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Myth and meaning in the three novels of Hugh Maclennan Gilley, Robert Keith 1967-12-31

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MYTH AND MEANING IN THREE NOVELS OF HUGH MACLENNAN by ROBERT KEITH GILLEY B.A., The University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1963 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF Master of Arts i n the Department of English We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1967 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 deg ree a t 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 ree t h a t the: L i b r a r y y 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 ag ree 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 Depar tment 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 no t be a l l o w e d wi t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Depar tment 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 V a n c o u v e r 8 , Canada Abstract The purpose of this essay i s to determine the use to which Hugh MacLennan has put h i s knowledge of c l a s s i c a l l i t e r a t u r e , e s p e c i a l l y myth, i n w r i t i n g three of h i s novels. The novels are f i r s t considered i n d i v i d u a l l y and are then r e l a t e d to one another to indicate the development of t h e i r structures and themes, MacLennan's technique and thought. The f i r s t chapter shows MacLennan's a f f i n i t y for c l a s s i c a l l i t e r a t u r e , indicates the general c r i t i c a l awareness of c l a s s i c a l elements i n h i s novels, and also shows how mythic analysis i s of use i n i n t e r p r e t i n g the novels. Central to MacLennan's use of c l a s s i c a l myth i s Homer's Odyssey, and the basic plot and characters of the Greek epic are described, i n d i c a t i n g what MacLennan chooses from the c l a s s i c for h i s own purposes. The importance of myth, as such, i s considered, and i t i s suggested that MacLennan himself has attempted to write a "myth" appropriate to modern Canada. The second chapter i s a consideration of Barometer Rising, i n d i c a t i n g mythic p a r a l l e l s and relevant structures of imagery. The plot structure i s examined and i s compared to the mythoi or archetypal plots suggested by Northrop Frye i n Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m . The novel i s shown to be a comic-romance i n which the romantic hero i s dominant, although there i s an i r o n i c hero present. The main theme appears as a search for national i d e n t i t y . The t h i r d chapter i s a consideration of Each Man's Son, again i n d i c a t i n g mythic p a r a l l e l s and relevant structures of imagery. Examination of the plot structure reveals a growing stress on the i i i r o n i c hero and an unstress ing of the romantic hero . The theme appears as a more personal search for i d e n t i t y . The fourth chapter i s a cons iderat ion of The Watch that Ends  the Night , again i n d i c a t i n g mythic p a r a l l e l s and re levant imagery. Here, the i r o n i c hero comes to f u l l dominance over the romantic . The theme has become almost e n t i r e l y a personal search for i n t e r n a l i d e n t i t y . It i s shown how, i n th i s nove l , MacLennan resolves the c o n f l i c t explored i n the other two novels by submerging i t i n a l arger ( b a s i c a l l y mys t i ca l ) pat tern . The f i f t h chapter shows how MacLennan 1s techniques and themes have developed, how h i s f i n a l r e l i g i o - p h i l o s o p h i c r e s o l u t i o n i s r e l a t e d to c l a s s i c a l humanism ( p a r t i c u l a r l y the philosophy of H e r a c l i t u s ) , and how h i s use of myth i s re levant and valuable to the modern wor ld . I t becomes c l e a r that the far ther MacLennan moves from a d i r e c t representat ion of the c l a s s i c a l myth, the c l o s e r he moves to c r e a t i n g a meaningful myth of h i s own. MacLennan i s r e l a t e d to other modern wr i t er s and i s shown to be i n a main stream of modern thought, fo l lowing a major theme i n western l i t e r a t u r e that has been p a r t i c u l a r l y important s ince the V i c t o r i a n Per iod . He comes to a synthesis of c l a s s i c a l and C h r i s t i a n thought which r e s u l t s i n an a f f i rmat ive philosophy. Table of Contents Page Chapter One: Myth and Humanism 1 Chapter Two: Barometer Rising: The National Romance 20 Chapter Three: Each Man's Son: The Growing Irony 47 Chapter Four: The Watch That Ends The Night: The Comic Synthesis 70 Chapter Fiv e : The Eternal Quest 103 Bibliography 117 Chapter One: Myth and Humanism To most people today a "myth" i s something unbelievable, a f a n c i f u l story not to be taken se r i o u s l y . "Myths" are not always i n accord with tangible f a c t s , and, therefore, to the mind trained to have f a i t h i n l i t t l e but that which can be s c i e n t i f i c a l l y measured and validated, myths have neither importance nor value. Such people may believe i n myths themselves but would be h o r r i f i e d to have them c a l l e d that, for myths are of the ancient and pagan world, products of primitive, unenlightened thought. There are others, however, who take myths se r i o u s l y , and Hugh MacLennan i s of th i s group. He u t i l i z e s ancient myth i n h i s novels for both s t r u c t u r a l and thematic purposes, combining c l a s s i c a l and modern philosophy with c l a s s i c a l , C e l t i c and C h r i s t i a n myth i n an e f f e c t i v e synthesis. He begins, i n h i s f i r s t novel, by ove r t l y using a well-known myth as h i s model, but he gradually develops away from this practice i n l a t e r novels, submerging the myth and modernizing i t , manipulating i t more to serve h i s a r t i s t i c purposes. The myth remains, but, as i t becomes less evident on the surface, i t becomes more e f f e c t i v e as a vehic l e of a r t i s t i c expression. A consideration of MacLennan's work from this point of view proves that myth i s most e f f e c t i v e when i t provides no more than what i s necessary i n a way of an h i s t o r i c a l and contemporary perspective -- say, a d e s c r i p t i o n of relevant antecedent events, of the current c r i s i s , and of the desired outcome--to give meaning, s i g n i f i c a n c e , " . 2 - - and urgency to some i n d i v i d u a l or s o c i a l e f f o r t . ^ C e r t a i n l y MacLennan succeeds --by i n f u s i n g h i s c l a s s i c a l know ledge into the i n d i v i d u a l novels-- i n creating a general mythic structure which includes a l l h i s novels, and which i s of r e a l importance to the i n d i v i d u a l reader and the society. Considered together, the novels comprise a s i g n i f i c a n t whole. They develop a single major theme: the search of the i n d i v i d u a l for h i s i d e n t i t y , h i s e s s e n t i a l character, the quest for a u n i f i e d v i s i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l man, h i s nation, and Everyman. The author resolves t h i s theme i n a blending of C h r i s t i a n and c l a s s i c a l thought, with myth act i n g as the tangible c o r r e l a t i v e of h i s ideas. He i s of a rare breed, a twentieth century n o v e l i s t f u l l y committed to the c l a s s i c a l t r a d i t i o n . In both essays and novels, MacLennan has made h i s commitment c l e a r , s t r e s s i n g the l a s t i n g value of the t r a d i t i o n , i t s l i t e r a t u r e and i t s philosophy. For example, i n h i s essay "The C l a s s i c a l T r a d i t i o n and Education", MacLennan defends the c l a s s i c a l l i b e r a l a r t s education, and h i s attachment to the t r a d i t i o n i s evident i n h i s attack on S i r William Dawson for what he believes was Dawson's negative influence on the development of McGill University. He c a l l s Dawson a "fundamental C a l v i n i s t " whose "main reason for opposing the arts was not h i s b e l i e f that they l-Henry A. Murray, "The Possible Nature of a 'Mythology to Come," i n Myth and Mythmaking, ed. H. A. Murray (New York: George B r a z i l l e r , 1960), p. 337. were impractical, but h i s conviction that they were wicked." The obvious implication i s that Dawson's own attitudes were "wicked" to the extent that i n opposing the art s he was opposing the great humanist t r a d i t i o n passed down from the golden age of Greece. I t would seem that the admiration MacLennan holds for the humanist t r a d i t i o n i s one that was i n s t i l l e d i n him from h i s youth. Describing h i s father, he says, He was a doctor who spent much of h i s e a r l i e r l i f e i n a very hard practice i n a Cape Breton mining town, but thanks to hi s c l a s s i c a l i n t e r e s t s he was not i s o l a t e d there. He read L a t i n and Greek for pleasure; he read the philosophers . . . . He was democratic i n his human dealings; not f a m i l i a r , not a glad-hander, not a winner of friends and an influencer of people . . . , 3 I t can be seen from the q u a l i t i e s MacLennan a t t r i b u t e s to h i s father that to him the c l a s s i c s mean freedom, an escape from i s o l a t i o n , a mental freedom that makes the mind impossible to imprison. These great works of the past also appear to stimulate a genuine respect for others, for t h e i r worth as i n d i v i d u a l human beings. The c l a s s i c s are useful as a moral guide. Not only does MacLennan take h i s general system of values from the c l a s s i c a l philosophers and poets: he seems also to have i d e n t i f i e d h i s native land - - i f not the whole of Canada, at least h i s native region-- with that of the c l a s s i c a l w r i t e r s , 2Scotchman's Return and Other Essays (Toronto: Macmillan, 1960), p. 68. 3 I b i d . , p. 64. p a r t i c u l a r l y Homer. In Nova Scotia, as i n Greece, the people l i v e d i n small communities within sight and sound of the sea. Their ears and eyes were nour ished by sea-sounds and sea-images. Homer's rose-fingered dawn r i s i n g over the loud-sounding sea, h i s men i n small boats backing water i n the fog as they l i s t e n e d to the t e l l  t a le roar of breakers on a leeward shore, h i s helmsmen on c l e a r nights taking t h e i r course from Arcturus or the stormy r i s e of Orion, S c y l l a d iving for prey from the c l i f f , Charyb- dis sucking down small boats into her whirlpool and spewing them up again i n a welter of b o i l i n g sand, the bones of the! drowned r o l l i n g for ages through the depths of the sea -- these images and countless others from the old poetic l i t  erature of Greece seemed to describe the environment of Nova Scotia more accurately than anything written since the b i r t h of Christ.4 This i n c l i n a t i o n to see h i s homeland i n terms of c l a s s i c a l l i t e r a t u r e , combined with a general admiration for c l a s s i c a l thought, i n e v i t a b l y introduces into h i s novels c l a s s i c a l e l e  ments both mythical and philosophical which are of extreme importance to the novels' structure and meaning. There i s general c r i t i c a l agreement that Hugh MacLennan uses c l a s s i c a l mythic patterns i n h i s novels both as s t r u c t u r a l devices and for thematic purposes. Hugo McPherson was one of the f i r s t to indicate c r i t i c a l i n t e r e s t i n t h i s aspect of MacLennan's work: "Barometer Rising and Two Solitudes, the f i r s t novels, have an almost c l a s s i c a l c l a r i t y and s i m p l i c i t y of structure. Each, on multiple l e v e l s , deals with the theme ^"Husband and Wife," Thirty and Three (Toronto: Macmillan, 1954), p. 14 of r e b i r t h A few years a f t e r t h i s , McPherson expanded h i s view to say of Barometer Rising that " t h i s story says things about Canada which take on the v a l i d i t y of parable,"" and he likens the story to the Greek myth i n which Perseus b a t t l e s the Gorgon. Later, George Woodcock made a deeper i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the novels i n an a r t i c l e s i g n i f i c a n t l y e n t i t l e d "A Nation's Odyssey." He makes i t c l e a r that MacLennan not merely establishes i n Barometer Rising a Homeric plot of the wanderer returning to a mysteriously changed homeland. He also uses for the f i r s t time a group of symbolic characters which w i l l recur i n l a t e r permuta tions i n h i s l a t e r novels; the returning wanderer, the wait ing woman, the fatherless c h i l d , the wise doctor --sometimes transformed into the wise old man, and the p r i m i t i v e , v i o l e n t , but e s s e n t i a l l y good giant.? With Woodcock's ana l y s i s , c r i t i c i s m has begun to pierce beyond simple borrowings from the c l a s s i c s , beyond surface analogies, to perceive what are c l e a r l y the archetypes within. While Paul Goetsch recognizes i n Barometer Rising "a technique of m y s t i f i c a t i o n loosely patterned on the account of Ulysses' return of Ithaca,"^ Woodcock sees another mythic structure i n Each Man's Son. Both c r i t i c s speak of mythic elements i n The Novels of Hugh MacLennan," Queen's Quarterly, LX (Summer 1953), p. 186. ^"Introduction," Barometer Rising (Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1958), p. x. ^Canadian L i t e r a t u r e , 10 (Autumn 1961), p. 9. ^"Too Long to the Courtly Muses," Canadian L i t e r a t u r e , 10 (Autumn 1961), p. 21 The Watch that Ends the Night --Goetsch, for instance seeing i n the novel a "proximity to myth and allegoric forms of order." * * * Most c r i t i c s agree that myth and l i t e r a t u r e are of the same family of human expression. As Richard Chase says, "the word 'myth' means story: a myth i s a t a l e , a nar r a t i v e , or a poem; myth i s l i t e r a t u r e and must be considered as an aesthetic cr e a t i o n of the human imagination."^ Myth, of course, i s l i t e r a t u r e of a s p e c i a l nature. It i s " l i t e r a t u r e which suffuses the natural with preternatural e f f i c a c y , " the preternatural being "that which i s magical, the Uncanny, the Wonderful, the Mysterious, the Powerful, the T e r r i b l e , the Dangerous, the Extraordinary."10 In myth, man expresses h i s awe at the wonder of the universe, i t s great natural cycles, i t s oppositions of joy and s u f f e r i n g , l i f e and death. This may partly account for the tinge of awe surrounding the c l a s s i c a l myths themselves, combined with the respect due them simply because of t h e i r a n t i q u i t y . In the western world, c e r t a i n conventional attitudes and interpr e t a t i o n s are associated with the more venerable c l a s s i c a l myths, and, as Northrop Frye indicates, When ever we f i n d e x p l i c i t mythologizing i n l i t e r a t u r e , or a writer t r y i n g to indicate what myths he i s p a r t i c u l a r l y ^Quest for Myth (Baton Rouge, La., Louisiana State U. Press, 1949), p. 73. l O i b i d . , p. 78. - 7. - interested i n , we should treat this as confirmatory or sup porting evidence for our study of the genres and conventions he i s u s i n g . H In choosing a p a r t i c u l a r myth, the writer i s doing so with p a r t i c u l a r intent; that i s , the myth he chooses has a c e r t a i n meaning for him which he hopes i s shared with the reader. The conventions which lead to a common understanding between the writer and h i s reader may vary from age to age, but there seem to be c e r t a i n conventions of attaching meaning to myth which have varied s u r p r i s i n g l y l i t t l e . For example, the c l a s s i c a l Stoics and the humanists of the Renaissance i n c l i n e d to i n t e r p r e t myth on the a l l e g o r i c a l l e v e l , attempting "to r a i s e the myths to the l e v e l of t h e i r own i n t e l l e c t u a l preoccupations," x2 and i t i s most often this l e v e l we see when an author e x p l i c i t l y uses myth. From this perspective the myths are taken "to be ingeniously symbolized concepts of the nature of the universe or b e a u t i f u l v e i l s concealing profound moral p r i n c i p l e s . " Hugh MacLennan, a humanist and something of a modern s t o i c , e x p l i c i t l y uses myth with conscious purpose as a framework on which to hang his " i n t e l l e c t u a l preoccupations." But myth has value beyond t h i s , for a l i v e or v i t a l myth i s a representation of a state, s i t u a t i o n , or event (past, current or future) which, at i t s lowest, i s x ±"Myth, F i c t i o n , and Displacement," Fables of Identity (New York, Harcourt, Brace, 1963), pp. 34-35 l^chase, Quest for Myth, p. 1. 1 3 I b i d . , p. 2. - 8. - accepted by i t s c a r r i e r s as s u f f i c i e n t l y v a l i d ( c r e d i b l e , s a t i s f y i n g ) , o r , at i t s h ighes t , i s embraced as 'the nearest approach to absolute t ruth that can be s ta ted . '1^ And to the modern c r i t i c there i s more to an author's use of myth than even t h i s , for the t ru th embodied i n myths i s not only that contained i n "ingeniously symbolized concepts ," but a l so that expressed i n the archetypal patterns which emerge spontaneously t from the w r i t e r s mind, archetypes which need not be i n t e n t i o n  a l l y symbolic . In the view of the archetypal c r i t i c , an ana lys i s of the imagery of a work of l i t e r a t u r e can revea l patterns which correspond with c e r t a i n archetypal myths. In F r y e ' s words, myth i s the c e n t r a l informing power that gives archetypal s i g n i f i c a n c e to the r i t u a l and archetypal n a r r a t i v e to the o r a c l e . Hence the myth is_ the archetype, though i t might be convenient to say myth only when r e f e r r i n g to n a r r a t i v e , and archetype when speaking of s i gn i f i cance .15 The s ing le image focuses the reader's i n t e l l e c t u a l i n t e r e s t at the same time as i t focuses h i s emotion. The pattern dev eloped by the sum of a l l the images has the same e f f e c t , and, by analyz ing the s tructure of the imagery, the c r i t i c can determine the s t r u c t u r a l p r i n c i p l e s at work i n the n a r r a t i v e . As these p r i n c i p l e s are the same as those working i n myth --where they are i s o l a t e d - - the myth reveals an archetypal l^Murray, Myth and Mythmaking, p. 337 15"Hie Archetypes of L i t e r a t u r e , " Fables , p. 15 pattern which i n turn y i e l d s a deeper s i g n i f i c a n c e to the narrative of both an i n t e l l e c t u a l and emotional nature. An i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the author's e x p l i c i t use of myth on the one hand and the patterns of imagery on the other leads to valuable insights into both the form and meaning of MacLennan's novels. Not only i s the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of i n d i v i d u a l novels enhanced but, by comparing the r e s u l t s of the separate analyses, a s i g n i f i c a n t path of development can be discerned running through the body of h i s work. The best novels to analyze i n this way are Barometer Rising, the f i r s t published novel (1941), Each Man's Son, the best middle novel (1951), and The Watch that Ends the Night, the l a t e s t novel (1959). S t r u c t u r a l s i m i l a r i t i e s and differences between these novels do much to indicate MacLennan's major themes and h i s development of these themes. His thematic i n t e r e s t s vary from the i n d i v i d u a l l e v e l of personal inner c o n f l i c t to the l e v e l of s o c i a l change, and to develop these themes he uses methods varying from omniscient didacticism to imagery that speaks for i t s e l f . As a means of a r t i s t i c expression, the imagery, of course, i s most e f f e c t i v e , and the patterns of imagery are most s i g n i f i c a n t . Frye indicates that i n i t s archetypal phase, l i t e r a t u r e imitates nature as a c y c l i c a l process, and imitates also a v i s i o n of s o c i a l desire, not expressed as a cycle but as a d i a l e c t i c i l l u s t r a t i n g the f u l f i l m e n t of desire and the obstacles i n the way of that f u l f i l m e n t . - 10. "Archetypal c r i t i c i s m , therefore, rests on two organizing rhythms or patterns, one c y c l i c a l , the other d i a l e c t i c , " l ^ and the r e l a t i v e stresses MacLennan puts on these two d i f f  erent types of organizing patterns reveals h i s changing att i t u d e s towards man and society. This leads f i n a l l y to a consideration of MacLennan's contribution to the development of a national consciousness. As Joseph Campbell points out, "the paramount function of a l l myth . . . and, hence, l i t e r a t u r e has always been to engage the i n d i v i d u a l , both emotionally and i n t e l l e c t u a l l y , i n the l o c a l organization."17 i n MacLennan's case, we may expand the l o c a l organization to include the national organization. And there can be no doubt that he has been very interested i n just t h i s aspect of h i s w r i t i n g . Whereas i n 1945 Desmond Pacey had expressed doubts that a r e a l l y national novel could then be written, a year l a t e r MacLennan was saying, Canada i s i n search of h e r s e l f today. She i s badly i n need of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , not only to h e r s e l f by one of her own, but to the rest of the world as w e l l . I t i s through the l i t e r a  ture of a country that the world comes to know her. And there are Canadians w r i t i n g i n Canada today who are equipping them selves for the task.™ Pacey had had Barometer Rising to consider and evidently f e l t i t to be more regional than national i n nature, and MacLennan 1^Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m (New York, Atheneum, 1966), p. 106 •^The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology (Toronto, Macmillan, 1959), p. 467. 18"Canada Between Covers," Saturday Review of L i t e r a t u r e , XXIX, 36 (Sept. 7, 1946), pp. 5-6 has nowhere disputed t h i s . Even so, Hugo McPherson was l a t e r to say that i n Barometer Rising "the personal c o n f l i c t i s s i g n i f i c a n t , f i n a l l y , as an image of a larger, symbolic con f l i c t of s o c i a l forces or a t t i t u d e s . M a c L e n n a n ' s intent i n th i s novel was to portray a c o n f l i c t of national importance, national scope; i f he was not e n t i r e l y successful, the cause may have been lack of experience, and a comparison of l a t e r novels indicates a movement away from regionalism toward, i n f a c t , the creation of a national image, a myth with which a l l Canadians can i d e n t i f y . Mythology and l i t e r a t u r e , as they are expressions of more than "ingeniously symbolized concepts," are also more than simply a means of engaging the i n d i v i d u a l i n the s o c i a l organization. Myth contains much more than a conventional code of s o c i a l mores or the d e f i n i t i o n of a s o c i a l norm: i t i s a poetic, supernormal imag^, conceived, l i k e a l l poetry, i n depth, but suceptible of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n on various l e v e l s . The shallowest minds see i n i t the l o c a l scenery; the deep est, the foreground of the void; and between are a l l the stages of the Way from the ethnic to the elementary idea, the l o c a l to the universal being, which i s Everyman, as he both knows and i s a f r a i d to know.