to be held. But so are everyone's." (p.175) Her experience has given her "the courage to take l i f e as i t comes with-out exhausting herself i n a continual attempt to an t i c i p a t e 41 i t s dangers . . . " She begins, l i k e Hagar, as a v i c t i m of her s o c i a l circumstances, but she frees herself to a s i g n i f i -cant degree and the inner voice of the narrative i s much less self-mocking at the end. Reality, once faced, i s not so t e r r i b l e as i t seemed; Rachel's fantasies dwindle and become less important i n her l i f e . An echo of Hagar's revelation i s present i n the f i n a l l i n e s of the novel as Rachel, headed 41 D.G. Jones, B u t t e r f l y on Rock, p . l 64 . I l l west, r e c a l l s the psalm: "Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which Thou hast broken may r e j o i c e . " For her, i t i s not too l a t e to welcome joy. Each of the three novels contains a verse which under-l i n e s the characterization of the central figure. Hagar, elated by her own daring and success as she descends the wooden steps through the forest, remembers a poem by Keats which she has not thought of for more than forty years, and r e c i t e s i t to h e r s e l f : Old Meg she was a gypsy, And l i v e d upon the moors; Her bed i t was the brown heath t u r f , And her house was out of doors. Her apples were swart blackberries, Her currants pods o' broom; Her wine was dew of the wild white rose. Her book a churchyard tomb. In contrast to t h i s independent, gypsy image which Hagar i d e n t i f i e s with, the verses associated with both Rachel and Stacey are children's rhymes. Rachel's i s a reference to the fantasy world so central to her personality at the begin ning of A Jest of God: The wind blows low, the wind blows high The snow comes f a l l i n g from the sky, Rachel Cameron says s h e ' l l die For the want of the golden c i t y . She i s handsome, she i s pretty, She i s the queen of the golden c i t y . The verse associated with Stacey i s both an indicat i o n of the endangered, p r a c t i c a l world she inhabits, and a threat: Ladybird, ladybird, Fly away home; Your house i s on f i r e , Your children are gone. Although she i s Rachel's s i s t e r , Stacey i s very d i f f e r e n t from hers she i s less i n h i b i t e d , more dishevelled, over-weight, rumpled, and less genteel than her s i s t e r . A struc-t u r a l device used i n a l l three novels i s that each woman has a strong inner voice which constitutes a subversive run-ning commentary on r e a l i t y beneath her external compliance to decorum; i n Hagar's case, t h i s voice breaks through f r e -quently, for she no longer feels much need to suppress i t s "What do I care now what people say? I cared too long." (p.6) Rachel's inner voice defies her mother, taunts he r s e l f for her cowardice, and sometimes breaks through her s e l f - p i t y with a refreshing, stringest realism. Stacey's private com-mentator i s perhaps the most a r t i c u l a t e of the three, but she i s so intimidated by what she believes to be her i n f e r -i o r i t y i n every area that she i s often unable to benefit from i t s candid perceptiveness. In fact, she fears i t s "what goes on inside i s n ' t ever the same as what goes on 42 outside. It's a disease I've picked up somewhere." She picked i t up, of course, i n the same place that Rachel dids the Manawaka funeral parlour, where feelings were to be hid-den and a p o l i t e surface maintained at a l l costs. By the time Stacey i s an adult, she no longer trusts her own reac-tions. In a l i t e r a t u r e course, f o r example, she spontaneously i d e n t i f i e s with Clytemnestra's revenge for her s l a i n c h i l d . 