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this case, is the 'fatherland' meant to be France or New France? Or,
should we read it as a symbol (by extension) for the loss of father fig-
ures? In this case, does it mean the forefathers of the French colonial
period, such as those depicted in novels like Philippe Aubert de Gaspé
père's Les anciens Canadiens ? 14 If so, why are such father figures absent
or do they abdicate? Is this a further reflection of their disappearance
after the Conquest or of the 'failures' of the patriot leaders during the
rebellions of 1837-8? Such would be the conclusion reached by Ouellet,
Beaulieu, and Tremblay: 'Sans doute la “Conquête” de 1763 et la défaite
des “Patriotes” de 1837 ont-elles contribué à cette transformation de
l'image paternelle puisque les Canadiens français conquis, colonisés,
appelés à jouer un rôle subalterne dans leur propre histoire, pouvaient
difficilement continuer d'apparaître comme les héros fiers et libres
d'autrefois, comme des modèles aux yeux de leurs enfants.' (78-9; The
'Conquest' of 1763 and the defeat of the 'Patriots' in 1837 no doubt con-
tributed to this transformation of the paternal image since the French
Canadians, conquered, colonized, and called upon to play a subordin-
ate role in their own history, could hardly continue to appear as the
proud, free heroes of the past, as models in the eyes of their children.)
If, however, one sees the national dilemma as a family drama, should
we not, rather, focus precisely on these 'children,' those main characters
who react to the loss of the father's land? In La terre paternelle , the land
is regained through the efforts of the prodigal son Charles, who had the
courage to break family ties - 'l'idée d'être enfin affranchi de l'autorité
paternelle et de jouir en maître de sa pleine liberté' (35; the idea of
finally being free from paternal authority and enjoying being master of
his own freedom) - and renew himself through contact with his more
natural self in the northern wilderness. Similarly, Charles Guérin can be
read in its simplest form according to Duquette's summary: 'Dépossédé
de son patrimoine par l'usurpateur étranger, le héros du roman se refait
un destin en travaillant à la réédification nationale; il recommence la
première colonisation en mettant sur pied une micro-société à vocation
d'abord agricole et patriarchale. La revanche symbolique sur le con-
quérant s'opère à plusieurs niveaux.' (184; Dispossessed of his patri-
mony by the foreign usurper, the novel's hero recreates his destiny by
working towards national reconstruction; he replicates the first coloniz-
ation by setting up a micro-society that is primarily agricultural and
patriarchal. The symbolic revenge on the conqueror operates on several
levels.) Indeed, do we not witness, in these national sagas, the normal
course of the family drama, in which the son goes beyond the limits of
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