^ The importance of t h i s statement i n r e l a t i o n to the develop ment of MacLennan's thought cannot be overstressed. While he uses c l a s s i c a l myth as an e s s e n t i a l source for narrative "The Novels of Hugh MacLennan," p. 186 Campbell, Primitive Mythology, p. 472. frameworks and background d e t a i l s , as he develops, he becomes less and less concerned with the s u p e r f i c i a l decorations they contain, and more and more concerned with the deeper psycho l o g i c a l , philosophical and r e l i g i o u s s i g n i f i c a n c e . Myth comes to exemplify for MacLennan a way of l i f e . Leading analysts of myth, such as Joseph Campbell, agree that the t a l e of the wandering hero, the quest myth, i s of c e n t r a l importance i n most, i f not a l l mythologies, and, s i m i l a r l y , most l i t e r a r y c r i t i c s would agree with Northrop Frye i n i d e n t i f y i n g "the ce n t r a l myth of l i t e r a t u r e , i n i t s narrative aspect, with the quest myth."21 Campbell, drawing upon psychological and anthropological data, considers the quest myth to be a "magnification of the formula represented i n the r i t e s of passage: separation-initiation-return,"22 o r j m 0 r e simply, a movement of withdrawal (from normal society) and return. The formula i s at the core of man's experience of h i s condition, and the myth i s an i d e a l expression of that experience because i t best exemplifies the natural movements of the world man inhabits. As Frye points out, the "myth seizes on the fundamental element of design offered by nature --the c y c l e , as we have i t d a i l y i n the sun and yearly 21"Archetypes," Fables, p. 18 22jhe Hero with a Thousand Faces (New York: Pantheon, 1949), p. 30. i n the seasons-- and as s imi la te s i t to the human cyc le of l i f e , death, and . . . Jby analogyj r e b i r t h . "23 T h e s tructure of the quest myth i s the s tructure man c o n t i n u a l l y perceives i n the motions of the ex terna l world and w i th in h imse l f . As the c y c l i c s tructure of the r i t e s of passage - - the coming of age-- imitates i n miniature the s tructure of the n a t u r a l cyc le of days and seasons and of human l i f e from b i r t h to death (and r e b i r t h ) , so does the quest myth. The pattern of the myth, as has been mentioned, can be reduced to two steps. The f i r s t step of the questing hero i s into a state of withdrawal or detachment ( separat ion); he re trea t s from the normal wor ld , weighed down by an increas  ing sense of d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n . In h i s detached s ta te , the hero c l a r i f i e s h i s d i f f i c u l t i e s , eradicates them, and i s t r a n s f i g  ured i n the process ( i n i t i a t i o n ) . I d e a l l y , through t r a n s f i g  u r a t i o n , he f inds peace from h i s previous troubles and i s able to accomplish the second step, to re turn r e v i t a l i z e d to the normal world to teach the lesson he has learned of the renewal of a balanced persona l i ty and p o s i t i v e l y d i rec t ed l i f e . In other words, the hero breaks away from h i s ord inary l i f e , suf fers var ious t r i a l s - - thereby gain ing increased knowledge of h imse l f - - and returns to put th i s self-knowledge to use i n 23"Myth, F i c t i o n , and Displacement," Fables , p. 32. r e s t o r i n g and maintaining balance and order i n society. Mythology and l i t e r a t u r e of a l l ages and a l l cultures are f u l l of tales of the questing hero. The f a m i l i a r Greek myths abound i n examples, the tales of Prometheus, Theseus, Perseus, and Odysseus to name only a few. Quest s t o r i e s also constitute a major part of the Roman (e.g., Aeneid) and -- s i g n i f i c a n t l y , considering MacLennan's Sco t t i s h h e r i t a g e - C e l t i c (e.g., Cuchalain) mythologies. Primary to th i s study, however, i s Homer's Odyssey, for there are numerous e x p l i c i t p a r a l l e l s with Homer's epic quest tale i n MacLennan's work. The narrative structure of the Odyssey i s t y p i c a l of the quest story, being a c y c l i c a l form based on the natural c y c l e . I t i s of that type of quest c a l l e d " c e n t r i p e t a l , " that i s , a quest to reach home, the o r i g i n of the journey. Having departed from h i s home, Ithaca, and gone to do ba t t l e at Troy (recounted i n the I l i a d ) , Odysseus sets o f f to return to Ithaca but encounters great d i f f i c u l t i e s , t r i a l s he must su f f e r , b a r r i e r s he must overcome ; He i s withdrawn from the normal world a l l the way to the dark and mysterious under world, but f i n a l l y succeeds i n h i s endeavours, regains h i s home and i s reunited with h i s wife and son. The pattern of the narrative i s s i m i l a r to that of many other quests, but this myth contains c e r t a i n peculiar features which s p e c i f i c a l l y recur i n MacLennan's novels. Preceding the story, there i s a long, b i t t e r and p a r t i c u l a r l y devastating war between two major powers MacLennan draws on this for both h i s t o r i c a l and metaphorical p a r a l l e l s . During the story, suitors tempt the hero's wife to be u n f a i t h f u l and forsake h i s memory, while the hero's son emerges as one able l a t e r to assume responsible command of h i s father's realm: this pattern i s used i n a l l the novels under consideration. A f t e r the story, further t r i a l s are i n store f o r the hero (prophesied by the ghost of T e i r e s i a s ) : a l l three novels end on such a prophetic note. And another important factor r e l a t i n g the Odyssey and MacLennan's novels i s the nature of the characters. As the quest myth i s , a f t e r a l l , the journey of a man, who i s i n part c o n t r o l l e d by circumstances and i n part controls them, the character of Odysseus i s of extreme importance to the development of the narrative. His nature i s somewhat ambivalent: at times he i s gentle, cool and serene, at others v i o l e n t and ferocious (when j u s t i c e must be done). He i s , i n f a c t , very s i m i l a r i n character to h i s patron goddess, Athene, the goddess of wisdom and prudent warfare, although Odysseus i s an eminently masculine example of the q u a l i t i e s they share. The Grecian Stoics and the Epicurean Romans, such as Horace, considered Odysseus a noble example of manly v i r t u e . They and other ancient commentators noticed that "Odysseus was the f i r s t Greek to adopt the p r i n c i p l e of 'Nothing i n excess 1, which with i t s complementary p r i n c i p l e of 'Know t h y s e l f 1 produced so much of what was best i n - 16. - Greek thought and a r t . " ^ What was important to these ancient hum anists can be expected to have some appeal to modern humanists, and t h i s i s c e r t a i n l y the case with MacLennan. Like A l f r e d , Lord Tennyson, a V i c t o r i a n humanist who was drawn to the Odyssey ("Ulysses", 1842; "To Ulysses", 1888) and a man with whom MacLennan has some a f f i n i t y , the Canadian has a sympathy with the Odysseus figure that seems to become a matter of s e l f - i d e n t i f i c a t i o n . As often happens when an author works out i n h i s writings what amounts to an intense emotional experience, both the writer himself and h i s chosen hero-symbol may be d r a s t i c a l l y changed. For the writer i t can be a means of s e l f - discovery, s e l f encouragement, and s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n . For the mythical hero who i s the partner of this imaginative empathy, the e f f e c t may be an e n t i r e l y new mutation i n h i s evolution.25 These " d r a s t i c changes", however, are generally confined to the more s u p e r f i c i a l aspects of the figure and his journey, and ra r e l y have any appreciable e f f e c t on the broader outlines of the quest hero or the basic pattern of the myth. MacLennan neglects the shrewd and cunning side of Odysseus' nature and accentuates the gentle and understanding side. He also stresses Odysseus' stubborn single-mindedness, occasionally a l t e r i n g i t to a b l i n d and obsessive, i f naive and i d e a l i s t i c , w i l l to do the r i g h t thing. 2 W^. B. Stanford, The Ulysses Theme (Oxford: B a s i l , Blackwell and Mott, 1963), p. 35 2 5 I b i d . , p. 6 - 17. - Another of Homer's characters who h a s \ l e a r counterpart i n MacLennan's novels i s Odysseus' wife, Penelope. Homer depicts her as gentle but strong, r e t i c e n t but firm, and above a l l wise, wise with an i n t e l l i g e n c e and understanding which do not seek s e l f - g r a t i f i c a t i o n . P a t i e n t l y she awaits her husband's return, fending o f f the persistent suitors with one hand, managing her much-disturbed household with the other. MacLennan generally handles this basic picture of her character with l i t t l e m odification. He deals s i m i l a r l y with a d d i t i o n a l characters found i n the Odyssey. Eumaeus, Odysseus' f a i t h f u l servant, l e f t i n Ithaca during the journey but instrumental i n r e - i n s t a t i n g the hero to h i s r i g h t f u l p o s i t i o n , appears i n various forms. So does Telemachus, the hero's son, f a i t h f u l and obedient to h i s father's wishes, yet independent enough to be strong and s e l f - r e l i a n t and hold promise for the future. The suitors of Penelope --arrogant, greedy and s e l f i s h - - are presented i n numerous guises. Circe, Calypso and Nausicaa --witch, nymph and maiden-- who both hinder Odysseus i n h i s quest and eventually help him on h i s way, appear under many names. And f i n a l l y , not to be seen as human characters i n MacLennan's novels but as i n v i s i b l e , inexorable forces, are the gods: Odysseus' chief Olympian antagonist, Poseidon, earth-shaker and l o r d of the sea; Odysseus' c h i e f a i d , Athene, patron of wisdom and warfare; and beyond even these, that ineluctable force to which even the gods themselves must submit, divine destiny, moira, personified as Fate. - 18. - Other things i n Homer's epic also appear i n MacLennan's work; for example, both writers use the sea as a major image. Homer's sea i s at once dangerous and b e n e f i c i a l : i t c a r r i e s Odysseus away from home, f r u s t r a t i n g h i s return, k i l l i n g h i s men and threatening him; but eventually i t c a r r i e s him home a greater man than he was before. MacLennan's sea d i f f e r s from this very l i t t l e . In Homer's sea there are islands of refuge, again usually of an ambivalent nature: there i s the land of the Lotos-eaters, paradisal but sel f - d e f e a t i n g ; Circe's i s l a n d , threatening yet h e l p f u l ; Calypso's i s l a n d , a sensual Eden but lacking the rewards of community, of society; and f i n a l l y Ithaca i t s e l f , representing home and family, the only place where Odysseus can f i n d l a s t i n g contentment. In the world of MacLennan's novels such islands also appear. These images are only two of numerous p a r a l l e l s . The world of the Odyssey, the whole world of c l a s s i c a l l i t e r a t u r e , i s woven into MacLennan's world so t i g h t l y that the two worlds, c l a s s i c a l and modern, sometimes become i n d i s  tinguishable. The d i v i d i n g l i n e between myth and s o c i a l realism i s extremely hard to draw. Although MacLennan writes i n a " r e a l i s t i c " mode, the e x p l i c i t borrowings from myth for the purposes of st r u c t u r i n g and char a c t e r i z a t i o n , and the expression of ideals drawn from c l a s s i c a l thought, combined with a d i s t i n c t sense of the preternatural, pervade the novels with an atmosphere that i s not " r e a l i s t i c " , an atmosphere that says t h i s i s myth. Hugh MacLennan i s a mythmaker, a writer composing for himself and h i s readers a pattern that defines a basic c o n f l i c t both i n h i s society and i n the i n d i v i d u a l s who comprise this society. Seen as a whole, the pattern also provides an eventual r e s o l u t i o n to that c o n f l i c t , a r e s o l u t i o n that i s f i r m l y set i n c l a s s i c a l philosophy. Chapter Two: Barometer Rising: The National Romance Hugh MacLennan's f i r s t novel, Barometer Rising, i s e x p l i c i t l y patterned on Homer's Odyssey. The Greek epic begins i n media res, Odysseus returning to Ithaca a f t e r journeying for nine years from the war at Troy. Barometer  Rising also begins i n media res, even closer to the climax of the quest, for N e i l Macrae has already come back to H a l i f a x . The i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of Ithaca with H a l i f a x and the Trojan with the F i r s t World War i s c l e a r l y intended. Also, i n both n a r r a t i v e s , an important feature of the quest.is as yet unconcluded; Odysseus must deal with the suitors who v a s t l y outnumber him, N e i l has Colonel Wain and h i s a l l i e s to overcome. Colonel Geoffrey Wain, an i s o l a t e d example of N e i l ' s enemies, i s "an ambitious man confident i n h i s own a b i l i t y . " ! In t h i s he i s not unlike N e i l , with the difference that, where Neil's ambition i s primarily to c l e a r h i s name and r e j o i n the community, Wain seeks personal power and glory without regard for h i s fellow man. Again not unlike N e i l , Wain i s "pervaded by a quiet and unquestioned confidence that the present had pulled a d r i f t from the past and that h i s future held unlimited p o s s i b i l i t i e s " (66). But the v i s i o n s the two men have of the future are r a d i c a l l y d i s s i m i l a r . Wain envisions a m i l i t a n t , ••-Hugh MacLennan, Barometer Rising (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1958), p. 27. A l l subsequent quotations from the novel are from this e d i t i o n and are followed by page references i n parentheses. regimented, a u t h o r i t a r i a n society centered on England, a new and d i f f e r e n t kind of Empire more along r i g i d Roman l i n e s . In f a c t , he foresees a f a s c i s t state. Neil's v i s i o n i s hazier but i s c l e a r l y opposed to Wain's; he sees an independent nation creating a free society superior to what has gone before. Where N e i l i s an i d e a l i s t i c democrat, Wain i s a s e l f i s h , grasping autocrat, cold and arrogant, although there i s a "discrepancy between the sense of ruthless and i n d i f f e r e n t power he radiated and the mediocre record of h i s achievement" (26). He has put neither h i s a b i l i t y nor force to much evident use, apart from maintaining h i s inheritance. Here l i e s h i s a f f i n i t y with the su i t o r s of the Odyssey. Too confident of t h e i r power, too sure of t h e i r i n e v i t a b l e v i c t o r y , both the s u i t o r s and Wain tempt fate by proudly swaggering through t h e i r worlds, unaware that t h e i r mistaken b e l i e f s are s e l f - d e f e a t i n g . As h i s name implies, Colonel Wain i s destined to wane. Because of the d i s p a r i t y , apparent and r e a l , between the control of the s i t u a t i o n exerted by N e i l (Odysseus) and Wain (the s u i t o r s ) , the hero must consider d i s c r e t i o n the better part of valour and remain hidden. Like Odysseus, N e i l f i r s t appears i n h i s native community i n a guise i n f e r i o r to h i s r i g h t f u l p o s i t i o n : Odysseus i s dressed as a beggar; N e i l looks l i k e a tramp, poorly dressed and i n need of a shave, " i n England he would have been l a b e l l e d a gentleman who had l o s t caste" (3). Circumstances keep N e i l , l i k e Odysseus, a stranger i s o l a t e d i n a - 22. - community he knows well, "recognized by no-one" (5). This i s o l a t i o n has been h i s l o t since he departed from the scene of the war, for "army routine had given place to a phantasmal existence . . . i n which nothing had been r e a l but l o n e l i n e s s " (93). In terms of the Homeric work, the i s o l a t e d l i f e i s equal to the bulk of Odysseus' journey, that time following the Trojan War, and much of Odysseus' existence i s l i t e r a l l y "phantasmal," s p e c i f i c a l l y that spent i n the underworld. This c l e a r l y connects with N e i l ' s f e e l i n g that "he might as well be dead as the way he was, since the chief loss i n death was the a b i l i t y to communicate" (45). He i s s t i l l i n a state of detachment and cannot f u l f i l l h i s "simple desire for an acknowledged r i g h t to e x i s t here i n the place he knew as home" (7), u n t i l he has been able "to square some accounts" (108), as he says he must. For a time N e i l i s forced to wait h e l p l e s s l y and watch, "conscious of wanting to get back to Penelope more than anything e l s e " (199). It i s Penelope who f i r s t recognizes N e i l , and here the novel d i f f e r s from the epic, where i t i s Telemachus who f i r s t recognizes h i s father, Odysseus. Penelope Wain shares many q u a l i t i e s with her model, Homer's wise Penelope. She has an inner coolness, "a m e r c i f u l power within h e r s e l f that enabled her to s p i l l cool water over her brain and make i t l u c i d i n moments of c r i s i s " (85), and c e r t a i n l y Odysseus' wife acts well at c r i t i c a l moments. Both Penelopes have a serenity that allows them to cope with f r u s t r a t i o n , Homer's - . 2 3 . - with the irksome s u i t o r s , MacLennan's with her domineering father and ins u f f e r a b l e aunt, Maria. Furthermore, MacLennan's words describing Penny Wain might just as e a s i l y be used to describe her Homeric counterpart: i n repose "her face seemed absorbed and p r i v a t e , " while i n conversation "her face opened and disclosed a sympathetic and comprehensive mind" (10). These pensive and c o n t r o l l e d minds, however, are not forever serene; the constant assaults of the suitors have opened a chink i n Penelope's armour and have s l i g h t l y weakened her resolve, while, before N e i l ' s appearance, Penny has an "increasing sense of her v u l n e r a b i l i t y " (20). This does not detract from the fac t that both women have s u c c e s s f u l l y kept the su i t o r s for t h e i r a f f e c t i o n s at bay, Penelope with her famous loom, Penny with her ship design. And t h i s a b i l i t y to cope with an extraordinary s i t u a t i o n i s doubtless what causes Angus Murray to compliment Penny by c a l l i n g her "pretty shrewd" (17), and N e i l f i n a l l y to say, "Wise Penelope! That's what Odysseus said to \ h i s wife when he got home" (219). The r o l e of Eumaeus, Odysseus' f a i t h f u l swineherd, i s played i n Barometer Rising by Alec MacKenzie. Alec represents a l l that i s good - - l o y a l t y , honesty, patience-- i n the old l i f e of Nova Scotia, just as Eumaeus does i n Ithaca. Alec has come from the land, and has learned h i s values by working i n harmony with nature: h i s has been a hard l i f e but a f u l f i l l i n g one. He i s a man of the domestic breed, as N e i l recognizes, for - 24. - "his walk had the melancholy rhythm of a ruminant animal" and "he held the words i n h i s mouth as though they were a cud" (46). Like Eumaeus, Alec i s not overly i n t e l l i g e n t but exhibits those homely v i r t u e s which do not depend on i n t e l l i g e n c e , and he i s instrumental i n r e - i n s t a t i n g N e i l (Odysseus) to h i s r i g h t f u l p o s i t i o n . As N e i l notes, "Alec and he stemmed from the same roots; now i t was almost as i f Alec were about to help him vindicate h i s father for years of humiliation suffered at the hands of the Wains" (131). N e i l i s to restore h i s father's honour, as Odysseus restores that of Laertes i n the Odyssey. N e i l himself sometimes recognizes h i s role as a wanderer on a quest. When he i s most alone and despondent, he has "a d i s t o r t e d image of himself as a G u l l i v e r i n this L i l l i p u t wrenching the roofs o f f houses to discover how many myriads of creatures swarmed underneath and never saw the l i g h t " (88). A f t e r the explosion, a f t e r he has worked o f f h i s v i o l e n t desire for revenge on Colonel Wain, he recognizes that the "bitterness i n h i s e x i l e was quite extinguished. No matter what happened to him i n the future he would always be able to t e l l himself that he had survived worse things i n the past" (200). N e i l i s not the best analyst of his own s i t u a t i o n , however, for i t i s l a r g e l y through Penny Wain and Angus Murray that MacLennan makes e x p l i c i t statements about Neil's personality and indicates h i s place i n the quest pattern. Penny t e l l s us that N e i l i s "impetuous, . . . explosive and oblivious to what other people might be thinking" (113). Here, - 25. MacLennan i s accentuating the v i o l e n t side of the Odysseus figure's nature, because i t s u i t s h i s purpose to do so. If Neil were as shrewd as Odysseus, and had h i s foresight, he would know exactly what he was going to do and where i t would lead him. This, MacLennan does not desire, for he wishes to leave his hero's future i n doubt at the end of the novel. N e i l must be the man that Penny knows i s "careless and impetuous and over-confident of his own a b i l i t y to shape the world according to h i s own design" (106), for he represents Canada?s future. Penny may be bothered a l i t t l e by h i s b l i n d idealism, but she also sees him as "the only eager human being she had ever known" (106), and she i s drawn to th i s v i t a l , p o s itive eagerness. I t i s "wise" Penelope who f i n a l l y makes cl e a r the basic heroic q u a l i t y i n N e i l : "By nature he would f i g h t i n d e f i n i t e l y to achieve a human si g n i f i c a n c e i n an age where the products of human ingenuity make mockery of the men who had created them. He would f i g h t because nothing yet had been too big for h i s courage" (216). S i m i l a r l y , Angus t e l l s us much of the hero, N e i l and h i s place i n the quest pattern when he speaks of himself: So, l i k e the wanderer, the sun gone down, darkness be over me, my rest a stone --that's your Nova Scotian, i f you've the eye to see i t . Wanderers. Looking a l l over the continent for a future. But they always come back. That's the point to remember, they always come back to the roots.(136) Nova Scotians --and the culture hero, N e i l Macrae, epitomizes Nova Scotians-- follow the path of the c e n t r i p e t a l quest back to t h e i r o r i g i n s . This pattern recurs t r a g i c a l l y i n Each Man's S_ - 26. - but i n this novel the cycle i s comic, as Angus points out when he says, "I've seen a man that's r i s e n from the dead" (137). MacLennan has begun to blend the c l a s s i c a l and the C h r i s t i a n : N e i l Macrae has become not only an Odyssean culture hero, but something of a messiah as w e l l . N e i l i s a s o c i a l messiah rather than a r e l i g i o u s one, and, although the C h r i s t i a n messiah i s conventionally associated with a lamb, N e i l i s associated with other animals. Before his re-instatement, he imagines himself as "a f i s h on the end of a hook" (7), and this image of the trapped animal i s picked > up l a t e r when Penny i s thinking of Nei l ' s s i t u a t i o n . As she thinks, her att e n t i o n i s repeatedly drawn to a cat which "had f i n a l l y tangled himself i n e x t r i c a b l y i n the b a l l of wool, and with b a f f l e d and desperate d i g n i t y was tr y i n g to get f r e e " (106). Later, he " r o l l e d over, clawing f r a n t i c a l l y . Whenever he extricated himself from one loop he involved himself i n another" (107). This may remind the reader of a reference much e a r l i e r i n the novel to Nei l ' s being l i k e an "animal bunched for a spring" (2). The animal best known for bunching i t s e l f i s the cat, or members of the cat family (li o n s and t i g e r s ) . These animals have such noble carriage and are so expressive of power and strength both manifest and hidden that they are t r a d i t i o n a l l y associated with heroes. N e i l i s seen as a cat, which, though domestic, has an independent, unmanageable nature. He may be trapped, but that w i l l not stop h i s f i g h t i n g to get free. As Northrop Frye indicates, In the comic v i s i o n the animal world i s a community of dom est i c a t e d animals, usually a f l o c k of sheep, or a lamb, or one of the gentler birds, usually a dove. The archetype of pastoral images. In the t r a g i c v i s i o n the animal world i s seen i n terms of beasts and birds of prey, wolves, vultures, serpents, dragons and the li k e . 2 Such a d i v i s i o n of animal imagery does appear i n Barometer Rising. Alec MacKenzie i s i d e n t i f i e d with a domestic animal, a "ruminant animal" which chews i t s cud. While N e i l represents the more active aspect of the comic v i s i o n i n the novel, Alec represents the more gentle. There i s , of course, a t r a g i c v i s i o n , too. N e i l speaks of "the hyenas of the family prowling around" (110) Penny, and, a f t e r the explosion, he i s i r r i t a t e d by the f a l l i n g snow, for i t i s "as though the flakes had been a swarm of f l i e s " (197). These images of carrion-eaters c i r c l i n g a dying or dead animal help to create a mood of death, implying a :nortally wounded c i t y , a dying or dead society. This had been hinted at before i n Neil's f e e l i n g that, i f he tore the roofs from the c i t y houses, he ntfoiit discover myriads of creatures swarming underneath (88). The impression i s of maggots or te:rmites eating at a rotten core. Animal imagery i s important i n Barometer Rising, but nature imagery i s of even greater importance. It i s through images of nature that MacLennan portrays many of the opposing forces at work i n the novel. P a r t i c u l a r l y "Archetypes of L i t e r a t u r e , " Fables, pp. 20-21 - 28. - important are images of water --springs, r i v e r s , and the sea. These waters are at work both outside and inside the characters, l o r N e i l , the sea can be an image of i s o l a t i o n , and i t takes only a t h i n breeze from the sea to make "him f e e l e n t i r e l y s o l i t a r y " (3). Penny, s i t t i n g alone, feels "as though a stone had been plunged into the pool of her mind u n t i l her memories were surging l i k e troubled waters" and "she ached with loneliness and a sense of l o s s " (14). But the waters are emotionally ambivalent, for the memories become pleasant ones and she r e c o l l e c t s that "as she walked alone i t had been possible to imagine an aeon of t r a n q u i l l i t y broadening out l i k e a sea under the sky" (14). W. H. Auden has made an i n t e r e s t i n g and useful analysis of t h i s type of image, and concludes that the "Sky as contrasted with water [equals} S p i r i t as contrasted with Na.ture."3 Penny's t r a n q u i l l i t y of sea under sky suggests that peace may be found when s p i r i t and nature are i n harmony. But the waters are r a r e l y , i f ever, s t i l l . Shortly a f t e r her r e c o l l e c t i o n of t r a n q u i l l i t y , Penny quivers at the thought of "how helpless her existence had been i n the current of forces she had been able neither to predict nor c o n t r o l " (15). A sense of currents or tides, uncontrollable, sometimes appearing malignant, sometimes benign, often b l i n d and mindless, i s very strong throughout the novel. Young Roddie Wain, watching the The Enchafed Flood (New York: Random House, 1950), p. 75. 