42 Margaret Laurence, The Fire-Dwellers (Torontos McClel-land and Stewart Ltd., 1969), p.33. Other quotes from t h i s novel w i l l be indicated by page number i n the text. When the professor offers a conventional p a t r i a r c h a l i n t e r -pretation of the play, however (that the serious s o c i a l crime was not Agamemnon's s a c r i f i c e of Iphigeneia, but Cly-temnestra's revenge on him), she doubts her f i r s t response. Her habit of measuring her s e l f against the yardsticks of the s o c i a l system i s another reason why she lacks s e l f -confidence. Since the culture professes u n r e a l i s t i c stan-dards, Stacey always feels herself to be a f a i l u r e . As pre-sented i n popular f i c t i o n and advertising, the middle-class housewife must be a perfect mother, but Stacey feels ambi-valent about her children: "they nourish me and yet they devour me, too." (p.17) A woman i s supposed to be glamour-ous, "a mermaid, a whore, a ti g r e s s (p.12) but she i s too fat and unfashionable to q u a l i f y : "who i s going to go through l i f e remembering to hold t h e i r thigh muscles i n , just so t h e y ' l l have an a t t r a c t i v e ass?" (p.19) She likewise f a i l s to be the supportive wife which i t i s her "job" to be to Mac, because her own needs are u n f u l f i l l e d and she does not respect his work. Trying to make these various roles come together i n a u n i f i e d way i s yet another i m p o s s i b i l i t y : as P h y l l i s Grosskurth points out, "the heart of Stacey*s problem i s that society forces so many roles upon her that she can f i n d no clear l i n e of continuity connecting one pos-43 ture to another." The barrage of advice, c r i t i c i s m , and just p l a i n meddling which i s aimed at women defeats Stacey; 43 "Books i n Review," Canadian Literature 43 (Winter, 1970), p.91. endless streams of pseudo-expert o p i n i o n shake her c o n f i -dence i n her own a b i l i t i e s . Her doubts a r e punctuated by the s i n i s t e r i m p l i c a t i o n s of popular a r t i c l e s i n women's maga-z i n e s J "Nine Ways the Modern Mum May Be R u i n i n g Her Daughter": "Are You C a s t r a t i n g Your Son?"; "Are You Emasculating Your Husband?"; "Are You I n c r e a s i n g Your Husband's T e n s i o n s ? " She i s caught i n a c y c l e of g u i l t and resentment i n which i t i s v e r y d i f f i c u l t f o r her t o r e t a i n any o b j e c t i v i t y , and she f e e l s t h a t a l l these d i r e warnings a r e p e r s o n a l l y d i r e c -t e d a t her. Whenever Stacey i s with her c h i l d r e n , she t h i n k s of h e r s e l f as "on duty." Both she and Mac a r e trapped by t h e i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , but she f e e l s g u i l t i n a d d i t i o n t o her resentment because, f o r Mac, she h e r s e l f i s p a r t of the t r a p . At the same time, she i s j e a l o u s of h i s r e l a t i v e freedom: "I'd l i k e t o be on the road. Not f o r a n y t h i n g but j u s t t o be going somewhere." ( p p . 1 9 - 2 0 ) Another p a r t of h e r s e l f condemns even t h i s s m a l l need: " t h i s i s madness. I'm not trapped. I've got e v e r y t h i n g I always wanted." ( p p . 7 2 - 3 ) L i k e Rachel, she t r i e s t o f i n d something o u t s i d e of h e r s e l f t h a t can save her, but she i s too c o n t r o l l e d by her f e e l i n g s of g u i l t t o be a b l e t o accept i t even i f i t c o u l d happen. She i s more desperate than e i t h e r Hagar or Rachel because, although she i s i n f a c t e q u a l l y i s o l a t e d from warmth and acceptance, she b e l i e v e s t h a t she has " e v e r y t h i n g she always wanted" and t h a t her unhappiness i s t h e r e f o r e r e p r e h e n s i b l e ; her d e s p a i r i s accompanied by s e l f - i n c r i m i n a t i o n . A sense of inadequacy undercuts her even when the cause of her anger i s clear and j u s t i f i a b l e , weakening her a b i l i t y to f i g h t against the empty chaos of her l i f e . She l i v e s precariously close to the edge of breakdown; the l i d clamped on her feelings i s always i n danger of f l y i n g o f f . Both Stacey and Bachel are lonely, but Stacey's i s o -l a t i o n i s rendered more unbearable by the fact that she i s surrounded by a family, and fe e l s alone i n the midst of a supposedly intimate c i r c l e . Rachel has a measure of p r i -vacy i n her solitude—some room to dream—but Stacey l i v e s i n the midst of voices and demands and the EVER-OPEN EYE of the t e l e v i s i o n which rob her of her privacy without subs t i t u t i n g companionship. As she puts i t , "I l i v e alone i n a house f u l l of people where everything i s always always a l l r i g h t . " (p.169) Her a f f a i r with Luke i s , e s s e n t i a l l y , an attempt to demarcate a small area i n her l i f e f o r herself; i t creates an exception to her f e e l i n g that she "can't go anywhere as myself. Only as fee's wife or the kids* mother." (p.95) I r o n i c a l l y , each s i s t e r envies and fe e l s i n f e r i o r to the other, each b e l i e v i n g that the s o c i a l mask worn by the other i s r e a l . Rachel considers going to Stacey for help when she thinks she i s pregnant, but dismisses the idea be-cause "she'd just give me good advice, maybe, not needing any he r s e l f . God damn her. What could she possibly know?" (p.146) On her side, Stacey pictures Rachel as a pe r f e c t l y -controlled, l a d y l i k e , s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t , and much brighter woman than she. Each believes the other to be more com-petant and more content. Stacey l e f t the same small town long before Rachel, and i s not as obviously controlled by i t s mores, but i t i s that same morality which makes her fear, i n spite of herse l f , that her sexual i n f i d e l i t y w i l l be punished by some, harm coming to her children. It i s the tr a i n i n g received i n Manawaka wh«4h makes her unable to re-ject her r o l e as vic t i m at the Polyglam demonstrations "Don't rock the boat. Why can't I? Why am I unable to? Help me. Who? How strange i f Bertha and Tess were think-ing the exact same thing. We could unite. This could s t a r t an underground movement." (p.87) She says t h i s only to he r s e l f , however $ the rest of her continues to cooperate with her own exploitation. Mac's insistence on formal f i d e l i t y , regardless of the emptiness of the rest of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p , stems from the same uncharitable moral code; a f t e r Stacey's pathetic encounter with Buckle, Mac reasserts his ownership rights by "making hate with her." (p.163) Although he does not love her, he i n s i s t s that no one else may touch her, arousing her hatred i n returns "I might as well be a car or a toothbrush." (p.162) In order to establish some kind of buffer zone for her mind, Stacey drinks gin, dances by herself, and t r i e s to recapture the f e e l i n g of being wanted, accepted, and desirable. This fantasy ends abruptly because, i n her drunken state, she burns herself badly on the stove. In the sober awareness which follows her shock, she assesses her situations "Mac-I'm scared. Help me. But i t goes a l o n g way back. Where t o be g i n . What can I p o s s i b l y say to you t h a t you w i l l take s e r i o u s l y ? What would i t need with you, what p o s s i b l e cataclysm, f o r you t o say a n y t h i n g of y o u r s e l f t o me?" (p.141) But Mac i s not prepared t o l i s -t e n t o her, nor t o t a l k of h i m s e l f , and Stacey's l i f e con-t i n u e s t o c l o s e o p p r e s s i v e l y inward u n t i l the n i g h t she runs away and meets Luke. She i s much o l d e r than he, but he i s d i r e c t and warm and knows how t o l i s t e n , which i s a r a r e experience f o r her. The A-frame i s l i k e "a s m a l l strange c a t h e d r a l " (p.189) but Luke's youth u l t i m a t e l y makes Stacey f e e l o l d , a c a r r i e r of death. The stretch-marks on her body from her pregnancies a r e "stigmata . . . l i k e l i t t l e s i l v e r worms," (p.18) " l i n e s of dead s i l v e r worming a c r o s s my b e l l y " (p.202) and she wishes t h a t he c o u l d see her as she had once been, and not as she i s . The eas i n e s s of h i s acceptance of her, i n s p i t e of t h i s , makes her wish f o r a new b e g i n n i n g ! "I'd l i k