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this very possessiveness, the germs of a nascent desire for capitalism, in-
dustrialism, and even urbanization among the French-Canadian elite it-
self 'à l'aube de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, aux bords d'une Amérique
industrialisée et commerçante. Il y a dans l'air idéologique du Canada
français cette nette volonté de conquérir le monde capitaliste de la pro-
duction, de participer activement à la modernité' (185; at the dawn of the
Second World War, bordered by an industrialized and mercantile America.
In the ideological air of French Canada there is this clear will to conquer
the capitalist world of productivity, to participate actively in modernity).
Although seemingly at odds, both arguments, taken together, constitute
yet another manifestation of the wilful contradictions inherent in the
French-Canadian identity, including faithfulness to heritage and desire
for renewal (Létourneau, 12-13). At any rate both arguments are based on
the notion of land - the 'territory' for Boivin, the forest for Vauterin - and
it is through the representation of the landscape that Savard airs the ele-
ments of this crucial debate. Furthermore, both arguments involve a di-
chotomy within that landscape between the wild space of nature and a
more 'civilized' place, ordered by agriculture for Boivin (13), by industri-
alism for Vauterin (187), two forms, in my terms, of culture.
Part One: The River
With its central contrast between farmer and adventurer, Menaud, maître-
draveur has obvious echoes of Maria Chapdelaine , and indeed begins
with an epigraph taken from the final pages of Hémon's novel, during
the famous episode of the voices that visit Maria: 'Nous sommes venus
il y a trois cents ans et nous sommes restés.' (23; We came three hundred
years ago and we remained.) 22 Moreover, in the opening scene, Marie
reads Hémon's passage to Menaud, who repeats the phrase 'Une race
qui ne sait pas mourir' (A race that will not die) several times like a re-
frain in this scene and retains it, like a haunting melody, throughout the
novel (see Beaudet, 59-60).
This initial reading from Maria Chapdelaine is also interwoven with a
description of the landscape, hardly surprising by now in French-
Canadian fiction. Quite different from its predecessors, however, this
and other landscapes in Savard's novel are often put together in mosaic
fashion, a mixture of perception, recollection, and projection, which
forms a composite description that is juxtaposed with quotations from
its ever-present textual ancestor. 23 In a sense, Hémon's book (culture) is
intertwined with and superimposed onto Savard's landscape (nature).
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