29. troop ship Olympic go hull-down over the horizon, suddenly f e e l s empty and alone. The waves breaking l i g h t l y on the smooth iStones of the shore were l i k e an unearthly laughter, and t h e i r sound was constant and all-pervading, wiping out the r e a l i t y of what he had just seen and f i l l i n g h i s mind with an unreasonable sense of disenchantment. (56) Roddie has been unsettled by a taste of the inexorable powers of nature, the slow, l e v e l l i n g forces of change to which even the mighty Olympic must eventually f a l l . But the s h i f t i n g waters hold peace, too. To the drunken Angus Murray, t i r e d and a f r a i d of a r e a l i t y which appears ugly and f u t i l e , "the walls of the room, the tables and chairs and the picture of the dead duck surged l i k e the sea, flowing against h i s eyeballs and ebbing away with a motion so steady i t destroyed everything but h i s thoughts, and from those i t removed the pain" (134). And to Penny, a f t e r her eye operation, when the exploding, ra p i d l y changing world seems to have become too much to bear, "through the w e l l i n g waters of her exhaustion . . . the future . . . no longer seemed of much importance" (175-76). Penny has become as N e i l now has, concerned only with the here and now, the f i g h t at hand. By the time she and N e i l set o f f together a.: the end of the novel, she i s ready to go on regardless, to accept that "she was i n the current now" (215), i n the grip of " t i t a n i c f orces" (216). The basic opposition implied and stated i n these images i s one of f l u x to s t a s i s , of motion to re s t , and MacLennan's sympathies seem to be with the f l u x . Similar oppositions appear i n other nature images, and images of - 30. - the general s e t t i n g . I t becomes evident i n the very f i r s t paragraph of the novel that there i s an oppos i t ion between nature and the man- made, and there i s a strong suggestion, too, of an oppos i t ion between l i g h t and darkness. The narra tor says, "In the west the winter sky was b r i l l i a n t and clouds massing under the sun were taking on c o l o u r , but smoke hung low i n the s tree ts" (1). The l ight -darkness oppos i t ion becomes stronger when N e i l i s seen looking west to watch the sunset, a "shedding blaze of g lory crowning the continent" (4), while darkness moves i n from the east; " i t s p i l l e d over from the land and lapped the massive sides of the graving-dock and the h u l l s of vesse ls r i d i n g at anchor; i t advanced westward from the hidden sea; and . . . fog was behind i t " (9) . The encroaching darkness forces a t t e n t i o n to the c i t y ; consciousness of the surrounding countryside i s minimized and dr iven inward to the man-made. In the Wain shipyards can be seen "the long skeleton of a ship under cons truc t ion , l y i n g with i t s keel bur ied i n the n ight" (9). Once again there i s a sense of death, th i s time assoc iated with darkness. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , while sunsets are g l o r i o u s l y p o s i t i v e to the narra tor and N e i l Macrae, to Colonel Wain they seem negat ive . He notes with a vague sense of d i s tas te the "glow of sunset reeking over the sheds and s p i l l i n g on the f l a t water of the harbour" (62). One reason for Wain's d i s tas te may be due to MacLennan's use of sunsets to appear prophetic of change. Wain, of course , stands for the status quo. The evening Wain watches the sunset "reeking, 1 the Tuesday evening prior to the explosion, the narrator describes Bedford Basin as "walled by darkness." The r i d i n g l i g h t s of the ships i n the Basin f l i c k e r " l i k e a swarm of f i r e f l i e s motionless i n the v o i d . " The dark, motionless void i s l i k e a scene prior to c r e a t i o n . Meanwhile, " i n the far west taere remained, l i k e a t i n y i s l a n d burning with a distant f i r e , a s l i v e r of cloud s t i l l r e f l e c t i n g the glow from the sunken sun" (75). A l i t t l e l a t e r , N e i l notices the "darkness descended . . . to the ground . . . and s p l i n t e r e d clouds i n the west shook loose one by one from the turmoil of the sunset and began th e i r d r i f t to the sea" (79). S p l i n t e r s of l i g h t have begun a motion toward^ the east, toward the dark void of Bedford Basin. The whole scene i s pervaded by a sense of imminent genesis: "^nd the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the S p i r i t of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be l i g h t : and there was l i g h t . " It i s immediately following t h i s "prophetic" scene that N e i l has h i s v i s i o n of the sun moving across a l l Canada, a v i s i o n f u l l of the knowledge of eternal change. Thinking of the St. Lawrence River (and by extension i t s whole watershed), he imagines " a l l the time the deep water poured seaward under the i c e . " The p r a i r i e s he thinks of as "endless plains . . . over which the wind passed i n a firm and continuous f l u x . . . - 32. - over the wheat seeds frozen into the a l l u v i a l earth." Even the earth, being a l l u v i a l , i s subject to the forces of change. Of the towering Rockies, "the peaks were gleaming o b e l i s k s " (79), obelisks older than Egypt's but just as subject to erosion. 'Che sense of the mutable i s strong: s t a b i l i t y i s an i l l u s i o n , for the only thing constant i s change. Inexorable change dominates the a c t i o n i n the novel, c o n t r o l l i n g the destinies of the characters. MacLennan makes th i s very c l e a r from the beginning. His obvious use of the Odyssey as a model indicates a.t once to the reader that N e i l ' s triumph i s as i n e v i t a b l e as Odysseus'. And, i f N e i l i s to triumph, so i s the chief force associated with him, l i g h t . In Barometer Rising, the sun, the power of l i g h t , i s generally i d e n t i f i e d with the west. Opposed to t h i s , the night or power of darkness, i s linked to the east. The east repre sents the past, stable but decadent, while the west represents the future, o f f e r i n g change and progress. The entrenched society of Halifax, forever turning i t s eyes east toward England, i : ; i d e n t i f i e d with the old Wain house. Penny Wain recognizes that "nothing i n the house was ever changed" and sees the house as; "an incubus" (18), an oppressive, e v i l s p i r i t of darkness. Like the house, H a l i f a x h e r s e l f , "her back to the continent and he:r face to the Old Country . . . would l i e here i n a l l weathers unchangeably the same, and her b e l l s would r i n g i n the darkness" (32). But the b e l l s r i n g i n vain, for the c i t y has i s o l a t e d - 33. - i t s e l f too completely from North American soc ie ty and from nature: i t i s a "c lear ing i n the fores t f r o n t i n g the sea" (139), i t s back to the western wi lderness , ignor ing i t . I t i s l i k e one of i t s small par t s , Wain's Wharf, which has an entrance l i k e "the gateway to a c o l o n i a l f o r t . " I t i s s o l i d , yet i t manages "to give the impression that at some time i n i t s past i t had been besieged" (57). In f a c t , the c i t y has been constant ly under seige from the very nature i t chooses to ignore . The c i t y i s a f o r t , and because of t h i s , i t i s a l so a "diminutive cage" (197). I ts inhabitants are imprisoned by t h e i r own w i l l . Any n o b i l i t y i t has i s a "false n o b i l i t y " (141) borrowed from the sun. The c i t y has b l i n d l y ignored the winds of change, ignored the winds from the west which b r i n g the odour of spruce trees making "the atmosphere of the place . . . l i k e a ton ic" (49), and ignored the fact that the "east wind always brought bad weather" (177). I t i s not u n t i l the c i t y has been l a r g e l y destroyed, the e s tab l i shed a t t i t u d e s d isrupted and broken, that "instead of being pu l l ed eastward by B r i t a i n , " H a l i f a x , j o i n i n g with the res t of Canada, "would h e r s e l f p u l l B r i t a i n c l e a r of decay and give her a new b i r t h " (201). Only one part of the o ld Wain property has any pos i t i ve v a l the only part that Penny has any r e a l a f f e c t i o n f o r , the garden with i t s summer house and lime trees reminiscent of the t r o p i c s , land of the sun. Here l i e s a patch of l i g h t i n a f i e l d of - 34. - darkness. Here, although the season i s deep winter with the sun at i t s lowest reach south, the winter sunlight i s prophetically " l i k e a net thrown over the frozen garden" (106). The sun has cast i t s net and w i l l return for i t s catch. The sun w i l l return to revive the c i t y a f t e r the explosion just as i t w i l l return to revive and restore the winter wilderness, now " s i l e n t and empty i n the hush before snow, and f i l l e d with daylight l i k e a ruined house" (71). But before the sun returns the c i t y must experience utter darkness, which i t does on the night following the explosion, "the darkest night anyone i n H a l i f a x could remember" (177). The explosion i s where the great forces opposed throughout the novel meet. The time depicted i n the novel, i t s present, i s that moment from which can be viewed the past and the old society (stable, decadent, warlike), and the future with i t s promise of a new society (active, fresh, peaceful). The Mont Blanc, f i l l e d with explosives which are a product of the old society, explodes to r e s u l t i n the destruction of that society. The explosion i s b l i n d i n i t s s e l e c t i o n of victims, b l i n d as nature i s b l i n d . Jim and Mary Fraser, two gentle, humane, pos i t i v e characters, are k i l l e d h o r r i b l y , Mary's head s e t t l i n g i n death " l i k e a cut flower on i t s s t a l k " (156) While the negative Colonel Wain i s k i l l e d , so i s the positive Alec MacKenzie. Both these characters epitomize the old, pre- explosion world - Wain, the established c i t y society; MacKenzie, the simple r u r a l society doomed to e x t i n c t i o n . MacKenzie, suffers - 35. - his i n j u r i e s saving the l i f e of h i s son, who l i v e s on to become part of the future society. The shattered c i t y that was once a f o r t i s seen i n m i l i t a r y images: a battleground, where men working to salvage something from the mess appear " l i k e the va.nguard of an attacking army stopped i n i t s tracks" (195); the harbour i s " l i k e a simitar with broken edges" (195); and, a f t e r the snow, the c i t y seems "a white s h i e l d . . . under the sharp-edged s t a r s " (213). Though man's weapons have l o s t t h e i r edge, nature's have not. But the great c o n f l i c t i s over and the weapons are discarded. Halifax's value as a weapon i n foreign wars i s l a r g e l y diminished. The old H a l i f a x has f a l l e n as surely as the empires of the Near Eastern and A f r i c a n deserts to l i e hidden i n the "primal solitude of snow d r i f t i n g l i k e sand over the r u i n s " (197). Nature i s already covering man's mistakes: "Everything was buried under shimmering snow so d e l i c a t e l y clean that i t seemed as though nature had conspired to conceal the misbegotten e f f e c t s of human ingenuity" (213). But there i s a sense, too, that some giant force has d e l i b e r a t e l y created the d i s a s t e r , for the c i t y appears as i f "punched i n by a c o l o s s a l f i s t " (201). The f i s t i s that of some t i t a n i c Frankenstein monster generated by man's greed for power, breeding forces greater than he can c o n t r o l . This i s another example of the preternatural elements i n the novel, and perhaps another suggestion of MacLennan's c l a s s i c i s m . On one hand, the suitors for Penny's a f f e c t i o n s (Colonel Wain and the establishment) are destroyed, and, where Odysseus i s aided by the hand of Athene, N e i l i s aided by the hand of Fortune or chance. On the other hand, combined with the general f e e l i n g of destiny throughout the novel, this f i n a l blow transcends coincidence (which i t would be c a l l e d , were the novel " r e a l i s t i c " ) and assumes the nature of necessity. The explosion then becomes a divine r e t r i b u t i o n , sent as a punishment for man's hubris, or simply an i n e v i t a b l e manifestation of moira, Fate, a r e s t o r a t i o n of balance i n society and nature. The explosion over --the r e t r i b u t i o n exacted, the c o n f l i c t of opposites s e t t l e d , with the power of l i g h t triumphant-- the hero sets f o r t h from the scene of b a t t l e to restore harmony to the community. In t h i s , N e i l p a r a l l e l s the hero of V i r g i l ' s epic quest, the Aeneid. The hero of the Roman work, Aeneas, follows a path s i m i l a r to that of Odysseus, but the prime goal of h i s quest i s to found a new c i t y and state. Like Aeneas, N e i l passes through b i t t e r times, but he i s not defeated by them. MacLennan makes the p a r a l l e l between the Aeneid and Barometer Rising c l e a r when he has N e i l think, Forsan et haec olim meminisse invabit ^ s i c j . Only one who had experienced ultimate things could comprehend the greatness of that l i n e . (200)4 Like Aeneas, N e i l feels i t i s h i s destiny to found a new c i t y , and, l i k e Odysseus, he has further t r i a l s to undergo. The ^•"Perhaps one day this too w i l l be pleasant to remember." Aeneid, Book I, 203. stars are i n h i s favour. As N e i l and Penny set f o r t h to f i n d t h e i r c h i l d ( i n the c h i l d the future i s contained), an image of the stars h i n t s at the future. The 'Bear hung over the Basin, Orion at t h e i r backs was mounting toward h i s z e n i t h " (216). Orion the hunter, representing the old, war-breeding society f i g h t i n g to the death i n Europe, w i l l soon reach h i s zenith and then decline. The bear hangs d i r e c t l y over the Basin, and, as i s noted i n the prophetic "genesis" scene, stretches "a long arm to the northwest" (75), pointing the way to the future. T r a d i t i o n a l l y , i n ancient western mythologies, westward i s the d i r e c t i o n of paradise. C e r t a i n l y i t i s to the west that Penny and N e i l turn t h e i r faces to catch on the breeze "the fresh smell of balsam" (219). The a i r i s c l e a r i n g , the barometer r i s i n g as the weather improves, and N e i l hears "the s l i g h t tremor of a r i s i n g wind" (219). The quest i s not yet f i n i s h e d , as the destinies of both N e i l and Canada are not yet r e a l i z e d . But a new s p i r i t has been born, and N e i l must plunge into t h i s "a.nomalous land . . . sprawling waste . . . empty tra c t of primordial s i l e n c e s , " this "unborn mightiness, this question mark, this future" (79). N e i l c a l l s the nation "unborn" before the explosion, the cataclysm which may be considered equivalent to i t s b i r t h . But the question mark, the future, remains. N e i l does not know exactly what he i s going to do (neither does Canada), but, whatever i t i s , i t w i l l be h i s - 38. - independent decision and act. Throughout the novel there i s a heavy stress on the process of change i n nature and society. Many of the characters at one time or another express t h e i r awareness of changes occurring. For example, Roddie Wain i s made aware of change, g;ently when he watches the Olympic s a i l away, harshly when he learns of the deaths of Jim and Mary Fraser, a lesson which i s "the abrupt and ruthless impingement of the unseen and the i n c a l c u l a b l e into h i s own l i f e " (187). More deeply than Roddie, of course, Penny recognizes that "the r i g i d automatic l i f e of her family's hierarchy had been blown wide apart" (191). Such change may occur i n two d i f f e r e n t ways or for two d i f f e r e n t reasons^ undetermined and undeterminable chance, or determining and determinable destiny. "Nothing matters i n the world but chance" (127), says Jim Fraser, and h i s and Mary's deaths would seem to re-enforce this view. Less ready to accept t h i s , N e i l Macrae finds him s e l f " t r y i n g to r e s i s t the conviction that chance and prepos terous accident had complete control of h i s l i f e " (134). That chance has a c e r t a i n , even a major, control he cannot deny. "One chance might lead him to another with no binding l i n k but a peculiar tenacity which made him determined to preserve himself for a future which gave no promise of being superior to the past" (7). But h i s tenacious determination to carry on, h i s deep-seated w i l l to survive, i s not the only thread to grasp, for - 39. - "not even . . . evidence was able to convince him that h i s l i f e was problematic as a f l y ' s . Rather i t seemed the f i n a l degradation of war that i t could make a man's l i f e appear so" (134). N e i l recognizes, as Colonel Wain to his disadvantage does not, that "war was now neither a game nor a profession, but something he couldn't control or understand" (133). N e i l sees man i n the gr i p of uncontrollable forces that he himself has unleashed, forces that transcend chance and accident, and are working out a pattern. A man could determine t h i s pattern, i f he could only step back far enough to see i t i n persective. It i s Angus Murray who best glimpses these forces and comprehends t h e i r patterns, where N e i l cannot. Angus i s an anomaly i n the Homeric pattern of Barometer Rising. His cl o s e s t counterpart i n the Odyssey would seem to be Theoclymenus, the prophet who joins Telemachus on his return to Ithaca. But the p a r a l l e l i s tenuous at best. Granted, h i s rol e i s partly prophetic, but he adds much more to the novel than t h i s . His ro l e i s at once thoroughly modern and thoroughly c l a s s i c a l . He i s , l i k e N e i l Macrae, an outsider, an e x i l e from the entrenched society, engaged i n a quest to f i n d a purposeful place i n the world. He i s a man of superior powers, a doctor with a broad education and profound understanding, who has experienced a l l l e v e l s of society. The solitude of h i s e x i l e has produced the courage and endurance to stand alone, but the - 40. - loneliness i s s t i l l p a i n f u l to him. In twentieth century terms, he i s something of an anti-hero, the lonely, d i s s a t i s f i e d i n t e l l e c t u a l cut i n the Prufrock pattern. This aspect of his character allows him to stand aloof much of the time, commenting c o o l l y on the characters and a c t i o n . He i s a rough modern equivalent of the Chorus i n c l a s s i c a l Greek drama, the voice of the enduring human values above and beyond the story i t s e l f . Although he plays a major part i n working out the plot, i t i s also h i s r o l e to withdraw occasionally and put the whole narrative i n perspective. He has a number of q u a l i t i e s that s u i t him for t h i s task. Being by profession a surgeon, Angus i s not one to forget d e t a i l s or leave loose ends hanging. The best example of this aspect of h i s role i s h i s obtaining Alec MacKenzie 1s.signed statement of N e i l ' s innocence, which the impetuous N e i l has forgotten i n the heat of the c r i s i s . Also, being widely read --he l i s t s a few of h i s f a v o r i t e s : Plato's Republic, the Nichomachaean E t h i c s , Rashdall's Theory of Good and E v i l , Horace, Catullus, Thucydides, Shakespeare and Milton-- and being able to understand and appreciate what he has read, he has the necessary i n t e l l e c t u a l distance to be f a i r l y objective about the a c t i o n . He: stands wholly i n neither camp, neither the old nor the new, as he indicates when he says he i s "caught between . . . two extremes" (208). He i s f i n a l l y a s t o i c , able to endure, and an epicurean, and exponent of this l i f e and of the v i r t u e s of the - 41. - golden mean. He i s by no means f a u l t l e s s --he i s very human-- but h i s s o r t i e s into the dark side of h i s nature are a part of his quest. Angus considers things more i n terms of the u n i v e r s a l than the i n d i v i d u a l . Before the explosion, he prophesies the decline and f a l l of the old, established world, the t i t l e s of the great c l a s s i c a l works of l i t e r a t u r e that he admires making "a poignant r i n g i n h i s mind l i k e the remembrance of a b e l l heard i n childhood from a cathedral which the years of the technical era had b l i n d l y emptied" (139). The forgotten ancients are equivalent i n h i s mind to discarded r e l i g i o n , but, i n spite of everything, Angus i s glad he knows them. MacLennan i s c l e a r l y i n d i c a t i n g h i s sympathies through this character. Later i n the novel, Angus philosophizes on the explosion and i t s implica tio n s . Reflecting on the process of change, he asks himself, "Was a l l the rest of the twentieth century going to be a continuance of this a l t e r n a t i o n between boredom and v i o l e n c e ? " (193) He provides no f i n a l answer. But from where the omniscient author stands at the time of w r i t i n g , the answer i s obviously "Yes!" and he can expect h i s readers to share this knowledge. Reflecting on the idea of coherent patterns at work i n the universe, Murray thinks, "the death of an i n d i v i d u a l was an i n s i g n i f i c a n t event unless i t could be reconciled with a pattern possessing a wider meaning" (207). He sees no pattern i n the - 42. - H a l i f a x explosion, although he senses one i s there. The one that i s there i s the one MacLennan supplies. Even Angus i s s t i l l too close to see i t . He i s a perceptive man, and the author's chief spokesman, but he i s s t i l l a man caught i n h i s own time. What puts him s o l i d l y i n the twentieth century and makes him so l i k e other modern anti-heroes such as Albert Camus' L'etranger, i s h i s f e e l i n g that "a man could only know the meaning of peace when he no longer reached a f t e r the torment of hope" (143). This i s the paradox that to f i n d himself a man must lose himself, the r e s u l t of the successful quest and the point which both Angus and N e i l reach. Angus i s gentle and understanding, shrewd and profound. He seeks j u s t i c e for the maligned and freedom for the caged; h i s values are humanistic and he w i l l not be f a l s e to them. He, l i k e N e i l , i s on a quest to regain h i s honour and r e a l i z e h i s purpose. And these he does. He passes through the darkness into the l i g h t , and at l a s t has a v i s i o n of his future, a s e t t l e d summertime of l i f e i n a place t r u l y h i s home (211-12). I t has by now become c l e a r that Angus has many of Odysseus' q u a l i t i e s that N e i l does not have, and N e i l many that Angus lacks. Together they make a whole Odysseus, and exemplify the c l a s s i c a l humanist ideals MacLennan values so highly. By using Homer's Odyssey as a model for h i s narrative structure and c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n , MacLennan adds some of the weight of the great epic's reputation - 43. - to h i s own story and, more important, supplies a h i s t o r i c a l perspective which makes the Halifax explosion more s i g n i f i c a n t i n Canadian h i s t o r y . H a l i f a x i s both the restored Ithaca and the shattered Troy. Angus Murray i s the returned Odysseus at peace i n h i s home; N e i l Macrae i s the returned Odysseus reunited with h i s Penelope, the Odysseus who has further quests, and Aeneas who i s to r a i s e a new c i t y . But the ancient quest pattern has deeper meaning than t h i s . I t can be seen, using Northrop Frye's c r i t e r i a , that Barometer Rising consists of a blending of two generic plots, comedy and romance. The archetypal theme of romance i s "argon or c o n f l i c t , " and the novel i s l a r g e l y comprised of such c o n f l i c t . The archetypal theme of comedy i s "anagnorisis or recognition of a new born society r i s i n g i n triumph around a somewhat mysterious hero and h i s bride,"5 and the novel c l e a r l y promises t h i s . The movement i n the novel "from a society c o n t r o l l e d by habit, r i t u a l bondage, a r b i t r a r y law and the older characters to a society c o n t r o l l e d by youth and pragmatic freedom" 0 i s t y p i c a l of comedy. At the same time, i n romance, the opposite poles of the cycles of nature are assimilated to the opposition of the hero and h i s enemy. The enemy i s assoc iated with winter, darkness, confusion, s t e r i l i t y , moribund Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m (New York: Atheneum, 1966), p. 192. 6 I b i d . , p. 196. - 44. l i f e , and old age, and the hero with spring, dawn, order, f e r t i l i t y , vigor, and youth.1 Such a d i a l e c t i c of forces i s c l e a r l y drawn i n the novel. The novel stands closer to the i d e a l of romance than to the i d e a l of comedy; hence i t i s a comic-romance. On the l e v e l of the i n d i v i d u a l , that of the hero himself, N e i l Macrae (and to some extent Angus Murray), and of the author and the reader, the quest-romance i s a search of the . . . d e s i r i n g s e l f for a f u l f i l l m e n t that w i l l d e l i v e r i t from the anxieties of r e a l i t y but w i l l s t i l l contain that r e a l i t y . The antagonists of the quests are often s i n i s t e r figures . . . that c l e a r l y have a parental o r i g i n . 8 The antagonists i n Barometer Rising are epitomized by Colonel Wain, the hero's uncle and foster father. But redeemed parental f i g u r e s , too, have a place i n the novel i n such figures as the "wise old man." This role i s taken by Angus Murray, and h i s feminine counterpart, "the s y b i l l i n e wise-mother fi g u r e , often a potential bride . . . who s i t s q u i e t l y at home waiting for the hero to f i n i s h h i s wanderings and come back to her,"9 i s Penny Wain. On a more general l e v e l , of the s i x i s o l a t a b l e phases of romance, Barometer Rising f a l l s into the f i r s t , the myth of the b i r t h or r e b i r t h of the hero. "This myth i s often associated with a flood, the regular symbol of the beginning 7 I b i d . , p. 188. 