e t o s t a r t a g a i n , e v e r y t h i n g , a l l of l i f e , s t a r t a g a i n with someone l i k e you-with you- with e v e r y t h i n g simple and c l e a r e r . No l i e s . No r e c r i m i n a t i o n s . No unmerry-go-round of p o i n t l e s s words. Just e v e r y t h i n g p l a i n and good, l i k e today, and making l o v e and not worry-i n g about unimportant t h i n g s and not t r y i n g t o change each o t h e r . " (pp.205-6) But when Luke asked her t o go away with him, she c o u l d not do i t . At the same time, Buckle's death leads to s l i g h t l y i n c r e a s e d communication between h e r s e l f and Mac; she sees with p i t y t h a t h i s t r a p i s as harsh as h e r s , t h a t he b e l i e v e s he must do e v e r y t h i n g completely a l o n e or e l s e he f e e l s h i m s e l f a f a i l u r e . He i s , u n f o r t u n a t e l y , p a s s i n g on the same c h a i n of p a t h e t i c defences which he a c -q u i r e d from Matthew, h i s f a t h e r , t o h i s own sons, Ian and Duncan. D r i v e n more than ever by g u i l t , Stacey draws back from her t e n t a t i v e e f f o r t t o e s t a b l i s h a p r i v a t e a r e a f o r h e r s e l f and makes a weighty a d d i t i o n t o her burden of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e . She agrees t o take Matthew, her d i f f i c u l t f a t h e r - i n - l a w , i n t o t h e i r home. The n o v e l ends on an o p t i -m i s t i c note which, a l t h o u g h m o d i f i e d , i s s t i l l d i f f i c u l t t o a c c e p t . I t i s the day b e f o r e Stacey*s f o r t i e t h b i r t h -day, and " t e m p o r a r i l y , they a r e a l l more or l e s s okay." (p . 3 0 8 ) I f the p l o t ' s c o n c l u s i o n i s to be c o n s i s t e n t with what has preceded i t , i t i s hard t o j u s t i f y t h i s ending u n l e s s the e a r l i e r n o v e l , A J e s t Of God, i s taken i n t o account as w e l l . At the end of i t , Rachel and Mrs. Cameron a r e on t h e i r way west, Rachel heading f o r what she hopes w i l l be freedom but what i s i n f a c t a mess, a t l e a s t so f a r as Stacey i s i n v o l v e d i n i t . By c o n s i d e r i n g the endings of the two nov e l s s i m u l t a n e o u s l y (a st e p which seems reason-a b l e s i n c e they both end a t the same p o i n t i n t i m e ) , a h e a v i l y i r o n i c i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s p o s s i b l e . The e x t r a demands of Matthew, t o which those of Mrs. Cameron a r e s h o r t l y t o be added, w i l l I n e v i t a b l y s t r a i n Stacey's l i m i t e d r esources to the breaking point, when perhaps one of the a r t i c l e s she mentions, "A Nervous Breakdown Taught Me L i f e ' s Meaning" may prove of some use to her. Or perhaps, with the help of a few of Stacey's enormous gin-and-tonics, the two s i s t e r s w i l l get past the family facades they maintain, get to know each other as people, and f i n d i n each other the confidante and f r i e n d which each of them needs so badly. Each of the three novels i s focussed e n t i r e l y through the consciousness of one character, but some measure of ob-j e c t i v i t y i s achieved i n each case by the distance which exists between the inner voices of each character; t h i s i s a q u a l i t y which H.J. Rosengarten describes as the "correc-t i v e distance presented within the character's own view of 44 h e r s e l f . " In her a r t i c l e , "Ten Years' Sentences," Margaret Laurence comments on her use of the technique and explains why she f e l t i t necessary! "I recognize the li m i t a t i o n s of a novel t o l d i n the f i r s t person and the present tense, from one viewpoint only, but i t (A Jest Of God) couldn't have been done any other way, for Rachel he r s e l f i s a very 45 entwined person." With The Stone Angel, the author says that she f e l t "the enormous pleasure of coming home i n terms 46 of idiom," and that Stacey i s " i n various ways . . . Hagar's 47 s p r i t u a l grand=daughter." Beneath the surface differences 44 "Opinions and Notes," Canadian Literature 35 , pp.99-100. 