Travel Reference
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In that fatal penultimate chapter, set in winter, Menaud and Le Lucon
found the landscape again intertwined with Hémon's book: 'Alors sur
les pages neuves de l'hiver, tous, ils écrivent comme dans le beau livre:
“Nous sommes venus il y a trois cents ans, et nous sommes restés.”'
(135; Then on winter's new pages, they all write as in the beautiful
book: 'We came three hundred years ago, and we remained.') On a lit-
eral level, tracks in the snow reveal the forbidden presence and thus
resistance of the patriots, but they will disappear with the spring thaw.
On a literary level, the topic itself, imposed on the landscape, lends it
a meaning steeped in French-Canadian literary history, as Marie-
Andrée Beaudet contends: 'La fréquence de l'emploi de l'article défini
… marque le caractère singulier du rapport qui unit Menaud, maître-
draveur à Maria Chapdelaine et le roman de Hémon à l'histoire du roman
québécois.' (61; The frequent use of the definite article … marks the
singular character of the relationship linking Menaud to Maria and
Hémon's novel to the history of the Quebecois novel.) At any rate, the
superimposition of past (1914) on present (1937, but also 1964, the time
of Savard's final revision during the Quiet Revolution) leads to a dis-
cursive telescoping of periods that recalls Gérard Namer's description
of the process of commemoration, suggested also in Ricard's pointed
analysis: 'Il y a, dans Menaud, maître-draveur , un curieux phénomène de
syncopation temporelle, qui étend sur la durée une sorte d'éternel
passé, période héroïque où essaient de rentrer Menaud, Le Lucon et
Marie.' (69; There is, in Menaud, maître-draveur , a curious phenomenon
of temporal syncopation that lays on the present a sort of eternal past, a
heroic period that Menaud, Le Lucon, and Marie attempt to relive.)
Whereas Boivin is correct in identifying the importance of freedom,
represented by the mountain on a thematic level (13), on a stylistic
level, one must also recognize the supreme significance of the ultimate
form of culture for Savard: art, not a rival of but a bridge to religion for
this missionary, at once author and priest. Not only does Hémon's
novel appear as often as the mountain, and frequently in conjunction
with it, other forms of art like Marie's and her mother's tapestry (with
images of the landscape), Le Lucon's music (with its sense of freedom),
his sculpted cup (a symbol of his love for Marie), the log drivers' dance
(suggesting their energy), and songs like 'La Malhurée' (recalling past
tradition) also represent recurrent French-Canadian values.
Not only does art persist, it protects, proclaims, and preserves iden-
tity, while remaining an important aspect of it. Savard's novel becomes
itself a memorial, a site of memory, a cultural place, which, alongside
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