8 I b i d . , p. 193. 9 I b i d . , p. 195. - 45. - and the end of the cycle ,"10 the f lood archetype being one mani fes tat ion of cosmic d i s a s t e r . In th i s nove l , the cosmic d i s a s t e r i s the explos ion which comes from the sea. Fol lowing the d i s a s t e r , the treasures prev ious ly hidden are revealed and the buried seed begins to grow; i n such a romance, the "real source of wealth i s p o t e n t i a l f e r t i l i t y or new l i f e , vegetable or human." X i The d i s a s t e r marks the p i v o t a l point of the c o n f l i c t between the powers of s t e r i l i t y , o ld age and darkness, a.nd the powers of f e r t i l i t y , youth and l i g h t , with the l a t t e r r i s i n g v i c t o r i o u s . This cons iderat ion of the nove l ' s archetypal s i g n i f i c a n c e shows that MacLennan i s expressing a pattern which i s prophetic of change on both the i n d i v i d u a l and s o c i a l l e v e l s . The symbolic deaths and r e b i r t h s of N e i l Macrae and H a l i f a x are analogous to the death and r e b i r t h of Canadian soc i e ty , of Canadian s e l f - consciousness. The c h i l d i s now r i d of i t s s i n i s t e r parents and may grow to adulthood without fear of them, accompanied by i t s beneficent parents: the new soc ie ty has cast.i o f f i t s c o l o n i a l t i e s and moves forward with the great western t r a d i t i o n s at i t s back. The new-born soc ie ty has not yet t r u l y r i s e n i n triumph. As the time scheme i n the novel ind icates - -beg inning i n e a r l y evening, ending l a t e r at n i g h t - - there i s a period of darkness l u I b i d . , p. 198. H l b i d . , p. 198. - 46. - l e f t to venture through before the dawn. I t i s s t i l l winter , / and the spr ing i s far ahead. But that spring w i l l come as sure as the sun w i l l r e t u r n . This i s the pos i t i ve fate that works throughout the nove l , the pos i t ive dest iny the author imagines belongs to Canada. Chapter Three: Each Man's Son: The Growing Irony Each Man's Son, published ten years a f t e r Barometer Rising, i s a novel of more subtle and complex structure than those that precede i t . Because i n the two immediately preceding novels (Two Solitudes, 1945, and The Precipice , 1948) "everything else . . . i s eventually subordinated to the elaboration of the national theme, they are the least successful of MacLennan's novels, i n human understading and formal Cohesion a l i k e . " ! As Edmund Wilson says, when MacLennan i s consciously acting as the "secretary of s o c i e t y , " one f e e l s that i n h i s earnest and ambitious attempt to cover h i s large self-assignment he sometimes embarks upon themes which he believes to be s o c i a l l y important but which do not r e a l l y much excite h i s imagination.2 Where, i n Two Solitudes, MacLennan t r i e s perhaps too hard to define the s o c i a l l y important Canadian French-English c o n f l i c t , and, i n The Precipice , the American-Canadian c o n f l i c t , the res u l t s are rather f l a t , forced and unconvincing, while, i n Each Man's Son, he returns to expressing a basic personal c o n f l i c t such as appears i n Barometer Rising. To do t h i s , he returns to hi s roots i n Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, returns from a world he has ideas about to examine the world he knows. The r e s u l t i s , as Woodcock says, a "tensely constructed and well u n i f i e d book, 1G. Woodcock, "A Nation's Odyssey," p. 11. 2 "0 Canada,"- The New Yorker, Nov. 14, 1964, p. 100. - 48. i n which the balance of theme and mythical structure i s re established. The patterns that develop are at once intensely personal and d e s c r i p t i v e of a c r i t i c a l turning point i n the national consciousness. The i n t e n s i t y of the novel i s much enhanced by, and to a c e r t a i n extent originates i n , the e x p l i c i t and i m p l i c i t mythic elements and the accompanying sense of the preternatural. In Each Man's Son, MacLennan once again draws upon Homer's Odyssey for one of the two basic plots that comprise the novel. Although the author introduces important changes into the pattern, the story of Archie MacNeil i s s t i l l the story of a wandering Odysseus seeking h i s home. Archie's heroic q u a l i t i e s are made very c l e a r : he i s the "bravest man i n Cape Breton,"^ " f i e r c e and unpredictable" (25), "a hero whom nobody understood and everyone admired" (24). As a young man he "had moved with the sure, reckless grace of a wild animal" (41). He belongs "to the cat family" (93) and i s quick to boast that while some people " l i v e t h e i r whole l i v e s l i k e oxes and cows . . . I am not one of them" (105). He has, as h i s wife t e l l s t h e i r son, "gone out into the world" (17), and he has done t h i s i n order to create a new l i f e for himself and h i s family. He goes forth and does b a t t l e , u n t i l , J"Nations's Odyssey," p. 14. ^Hugh MacLennan, Each Man's Son (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1965), p. 21. A l l subsequent quotations from the novel are from this e d i t i o n and are followed by page references i n parentheses. - 49. - "the f i g h t s . . . over," he seeks to return "to a place where people would l i k e him" (207), h i s home, the o r i g i n of h i s quest. His c h i e f difference from Homer's Odysseus i s that he i s not successful i n f u l f i l l i n g the purpose of h i s quest, ei t h e r abroad or at home. He represents only one side of Odysseus, the ferocious and p h y s i c a l l y mighty side, and, lacking any of the i n t e l l e c t u a l q u a l i t i e s that could e f f e c t a balance, he i s doomed to f a i l u r e . In f a i l i n g , he brings down h i s Penelope with him. Mo l l i e MacNeil shares a number of c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s with Burner's Penelope. I f we remember MacLennan's opinion that the landscape and people of Nova Scotia resemble those of Homeric Greece, the omniscient narrator's de s c r i p t i o n of Mollie's nose, "so s t r a i g h t i t was almost Grecian" (127), i s seen to reveal an i n t e n t i o n a l p a r a l l e l . Like Penelope, Mollie i s for years f a i t h f u l to her absent husband, p a t i e n t l y waiting and working, as Penelope does at her loom, at "a frame with a p a r t i a l l y f i n i s h e d rug mounted on i t " (23). She, too, i s tempted by a sui t o r (Camire) to forsake her husband, and begins to y i e l d s l i g h t l y j ust before her husband returns. The p a r a l l e l i s minimal but i s there. The leading figure i n the other basic plot, Daniel A i n s l i e , is: also portrayed as a heroic figure, but a hero very d i f f e r e n t from Archie MacNeil. Alan MacNeil, a perceptive boy, views A i n s l i e as "hardly a man at a l l . He was The Doctor, far above everyone else he knew" (51). "Above" i s a revealing word, for - 50. - A i n s l i e works and fe e l s happiest i n the h o s p i t a l high on a h i l l above the town. Here he has been dubbed "the Regius Professor" (58), p a r t l y because of h i s "hobby" of reading the Greek c l a s s i c s , and pa r t l y because of h i s stature i n the h o s p i t a l . Here he i s second only to Dr. Dougald MacKenzie who i s described as "a t r i b a l god" (121). On one l e v e l he i s an a r t i s t : he compares himself to "a concert p i a n i s t " (169) and the h o s p i t a l i s the "world where h i s s k i l l had made him master" (49). On another l e v e l he i s a s a i n t : " I f t o t a l concentration on a healing task i s a form of holiness, the two doctors {Ainslie and Doucettej were s a i n t s " (120). And on a t h i r d l e v e l he i s something of a wizard, a person with niagic at h i s command, for he f e e l s "almost s u p e r s t i t i o u s l y confident of h i s own powers" (117). He fe e l s this so strongly that Dr. MacKenzie i s driven to demand of him, "Why not admit once i n a while that you're human?" (60) Where Archie MacNeil i s the hero of brute physical power, A i n s l i e i s the hero of the mental powers, and both heroes are engaged i n quests to eradicate mysterious enemies. Archie never recognizes h i s r e a l enemy. A i n s l i e f i n a l l y recognizes h i s , but only a f t e r having fought many substitutes. For a long time he does not even recognize that he i s on a quest, although h i s s e t t i n g himself the task of t r a n s l a t i n g "the whole of the Odyssey that year" (34) is evidence enough. He makes the great c l a s s i c quest myth i t s e l f a b a r r i e r to overcome, not r e a l i z i n g that he r e a l l y wishes to emulate Odysseus, and i t i s h i s wife, Margaret, who sees that the t r a n s l a t i o n i s an "academic g iant" (160). Both heroes f ight "g iants ," and for ne i ther does the b a t t l e go w e l l . Reminiscent of N e i l Macrae on h i s re turn to H a l i f a x , there i s a "sadness i n A r c h i e ' s eyes . . . Even ferocious animals had that look i n t h e i r eyes when they were s ick" (97). A i n s l i e , too, has eyes that "looked l i k e those of a wounded animal" (65), "an animal who had been chased for miles and knows he has s t i l l f ar ther to run" (36). This i s connected to A i n s l i e ' s conception of h imse l f " in a t r e a d m i l l which he could ne i ther slow down nor escape by jumping of f" (59), which i s l i n k e d , i n t u r n , to h i s comparison of h imse l f to the mythica l Sisyphus. "Was defiance a l l that remained?" he asks . The rock of Sisyphus i s the "rock i n them a l l , bur ied deep i n the past of h i s whole race" (200). This points to the fact that A i n s l i e ' s s truggle i s b a s i c a l l y i n t e r n a l , p sycho log i ca l , and Dr. MacKenzie gives one of the keys to v i c t o r y i n the struggle when he speaks of Margaret; "She has accepted th ings , and you must accept them too" (66). This i s what Daniel w i l l l earn on h i s quest, that a "man's trouble i s n ' t what he does or doesn't do, i t ' s what he dreams" (60). The dreamer i s i n danger of becoming "a l a t t e r - d a y Job" (60). The Cape Breton Is landers of Highland stodk are portrayed as great dreamers. One of t h e i r t r a i t s i s a v i v i d imagination which works c l o s e l y with t h e i r supers t i t i ous nature to perceive ) s p i r i t s at work i n the wor ld . Their s u p e r s i t i t i o u s imaginations i n c l i n e toward melancholy, "a p r i m i t i v e sadness" (105), t y p i f i e d i n Angus the Barraman s t r i v i n g to become "gloomy enough to appease the gods" (113). A i n s l i e himself shares this melancholy, conceiving of God as the " a l l - s e e i n g Ancient of Days who at the same time damns men and loves them," and he becomes aware that "underneath a l l h i s troubles . . . lay this ancient curse" (201). These people fear the ancient curse --on the C h r i s t i a n l e v e l , O r i g i n a l Sin-- for which they must su f f e r . As the old witch, Mrs. MacCuish, prophesies i n a warning to M o l l i e , "You w h i l l pay for i t when himself comes home" (27). The prophecy appears to come true, M o l l i e paying with her l i f e for her friendship with Camire. But what she r e a l l y pays for i s not what Mrs. MacCuish believes i t to be (sexual i n f i d e l i t y ) , but the whole perverted b e l i e f that Mrs. MacCuish represents, b e l i e f i n the curse which hobbles the s p i r i t and leads "to a fear of love i t s e l f " (201). The Highland men defy the curse by drinking and f i g h t i n g , i d o l i z i n g great physical strength and great f i g h t i n g power i n the legendary Giant MacAskill and the r e a l Archie MacNeil. But they do no(t r e a l i z e that t h i s i s inadequate, that no amount of brute force w i l l defeat an enemy i n the mind. As i n Barometer Rising, the way of violence i s the old way, associated with the old world. Here, too, Orion the hunter i s symbolic of the old v i o l e n t way, and i s linked with Giant MacAskill and, for a Homeric p a r a l l e l , the Cyclops. Homer's Odysseus defeated the Cyclops with the powers of the mind, through a clever ruse. Archie MacNeil knows only the t a c t i c s of the Cyclops himself. - 53. - Danie l A i n s l i e has at l eas t the capac i ty to defeat h i s enemy. But the odds are against a l l those who suf fer from the ancient curse , innocent though they may be. The bas ic innocence and helplessness of the simple Highlanders i s made c l e a r i n the animal imagery. M o l l i e , for ins tance , i s shown as gentle and v u l n e r a b l e , her eyes having "the eager loving-kindness of a deer's eyes" (127). S i m i l a r l y , A l a n , witness ing the v i o l e n t deaths of h i s mother and Camire, stops " l ike a fawn caught i n the headl ight of a t r a i n " (212). The image contains a double oppos i t ion - - the meek and the powerful, the n a t u r a l and the man-made-- as w e l l as a sense of an enormous des truc t ive force i n motion which cannot be stopped. Even the c l ever Camire cannot escape. While Camire i s f i n a l l y making some progress with M o l l i e , A lan ups ta i r s watches a mouse i l l u m i n a t e d i n the moonlight, and he i s "glad because the mouse h a d - f i n a l l y found something to eat" (209). When Archie appears downstairs , Camire f i r s t reacts to h i s a t tack " l ike a fox ," but when he f inds Arch ie i s too strong for him he darts "back and f o r t h across the room, t r y i n g to f i n d a place to hide as he [givesjmouselike squeaks of t e r r o r " (212). Other animals are used as w e l l , to project the gentle melancholy of the Highlanders , as i n the d e s c r i p t i o n of a Gael ic song which sounds "as soft and p l a i n t i v e as the cry of a s e a - b i r d l o s t i n the fog" (28). Creatures of the a i r enter into the d e s c r i p t i o n of A i n s l i e , too: when he i s e l a t e d , he fee ls "his s p i r i t r i s e l i k e a b i r d i n the - 54. - sky" (129); when he i s depressed, he fe e l s "as though his s p i r i t had hurled i t s e l f against the window of h i s l i f e l i k e a wounded bat and broken the g l a s s , " and feels h i s s p i r i t f l i c k e r " l i k e a bat over a dark and s i n i s t e r landscape" (201). On the other hand, Margaret and her family, not being of Highland stock, do not share this melancholy. They are less helpless because they are not plagued by the ancient curse. Margaret's mother l i v e s " l i k e a queen bee" (45), which re-enforces the presentation of her family as a t i g h t - k n i t , industrious group. Margaret h e r s e l f i s described at one point as "warm, s a t i s f i e d and relaxed as a c a t " (89), but this i s true only part of the time. She also has her f r u s t r a t i o n s and anx i e t i e s , l a r g e l y due to her husband's self-imposed i s o l a t i o n . Her q u a l i t i e s of patience and understanding - - q u a l i t i e s she shares with Odysseus' waiting wife-- give her the strength to endure u n t i l Daniel returns and gives himself f u l l y to her. The general impression Margaret gives i s of a woman happiest i n her domestic surroundings and whose independent nature gives her the strength to endure i s o l a t i o n . On a more general l e v e l i n the novel, animal imagery i s important to the development of both mood and meaning. Half- asleep, Dr. A i n s l i e r e c o l l e c t s a boyhood experience i n the wilderness, and p a r t i c u l a r l y v i v i d i n h i s memory are the images of a stag with "a scar on i t s r i g h t shoulder from combat" and "a dead hawk with i t s eyes pecked out" (72). These memories are - 55. - c l e a r examples of how the s trong , too, may suf fer i n j u r y i n b a t t l e , and even the swift and deadly predator may die ignobly . Elsewhere, the doctor , having jus t sa id that women are far more courageous than men, i s watched by a cat (85). He has spoken an i r o n i c t r u t h , for he has not inc luded h i s wife i n h i s thoughts, and she i s courageous and assoc iated with ca t s . The c a t ' s eyes are accus ing . Just a f t e r being stared at by the ca t , A i n s l i e hears a dog howling, which helps to st imulate i n him a f e e l i n g of "the ul t imate so l i tude" (86). This t i e s i n with A i n s l i e ' s v i s i o n when he imagines God, "a t ight - sk inned dog with green eyes, standing before him with muscles r i p p l i n g under i t s tawny h ide" (173-74). One i s reminded of Psalm x x i i , verse 16, "dogs have compassed me," and verse 20, "Del iver my soul from the sword; my d a r l i n g from the power of the dog." And i t i s important the psalm begins , "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" for A i n s l i e fee ls forsaken, and i s , as Mackenzie points out to him, "looking for a God" (176). His search i s l a r g e l y misd irected and the consequences of i t s m i s d i r e c t i o n are foreshadowed i n an image accompanying A i n s l i e ' s e l a t i o n at f ind ing a subst i tute son i n A l a n , an image of f a r - o f f g u l l s screaming i n the fog while there can be heard "a r a t t l e of wings and a scrape of claws" (131), sounds implying death. Animal metaphors used to describe the landscape are e f f e c t i v e i n c r e a t i n g mood and i n d i c a t i n g the presence of opposing forces . The image of Cape Breton Is land having a "shape l i k e the claws of a l o b s t e r " (50) succeeds on two l e v e l s . There i s a sense of the whole scene being submerged i n the sea and also a sense that the inhabitants of this land are held i n the claws of a predatory sea-creature, imprisoned i n the v i s e - g r i p of some gigantic, mysterious force. The image of a frightening sea-creature i s s p e c i f i c a l l y applied to the Broughton coal-mine, which i s describe as having g a l l e r i e s " l i k e the tentacles of an octopus" (18). The f e e l i n g of the mine being part of a giant organism i s re-enforced by the image of a c o l l i e r y t r a i n that "looked l i k e a column of black ants that had crawled up the stalk of a g i g a n t i c . p l a n t and died there" (18). Giants play an i n t e g r a l part i n Each Man's Son (Giant MacAskill and the Cyclops, for instance) culminating i n the picture of Archie, i n the f i n a l minutes of h i s l i f e , seeming "of more than human s i z e " (215). The novel begins with the image of a giant that sets the tone for the whole work: "The shadow of a promontory lay forward on the sea l i k e that of a giant resting on his elbows with the back of his neck to the late afternoon sun" (15) . I t i s notable that the shadow of the "giant" l i e s across the sea, for the sea plays an important role i n the novel. On one l e v e l the sea i s connected with a state of innocence. A i n s l i e , f e e l i n g a "sense of irreparable l o s s " (45), r e c o l l e c t s the good days of h i s youth when he went to sea, and the sense of freedom he then experienced. Then, the "whole world had seemed too small to hold hi s future" (46) . He r e c a l l s this time of his youth twice again, - 57. both times when he i s talking to Alan (167 and 183), on whom he i s pushing h i s ambitions. On another l e v e l the sea i s used as an image of uncontrollable and constant change. Having j u s t operated on Alan and delivered him from death, A i n s l i e s i t s on a wharf, trying to get a g r i p on h i s emotions: ". . . the noise of waves ebbing back and f o r t h around the p i l i n g s f i l l e d a l l space," and "he knew his mind was pounding with i t s own rhythms and h i s body was out of c o n t r o l " (170) . A l i t t l e l a t e r , trying to c l a r i f y his f e e l i n g s , A i n s l i e again becomes aware of the sea: "Ground swells snored sombrely i n the darkness at the foot of the c l i f f , retreated, and snored i n again with primeval rhythm" (174). The rhythms he senses deep within himself are as old and mysterious as the sea. They are l i k e the rhythmic cycles of the waves and the tide s . When A i n s l i e i s f i r s t overcome by h i s emotions, and f i g h t s to control them, the tide i s ebbing. Later, when he makes clearer his f e e l i n g s --his misplaced adulation of h i s father and resentment of h i s mother-- the tide turns and begins to r i s e again. At the same time the "long diminuendo of the wave [travels] away down the coast l i k e a f r e i g h t t r a i n rumbling through a v a l l e y " (175), foreshadowing the rumbing t r a i n that brings Archie home. In expressing his resentment of h i s mother for thinking i t more important to eat than to learn and for lacking his father's w i l l power, he expresses the source of h i s i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t , which i s i t s e l f a major reason f o r the catastrophic r e s u l t s of Archie's return. His e l e v a t i o n of l earn ing over love i s a key fac tor i n determining the course of events. There i s another important image i n the opening paragraph of the nove l , which, l inked to that of the "giant 's" shadow on the sea, provides a c lue to the novel ' s c e n t r a l theme: "Facing the sun over the water was a second-quarter moon, white i n the cobal t mass of the sky" (15). Given i n these two opening sentences i s a c l u s t e r of images which are of great importance. W. H . Auden's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of such images, app l i ed to one image i n Barometer R i s i n g , i s even more a p p l i c a b l e to these i n Each Man's Son: Sky as contrasted with water (equals) S p i r i t as contrasted with nature. ' What comes from the sky i s a s p i r i t u a l . . . v i s i t a t i o n . What l i e s hidden i n the water i s the unknown powers of nature . Day and Sun [equal] Consciousness and the Paternal P r i n c i p l e The g i a n t ' s shadow l i e s on the sea, masking the unknown powers of nature but by no means n u l l i f y i n g them. The giant l i e s with h i s back to the sun, to the l i g h t of consciousness (reason) and the benevolent fa ther . Fac ing the sun, and harmoniously sharing the sky with i t , i s the moon, which, as i t soon appears i n the nove l , works c l o s e l y with the sea to create the t i d e s . The sky, region of the s p i r i t , i n which are blended the sun (masculine p r i n c i p l e ) and the moon (feminine p r i n c i p l e ) , works i n harmony with the sea, 5 The Enchafed F l o o d , pp. 75-76. - 59. - region of nature's powers, and a l l of these are opposed to the giant, whose flanks are the bankheads of the c o l l i e r i e s which loom " l i k e monuments i n a g i g a n t i c cemetery" (50), and whose bowels are the mines, which A i n s l i e c a l l s "a corruption" (70) i n the core of Cape Breton Island. From the opening paragraph may be d i s t i l l e d the essence of the basic opposition of forces i n the novel: natural and unnatural; l i g h t and darkness; the heights and the depths; harmony and imbalance. Like Barometer Rising, Each Man's Son begins at sunset. Once again, an opposition i s set up between l i g h t and darkness, between the glorious setting sun of June t i n t i n g the clouds and "below the clouds the earth . . . darkening f a s t " (26). As the bright clouds move eastward, and the darkness grows, Margaret A i n s l i e stands watching and f e e l s an increasing sense of loneliness, the same loneliness her husband f e e l s i n the dark. Also, because i n the A i n s l i e garden both l i g h t and a i r coming from the west are fresh, neither having crossed a single c o l l i e r y , an opposition appears between the natural and the unnatural. Inseparable from the c o l l i e r y i s the town of Broughton i t s e l f , described i n negative terms: there i s a c o n s t r i c t i n g "narrow main s t r e e t , " bordered by "lamp-posts crooked and raw," bearing incandescent l i g h t s which make "the pavement look blue and naked," while the street i s "swarming with aimless people" (42). These people know l i t t l e of the l i g h t , the men es p e c i a l l y , most of whom spend " t h e i r days underground i n the dark" (48). - 60. - Opposed to the town proper i s the h o s p i t a l which stands " l i k e a lighthouse over the whole town" (48), "the best and safest place i n the world" (53). The c o n f l i c t of l i g h t and darkness i s also i n d i v i d u a l i z e d and made i n t e r n a l . To Margaret, the darkness represents lo n e l i n e s s . To Daniel, i t represents many things. Having spoken with MacKenzie about the ancient curse and i t s accompanying g u i l t , he finds "himself s t a r i n g into the t o t a l darkness. His s i n ? " (67) He stares into the darkness and longs "for the sight of something d i s t i n c t " (68). What he i s looking into i s the darkness of h i s own mind, not h i s s i n , as he guesses, but that part of h i s personality he does not understand. He longs both for "a fo r e s t into which a man could disappear and lose himself" (68) and for a woman to mother him. His yearning i s r e a l l y for escape to the innocence of childhood, away from h i s s e l f - i n f l i c t e d problems. He dreams of h i s boyhood, and h i s dream brings peace of mind and an image of a "rosy-fingered dawn" such as one finds i n Homer. But this does not, cannot, l a s t , for the dream i s of the past, which eludes recapture. He i s i n t e l l i g e n t enough to come to recognize that he must probe h i s inner darkness to reach the l i g h t . But i