45 Canadian Literature 41, p.14. 46 47 Ibid., p.13. Ibid., p.15. of t h e i r l i v e s , and g r e a t e r than the b a r r i e r s of time or circumstance which separate them, i s the s i m i l a r i t y of the s t r u g g l e f o r a l l t h r e e women: to know, t o be open, to be brave enough t o g i v e what i s needed and, b r a v e r s t i l l , t o take what i s needed too. A l l f a i l , t o v a r y i n g degrees, a t what i s c o n s i d e r e d by our c u l t u r e t o be the s p e c i a l p r o v i n c e of women, t h a t of e s t a b l i s h i n g s a t i s f y i n g human c o n t a c t ; but they share a common s p i r i t . Hagar's words best d e s c r i b e t h a t s p i r i t , and c o u l d a p p l y t o any one of them: "beyond the changing s h e l l t h a t houses me, I see . . . the same dark eyes as when I f i r s t began t o remember and t o n o t i c e myself. . . . The eyes change l e a s t of a l l . " (p.38) CONCLUSION Hagar's description of hers e l f as a "changing s h e l l " which houses the es s e n t i a l , consciousness-seeking s e l f i s dramatically echoed i n a series of recent poems by Margaret 48 Atwood. T i t l e d The Journals of Susanna Moodie, the poems are based on Mrs. Moodie's recorded experiences i n the bush and settlements of Canada more than a century ago; Miss At-wood *s poems capture both the b i t t e r r e a l i t y of that exper-ience, and i t s l i n g e r i n g psychological effect on the present culture. One of the most outstanding i s "Further A r r i v a l s " ; i t embodies a personal v i s i o n of the h i s t o r i c a l and contem-porary wilderness, and the rel a t i o n s h i p between the two, which i s so consistently recurrent a theme i n the novels discussed i n t h i s paper. After we had crossed the long i l l n e s s that was the ocean, we s a i l e d up-river On the f i r s t i s l a n d the immigrants threw o f f t h e i r clothes and danced l i k e sandflies We l e f t behind one by one the c i t i e s r o t t i n g with cholera, one by one our c i v i l i z e d d i s t i n c t i o n s and entered a large darkness. It was our own ignorance we entered. I have not come out yet My brain gropes nervous tentacles i n the night, sends out (Toronto; Oxford University Press, 1 9 7 0 ) . fears hairy as bears, demands lamps; or waiting for my shadowy husband, hears malice i n the trees' whispers. I need wolf's eyes to see the t r u t h . I refuse to look i n a mirror. Whether the wilderness i s r e a l or not depends on who l i v e s there. Although the poem begins with an account of the physical voyage up the St. Lawrence River into the unknown heartland of the country, i t quickly becomes apparent that the " c i t i e s r o t t i n g with cholera" and the " c i v i l i z e d d i s t i n c t i o n s " which are l e f t behind are f i g u r a t i v e as well as l i t e r a l . The symbolic nature of the journey i s then made e x p l i c i t i the "large darkness" of the wilderness which the s e t t l e r s entered was "our own ignorance." In the works of recent Canadian writers, the focus has s h i f t e d to the conquest of inner fears and unknowns, but the metaphor of wilderness and c i v i l -i z a t i o n has l o s t none of i t s relevance. Desmond Pacey has observed that " i n Canadian l i t e r a t u r e (the) paradoxical awareness of the glory and t e r r o r of the natural environ-J+9 ment i s everywhere," and the fact that the environment i s an i n t e r n a l one i n many of the novels does not a l t e r the ess e n t i a l truth of his statement. 