Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
two spaces, these two domains are inseparable, since nature nurtures
civilization, as Menaud comes to learn: 'Cette nature, elle semblait
l'aimer depuis le jour, lointain déjà, où il s'était appliqué à la connaître.
Elle lui donnait l'air vierge et pur de la montagne, l'eau de ses sources,
le bois de sa maison, l'écorce de son toit, le feu de son foyer qui, le soir
pour le plaisir de ses yeux, dansait follement comme une jeunesse sur
les bûches et dont la chaleur lui caressait le visage, l'enveloppait dans
l'or de ses rayons.' (60; This nature seemed to love him from the day,
now faraway, when he applied himself to knowing her. She gave him the
pure, virgin air of the mountains, the water for his springs, the wood for
his house, the bark for his roof, the fire for his hearth, which, in the eve-
ning, for the pleasure of his eyes, danced wildly like youth on the logs,
caressing his face with warmth and embracing him with its golden rays.)
The connection is causal, but also emotional and perceptual, and in all
cases involves a double movement that is dynamic not static, as nature is
seen as forming not a contrast but a continuum with culture. 31
A parallel growth of consciousness characterizes the love triangle
formed by Marie, Le Délié, to whom she is initially attracted by his ambi-
tion and sensuality, and Le Lucon, whose patriotism begins to win her
over. Marie's discovery is itself brought out by the landscape, in a de-
scription whose theme of blueberry picking during the fête de Sainte-
Anne recalls (at some remove yet with considerable relevance) chapter
five of Maria Chapdelaine . Whereas, in the earlier scene, Maria discovered
her love for François Paradis, here Marie becomes aware of her aversion
for Le Délié and of her own patriotism, both elicited by the landscape.
Again constructed of pieces interwoven together and interacting with
the characters' consciousness, the first segment begins with Marie's ele-
vated viewpoint. Like her father in the preceding chapter, Marie sees her
country as composed of two complementary components - 'soit des
bois, soit des champs' (89; either the woods or the fields) - unified by
fresh air and freedom and contrasted with the city, an opposition run-
ning throughout the rustic novel, from La terre paternelle to Maria
Chapdelaine . Her exalted meditation is interrupted by the surreptitious
arrival of Le Délié, who in turn looks out over the landscape, as if to
claim it personally (90). His possessive stance towards the land (moun-
tains, woods, and fields) and aggressive posture against his own race
('clan') spur the narrator to an overt judgment ('rogue') and an invoca-
tion of the reader ('vous'), and further cause Maria to react against Le
Délié (whose very name suggests a lack of ties) and bond with both land
and clan, as witnessed in the final segment of the passage:
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