t takes time and experience, and he i s not yet ready. He steps toward i t when he thinks, "to go into the dark and share the patient's fear. . . To become everybody --father, mother, c h i l d , and old man-- to become everyone i n order to be a doctor" (165). The suggestion i s that the i n d i v i d u a l must know the darkness which i s i n everyman i n order to heal others and h imse l f . A f t e r he hears MacKenzie's r e v e l a t i o n about h i s father and mother, A i n s l i e stares "out to a b l i n k of l i g h t i n the east , no more than a f a i n t presence i n the darkness" (176). He i s beginning to see the truth about h imse l f , but has some distance to go, as evidenced by h i s confusion of M o l l i e and h i s mother, A lan and h imse l f , and the a s s e r t i o n that nothing w i l l stand i n the way of h i s ambition to "help" A l a n . L a t e r , when Margaret reveals to him the extent to which he has a l i enated M o l l i e , he thought less ly rushes "off in to the n i g h t , " brushing Margaret as ide and going "out into the darkness" (198). This i n i t i a t e s the scene that i s the turning point i n h i s l i f e . He has a v i s i o n of the t ru th before he makes an u t t e r foo l of h imse l f . But the harm has been long done, and forces are i n motion which he cannot c o n t r o l . I f the h o s p i t a l high on the h i l l i s "the best and safest place i n the w o r l d , " a kind of peaceful paradise , the mines deep under the h i l l are something very d i f f e r e n t . A i n s l i e , l eav ing the h o s p i t a l at one po int , smells "a whif f of s a l t water and of sulphur from the c o l l i e r y " (86). The sulphurous smell reminds one of f i r e and brimstone with t h e i r usual assoc ia t ions of h e l l and torment. The heaven on the h i l l i s opposed to the h e l l underneath. Also at work here i s an oppos i t ion between the sea and the c o l l i e r y , the n a t u r a l and the man-made. This man-made h e l l i s what Archie t r i e s to escape from, but he simply moves to another i n Trenton, where "the a i r was l i k e - 62. - cotton wool that had been dipped i n hot dish water" (132). Archie, accustomed to the cool climes of the north, i s f i n a l l y beaten by the h e l l i s h heat of New Jersey. The cool, clean northern a i r i s a p o s i t i v e element to Daniel A i n s l i e c h i e f l y because of i t s a n t i s e p t i c nature. A talk the doctor has with a patient reveals h i s bias, f o r the "quest with the patient had taken his mind out of Cape Breton to a dark grey coast so clean and pure that men, whose crops must r i s e out of corruption, could scarcely grow a vegetable on i t " (76). His a t t r a c t i o n to a land which i s so pure that i t i s inhospitable to l i f e and h o s t i l e to human habitat i o n i s revealing of a basic ambivalence i n h i s personality. The doctor, who prides himself on h i s way with people, reveres that which i s a l i e n and inhuman. Even so, f o r a l l his admiration f o r c l a r i t y and purity, A i n s l i e i s often happiest when h i s mind clouds. For instance, at Louisburg, when the fog comes i n from the sea, b l o t t i n g out the sun, A i n s l i e grows elated thinking of how he can "adopt" Alan and shape h i s l i f e : "Nothing was v i s i b l e i n the fog. And h i s happiness grew" (130). As the fog obscures the sun, A i n s l i e 1 s mental fog clouds h i s reason, giving reign to h i s i r r a t i o n a l and dangerous desires without h i s having to acknowledge i t . There i s , i n the novel, another kind of l i g h t from that of the sun which can d i s p e l l the darkness and give a gentle i l l u m i n a t i o n ; the l i g h t of the moon. Near the end of the novel, A i n s l i e walks i n the moonlight, trying to sort out h i s problems. In the moon l i g h t , the whole world --even the mighty sea-- i s at peace. - 63. - Danie l looks in to a brook s p a r k l i n g with moonlight, and has a sudden, c l e a r and b r i l l i a n t v i s i o n of h imse l f as he r e a l l y i s . This i s the moment of t r u t h . But the moon has been there a l l a long , w a i t i n g . Margaret A i n s l i e i s more than once described i n lunar terms; her eyes have "a fear les s c l a r i t y , " and "her white body i s l i k e a h i l l of snow under the moon" (46). Another time, i n a semi-conscious s ta te , Daniel A i n s l i e sees "the curve of a woman's h i p as golden as the harvest moon, but when he reached out to caress i t , the co lour changed to white and i t was Margaret" (59). He reaches for the fecund but f inds i t chaste . The maternal p r i n c i p l e , that which he re jec t s i n h i s mother, i n M o l l i e , and i n Margaret, hovers i n the background throughout the novel u n t i l i t f i n a l l y asserts i t s e l f at the end. A i n s l i e has t r i e d to l i v e merely by the l i g h t of day (his reason) under the inf luence of the sun (his f a t h e r ) , r e j e c t i n g the night side of h i s nature (his unconscious) and the inf luence of the moon (his mother). But nature seeks a balance. The moon contro l s the t ides of both the sea and the p e r s o n a l i t y . As the novel opens, the t ide i s moving i n , lapping at the base of the giant promontory, "breaking not many yards from JAlan'sj feet" (15). The t ide moves up, and Alan and h i s mother see "a sudden lump of water arch out of the sea, lurch forward into the shadow of the g iant ' s shoulders , i t s cres t whipped by the breeze so that i t [comes] at them l i k e dark horses with streaming white manes" (18). The wave tumbles A l a n ' s sand c a s t l e but leaves him - 64. - a white conch s h e l l , a s h e l l that can "remember the sea," that contains the "oldest sound i n the world" (20). The s h e l l speaks with the voice of the sea of the great eternal cycles of nature, the cycles of l i f e , death and r e b i r t h , of apocalypse and renewal, of destruction and res u r r e c t i o n . As Alan's sand c a s t l e f a l l s to the flo o d of the sea, so must the r e c l i n i n g giant and a l l the giant represents --the old, v i o l e n t , barbaric ways and the ancient curse that i s the i r source-- f a l l and y i e l d to a new power. The nature of that power i s foreshadowed i n the beauty of the s h e l l and the way i n which Alan i s immediately drawn to i t , f o r g e t t i n g h i s f a l l e n sand c a s t l e . Later i n the novel, MacLennan makes clear i n A i n s l i e 1 s words to Alan that the powers of the sea (nature) and the sky ( s p i r i t ) are best united: "The sea, Alan, i s the mightiest thing we know. The sky i s the most changeable and mysterious." He speaks of the great c l i p p e r ship F l y i n g Cloud, setting s a i l between sea and sky, and says, "Think of handling a ship l i k e that - - i t was l i k e turning yourself into a force of nature!" (183) This can be done by the genius of one man, one heroic i n d i v i d u a l . As A i n s l i e says, "Individual men, following ideas of t h e i r own, have given the world everything we value" (183). I t i s clear that A i n s l i e conceives of himself i n t h i s role, but, i n the turmoil of h i s f r u s t r a t i o n , f e e l he cannot a t t a i n i t , thus pushing his ambitions on to Alan. Dr. MacKenaie has seen the p o t e n t i a l i n A i n s l i e , having told him, "with hands l i k e yours, with the f l a i r you have, you could become one of the great surgeons of the world" (70). The surgeon, l i k e the sea-capta in , sets s a i l between sea and sky, using h i s d e l i c a t e l y co-ordinated body and mind to s t r i k e a balance which turns him into a hea l ing force . And the great surgeons, p a r t i c u l a r l y during the time i n which A i n s l i e l i v e s , are making important advances i n s u r g i c a l techniques d i scover ing new and bet ter ways to h e a l . A i n s l i e i s such a d i scoverer , not l i k e the wise o l d Dr. Mackenzie whose "mind was one which understood rather than discovered" (61). But A i n s l i e must undergo h i s quest into darkness before he can achieve hero i c greatness , before he can r e a l i z e h i s des t iny . The melancholy Cel t s of Cape Breton genera l ly f e e l that dest iny works against them; they f e e l "the luck must have been against them, a s u p e r s t i t i o n which more or less s a t i s f i e d them a l l " (140), i n c l u d i n g A i n s l i e . T r u l y , while they suf fer under the ancient curse , fate does work against them. When A i n s l i e discovers a son i n A l a n , he th inks , " i t had not been accident which had caused Doucette to c a l l him to Louisburg that day" (125). But what he fee ls i s fate working i n h i s i n t e r e s t i s only the s t i r r i n g of h i s own misbegotten d e s i r e . I f fate i s at work here , i t i s the opposite of what A i n s l i e imagines, i t i s the fate that decrees the f a l l of the giant and, hence, the f a l l of Arch ie MacNei l . The Cape Breton g ian t s , Giant M a c A s k i l l and Archie MacNei l , must f a l l as sure ly as the legendary C e l t i c g iant s , F inn McCool and F i n n G a l l , and t h e i r c l a s s i c a l counter-- 66. parts, the Titans (including the Cyclops), have f a l l e n . As Zeus and His Olympians toppled the Titans, Odysseus the Cyclops, and Saint Patrick the Finns, so w i l l the power of love topple the giants of Cape Breton. One f i n a l image i s c e n t r a l l y important to the novel, that of the stream, brook or spring. When A i n s l i e i s f i r s t drawn to Alan, a sense of well-being r i s e s i n him " l i k e a r i l l of fresh water i n the spring" (120). There i s a r e a l spring on A i n s l i e ' s property, which i s s i g n i f i c a n t to this doctor of S c o t t i s h heritage, for Wells, springs, streams, and pools have been accredited with healing powers wherever man has had ailments to cure and Scotland with i t s numerous mountains and glens was famed more than many other lands for healing waters. Long before the C h r i s t i a n era, springs endowed with magical v i r t u e were regarded as bringers of health from the heart of the earth.6 These waters suggest, as do other water images, renewal and r e b i r t h . What Daniel A i n s l i e f i n a l l y achieves i s a w e l l - balanced, healthy mind and s p i r i t i n that moment of epiphany which climaxes the development of h i s character. He descends into the dark depths of his personality, sees there the extent of the ancient curse, and feels h i s s p i r i t f l i c k e r l i k e a bat over a desolate landscape, as he contemplates the utter f u t i l i t y of his l i f e i n a world where nothingness i s the ultimate truth. Then, With a slow movement, as i f coming out of a deep sleep, A i n s l i e sat up and looked at the sky. With longing for con tinuance brimming i n h i s blood, he had looked ahead on h i s Mary Banks, B r i t i s h Calendar Customs, c i t e d i n F. M. McNeill, The S i l v e r Bough (Glasgow: W. MacLennan, 1957), p. 66. days and seen t o t a l emptiness. He had reached his core. And there he had stopped. He got to h i s feet and looked down at the brook. In that moment he made the discovery that he was ready to go on with l i f e . (201-02) He reaches h i s core, where l i e s his w i l l to l i v e regardless of the future. He reaches that peace found only beyond the torment of hope. He sees i n the brook the current of time and of l i f e , ever-fresh, forever renewing i t s e l f . He knows he i s not l i k e L i s t e r , Osier or Dougald MacKenzie, not one of the "beati, secure i n t h e i r age and i n themselves" (203), but h i s very difference makes him capable of even greater things; he need but search. He i s s t i l l Unsure, but he has learned the value of love, and may now develop h i s p o t e n t i a l . This i s clear i n the novel's f i n a l image where, while MacKenzie's glass i s emptied, A i n s l i e ' s i s untouched. Like N e i l Macrae, i n Barometer Rising, Daniel A i n s l i e i s l e f t looking toward the future, but h i s a t t i t u d e i s d i f f e r e n t from the more romantic Macrae's. The Cape Breton doctor's a t t i t u d e i s , l i k e Dr. Angus Murray's i n Barometer Rising, much more i r o n i c than romantic. There are, i n Each Man's Son, obvious elements of romance: the theme i s c h i e f l y argon or c o n f l i c t ; the characters are cast i n t y p i c a l roles of hero, waiting wife, wise old man and s i n i s t e r parent. Also t y p i c a l of romance i s the heavy reliance on the quest myth: there are two quests i n the novel. But here l i e s a s i g n i f i c a n t difference from Barometer Rising, i n which the quest myth i s also c e n t r a l to the unfolding of the story. In the - 68. - l a t t e r novel, the use of the myth i s merely a comic one. In Each Man's Son, however, while A i n s l i e makes a comic quest, one that f u l f i l l s i t s aims and suggests the appearance of a new society, a quest within a greater quest which extends by implica t i o n beyond the novel, Archie's quest i s t r a g i c , a quest that not only f a i l s to f u l f i l l i t s aims but ends i n the destruction of the hero and h i s wife. Beyond this pattern, the two separate quests are linked together within a greater mythic c y c l e , the death of the old gods and the r i s e of the new. And f i n a l l y , working behind the development of the novel as a whole i s that same force at work i n Barometer Rising, moira, necessity, the i n t e r n a l balancing condition of l i f e . The old jealous god, he of the ancient curse, has repressed man's nature, f o r c i n g a reaction . One reaction puts too much stress on physical force and i d o l i z e s v i o l e n t f i g h t i n g strength, but a balance i s i n e v i t a b l y restored and the hero (Archie) i s crushed i n the process. The other reaction i s to the opposite extreme, putting too much stress on the mental powers and denying the f l e s h , but here, too, balance i s restored. A i n s l i e i s fortunate i n that he discovers for himself how to escape the fate of the old gods, to cast aside hope and fear, and simply to love. A i n s l i e becomes l i k e Albert Camus' Sisyphus, j o y f u l i n the face of h i s absurd fate, at once accepting i t with s t o i c a l endurance and defying i t with his sheer w i l l to survive. He has found the d e l i c a t e balancing point that i s the Epicurean golden mean. In love i s the balance restored, as necessity demands: sun and moon, sky and sea, paternal and maternal, s p i r i t u a l and n a t u r a l , are resolved i n harmony. The novel ends with t h i s i n sight. The destiny promised to A i n s l i e , to Alan and to Canada i t s e l f i s s t i l l unrealized. Like Barometer Rising, this novel begins at sunset and ends i n the depths of night. I t begins i n early summer and ends i n e a r l y f a l l , j u st prior to the beginning of the F i r s t World War. The "heart of darkness" s t i l l l i e s ahead for the nation, i f not for the characters i n the novel. But the future i s contained i n Alan, the physical son of Archie and the s p i r i t u a l son of Daniel A i n s l i e ; c l e a r l y he i s each man's son. He i s Telemachus, son of Odysseus the mighty, and Telemachus, son of Odysseus the wise, but more than this he i s also Odysseus himself, son of Sisyphus. He has his own quest to make. But the lesson of love has been learned and w i l l be passed on; regardless of the t r i a l s ahead for these people, the new god has r i s e n above the old. Once again, i n the story of a few i n d i v i d u a l men, MacLennan has made a prophecy of the destiny i n store for his nation, and the prophecy i s o p t i m i s t i c . Chapter Four: The Watch That Ends the Night: The Comic Synthesis The very t i t l e of The Watch that Ends the Night points to an important opposition between l i g h t and darkness, night and day, s i m i l a r to that found i n Barometer Rising and Each Man's Son. In t h i s novel, the c o n f l i c t of forces i s examined to a depth only hinted at before. The c o n f l i c t i s focused on the c e n t r a l character of the novel, George Stewart, and i s worked out i n the development of h i s character. When the novel begins, George i s at peace. The season i s late winter. The time i s sunset, standing between day and night, l i g h t and darkness, that time when the universe seems mysteriously to hold i t s breath. As George says, the "pale t w i l i g h t bathing the c i t y erased time: i t c a l l e d me back to the Montreal which once had been one of the true winter c i t i e s of the world." I t c a l l s him back to the days when he " f e l t young and clean and untroubled," a time that "was gone now that we were learning to l i v e l i k e New Yorkers."! The opposition i s given here between a simple past and a complicated, sophisticated present. An opposition also appears between wilderness and c i t y , natural and man-made, when George looks at "the clean, northern t w i l i g h t f e e l i n g easy and relaxed" (7). George l i k e s to l e t h i s mind escape from the bustle of the c i t y , and finds this easiest at dusk and at dawn, for he fe e l s that nothing i s "quite l i k e the silence of a northern iRugh MacLennan, The Watch that Ends the Night (New York: New American Lib r a r y , 1960), p. 7. A l l subsequent quotations from the novel are from this e d i t i o n and are followed by page references i n parentheses. c i t y at dawn on a winter morning" (7). To George, the winter wilderness i s a positive world contrasted with the modern c i t y which negatively r e f l e c t s the influence of man's inventions on h i s l i f e . Looking at the rush-hour t r a f f i c (he prefers to walk), he says, "Sherbrooke Street looked l i k e an army i n retirement" (21). Shortly a f t e r t h i s , he coments on another work of technology: " l i k e a dentist' d r i l l the telephone snarled at me" (36). Man-made things, p o l i t i c a l ideologies as well as machines, are often given negative a t t r i b u t e s . George i s bothered by the way such things get out of c o n t r o l . He sees man b l i t h e l y s e t t i n g forces i n motion which a l l too often assume a mindless momentum of t h e i r own, sometimes threatening to destroy him u t t e r l y . But, to George, where man has not meddled, the world remains uncorrupt. He i s refreshed by the cold winter a i r which has "come down from the germless, s i n l e s s land" (24). In t h i s , George i s l i k e Daniel A i n s l i e of Each Man's Son. Where A i n s l i e approves of the harsh, uncorrupt Newfoundland landscape, George reminisces p o s i t i v e l y about a boyhood canoe t r i p on the Great Lakes where "the days were astringent and the nights were c o l d " (51). He f i n a l l y states h i s f e e l i n g e x p l i c i t l y , describing a " b e a u t i f u l , c o l d skier's morning i n the innocent northland," which leads him to say, "to be young . . . to be innocent of l i f e . . . were very heaven.'" (318) George's feelings toward the wilderness are, however, ambivalent. While i t serves as a place of escape from the c i t y and of i s o l a t i o n from the busy confused world, i t i s also rather frightening i n i t s greatness. Canoeing on a s i l e n t lake with Jerome M a r t e l l , George becomes aware that "the silence went a thousand miles to Hudson Bay" (149). Later, George s i t s i n silence s t a r i n g at the landscape which stared back: form and colour and l i g h t and shade, useless to farmers, some of the oldest rock i n the world cropping out of i t , dark green and l i g h t green, ancient, mindless, from e v e r l a s t i n g to ever l a s t i n g without any purpose anyone could possibly understand, but there. (247) As he says outright, "Jerome loved the stark grandeur of the Laurentian Shield which evoked a response i n him i t has never c a l l e d out i n me, for I prefer a gentler land where flowers and f r u i t s grow" (252). A gentler pastoral land i s more to h i s l i k i n g , a garden land such as the "arcadia" he enjoyed i n his one youthful summer with Catherine. He yearns for this l o s t i d y l l i c Eden, l o s t when he became aware of h i s physical desire: " I f childhood i s a garden," he says, "The gates closed on us then and ever afterwards we were on the outside" (58). A paradise l o s t i t i s , a loss he mourns u n t i l he reaches h i s true manhood near the end of the novel. A return to t h i s garden world i s h i s dream, but, unable to f u l f i l l h i s dream, he uses the wilderness as an escape, to f i n d i n the cold, barren silence temporary peace. George's f i n d i n g peace i n winter cold and silence and the wilderness, or while the c i t y sleeps, t e l l s us much about h i s character. He finds peace without people, without t h e i r noise, bustle and confusion. His form of peace i s the p a r t i a l , inadequate - 73. - peace of a recluse, a peace found i n i s o l a t i o n from the human community i n a denial of h i s place i n the l i f e of mankind. Such a peace he enjoys when the novel opens, but i t i s quickly shattered by a telephone c a l l from Jerome. George looks out the window and sees the encroaching "darkness v i s i b l y flooding down over the snow with i t s s q u i r r e l tracks" (11). The gentle George f e e l s as helpless as a s q u i r r e l at the mercy of forces greater than he can understand. Night has begun. Night, to George, means confusion and t e r r o r . Recollecting the depression years, he remembers walking the Montreal streets a f t e r midnight: "The moon had sunk and a r i s i n g wind was blowing scraps of paper and dust" (124). In t h i s dark scene, reminiscent of the dark and dingy night scene of T. S. E l i o t ' s "Preludes", George has a v i s i o n of the abyss, the nothingness i n h i s l i f e : " I t was the bottom hole of my l i f e up to that time. I saw then - - i t i s one of the most t e r r i b l e things anyone can see-- my own worthlessness." He glimpses the darkness within himself: "I stared a l l the way down that bleak, empty street and seemed to be s t a r i n g into the recesses of my own s o u l " (125). Much l a t e r i n the novel and i n h i s l i f e , he imagines Catherine's night " f u l l of pain, of fear, of tumbling down unknown tunnels i n the endless dark" (318). And for Catherine's future he sees "only the f e a r f u l tunnel with nothing at the end" (320). The night and darkness contain chaos, meaningless confusion, and i n this world of darkness people are " l o s t l i k e shadows moving - 74. - p e r i l o u s l y over a crust covering the void: (265), one step from f a l l i n g to drown i n the dark. George nears this point when he fee l s he i s going to lose Catherine. With Catherine i n h o s p i t a l close to dying, George describes himself alone i n bed, shivering with fear, while "the darkness descended and the ocean rose" (332). The image of the ocean i s used often i n The Watch That  Ends the Night and i n many d i f f e r e n t ways. Most important, the ocean i s used as an image of the mind and of time. One of the e a r l i e s t references to the ocean l i n k s both the mind and time: George fe e l s that Jerome " w i l l bring up a l l the ocean out of the past" (30). The past i s an ocean to be revived i n the ocean of the characters' memories. This ocean i s fri g h t e n i n g to George. As he says when he has decided to commit himself f u l l y to loving Catherine, "Now I, too, was at sea and I thought of that vast res e r v o i r of emotions and memories of which every f r a g i l e human l i f e f l o a t s u n t i l the depth becomes a Mindinao j^sicj Deep so profound he cannot plumb i t " (296). Th ocean of the mind threatens even that f r a g i l e conscious s e l f which appears on the surface, threatens i t l i k e the external ocean of time or the sea of h i s t o r y which r i s e s to flood the world with violence and destruction. During the Second World War, George says, h i s "private l i f e almost drowned i n what seemed to be the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of the world i t s e l f " (296). But this ocean can be beneficent, too; for example, i t can heal an i n j u r y as bad Catherine's loss of Jerome: Catherine's "love for Jerome had gone down l i k e a wounded l i v i n g thing to the f l o o r of the sea and time had covered i t , the deep time" (301). The use of the sea as a metaphor for time i s also sometimes s p e c i f i c a l l y focused on the passage of a day or of a person's l i f e . George describes one "August morning . . . r i s i n g i n f u l l t i d e " (51). Elsewhere, when Catherine o f f e r s George h i s f i r s t sexual experience, he sees her "as q u i e t l y r e s t l e s s as a quiet sea" (75), but he denies her and his own desire. He i s a f r a i d . Much l a t e r , however, s i t t i n g with Catherine a f t e r t h e i r reunion, he senses "her breathing presence i n the tide of her l i f e , " and he fe e l s " l i k e a man come home" (129). The great t i d a l ocean i s associated i n th i s novel, as i t i s i n Each Man's Son, with the moon. The moon i s a c o n t r o l l i n g force throughout nature, i n f l u e n c i n g the ocean, the human body and the mind. Images of the moon appear at many important moments i n the novel, when emotion i s at i t s highest. When the young George and Catherine are b l i s s f u l l y i n love, the s i g n i f i c a n t l y "moonless nights were as soft as warm milk" (62 , i t a l i c s mine). This gives a sense of an innocent c h i l d at i t s mother's breast, warmed by a mother's heat. The tides of desire r i