49 Essays i n Canadian Criticisms 1938-1968 (Torontos The Ryerson Press, 1969), p.235. Even on a journey to a new land, however, the past cannot be l e f t completely behind. Mrs. Moodie and others l i k e her r e b u i l t and f o r t i f i e d the " c i v i l i z e d d i s t i n c t i o n s " which were to trap Mrs. Bentley i n Horizon, Hagar Shipley i n Manawaka, and Jim McAlpine i n the s o c i a l world of Mon-t r e a l . It was fear which r e b u i l t those r e s t r i c t i n g walls and created a wilderness within them, "fears hairy as bears" which f i l l the mind with imaginary dangers. Hagar discovers t h i s at ninety, having f i n a l l y given up her concern f o r ap-pearances (What do I care now what people say? I cared too long). She expresses her understanding i n a c h a r a c t e r i s t i -c a l l y stark, yet deeply moving, manner: "Pride was my w i l -derness, and the demon that l e d metthere was fear. I was alone, never anything else, and never free, for I c a r r i e d my chains within me, and they spread out from me and shackled a l l I touched." With t h i s understanding, she emerges b r i e f -l y from her i s o l a t i o n and i s able to reach out to someone else. Mrs. Bentley t r i e s to break away from the " c i v i l i z e d d i s t i n c t i o n s " of Horizon which erode her self-respect and have placed an i n t o l e r a b l e s t r a i n on her marriage, but since her move occurs at the end of Ross's novel, amid a number of ambiguous elements, i t i s not cl e a r whether she w i l l suc-ceed i n t r u l y freeing h e r s e l f . She, l i k e Judith Hearne, Jim McAlpine, Mary Dunne, and Stacey MacAindra, has not c l e a r l y emerged from the large darkness of her ignorance, i n s p i t e of a g r e a t e f f o r t and the achievement of c o n s i d e r a b l e self-awareness. Rachel Cameron knows the w i l d e r n e s s o f pro-j e c t e d f e a r s v e r y w e l l , but she, l i k e Hagar, c o n f r o n t s them a t l a s t , ceases to wait f o r her "shadowy husband," and c l o s e s her ears to the "malice i n the t r e e s ' w hispers." Vera Gun-narsen i s unable to do t h i s ; f o r her, the f o r e s t remains dark and t h r e a t e n i n g . Trees and brambles s t r i k e out a t her as 50 she stumbles a l o n g i n "the immense h o s t i l i t y o f her vrorld. " Jim McAlpine and George Stewart know t h i s h o s t i l e world a l s o ; Peggy Sanderson's death leaves Jim a t l e a s t p a r t i a l l y con-demned to a darkness which she was unable t o teach him t o a c c e p t . George i s l u c k y enough t o r e c e i v e the lamp which he demands; he f i n d s h i s w i l d e r n e s s i l l u m i n a t e d when he f i n a l -l y come t o understand t h a t " t h i s , which i s darkness, a l s o i s 51 l i g h t . " I t takes an unusual and hungry v i s i o n t o grasp much of r e a l i t y ; as Margaret Atwood puts i t , "I need wolf's eyes to see/the t r u t h . " The l i n e r e c a l l s the a l l - s e e i n g , a l l - k n o w i n g Coyote of The Double Hook, a n o v e l which i n i t s c l a s s i c , mythic form appears unconcerned w i t h s p e c i f i c contemporaneity and r e a l i s m . Yet i t , o f a l l the novels d i s c u s s e d here, com-municates most s t r i k i n g l y the deeper, transcendent t r u t h which i s the concern of so many of the w r i t e r s . S i n c e i n n e r and outer r e a l i t y cannot be n e a t l y d i v i d e d , t r u t h i s r e f l e c t e d 50 Swamp Angel, p.Ikk. The Watch That Ends The Night, p.3 2 2 . i n both i n t e r n a l and external worlds: e v i l and fear, com-passion and love neither originate outside the s e l f nor re-main confined to i t . This i s the lesson which Abraham comes to learn also i n The S a c r i f i c e . Like the narrator of Miss Atwood's poem, he "refuse(d) to look i n a mirror," and consequently made the mistake of perceiving his own s i n as external to himself. He i s only delivered from the t r a g i c darkness of his ignorance by the double-edged r i t u a l of s a c r i f i c e s , which teaches him that " i t was i n me, womb of death, fe s t e r i n g , i n no one e l s e . " (p.326) The f i n a l three l i n e s of "Further A r r i v a l s " are a concise statement of the recurrent themeV "Whether the wilderness i s / r e a l or not/depends on who l i v e s there." Only by confronting the fear-based inner wilderness can l i g h t and l i f e be reborn. Some of the characters