Travel Reference
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narrator to a garden: 'Toute la paroisse me sembla un immense jardin
… toute la nature semblait travailler au bien-être et au plaisir de
l'homme.' (429; The entire parish looked to me like an immense garden
… all of nature seemed to work for the well-being and pleasure of hu-
manity.) One hears echoes here of similar colonies, such as those in
L'Iroquoise (chapter two) and Charles Guérin (chapter three), with nature
subordinated to culture, although in this case, nature seems to have
disappeared, and the metaphor of the garden reinforces the importance
of this cultural icon, regained, even 'reconquered,' in Jean Rivard .
Evicted from the paternal 'garden' by his father's death, Jean has man-
aged through his own resources to reconstruct it, but, I hasten to add,
not merely to replicate it.
Far from a mere regression, Jean Rivard's garden and community
represent an advance beyond the past into a new future, based on prin-
ciples that are clearly delineated in the second novel, ones that often
clash with the those of the past. In fact, in constructing 'une petite ré-
publique' (342; a small republic), complete with all the institutions nec-
essary for the administration of its affairs, the development of its
resources, the intellectual, social, and political progress of its popula-
tion, Jean Rivard bemoans to his friend Gustave the fact that 'des gens
s'obstinent à marcher dans la route qu'ont suivie leurs pères, sans tenir
compte des découvertes dans l'ordre moral, politique et social, aussi bien
que dans l'ordre industriel et scientifique' (342; some people obstinately
follow their father's footsteps, without considering new discoveries of a
moral, social, and political order, as well as the industrial and scientific
order) and that 'nos pères venus de France aux dix-septième et dix-
huitième siècles n'ont pas apporté avec eux la pratique ou la connais-
sance de ce que les Anglais appellent le self-government ' (344; our fathers
who came from France in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
didn't bring with them the practice and knowledge of what the English
call self-government ). To put it succinctly (which is not always the case in
the novel), Jean Rivard's principles are based on the notion of equality,
made possible, to be sure, by economic prosperity - agricultural and
industrial - and based on universal education that advocates equality
of social classes, equality of genders, and equality of races. 8
We are thus, once again, as with La terre paternelle and Charles Guérin ,
obliged to reconsider the Jean Rivard novels as extending well beyond
the rigid, conservative limits usually attributed to the 'rural novel'
and, to some degree, as undermining those categories. In this sense, I
lean towards Robert Major's somewhat radical but highly convincing
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