s e , and George and Catherine experience t h e i r f i r s t k i ss "on the night of a hunter's moon." The moon stood over the lake, and "there i t hung with a r i n g g l i t t e r i n g about i t and dominated the world" (63). The hunter's moon reminds one of the goddess Diana, the chaste huntress, e s p e c i a l l y as Catherine i s s t i l l chaste. As the "hunter's moon stared down," George noticed that " f a r out i n the channel were the r i d i n g l i g h t s of a moving ship" (64). There i s a hi n t here of a journey by water --across the ocean of time and the unconscious-- and that such moments as this are f l e e t i n g , c a r r i e d away quickly by the current. And so i t happens: "The moon continued to stare down on us . . . u n t i l at l a s t a wandering cloud covered the moon and the lake gave a shiver and went dark" (66). The moon i s hidden from the couple, the lake i s darkened, giving a sense of foreboding which i s f u l f i l l e d a l i t t l e l a t e r when George s p o i l s t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p . The weather has changed for the worse when the couple meets again; George has l o s t h i s innocence but i s s t i l l not free of h i s childhood. He denies the t i d a l demands of the f l e s h - - i s a f r a i d of them-- and at the same time denies himself the ri g h t to Catherine. Years l a t e r , when George i s about to meet h i s love again, there i s a prophetic "hunter's moon over the c i t y " (123). Having met Catherine, he notices moonlight " f l i c k e r o f f the darkened windows of a church" (131). The r e l i g i o n the church represents i s dead to him, but the moon continues to assert i t s e l f . The moon i s forever present, i f not i n the sky, i n the character of Catherine, for she, l i k e Margaret A i n s l i e i n Each  Man's Son, i s often described i n lunar terms. When, i n th e i r youth, George and Catherine walk i n the moonlight, George thinks "of her as a whiteness of the dusk" (58). Later, when Jerome i s departing f o r Spain, he sees her as "serene, pale and b e a u t i f u l " (261). Later s t i l l i n her l i f e , j u s t p r i o r to the l a s t embolism which p r e c i p i t a t e s the climax, George notes Catherine's "small curved face pale, calm" (311), h i n t i n g of a waning moon. Catherine's very l i f e waxes and wanes l i k e the moon. And she s i l e n t l y o f f e r s something to George which he does not see u n t i l very late i n the novel. F i n a l l y at peace with himself, George says, "my soul was l i k e a landscape with water when the fog goes and the moon comes out a l l the promontories are clear and s t i l l " (346) . George at long l a s t accepts the moon, f u l l y accepts Catherine, and f i n a l l y sees her as she r e a l l y i s ; of her face, he says, "Light was i n i t . Light came out of i t . Light came from her constantly i n t o me" (348) . But, i f Catherine on one l e v e l represents the powers of the moon (the maternal p r i n c i p l e and the mistress of the mysterious powers of nature), she also represents a great deal more. The f i r s t time young George sees Catherine i n the novel, "she was a l l dressed i n green" (50), and he l a t e r says that "green was her colour at that supreme moment of my youth" (52). Later i n l i f e , George describes Catherine's painting which i s closes t to a s e l f - p o r t r a i t : i t i s of a young g i r l , featureless, "simply a l l the young g i r l s there ever were l o s t i n a spectrum of spring and knowing themselves alone. The head drooped l i k e a flower on a s t a l k " (308) . These associations of Catherine with nature do not stand alone. For instance, the seasons seem to follow her ea r l y r e l a t i o n s h i p with George. About to deny Catherine and leave her for a long time, George says he "could almost hear the voice of winter" (74). And winter does come; "Indian Summer was over, and with i t my time i n Arcadia" (67). The pastoral Eden, the summer he has spent with Catherine, i s over, but George does not want to accept i t s passing; hence, he f a i l s Catherine by being too f e a r f u l to respond to her advance. He has l o s t h i s childhood innocence but i s a long way from maturity. He denies nature, for which nature punishes him, and he derives a masochistic pleasure from the punishment: "the wind tearing my h a i r and the r a i n lashing my face were g r a t e f u l " (76). Many years l a t e r , when he and Catherine are married, George returns to a p a r t i a l acceptance of nature. He explains that happiness "did not come to Catherine and me i n a rush; rathe i t grew l i k e summer weather a f t e r a cool spring i n a northern land" (300), and that together they "grew intimate with the seasons" (301). George's d e s c r i p t i o n of Catherine's influence reminds one of Jerome saying "the f i r s t two years with her the world opened up l i k e a rose" (157). This close a s s o c i a t i o n of Catherine with nature and the seasons p a r a l l e l s the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of the year i n MacLennan's essay, " P o r t r a i t of a Year": i n May . . . she entered l i k e a supple g i r l of perfect deportment, yet one who knew what she wanted and how to get i t , and the most d e l i c a t e shades of green became her w e l l . - 79. . . . i n September . . . the bones of her face showed fine and a r i s t o c r a t i c . By October she was a great lady knowing her l i f e had been so f u l l she could a f f o r d to be serene, wise, thoughtful and remembering. This personified year speaks to the author, saying, "Come l i v e with me and be my love and we w i l l a l l the pleasures prove. This i s what Catherine o f f e r s f i r s t to George, then to Jerome, and then to George again. MacLennan's d e s c r i p t i o n of a year's passage, h i s p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of the cycle of the seasons, bears a close resemblance to the broad outlines of Catherine's character. She i s green i n youth, and she ages g r a c e f u l l y . As an a r t i s t , she i s "ambitious," " r u t h l e s s , " and "strangely s o l i t a r y i n her core" (26), and s i g n i f i c a n t l y she both "loves gardening" (249) and i s a p e r f e c t i o n i s t at i t , an a r t i s t of the garden. Her face i s fine-featured, "heart-shaped, large grey eyes and s e n s i t i v e mouth" (26). She i s of a r i s t o c r a t i c bearing; i n f a c t , "you could think of Catherine as queen-like" (26). Like the year, her time i s l i m i t e d , and her l i f e moves i n cycles within a larger c y c l e . But her i n e f f a b l e , unconquerable s p i r i t , that which i s "her strength, her essence, her mystery" (26), c a r r i e s on regardless. A f t e r each scrape with death she revives. I t i s not c o i n c i d e n t a l that George, going to the h o s p i t a l to' f i n d that Catherine i s recovering, i s t o l d by the cab-driver "that winter was almost over and that spring, she was coming for sure" (3'32). Scotchman's Re turn, pp. 259-60 - 80. - When he does 1 earn that Catherine w i l l l i v e , he suddenly becomes aware that the seasons are changing, winter y i e l d i n g to spring. (346) Catherine's ' s p i r i t , l i k e that of nature, i s the seed of unconquerable l i f e within her. Her fate i s l i k e that of the t i d a l sea, the changing moon, the seasonal vegetation, and i s r e f l e c t e d i n her heart-shaped face. George comments that a "rheumatic heart i s fate palpable and unavoidable" (8), and, during Catherine's l a s t embolism, he says that "the image of her face" haunted him and that "the f e e l i n g of her body melted into mine so warm and close that the night throbbed" (296). The throbbing of her heart becomes a throbbing i n the night, pulsing as the moon, mistress of the night and the ti d e s , slowly pulses, as the yearly seasons pulse. George i s haunted by i t , fears i t , but he w i l l learn to accept i t . The moon shines over more characters than George and Catherine. Jerome i s born i n i t s l i g h t , i f not a c t u a l l y , c e r t a i n l y symbolically. Describing h i s mother's murder, Jerome says he "saw moonlight pouring into the kitchen i n three separate s h a f t s " (167). Following the murder, he runs out into the moonlight, a f r a i d , and l a t e r , as he escapes down-river i n his canoe ( s t i l l threatened by h i s mother's murderer), "the moon was enormous i n the wide greenly-shining sky" (174). There i s sense of submersion here, and symbolically Jerome s t i l l i s submerged, for he has not yet been born. Jerome's natural mother could have stepped st r a i g h t out a myth. Her r e a l name i s obscure, but the "men c a l l e d her 'Anna' or'Mrs. Anna'" (162). The name "Anna" has been given to numerous goddesses i n ancient mythologies, and the word i t s e l f descends from an Indo-European root the meaning of which i s associated with "mother". The goddess named Anna or having v a r i a t i o n s of that name (e.g., Roman Anna Perenna or Greek Urana) i s generally an earth goddess or mother goddess linked to creation and f e r t i l i t y . She i s , however, also linked to death and destruction, for i t i s of her dual nature to both give and take away. As the mother earth gives l i f e i n spring and summer, she takes i t i n f a l l and winter: she i s a goddess of the whole year (Latin annus: year). She i s generally worshipped as the mother of a l l things, l i k e the Mother Earth of the Olympian Creation Myth, a r i s i n g (mysteriously unengendered) from chaos to take form as the earth. Jerome's mother, Anna, c l o s e l y resembles such a goddess; no-one i n the logging camp knows where she has come from. She speaks l i t t l e . She i s a "short, square, powerful woman" (162), a stature reminding one of primitive c l a y representations of the mother goddess. She i s "the p r i n c i p a l woman" i n the camp" (163). She has a simple and primitive nature, s p o r a d i c a l l y and i n d i s c r i m i n a t e l y giving her sexual favours to the men of the camp, and i s tough and ruthless i n demanding s a t i s f a c t i o n from these men. She represents the harsh, brutal but basic and necessary powers of nature. She i s the great mother. Jerome's adoptive mother i s a new kind of woman to him. Of - 82. - the two M a r t e l l ' s , "the woman was the stronger . . . yet this woman was u t t e r l y d i f f e r e n t from h i s mother. She was s o f t , warm and gentle and s t i l l she was strong" (193). She does not lack mystery, however, for she i s described as a "strange l i t t l e person" (189). She i s s t i l l the mother goddess, but the goddess c i v i l i z e d , C h r i s t i a n i z e d . Where Jerome's natural mother i s "as possessive as a female bear with a cub" (163), Mrs M a r t e l l i s " l i k e a gentle b i r d " (189). The contrast i s l i k e George's contrast between wilderness and garden. I t i s l i k e the contrast between the natural and the man-made i d e a l : while Anna i s content with, and reigns i n , the pr i m i t i v e , ambivalent wilderness, a land both harsh and b e a u t i f u l , Mrs. M a r t e l l l i v e s i n a c i t y and casts her thoughts to f a r - o f f England which she v i s u a l i z e s as an Arcadian garden of C h r i s t i a n Eden on earth, "the most b e a u t i f u l and wonderful country i n the world, and i t ' s where the king l i v e s " (199). Jerome discovers, l i k e N e i l Macrae i n Barometer Rising, that this pastoral paradise does not e x i s t , that the r e a l world i s harsher than a c o l o n i a l ' s dreams would have i t . While Jerome's natural mother i s the o r i g i n a l , primitive mother of dual nature, then, h i s adoptive mother i s the protective, more human mother. When Catherine marries Jerome, she takes over t h i s gentle, protecting r o l e . But she gives him more than t h i s , for she brings to him her other mythic a t t r i b u t e s , her a f f i n i t y with nature and the moon. What Robert Graves c a l l s the - 83. - White Goddess, that i s , the moon goddess, takes three major forms, representing the three major phases the moon passes through; maiden (newly waxing), nymph (late waxing, f u l l , and newly waning), and crone (late waning and dark). Catherine takes two of these forms. When George f i r s t knows her, she i s a maiden, chaste l i k e the goddess Diana. During this time, she matures, evident i n George's d e s c r i p t i o n of her "coming out of the lake when she was eighteen with the summer water streaming o f f her shoulders and thighs" (44), an image p a r a l l e l to that of Aphrodite r i s i n g from the sea (the b i r t h of Venus). Aphrodite represents the moon goddess i n her nymph phase, the positive nymph, she of spring and summer, of f e r t i l i t y and creation. But there i s another aspect of the nymph; she of the waning moon, who r draws toward the cone, she of darkness and death. Like Circe A of the Sirens i n the Odyssey, she should be approached warily and only by one with knowledge of her dual nature. Norah Blackwell c l e a r l y f i l l s t h is r o l e for Jerome. On one hand her love for Jerome makes her a positive f i g u r e , leading George to describe her as "a flower which had opened a f t e r a long f r o s t " (257). But this same b l i n d love also makes her a negative figure, for i t leads her to desert her husband and causes much unhappiness. Her nature t r u l y does contain a "black w e l l , " as George notes when he sees her on board ship with Jerome, bound for Spain: "that woman's head had come by s t e a l t h , had come under the t e r r i b l e compulsion of the destructive power within her" - 84. - (264). She i s that form of nymph - - i n f a c t , a nymphomaniac-- who i s led to her destruction by her own desire, and would take the hero with her. Her fate, l i k e her voice, i s Cordelia's (112), t r a g i c , absurd and out of her c o n t r o l . F i n a l l y , i f the dark phase or crone i s represented by any character i n the novel, i t i s George's Aunt Agnes, the dominant and b a l e f u l influence on h i s young l i f e , who, l i k e Mrs. MacCuish i n Each  Man's Son, stands for the s t a t i c and negative forces of the old, dead and rotten world. On a more abstract l e v e l , i t i s death i t s e l f that i s the dark phase, the enemy George fears and Jerome f i g h t s . Jerome i s a f i g h t e r and ostensibly the most heroic figure i n the novel. He i s , as Woodcock points out, though not t e c h n i c a l l y the hero . . . a figure i n the heroic mould, the wanderer and the giant and .the medicine man a l l i n one, an energumen i n the t h i r t i e s , a man of sorrows and s a i n t l y wisdom i n the f i f t i e s , who seems for most of the novel too f a r above common clay to be e i t h e r true or t o l e r a  ble unless we accept him as myth incarnate."^ From the beginning, Jerome f i t s i nto the pattern of the mythical hero. His o r i g i n s are obscure; h i s mother i s a most mysterious woman and h i s father i s unknown. He i s unsure of his b i r t h p l a c e , the f i r s t home he knows being a "primeval f o r e s t " (160), of which he says, "I've never seen anything l i k e i t for l o n e l i n e s s " (158). As a c h i l d , he i s tutored by two strange figures; one, an old s a i l o r who prophetically " t r i e d to make him 3"Nation's Odyssey," p. 16 - 85. - promise that when he grew up he would take to the sea" (162), and the other a "red-headed giant [who} was also a master c r a f t s  man" (163) and who builds him the canoe that w i l l carry him down-river. A f t e r the murder of his mother, he escapes by canoe: he "began to move fast on a r i v e r wide, firm, s i l v e r and a l i v e . . . u t t e r l y alone for the f i r s t time i n his l i f e , bearing him down under that wide open sky through the forest to the open sea which he knew was at i t s end" (174). Having reached the sea and escaped the greatest threat to h i s l i f e (the Engineer who murdered h i s mother), he i s adopted by the gentle M a r t e l l s . This follows almost exactly the archetypal Myth of the B i r t h of the Hero, the basic motifs of which are: 1. a noble or divine b i r t h which can be a v i r g i n or modified v i r g i n b i r t h (father unknown), 2. infant e x i l e or exposure on the waters (water-birth: compare Greek Perseus, Hebrew Moses), 3. rescue and fosterage by simple f o l k , 4. a prospect, ultimately, of ascendance to his "true" estate (often as the beloved of the moon goddess: compare Perseus, Theseus).^ At night, following the r i v e r , Jerome i s "submerged" ( s t i l l i n a symbolic prenatal state) under the "wide greenly shining sky." But, as he nears the ocean, the l i g h t of dawn swells "into a cool conflagration that flushed up into the wide and r e a l sky as the ent i r e world opened up" (178). At this moment, waking from sleep, Jerome i s t r u l y born ^ J . Campbell, The Masks of God'; Occidental Mythology (Toronto: Macmillan, 1 9 6 4 ) , ^ . 73-74. - 86. - into t h i s world. I t i s important that, at h i s symbolic b i r t h , i t i s the r i s i n g sun that wakes him from sleep, "a turmoil of gold l i k e a tremendous excitement i n heaven pouring i t s arrows into the forest and f l a s h i n g them o f f the stream" (179). The "excitement i n heaven" hints i£ h i s " d i v i n e " nature, and the arrows of the r i s i n g sun remind one of the Greek god Apollo, god of the sun and a famous archer. C l e a r l y Jerome can be i d e n t i f i e d with the sun, as Catherine i s with the moon. He i s powerful and dynamic, a source of power and l i f e to others, and at times "more l i k e a force of nature than a man" (140). Jerome i s a l l these things and more. Jerome i s also a questing Odysseus fig u r e , although perhaps less obviously than e i t h e r N e i l Macrae of Barometer  Rising or Archie MacNeil of Each Man's Son. Like Odysseus, he goes to a great war i n the east and there becomes unsettled. Up to t h i s point a man who f e r v e n t l y believed i n the truth of the C h r i s t i a n B i b l e , who "thought of himself as a s o l d i e r of God" (202), i n the "war to end a l l wars;" he loses h i s f a i t h . He i s thrust into a world i n which he can f i n d no absolutes. He enters on a quest to f i n d ideals to replace those he has l o s t ; where they l i e i s h i s true home, a place of peace and contentment, the "C i t y of God". His experience i n the s h e l l - h o l e , the hours spent with h i s dead "enemy", have turned him against the god he once believed i n , and h i s r e a c t i o n takes the form of an i d e a l i s t i c humanism. At t h i s time, he i d e n t i f i e s the goal of h i s quest with the crowning glory of c l a s s i c a l Greece, a non- C h r i s t i a n humanist's substitute for the C i t y of God, "a c i t y on top of a h i l l --Athens perhaps. I t was white and i t was b e a u t i f u l , and i t was a great p r i v i l e g e to enter i t " (227). Like Daniel A i n s l i e of Each Man's Son, labouring under a burden of g u i l t for having turned against the god of h i s youth, he throws himself into a l i f e of expiation for h i s " s i n s " , s a c r i f i c i n g himself on the a l t a r of humanity. As he t e l l s George, "The only immortality i s mankind" (254). He turns h i s enormous strength, of both body and personality, against whatever enemies he finds around him, p a r t i c u l a r l y sickness, death and anything or anybody he thinks does not stand with him i n h i s f i g h t . He i s , as Catherine says, "a warrior . . . In h i s more obstreperous moments he says Ha-ha i n the midst of the trumpets" (129). He i s a s p e c i a l kind of warrior, as Adam Blore, the c y n i c a l sculptor, makes c l e a r to George: He's an i d e a l i s t , and he has ten times more energy than a normal man. Push a man l i k e him outside your camp and what does he do? Nine times out of ten he t r i e s to break i n and capture i t . (122) He has the might and determination of Homer's Odysseus, but b l i n d idealism makes him unable to f u l f i l l the aims of h i s quest during the t h i r t i e s . He lacks wisdom. Hence, the whole period prior to his departure for Spain f i n a l l y becomes an extension of the f i r s t war. That he i s s t i l l f i g h t i n g a war becomes clear when he i s described as "a general pondering a tough d e c i s i o n " (218). His - 88. - lack of wisdom causes him to be too e a s i l y excited, and when he i s excited and s t i r r e d he often reverts "to the p r i m i t i v e " (231)* He moves through l i f e " l i k e a sleepwalker" (248), s t r i k i n g out w i l d l y at h i s enemies. But h i s external enemies are r e a l l y only projections of h i s enemies within. Jerome himself t e l l s George, "I don't know who I am" (158). And only when he learns who he i s can he complete h i s quest. Like Dr. A i n s l i e i n Each Man's Son, Jerome i s looking for a God, one that w i l l s a t i s f y h i s humanist i d e a l s . For a l l h i s admirable works i n Montreal, he cannot s a t i s f y h i s longing, and sets out on another quest, t h i s time t r u l y away from home, one that begins i n Spain, c a r r i e s him through France, Russia and China, and f i n a l l y back to Montreal. He t e l l s George that during this f i n a l , more t r u l y Odyssean quest, " a l l I ever wanted was to come home" (12). I t i s during this journey that he gains the wisdom of Odysseus; when he returns, George notes that he has acquired an "obscure wisdom," an "obscure power" (349). In dealing with the Odysseus figure i n this novel, MacLennan uses only the bare bones of the pattern, r a d i c a l l y changing many of i t s parts. Catherine i s the waiting wife, Penelope, only during the I l i a d section of the cyc l e . When Jerome i s on h i s f i n a l quest and i s taken for dead (as Odysseus i s often asserted to be), Catherine accepts the evidence and remarries not long a f t e r . Oddly enough, she marries the very man who i s symbolically her husband's son. As George says, for a time i n the t h i r t i e s , when I was s p i r i t u a l l y and emotionally fatherless (9) . . . I had come to think of Jerome as a protector, - 89. - almost as a substitute for the father I never had except i n the b i o l o g i c a l sense. (140) On t h i s l e v e l , George i s i d e n t i f i e d with Telemachus. This Telemachus not only marries the wife of h i s "father"; he marries his own "mother", f o r , as Jerome t e l l s him, "You married her for safety against l i f e " (343). Here, Catherine acts as a mother substitute to the immature George, and Jerome admits that she f u l f i l l e d the same role for him before h i s f i n a l quest. The patterns of r e l a t i o n s h i p are extremely subtle and complex i n this novel, and, when viewed simply at this l e v e l , almost seem to resolve themselves i n i n c e s t . The r e l a t i o n s h i p s are confused, however, i n much the same way they are complicated i n Each Man's  Son, and they resolve themselves p o s i t i v e l y when the other major questing hero, George Stewart himself, i s more c l o s e l y examined. George, l i k e Jerome, i s a man who has l o s t the r e l i g i o n of his youth and seeks a replacement. He, too, i s drawn to a philosophy of humanism. But, unlike the i d e a l i s t Jerome, George i s more s k e p t i c a l about the attainment of humanist goals, partly because he lacks f a i t h i n himself and projects this lack of confidence on to other men. He has l i t t l e respect for mankind as a whole. He i s o l a t e s himself from humanity, becoming an "objective" observer, and he seeks escape from what he finds just too confusing and fr i g h t e n i n g i n the world. But h i s philosophy does not s a t i s f y him: he s t i l l seeks something better; he i s a f r a i d and insecure, f e e l i n g "no more successful than the old Greek who pushed boulders up the h i l l knowing they would tumble down the - 90. - moment they reached the top" (6). Like Daniel A i n s l i e , he f e e l s l i k e Sisyphus. He i s a person "who wished he was a hero, and had been born clumsy and had grown up without much courage" (63). He shrinks from h i s fate, unlike Jerome who attacks h i s fate l i k e a powerful animal. Jerome, i n f a c t , i s often described as an animal: he has a "bulldog jaw" (14), and a " c o n s t i t u t i o n l i k e an ox" (15); he i s a "stallion"(126) who at one time relaxes on "the sofa l i k e a r e s t i n g animal" (133), and another time s n i f f s "the a i r l i k e an animal" (150). He also has ears "shaped l i k e a faun's" (126). A l l this re-enforces the powerful, primitive side of Jerome's character and the sense of h i s being something more than a man. George, however, i s i d e n t i f i e d and i d e n t i f i e s himself with the gentler, more helpless animals l i k e the s q u i r r e l s which survive on scraps. He would l i k e to be a hero but i s incapable of i t . He i s aware of h i s i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t but can determine no way to resolve i t . Although Jerome admits that i t "gets damned lonely bucking the current a l l the time" (226), he has the strength to f i g h t the current of h i s times and he does. Nevertheless, h i s f i g h t i n g a v a i l s him nothing but further f r u s t r a t i o n . George, lacking both the strength and the courage, does not f i g h t the current. Instead, he t r i e s to get out of i t , to stand to one side as an i s o l a t e d observer. And this a v a i l s him nothing. Neither t r y i n g to turn the current nor