i n the novels reach t h i s i l l u m i n a t i o n , and others do not, but none reach i t with-out f i r s t entering the "large darkness" of the s e l f . The e s s e n t i a l concern of these novels i s s u r p r i s i n g l y constant; the differences among them are l a r g e l y ones of s t y l e and characterization, rather than theme. It i s i n these areas that the question of "sexual p r o v i n c i a l i t y " becomes relevant. Since few minds are completely androgynous, i t i s perhaps not s u r p r i s i n g to f i n d that, i n t h i s group of novels which are almost a l l based on female characters, the ones created by women are, i n general, more in t e r e s t i n g and convincing. P a r t i a l exceptions must be made f o r Adele Wise-man, whose protagonist i s male, and S i n c l a i r Ross, whose Mrs. Bentley i s the many-sided product of an unusually assured and imaginative mind. Brian Moore's heroines f a i l i n an important way because of the author's tendency to reduce them to b i o l o g i c a l puppets; they are i n t e r e s t i n g l y carved and s k i l l f u l l y manipulated, but puppets nevertheless. Both Morley Callaghan and Hugh MacLennan present not women, but ideas or symbols i n female clothing. Although the symbols represent various q u a l i t i e s , they f a i l to come a l i v e as people. The male novel i s t s tend to emphasize the sexual roles played by t h e i r female characters; even S i n c l a i r Ross presents his heroine almost exclusively i n terms of her r o l e as wife. The women authors have a stronger tendency to write about women as people whose sexuality i s important, but does not constitute the t o t a l personality. Sheila Watson's The Double Hook presents women as symbolic, archetypal figures, but t h i s l e v e l of r e a l i t y i s extended to a l l her characters, and no pretence of realism i s made. The story operates i n the supernatural realm of the f a i r y t a l e and myth, and succeeds because of i t s i n t e r n a l consistency i n that sphere. In Swamp Angel, Maggie's o r i g i n a l problem i s marital, but i t plays a very small part i n the t o t a l meaning of the story. She has been l o s t , and the i d e n t i t y x\rhich she rediscovers i n the wilderness i s not li m i t e d to the sexual; i t i s less s p e c i f i c than that, more human, and more profound. Margaret Lawrence's heroines, while deeply involved with t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s t o men and to t h e i r c h i l d r e n , are s i m i l a r l y not l i m i t e d t o those areas alone; t h e i r s t r u g g l e s are with problems which cross a l l the boundaries which d i v i d e peoples f e a r , p r i d e , r e p r e s s i o n , and l o n e l i n e s s . These are not "women's problems," but those of a l l humanity. The characters created by these women authors a r e , i n ge n e r a l , more convincing as women. At the same time, they are more c l e a r l y human; i n ca p t u r i n g the e s s e n t i a l p e r s o n a l i t y of a c h a r a c t e r , both the s p e c i f i c c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of s e x u a l i t y and the more general ones which extend beyond i t are more profoundly r e a l i z e d . Brooke, Frances. The History of Emily Montague. Toronto*. McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1961. Callaghan, Morley. The Loved and the Lost. Toronto: The MacMillan Co. of Canada Ltd., 1951. . Such Is My Beloved. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1957. Laurence, Margaret. A Jest of God. Toronto: Popular Library, 1966. The Fire-Dwellers. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1969. . The Stone Angel. Toronto/Montreal: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 19687 MacLennan, Hugh. The Watch That Ends The Night. Toronto: Signet Books, I960T Moore, Brian. An Answer From Limbo. New York: D e l l Pub-l i s h i n g Co., Inc., 19637 I Am Mary Dunne. Toronto: Bantam Books of Canada Ltd., 1969. 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