Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Part Two: The Farmland
The heroic elevation of these pages is cut short by Joson's death, and
Menaud's elation is brought rudely back to earth, literally, by his return
to the farm in the second part of the novel (chapters five-seven). Set in
summer, the liquid medium of the river in part one is replaced by fire:
metaphorically through expressions like 'l'air est en feu' (105; the air is
afire); symbolically by Menaud's growing patriotism, Le Lucon's grow-
ing passion for Marie, and the spurned Le Délié's growing hatred; and
literally by two fires: the first a bonfire set by Menaud, which he sees as
a sign of deliverance (78); the second a conflagration that nearly de-
stroys Mainsal but galvanizes community solidarity.
The second part of the novel is also one of growing consciousness.
Menaud, whose obsession with the mountains initially contrasts with
his neighbour Josime's love of the farmland (72), becomes increasingly
aware of the inseparability of the two spaces and the people associated
with them:
En somme, tout cela, tout autour, dans les champs et sur la montagne, as-
surait qu'une race fidèle entre dans la durée de la terre elle même … C'était
le sens des paroles: 'Ces gens sont d'une race qui ne sait pas mourir…' On
avait survecu parce que les paysans comme Josime, les coureurs de bois,
comme lui-même, s'étaient appliqués, d'esprit et de cœur, les premiers aux
sillons, les autres, à la montagne, à tout le libre domaine des eaux et des
bois. [80-1; In short, all that, everything around, in the fields and on the
mountains, proclaimed that a faithful race take its place in the continuance
of the earth itself … That was the sense of the words: 'These people are of
a race that will not die…' They had survived because peasants like Josime
and adventurers like himself had applied themselves, body and soul, the
former to the fields, the latter to the mountains, to the whole free realm of
waters and woods.]
In effect, Menaud now sees a single race composed of two types of con-
trasting personalities, and a single country, composed of two contrast-
ing spaces. As Boivin states, in his presentation of the novel, commenting
on this very passage: 'Deux espaces se répondent donc dans Menaud,
maître-draveur : la terre (ou les champs) et le bois (ou la Montagne); deux
espaces: l'un civilisé et l'autre sauvage.' (13; Thus two spaces correlate
in Menaud, maître-draveur : the land (or the fields) and the woods (or the
Mountains); two spaces: one civilized the other wild.) Moreover, these
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