t r y i n g to avoid p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n i t are successful methods of coping with what i s ultimately the current of time. The quests of both Jerome and George are fated to f a i l while they adopt such extreme measures. George fe e l s that a form of fate i s at work around him, that some giant force i s changing the face of the world. The melting g l a c i e r s of the far north are but one example of this slow, inexorable change. His knowledge of change i s connected to h i s awareness of time and h i s fear of in e v i t a b l e death. As he considers the beauty of a winter's day, he i s reminded of h i s "youth and of the time before the g l a c i e r s began to melt" (24). As he has grown older, he has l o s t h i s innocence, becoming aware of a fate which threatens him. • And, as there are great, uncontrollable forces a£ work changing nature, so there are forces at work i n society, processes beyond the control of i n d i v i d u a l men. George sees this as part of the e f f e c t of modern technology on p o l i t i c s and p o l i t i c i a n s (an opposition between nature and the man-made): "The c a p i t a l c i t i e s where they worked had become co l o s s a l Univac machines grinding out more s t a t i s t i c a l l y - b a s e d information i n a month than any trained mind could comprehend i n a l i f e t i m e " (39). He also sees p o l i t i c a l a ction i t s e l f (man-made c o n f l i c t ) as e s s e n t i a l l y i r r a t i o n a l and aimless. He f e e l s "that most i n t e r n a t i o n a l c r i s e s are l i k e gigantic mystery plays i n which obscure and absolutely i r r a t i o n a l passions are handled by p o l i t i c i a n s , and viewed by the public, i n a form of r i t u a l akin to primitive r e l i g i o u s r i t e s " (288). People, having turned aside from f a i t h i n r e l i g i o n and love of nature, have substituted a b l i n d f a i t h i n technology and p o l i t i c a l ideology and a love of the material products of t h e i r technology. But necessity demands a balance, and the wheel of fate r o l l s onward. On a more i n d i v i d u a l l e v e l , as the novel opens, George says, "I thought I had come to terms with myself and with the peculiar fate which c o n t r o l l e d me owing to my wife" (6). But i t l a t e r becomes cl e a r that he has come nowhere near r e a l s a t i s f a c t i o n or contentment, as he himself makes very clear:' Fate, I thought. Who i s equal to i t ? For to be equal to fate i s to be equal to the knowledge that everything we have done, achieved, endured and been proud and ashamed of i s nothing. So I thought, alone as I had never been alone. (318) He i s reaching into h i s darkness, nearing the point at which A i n s l i e had a v i s i o n of h i s true nature i n Each Man's Son. His quest i s leading him into the darkness. But George must wait a l i t t l e longer. He needs help. His fear of his fate i s linked to h i s fear of night, confusion and death, which, as Jerome points out to him, i s r e a l l y a fear of l i f e i n i t s e n t i r e t y , a fear of accepting the burden of f u l l r e s p o n s i b l i l i t y for l i v i n g and the solitude the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y c a r r i e s with i t . (343) To be born into t h i s world, to be separated from one's mother, i s a frightening experience (psycholo g i s t s c a l l i t the " b i r t h trauma"). George points d i r e c t l y to this when he describes Jerome's symbolic b i r t h : "The canoe i n which he had issued from the forest had now taken him out into the ocean. A canoe i n an ocean, at night, with a hurricane r i s i n g . Jerome, Myself, Everyone" (271). Another b i r t h i s needed, the b i r t h symbolized i n the " r i t e s of passage," an i n i t i a t i o n or b i r t h into manhood. Without the maturity gained i n such a r e b i r t h , the i n d i v i d u a l must l i v e i n t e r r o r such as George describes, whenever he discovers that what he believed to be h i s i d e n t i t y i s no more than a t i n y canoe at the mercy of an ocean. S h a r k f i l l e d , p l a n k t o n - f i l l e d , r e f r a c t o r of l i g h t , t e r r i b l e and mysterious, for years this ocean has seemed to slumber beneath the t i n y i d e n t i t y i t received from the dark r i v e r . Now the ocean r i s e s and the things within i t become v i s i b l e . L i t t l e man, what now? The ocean r i s e s , a l l frames disappear from around the pictures, there i s no form, no sense, nothing but chaos i n the darkness of the ocean storm. (321) The i n d i v i d u a l i s submerged i n the destructive element, taken back once more into the womb of the great mother, back into the void. There he must face himself, a l l of himself, the love and the hate, the hope and the fear, for the "shark i n the ocean may be i n v i s i b l e , but he i s there. So also i s the fear i n the ocean of the unconscious" (304). The man learns "the nature of the human struggle. Within, not without. Without there i s nothing to be done. But w i t h i n " (321). He learns, as Jerome learns, that one cannot defeat the i n t e r n a l current no matter how much one bucks i t , and, as George learns, that one cannot avoid the current, for there i s at l a s t no escape. George learns, as Jerome has, that he must accept the ocean of h i s own mind and the surging ocean of time. As Jerome t e l l s him, he must sink to the bottom of the ocean and crawl inside the s h e l l of death: "You must crawl inside of death and die yourself. You must lose your l i f e . You must lose i t to y o u r s e l f " (342). Only then can he l i v e without - 94. - fear. A man i s cast out alone into this world, fated to remain i n the solitude of h i s i n d i v i d u a l s e l f . Only love can breach this s o l i t u d e : "Love consists i n t h i s , that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other" (290). But, to love, one must transcend the s e l f , the ego, recognizing that t h i s i s but a small thing a f l o a t on a greater ocean --of the i n d i v i d u a l unconscious, of the greater mind of a l l mankind (Everyman), of time past, present and e t e r n a l . As Jerome's foster-parents have seen, " ' I t comes --to pass. 1 1 That i s , i t comes, i n order to pass" (293). Mr. M a r t e l l and h i s wife are caught i n the ocean of time which has " r o l l e d over them as though they had never been" (293). But also, as the maturer George sees, the "past was not dead but now the present flowed over i t , as the future would flow over the present" (349). Although swallowed i n time, the Martells are ineradicably a part of i t , as i s every man who has ever l i v e d , no matter how i n s i g n i f i c a n t . A man makes his mark simply by being a l i v e , by being a part of and carrying on the process of l i f e i t s e l f . A l l make th e i r mark; Jerome, George, Catherine, Everyman. As George f i n a l l y remarks of Catherine, "What i f the ocean of time overwhelmed her? I t overwhelms us a l l " (350). In accepting h i s fate, George also learns how to transcend i t . He learns that Vthe human bondage i s also the human l i b e r t y " (322), and that i n the acceptance of a l l things --destruction as well as creation, death as well as b i r t h - - i s the f u l l acceptance of l i f e : the l a s t possible harmony, the only one there can be, which i s a w i l l to l i v e , love, grow and be g r a t e f u l , the determina t i o n to endure a l l things, s u f f e r a l l things, hope a l l things, believe a l l things necessary for what our ancestors c a l l e d the glory of God. To struggle and work for that, at the end, i s a l l there i s l e f t . (321) Jerome, returning home l i k e the wise Odysseus from the underworld, the land of the dead, brings wisdom to George. Jerome i s no longer a questing hero: he has f u l f i l l e d h i s quest. He has become a "wise old man", a redeemed parental f i g u r e , who w i l l help h i s "son", George, to a t t a i n h i s goal. As Jerome i s Odysseus, George i s Telemachus, and as George i s Odysseus, Jerome i s Hermes, patron god of the Odyssey. At the end of the novel, Jerome i s many things; a wise Odysseus, a f r i e n d l y Hermes, a resurrected sun-hero, a humanist C h r i s t , the epitome of Everyman "returned from the dead" (306) to teach the lesson of l i f e renewed. He returns to teach what Catherine has been s i l e n t l y o f f e r i n g a l l along, the lesson the moon and nature teach, the concept of l i f e i n death and death i n l i f e , of the fact that no matter how many i n d i v i d u a l l i v e s and years pass away, there w i l l be more years and l i v e s , and that the r i t u a l s of both are eternal.-' The lesson i s that the s p i r i t of l i f e i s unconquerable. This i s b a s i c a l l y the same lesson Odysseus learns i n the Homeric cy c l e , and a profound examination of the Homeric myth reveals greater depths i n The Watch that Ends the Night. "The MacLennan, Scotchman's Return, p. 72. patron god of the I l i a d i s Apollo, god of the l i g h t world and of the excellence of heroes."6 Jerome Ma r t e l l i s c l e a r l y born into the " r e a l " world under the auspices of just such a mythic diety, and shines by his l i g h t throughout the years of bat t l e up to h i s departure for Spain. "In the Odyssey, on the other hand, the patron of Odysseus's voyage i s . . . Hermes, guide of souls to the underworld, the patron, also, of r e b i r t h and the lo r d of the knowledges beyond death, which may be known to h i s i n i t i a t e s even i n l i f e . " 7 Jerome has no such a i d , but George has, and i t is the changed, re-born Jerome himself. G i l b e r t Murray has noted s p e c i f i c solar and lunar analogies i n the Odyssey --which i s only natural i n a quest-romance, as Frye indicates i n Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m , p. 188-- Odysseus being solar (a sun-hero who recedes into darkness and returns) and Penelope lunar (at her loom she weaves and unweaves l i k e the moon going through i t s phases). Jerome and Catherine have been i d e n t i f i e d i n a s i m i l a r way. But th i s leads to a further i n s i g h t on the psychological l e v e l ; that the inward turning of the mind (symbolized by the sunset) should culminate i n a r e a l i z a t i o n of an i d e n t i t y i n esse of the i n d i v i d u a l (microcosm) and the universe (macrocosm), which, when achieved, would bring together i n one order of act and r e a l i z a t i o n the p r i n c i p l e s of e t e r n i t y and time, sun and moon, male and female.8 "Campbell, Occidental Mythology, p. 162 ?Ibid. 8 I b i d . , pp. 163-64. This i s what takes place i m p l i c i t l y i n the Odyssey, and both i m p l i c i t l y and e x p l i c i t l y i n The Watch that Ends the Night. The masculine, heroic age depicted i n the I l i a d i s too one-sided, and Odysseus' quest i s necessary i n order that the mighty male hero can gain the knowledge to restore the balance i n society and nature. This pattern has been seen at work i n Each Man's Son, and i s equally at work i n The Watch that Ends the  Night. During the age of rationalism, men established a d e i s t i c r e l i g i o n of the One Engineer and a cosmology of a mechanistic universe (designed and o i l e d by the omnipotent Engineer), elevating the science of machines almost to the point of s a n c t i t y . This e f f e c t i v e l y completed the d i v i s i o n of God from nature, nature from man and man from God, i s o l a t i n g man i n an a l i e n and lonely world of h i s own making. This, of course, prompted the Romantic reaction, but i t i s a reaction that never r e a l l y reached the common man, who continued, and continues, to believe i n an ultimate s a l v a t i o n to be conferred by technology. In this novel, i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that i n the wilderness camp of Jerome's childhood, where things are reduced to t h e i r basic e s s e n t i a l s , i t i s the Engineer who, "Of a l l the lonely men i n the camp," i s the " l o n e l i e s t of them a l l " (167). And i t i s he who murders Anna (Earth-Mother), and separates Jerome (epitome of Everyman) from his mother and st a r t s him on h i s quest. The masculine hero, unbalanced, alienated from female nature, ventures out into the ocean and the night, there eventually to f i n d the truth about himself and return, - 98. humbler and wiser, having learned the nature of the d e l i c a t e balance of reason and emotion, conscious and unconscious, male and female. This part of the r e s o l u t i o n of The Watch that Ends  the Night, while resembling that of Each Man's Son, i s even more profound and u n i v e r s a l . MacLennan extends h i s scope to resolve what George c a l l s the c o n f l i c t "between the s p i r i t and the human co n d i t i o n " (27). He resolves i t by accepting the humanist Greek view, which, as Campbell says, suggests an indefinable circumscription, within the bounds of which both the gods and men work the i r i n d i v i d u a l w i l l s , ever i n danger of v i o l a t i n g the undefined bounds and being struck down,\yet with play enough --within l i m i t s ^ - - to achieve a comely r e a l i z a t i o n of ends humanly conceived. 9 \ This i s the outlook of c l a s s i c a l humanism, i n which MacLennan finds many of h i s basic truths. Divine destiny moves i n great cycles tof creation, destruction and creation, b i r t h , death and r e b i r t h . The ocean of time surges and ebbs, each succeeding chaos being supplanted by a genesis, and the i n d i v i d u a l caught within these cycles (of the day, the month, the year, the l i f e  time, the age and of e t e r n i t y ) , the man who accepts h i s fate, who i s a "good and f a i t h f u l servant . . . f a i t h f u l over a few things," becomes "r u l e r over many" and enters "into the joy of the Lord" (350: from Matthew 25: 21). Thus, chaos and night are ended, and there i s l i g h t . Or, i n the words of Psalm v. of Isaac Watts, from which MacLennan takes h i s t i t l e , 9 l b i d . , p. 180. I - 99. - Before the h i l l s i n order stood, Or earth received her frame, From E v e r l a s t i n g Thou a r t God, To endless years the same. A thousand ages i n Thy sight Are l i k e an evening gone; Short as the watch that ends the night Before the r i s i n g sun. Time, l i k e an e v e r - r o l l i n g stream, Bears a l l i t s sons away; They f l y forgotten, as a dream Dies at the opening day. The f i n a l tone of the novel i s a r e l i g i o u s one, synthesizing both c l a s s i c a l and C h r i s t i a n thought. As i n Barometer Rising and Each Man's Son, i n this novel MacLennan has blended the elements of romance and comedy. The main body of the novel i s concerned with quest and c o n f l i c t : i t i s the story of two heroes --the mighty and the meek-- b a t t l i n g t h e i r enemies. They win t h e i r b a t t l e s when they r e a l i z e that the f i g h t i s i n t e r n a l rather than external, that the "enemy" i s a very r e a l psychological fact to be accepted rather than some abstract s o c i a l e v i l to be exterminated. When they recognize th e i r r e l a t i o n to Everyman, they are able to take th e i r places i n society: Jerome the mighty but now humble hero sets o f f to share h i s wisdom with the world; George, the meek, i n h e r i t s the earth. So the novel ends with a v i s i o n of a society i n which a l l men are united, a society which extends beyond national boundaries to encompass the world. The society does not yet e x i s t , but, as i n the other novels, i t i s a v i s i o n of the future. This i s a comic resolution, - 100. for i n comedy, as Northrop Frye says, i s the hopeful " v i s i o n of the end of s o c i a l e f f o r t . . . the free human society. And MacLennan's r e s o l u t i o n i s s o l i d l y based on the c l a s s i c a l tenet that human freedom i s i n human bondage, y i e l d i n g a comedy i n which, as i n tragedy, "the absolute beginning . . . i s the condition of freedom, the absolute end the recognition of necessity."11 In The Watch that Ends the Night, MacLennan portrays the grave and constant i n human su f f e r i n g and i n human joy, which, leads --or may lead-- to an experience that i s regarded by those that have known i t as the apogee of t h e i r l i v e s , and which i s yet i n e f f a b l e . And th i s experience . . . i s the ultimate aim of a l l r e l i g i o n , the ultimate reference of a l l 1 7 myth and r i t e . Human s u f f e r i n g and human joy are resolved i n a paradox; as George says, Where wast thou when I l a i d the foundation of the earth? Declare, i f thou hast understanding. So, for an instant, you may have that understanding. To have i t , to f e e l the movement of l i g h t flood the darkness of s e l f --even for an instant-- i s the most beau t i f u l experience anyone can ever know. (322) The great quest cycle ends j o y f u l l y with the symbolic r e b i r t h of the hero, who i s f i n a l l y mature, who has l e f t the protective mother and can now be a r e a l husband to h i s wife. George's experience of epiphany occurs late at night: once again MacLennan places the climax of his novel at the "heart of iOpables of Identity, p. i X F . von Schlegel, c i t e d Greeks and Romans (New York: 18 i n Michael Grant, Myths of the Mentor, 1962), p. 165. 12campbell, Primitive Mythology, p. 54. - 101. - darkness". George walks out into the night to f i n d that i t seems no longer dark or threatening. The darkness within him, by being accepted, has been paradoxically d i s p e l l e d . The climax i s reached and, as George says, "I could end here because my story i s t o l d " (347) . But George provides an epilogue, for, s t i l l the precise j o u r n a l i s t , he f e e l s i t i s a story out of which the reader "should be led f a c t u a l l y " (347) . The s q u i r r e l s forage, the pheasants appear flamboyant, and gentle George and a r t i s t i c Catherine are happy and content. Spring comes, and Catherine returns to her a r t and her gardening --as nature blossoms, so does she. Summer passes and Catherine shines t r a n q u i l l y . Autumn approaches and George speaks of "the cathedral hush of a Quebec Indian Summer" (349) . The sense of nature as a sacred mystery i s paramount. In this evening of t h e i r l i f e together, George at l a s t f u l l y appreciates, without anxiety, that "the early evening of a good day holds within i t s e l f the dawn and the morning no less than the promise of the night" (301) . The dawn, heralding the new day f o r Canada and the world, can be seen i n the character of Sally, c h i l d of Jerome and Catherine, the sun, the moon and nature, and f o s t e r - c h i l d of George, the average man i n whom the elements are now well-mixed. S a l l y ' s blonde head i s "as fresh as the dawn . . . as golden as the sun on a single cloud i n the sky" (318). Sa l l y has "much room for the mysterious thing" (331), the same s p i r i t of l i f e found i n Catherine, and she i s both cool-headed and enthusiastic, - 102. - young and wise. Neither she nor Alan Royce, the "great bear of a boy" (331) she plans to marry, i s plagued by the anxiety or weltschtnenz which burdened t h e i r parents' generation. They represent the future; together they w i l l b u i l d a new Canada and a r e v i t a l i z e d world. Chapter Five: The Eternal Quest Hugh MacLennan i s a humanist, a r e l i g i o u s humanist, who makes i t h i s task to redefine and reassert those humanistic values which have descended from the c l a s s i c s . He i s i n a main stream of modern l i t e r a r y endeavour, attempting both to discover and to s t a b i l i z e a system of values i n an age i n which t r a d i t i o n a l systems are f a i l i n g . One of h i s reasons for consciously using myths as patterns for h i s work i s that they are c r o s s - c u l t u r a l u n i v e r s a l s , giving a stable base of t r a d i t i o n and convention from which to view modern man's predicament. The predicament MacLennan sees i s one which has been of c e n t r a l importance i n l i t e r a t u r e for the past century — t h e search of the s e n s i t i v e i n d i v i d u a l for a r e a l i d e n t i t y . Modern man l o s t h i s sense of i d e n t i t y when he l o s t any tangible external or i n t e r n a l absolutes against which he could measure himself, a loss that created strong c o n f l i c t i n g desires. On one l e v e l , the predicament can be seen i n the c o n f l i c t between an outworn, dogmatic r e l i g i o n (puritan, Old Testament C h r i s t i a n i t y ) and a new, vaguer (because as yet undefined) but pos i t i v e and humane philosophy, a c o n f l i c t amply demonstrated i n Each Man's Son. Broadly speaking, i t i s the same c o n f l i c t of "Hebraism" and "Hellenism" determined by Matthew Arnold i n Culture and Anarchy. And MacLennan's thought bears resemblance to that of other V i c t o r i a n thinkers. For instance, the opposition he describes i s f i n a l l y best considered as an opposition between fl u x and s t a s i s , motion and r e s t , c a l l i n g to mind the - 104. - work of Walter Pater, i n which "Motion i s i d e n t i f i e d with change and those ideologies which have made change t h e i r stock. Motion i s thus Heracliteanism, Epicureanism, Hellenism,"^ and rest i s i d e n t i f i e d with C h r i s t i a n i t y . In Pater's s t o r i e s , as i n MacLennan's, one i s constantly "confronted with the odyssey of the immutable young outcast . . . the e x i l e searching through time and space for the inheritance denied him by h i s own present." 2 A l i s t of such characters i n nineteenth and twentieth century f i c t i o n would be very long; obvious examples are Pater's Marius, Hardy's Jude, Conrad's Jim, Joyce's Dedalus, and c e r t a i n l y MacLennan's N e i l Macrae and Angus Murray, Archie MacNeil and Daniel A i n s l i e , Jerome Ma r t e l l and George Stewart. A l l these characters are engaged i n quests of some kind, and i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that i n Barometer Rising, Each Man's Son, and The Watch that Ends  the Night there are recurrently two d i f f e r e n t kinds of wanderer. An explanation of t h i s i s found i n MacLennan's use of myth. MacLennan i s a writer who deals with modern h i s t o r y , h i s novels being r e a l i s t i c i n that they are b u i l t around actual scenes and events i n recent Canadian h i s t o r y (the H a l i f a x explosion, the Cape Breton coal mines, the Great Depression). As Northrop Frye makes c l e a r , the l i t e r a r y a r t i s t U. C. Knoepflmacher, Religious Humanism and the V i c t o r i a n  Novel (Princeton: Princeton U. Press, 1965), p. 162. 2 I b i d . , p. 170. - 105. finds i n c r e a s i n g l y that he can deal with h i s t o r y only to the extent that h i s t o r y supplies him with, or affords a pretext for, the comic, t r a g i c , romantic or i r o n i c myths that he a c t u a l l y uses. 3 MacLennan, i n this sense, rewrites h i s t o r y i n accord with h i s mythic patterns. He gives h i s t o r y s i g n i f i c a n t meaning, l i k e the metahistorians, w r i t i n g romantic h i s t o r i c a l myths based on a quest or pilgrimage to a Ci t y of God or a c l a s s l e s s society . . . comic h i s t o r i c a l myths of progress through evolution or revolution . . . tr a g i c myths of decline and f a l l , l i k e the works of Gibbon and Spengler . . . i r o n i c myths of recurrence or casual catastrophe .4- MacLennan includes a l l these h i s t o r i c a l myths i n h i s novels, s t r e s s i n g d i f f e r e n t myths from novel to novel i n a c l e a r l y developing pattern. The main bodies of the three novels under consideration are concerned with the c o n f l i c t of two main forces or world v i s i o n s ; the comic v i s i o n ( i d e n t i f i e d with flux) and the t r a g i c v i s i o n ( i d e n t i f i e d with s t a s i s ) . Each of these v i s i o n s can be further divided into romantic and i r o n i c structures, each of which i s represented by a character. The i n d i v i d u a l novels are structered on this general pattern, each one being a d i f f e r e n t configuration of the pattern: I. Comic v i s i o n A. Romantic 3 F a b l e s , p. 5 3 . ^ I b i d , p . 5 4 . - 106. - 1. The characters are i d e n t i f i e d with f l u x . 2. Their world i s p o s i t i v e , a c t i v e , progressive and evolving. 3. There i s a sense of destiny moving toward an end. B. Ironic 1. The characters are s t i l l i d e n t i f i e d with f l u x . 2. Their world i s po s i t i v e but contemplative, r e p e t i t i o u s and revolving. 3. There i s a sense of destiny moving i n eternal cy c l e s . I I . Tragic V i s i o n A. Romantic 1. The characters are i d e n t i f i e d with s t a s i s . 2. Their world i s positive but s t a t i c and imprisoning. 3. There i s a sense of destiny moving i n eternal cycles. B. Ironic 1. The characters are i d e n t i f i e d with s t a s i s . 2. Their world i s negative, s t a t i c and imprisoning. 3. There i s a sense of destiny moving toward an end. The c o n f l i c t of f l u x and s t a s i s , of comic and t r a g i c remains unchanged throughout the three novels, and the resolutions are constantly comic. But the stresses on the romantic and i r o n i c plots change from Barometer Rising through to The Watch that Ends  the Night, the emphasis moving from romantic to i r o n i c . In Barometer Rising, N e i l Macrae i s the romantic hero of the comic v i s i o n . His world i s based i n modern western man's sense - 107. - of p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n h i s t o r y ; i t i s b a s i c a l l y future-oriented and thus i m p l i c i t l y messianic, the heroic N e i l being something of a messiah, prepared to lead h i s people to a promised land. Angus Murray i s the i r o n i c hero of the comic v i s i o n . His world i s of a more c l a s s i c a l nature (based on h i s reading of the c l a s s i c s ) i n which h i s t o r y i s subordinated to a metahistory of great r e p e t i t i o u s cycles of destruction and creation; i t i s b a s i c a l l y present-oriented and not messianic, the s a t i s f i e d Angus w i l l i n g to l i v e out h i s l i f e i n peace. In the t r a g i c v i s i o n of the novel, Alec MacKenzie represents the positive world, the romantic, 'Arcadian' world, crushed by the wheel of destiny. Colonel Wain represents the negative world i r o n i c a l l y destroyed. In Each Man's Son, the stress MacLennan places on the romantic and i r o n i c plots has s h i f t e d . Mrs. MacCuish represents the negative world which i s i r o n i c a l l y i n the process of being destroyed. Archie MacNeil i s the romantic hero of the t r a g i c v i s i o n who must su f f e r the same fate. The c h i e f representative of the i r o n i c world and comic v i s i o n i s Dr. MacKenzie. Under the eye of t h i s wise old man, Daniel A i n s l i e begins as an unbalanced romantic hero (indicated by h i s concern with i n d i v i d u a l e f f o r t to a d e f i n i t e , "heroic" end) and ends as a balanced hero (indicated by h i s acceptance of a l i f e without hope). I f there i s any h i n t of a messiah i n the novel, i t i s at l a s t directed toward Alan MacNeil, but the h i n t i s muted by the l i g h t of A i n s l i e ' s "conversion". Although i n Barometer Rising the romantic plot - 108. - outweighed the i r o n i c , i n Each Man*s Son the stress i s beginning to reverse. By the time MacLennan comes to write The Watch that Ends  the Night (or possibly during the w r i t i n g ) , h i s at t i t u d e s have changed to the degree that the f i n a l stress i s almost completely on the i r o n i c hero. Both Jerome and George begin as romantic heroes of the comic v i s i o n . Jerome, being the strongest romance figu r e , follows the path of the tragic romance into death, but i s miraculously resurrected, and returns as a hero of the i r o n i c world. George also follows the romantic plot l i n e but becomes an i r o n i c hero at the end of the novel. The tragic-romance plot i s followed to i t s conclusion (death) i n the character of Norah Blackwell. The t r a g i c i r o n i c world i s seen i n the process of decay i n George Stewart's Aunt Agnes and the ghostly S i r Rupert Irons. There i s a h i n t of progress i n S a l l y and Alan Royce (as i n the Alan of Each Man's Son), but the over-riding impression i s not romantic but i r o n i c , not messianic but c y c l i c . In Barometer Rising, a cosmic b a t t l e i s i n progress, i n which l i g h t and dark, f l u x and s t a s i s , good and e v i l , contend for v i c t o r y , and evolutionary or l i n e a r rather than revolutionary or c y c l i c movement i s stressed. With Each Man's Son the b a t t l e continues, but the c y c l i c philosophy has become more dominant. In The Watch  that Ends the Night, the b a t t l e ends, and the previously contending powers are resolved ip a paradox. MacLennan has turned away from the t r a d i t i o n a l Judaeo-Christian way of looking at time and the - 109. cosmos, a l i n e a r , future-oriented way, and has embraced a t r u l y c l a s s i c a l outlook very s i m i l a r to that of H e r a c l i t u s , a philosophy of process. Heraclitus took the basic element of the universe to be f i r e , for i t i s the element which i s always changing and yet somehow always the same. As f i r e i s the source of l i g h t , MacLennan's stress on l i g h t and radiance at the end of The Watch that Ends the Night s t r i k e s a f a m i l i a r note. Also, Heraclitus accepted s t r i f e as basic to the universal order; that i s , he considered necessary the eternal underlying tension of opposites. The p a r a l l e l with MacLennan i s obvious. F i n a l l y , Heraclitus i d e n t i f i e d God with the universal process i t s e l f , which i s d i r e c t l y p a r a l l e l with MacLennan's b e l i e f that man should revere the universal mystery of the eternal cycle. Setting himself s o l i d l y i n c l a s s i c a l philosophy, MacLennan resolves the c o n f l i c t between good and e v i l by accepting them both within a larger scheme. The characters i n The Watch that Ends the Night no longer prophesy an h i s t o r i c a l evolution to some vague form of Utopian state. The dream of a past golden age, one of youth, innocence and s i m p l i c i t y --Alec MacKenzie's r u r a l world, Dr. A i n s l i e ' s youth i n the Margaree v a l l e y , George Stewart's "Arcadia"-- and the dream of a future golden age, one of renewed youth, innocence and s i m p l i c i t y --the future of N e i l Macrae, Penny and Jean, Alan MacNeil's future, the romantic George Stewart's dream of peace i n i s o l a t i o n - - are f i n a l l y cast aside i n The Watch i that Ends the Night, and are replaced with a philosophy-cum-religion - 110. - of the here-and-now. The quest for a personal i n t e r n a l i d e n t i t y , o v e r t l y externalized i n Barometer Rising to represent the nation, drawn inward i n Each Man's Son but s t i l l having natio n a l overtones, i s f i n a l l y concluded i n The Watch that Ends the Night where i t becomes almost e n t i r e l y i n t e r n a l . And, paradoxically, where MacLennan's portrayal of the quest i s most i n t e r n a l , the analogy to be drawn between i n d i v i d u a l characters and the nation (and the world) i s most e f f e c t i v e . MacLennan has learned that the universal i s best exemplified i n the i n d i v i d u a l . MacLennan takes the quest myth seri o u s l y , which i s not s u r p r i s i n g , considering the depth and extent of h i s own personal quest for s e l f - d i s c o v e r y and s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n . And the more personally the myth i s used, the more intense i s i t s e f f e c t and profound i t s implications. Where the use of Homer's Odyssey as a s t r u c t u r a l framework i s spelled out, and the p a r a l l e l between the i n d i v i d u a l hero and the nation i s made almost too obvious, as i n Barometer Rising, much of the effectiveness i s l o s t . As the mythic and s o c i a l p a r a l l e l s are blended more subtly into the background --more i n Each Man's Son and almost completely i n The  Watch that Ends the Night-- the i m p l i c i t analogy i s more powerful. In Barometer Rising, the Homeric p a r a l l e l f i n a l l y appears to contribute r e l a t i v e l y l i t t l e to the thematic whole. An analogy can be seen to e x i s t between the c l a s s i c a l myth and the h i s t o r i c a l s i t u a t i o n , and the author must be given c r e d i t for discovering i t and for modernizing the Homeric story. But the ) - 111. - archetypal quest myth (myth of the human c y c l e ) , of which the Odyssey i s one representative, by being used so overtly, f i n a l l y appears somewhat contrived, and the characters, playing out what are too obviously " r o l e s " to be i n d i v i d u a l l i v e s , are rather f l a t and uhengaging; rather than people, they seem more l i k e pawns i n the hands of t h e i r omniscient creator.^ More e f f e c t i v e are the two other kinds of myth that MacLennan uses: nature myths (myths of the natural cycle) - - i n this novel, the solar and vegetation cycles-- and the Judaeo-Christian myths of Genesis and Resurrection (the divine or transcendent c y c l e ) . These myths are conveyed c h i e f l y through the imagery, and being less overt are p o e t i c a l l y more e f f e c t i v e . The author's use of the Odyssey i n thi s novel i s s i m i l a r i n e f f e c t to the d i d a c t i c passages which occasionally occur; the reader becomes aware of the narrator intruding into the a r t i s t i c world of the novel and the a r t i s t i c unity of that world i s disturbed. In Each Man's Son, the e x p l i c i t mythic p a r a l l e l s (Homeric and C e l t i c ) are made less obvious, with the r e s u l t that they become more e f f e c t i v e . This world maintains i t s a r t i s t i c unity, the narrator very r a r e l y intruding. The imagery bears the heaviest load, nature myths (solar, lunar and oceanic) combining with a myth of the death of the gods to create an intense, self-supporting mood -"This weakness of Barometer Rising becomes c l e a r i f the novel i s compared with James Joyce's Ulysses. Joyce also uses the structure of the Odyssey, but h i s characters are c l e a r l y i n d i v i d u a l s i n t h e i r own r i g h t . and to develop the theme to i t s natural conclusion. The Watch that Ends the Night concludes the author's personal quest. Here the mythic p a r a l l e l s are l e a s t overt and most e f f e c t i v e . The author has turned from an open reworking of Homer to the quest archetype i t s e l f . The three basic myths of the human quest or cycle, the natural cycle and the transcendent cycle are subtly interwoven to the extent that they become almost indistinguishable and hardly noticeable as myths. One senses i n the culture-hero Jerome M a r t e l l the f r u s t r a t i o n of the search, and i n the less heroic (and thus more representative) George Stewart the despair of f i n d i n g any f i n a l and s a t i s f y i n g truth. And one finds l i t t l e d i f f i c u l t y i n accepting the f i n a l r e s o l u t i o n as believable and valuable. In the novel, MacLennan blends the c l a s s i c a l and the C h r i s t i a n to a r r i v e at a synthesis of the two. Odysseus the human wanderer and resurrected sun-hero, and Jesus the messiah and resurrected man-god are synthesized i n Jerome M a r t e l l to become neither warrior nor messiah but a wise old man. By making the narrator a character i n the story, the author avoids the problem of upsetting the a r t i s t i c unity with the intrusions of an omniscient narrator, and, i f George sometimes appears too d i d a c t i c and even patronizing, i t i s the f a u l t of the teacher (the j o u r n a l i s t ) i n him, who i s a f r a i d h i s audience w i l l not understand, he himself having d i f f i c u l t i e s . In t h i s way MacLennan can speak to a wide audience, including those who might never have considered such r e l i g i o u s - p h i l o s o p h i c a l problems before. - 113. - He can and does f u l f i l l h i s purpose of i l l u m i n a t i n g , defining and in t e r p r e t i n g h i s age, and of creating, for today's r a p i d l y changing and thus unsure society, an independent system of order of h i s own. Hugh MacLennan i s a c l a s s i c a l scholar, a j o u r n a l i s t and a teacher of English who writes novels. Like another i n t e l l e c t u a l n o v e l i s t , Aldous Huxley, he has one foot i n the world of a r t and the other i n the world of teaching. Both writers take time out in t h e i r novels to make d i d a c t i c asides i n which they r e l a t e the great wide world of h i s t o r y , p o l i t i c s , science, philosophy and r e l i g i o n to the s t o r i e s they are t e l l i n g . This i s a time- honoured practice i n the novel, descending from writers l i k e Henry F i e l d i n g and George E l i o t , and which, although perhaps out of fashion at present, i s s t i l l v i a b l e . Both writers seek to explain the age to i t s e l f and to provide a system of values, using every method at t h e i r command. Both men come to rest i n a humanism close to that of the c l a s s i c a l Greeks: Huxley's r e s o l u t i o n ( i n Island) i s ove r t l y r e l i g i o u s and stresses the o r i e n t a l point of view; MacLennan's r e s o l u t i o n ( i n The Watch that  Ends the Night) i s also r e l i g i o u s but stresses the occidental point of view. Both resolutions are e s s e n t i a l l y the same. MacLennan's f i n a l v i s i o n of the end of s o c i a l e f f o r t i s that of no end, a society unconnected with s p e c i f i c p o l i t i c a l ideology Joseph Campbell in d i c a t e s , throughout The Masks of God, - 114. - --Marxism, for example, i s thrown a s i d e — for such ideologies are evolutionary or messianic-apocalyptic, being based on h i s t o r i c a l perspective and p a r t i c i p a t i o n . MacLennan of f e r s a view which transcends h i s t o r y , and the i d e a l society he envisions i s one i n which ideologies are nothing, i n which the i n d i v i d u a l and Everyman, the s o l i t a r y man and a l l humanity, are united i n the knowledge that they cannot defeat s u f f e r i n g and death but must accept them as a part of l i f e . This philosophy i s not a philosophy of e x i s t e n t i a l despair. I t i s beyond such despair, which MacLennan sees as the despair of the " l o s t generation", p a r t i c u l a r l y exemplified i n l i t e r a t u r e by the Hemingway hero (e.g., Jake Barnes, Robert Jordan, Nick Adams). MacLennan attempts to d i s p e l l the myth of despair, i n d i c a t i n g i t s inadequacy i n such figures as the unsuccessful f i g h t e r Archie MacNeil, whose gallant and courageous f i g h t leads only to death, and the committed Jerome M a r t e l l , who does not die " h e r o i c a l l y " i n the Spanish C i v i l War but returns from h i s involvement there with a profound and a f f i r m a t i v e philosophy of humanism. In The Watch that Ends the Night, MacLennan attempts to explain and go beyond what S a l l y c a l l s "those a p p a l l i n g adolescent he-men l i k e Hemingway" (22), for such he-men are men without women, overly masculine "heroes" who lack balance i n a world where the only a l t e r n a t i v e i s despair. that i n c l a s s i c a l Greek humanism the o r i e n t a l and the occidental points of view were united. - 115. Instead, he points to the mythic conjunction of sun and moon, masculine and feminine, s t r e s s i n g the example the moon (Margaret A i n s l i e , Catherine) gives to men. Such lunar myths a f f o r d an "optimistic view of l i f e i n general: everything takes place c y c l i c a l l y , death i s i n e v i t a b l y followed by resurrection, cataclysm by a new Creation."^ MacLennan i s part of a great modern movement r e v i v i f y i n g the philosophy of the eternal return. Mircea Eliade notes that, " i t i s only i n the c y c l i c a l theories of modern times that the meaning of the archaic myth of eternal r e p t i t i o n r e a l i z e s i t s f u l l i m p l i c a t i o n s . " 8 This point of view appears i n philosophers l i k e Nietzsche and h i s t o r i a n s l i k e Spengler and Toynbee. 9 Science, too, has turned toward c y c l i c conceptions of the universe i n , for example, such things as the Expansion-Contraction Theory. Writers l i k e W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, and Aldous Huxley use the myth of eternal r e p e t i t i o n as the core concept i n t h e i r philosophies. The quest MacLennan begins i n Barometer Rising (what he c a l l s "a r e l a t i v e l y simple t a l e " ) , he continues i n Each Man 1s Son ("a t r a n s i t i o n piece"), and concludes i n The Watch that Ends the Night, which depicts the c o n f l i c t "between the s p i r i t of Everyman and Everyman's ^Mircea E l i a d e , The Myth of the Eternal Re turn (New York: B o l l i n g e r , 1954), p. 102. 8 I b i d . , p. 146. ^ s i g n i f i c a n t l y , Toynbee uses an image very l i k e one of MacLennan's i n The Watch: "The c o l l e c t i v e unconscious under l i e s a consciousness that rides on i t l i k e a c o c k l e s h e l l f l o a t i n g precariously on a bottomless and shoreless ocean." C i v i l i z a t i o n on T r i a l (New York: Oxford U. Press, 1948), p. 255. human condition,"10 a c o n f l i c t which i s never-ending. The quest to discover peace discovers peace i n the fact that the quest i s never ended. MacLennan o f f e r s this philosophy to h i s i n d i v i d u a l reader to the nation and to the world: that l i f e i t s e l f i s a quest, for the i n d i v i d u a l , f or the race, for the s p i r i t of l i f e i t s e l f , and he provides as an example h i s personal quest portrayed i n the continuing quest of h i s f i c t i o n a l characters. As a Canadian, he asks, Is i t possible for so few people to meet the challenge of t h i s vastness and mystery, of t h i s v a r i e t y of the land where we l i v e . Is i t unreal to believe that people can love an eternal question mark? Or does the question mark, perhaps, answer that l a t t e r query? For surely i t i s true that so long as the fate of a person or a nation i s s t i l l i n doubt, that person or nation i s a l i v e and r e a l . H He says t h i s of the nation. He means i t for the world. "The Story of a Novel," Canadian L i t e r a t u r e , 3 (Winter 1960) pp. 36-39. x iThe Rivers of Canada (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1962), p. 170. BIBLIOGRAPHY A. Primary Sources MacLennan, Hugh. Barometer Rising. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1958. . "Canada Between Covers." Saturday Review of L i t e r a t u r e , XXIV, 36 (Sept. 7, 1946), pp. 5-6, 28-30. . Cross-Country. Toronto: C o l l i n s , 1949. . Each Man's Son. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1965. . " F i c t i o n i n the Age of Science." The Western Humanities Review, VI, 4 (Autumn 1952), pp. 325-34. . "The Future Trend i n the Novel." Canadian Author and Bookman, XXIV (Sept. 1948), pp. 3-5. . "The Older Quest." Dalhousie Review, XXXV (Summer 1955), pp. 120-26. . The Rivers of Canada. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1962. . Scotchman's Return and Other Essays. Toronto: Macmillan, I960. . "The Story of a Novel." Canadian L i t e r a t u r e , 3 (Winter 1960), pp. 35-39. . Thirty and Three. Toronto: Macmillan, 1954. . The Watch that Ends the Night. New York: New American Library of World L i t e r a t u r e , 1960. B. Secondary Sources 1. General: Auden, W. H. The Enchafed Flood. New York: Random House, 1950. Campbell, Joseph. The Hero With a Thousand Faces. New York: Pantheon, 1949. . The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology. Toronto: MacMillan, 1959. - 118. . The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology. Toronto: Macmillan, 1962. . The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology. Toronto: Macmillan, 1964. Camus, Albe r t . The Myth of Sisyphus, Trans, J u s t i n O'Brien. New York: A l f r e d A. Knopf, 1959. Chase, Richard. Quest for Myth. Baton Rouge, La.: Louisiana State U. Press, 1949. Cohen, J. M. and Cohen M. J. The Penguin Dictionary of Quotations. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1960. Frye, Northrop. Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m . New York: Atheneum, 1966. . "Conclusion." L i t e r a r y History of Canada, ed., Carl F. Klinck. Toronto: U. of Toronto Press, 1965, pp. 821-849. • Fables of Identity . New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1963, Grant, Michael. Myths of the Greeks and Romans. New York: New American Library of World L i t e r a t u r e , 1962. Graves, Robert. The White Goddess. Toronto: Random House, 1948. ) Homer. The Odyssey, trans, Robert F i t z g e r a l d . Garden Cit y , N. Y.: Doubleday, 1963. Jones, W. T. A History of Western Philosophy. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1952. Knoepflmacher, U. C. Religious Humanism and the V i c t o r i a n  Novel. Princeton, N. J . : Princeton U. Press, 1965. MacNeill, F. M. The S i l v e r Bough. Glasgow: W. MacLennan, 1957. Murray, Henry A. "The Possible Nature of a 'Mythology' to Come." Myth and Mythmaking, ed., H. A. Murray. New York: George B r a z i l l e r , 1960. Pacey, Desmond. " F i c t i o n (1920-1940)." L i t e r a r y History of  Canada, ed., Carl F. Klinck. Toronto: U. of Toronto Press, 1965, pp. 658-693. Stanford, W. B. The Ulysses Theme. Oxford: B a s i l . Blackwell & Mott, 1963. - 119. Toynbee, Arnold. C i v i l i z a t i o n on T r i a l . New York: Oxford U. Press, 1948. 2. On Hugh MacLennan: Da n i e l l s , Roy. "Poetry and F i c t i o n . " The Culture of Contemporary Canada, ed., J u l i a n Parks. Ithaca, N. Y.: Cornell U. Press, 1957. Relates MacLennan to general c u l t u r a l scene. Goetsch, Paul. Das Romanwerk Hugh MacLennans: eine Studie  zum litjcirischen Nationalismus i n Kanada. Hamburg: Gruyter, 1961. A general discussion of MacLennan's novels from Barometer  Rising to The Watch that Ends the Night, considering them as an expression of nationalism. Contains the most complete bibliography of MacLennan's work and work on MacLennan to be found anywhere. . "Too Long to the Courtly Muses." Canadian L i t e r a t u r e , 10 (Autumn 1961), pp. 19-31. A c r i t i c a l a r t i c l e which relates MacLennan to the c l a s s i c a l t r a d i t i o n , using a Jungian point of view. Hicks, G r a n v i l l e . "Novelists i n the F i f t i e s . " Saturday Review of L i t e r a t u r e , 42 (Oct. 24, 1959), pp. 18-20. Places MacLennan i n the main stream of contemporary novel w r i t i n g . Lucas, Alec. "Introduction." Each Man's Son. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1965. A perceptive look at the novel, focusing on MacLennan's approach to Calvinism. McPherson, Hugo. " F i c t i o n (1940-60)." L i t e r a r y History of  Canada, ed., Carl F. Klinck. Toronto: U. of Toronto Press, 1965, pp. 694-722. Places MacLennan i n the general stream of Canadian novel w r i t i n g . Necessarily rather s u p e r f i c i a l . Sometimes quite misleading; e.g., " . . . someone remarks that she [Catherine, i n The. Watch that Ends the NightT) i s a symbol of 'our s i c k c i v i l i z a t i o n ' . " . "Introduction." Barometer Rising. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1958. An excellent introduction to the novel. T e l l s the average reader enough to keep his i n t e r e s t without being heavily academic. - 120. . "The Novels of Hugh MacLennan." Queen's Quarterly, LX (Summer 1953), pp. 189-98. The themes and forms of MacLennan's f i r s t four novels are examined i n r e l a t i o n to each other. New, William H. "The Apprenticeship of Discovery." Canadian  L i t e r a t u r e , 29 (Summer 1966), pp. 18-33. A comparison of Mordecai Richler's The Apprenticeship of  Duddy Kravitz and MacLennan's The Watch that Ends the Night, s t r e s s i n g the thematic s i m i l a r i t i e s . Pacey, Desmond. Creative Writing i n Canada, rev. and e n l . Toronto: Ryerson, 1961. Short and to the point. Sets MacLennan's work i n perspective, alongside other Canadian n o v e l i s t s ' , e.g., Morley Callaghan and Mordecai Richler. . "The Novel i n Canada." Queen's Quarterly, LII (Autumn 1945), pp. 322-32. An early look at MacLennan's w r i t i n g which has now been generally superseded. Phelps, A. L. Canadian Writers. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1951, pp. 77-84. Rather too simple i n approach and treatment to be of much value to the l i t e r a r y c r i t i c . Sutherland, Ronald. "Twin Soli t u d e s . " Canadian L i t e r a t u r e , 31 (Winter 1967), pp. 5-24. A comparison of English and French Canadian novels with some i n t e r e s t i n g comments on Hugh MacLennan. Tallman, Warren. "Wolf i n the Snow: Part One, Four Windows on to Landscapes." Canadian L i t e r a t u r e , 5 (Summer 1960), pp. 7-20. A b r i e f look at the dramatic c o n f l i c t s at work i n Each  Man's Son, comparing the novel with four other modern Canadian novels. . "Wolf i n the Snow: Part Two, The House Repossessed." Canadian L i t e r a t u r e , 6 (Autumn 1960), pp. 41-48. The conclusion to the two part essay. Heaviest stress i s put on Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Thomas, Clara. Canadian Novelists. Toronto: Longmans, Green, 1946, pp. 87-88. The l i t t l e information given about MacLennan i s mostly biographical. - 121. Watters, R. E. "Hugh MacLennan and the National Character." As A Man Thinks . . . , ed., E. Morrison and W. Robbins. Toronto: Gage, 1953, pp. 228-43. Wilson, Edmund. "0 Canada." The New Yorker (Nov. 14, 1964). Republished i n book form with i t s companion pieces, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1965. An i n t e r e s t i n g and often valuable examination of MacLennan's novels. Woodcock, George. "Hugh MacLennan." Northern Review, 3 (Apr.-May 1950), pp. 2-10. One of the f i r s t r e a l l y perceptive looks at MacLennan's work, placing him i n Canadian and world l i t e r a t u r e . . "A Nation's Odyssey. 1 1 Canadian L i t e r a t u r e , 10 (Autumn 1961), pp. 7-18. Relates MacLennan's work to c l a s s i c a l l i t e r a t u r e . Contains the germinal ideas which gave r i s e to this t h e s i s . Reviews Barometer Rising Andrews, G. C. Canadian Forum, 21 (Dec. 1941), p. 282. Saturday Review of L i t e r a t u r e , 24 (Oct. 25, 1941), p. 21. Southron, J . S. New York Times (Oct. 5, 1941), p. 32. Each Man's Son A l l e n , Thomas. New York Times (Apr. 15, 1951), p. 5. Ballantyne, Murray. Commonweal, 54 (Apr. 20, 1951), p. 46. Smith, Harrison. Saturday Review of L i t e r a t u r e , 34 (Jan. 9, 1951) P. 11. The Watch that Ends the Night Fowke, Edith. Canadian Forum, 39 (Jan. 1959), p. 66. Hicks, G r a n v i l l e . Saturday Review of L i t e r a t u r e , 42 (Feb. 28, 1959), p. 15. O'Hearn, Walter. New York Times (Feb. 15, 1959), p. 4. - 122. Woodcock, George. "Odysseus Ever Returning." Tamarack Review, 2 (Spring 1959), pp. 77-79. 

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