Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
thus overlooked, is centred, aggrandized, and highlighted, while the
snow-blown space is compressed and condensed around it.
In this final chapter, we explore, in addition to Vigneault's song, a
short story Le chandail by Roch Carrier and a collection of novellas Les
aurores montréales by Monique Proulx - three of Quebec's most popular
contemporary writers - in tandem with winterscapes by established
painters like Mabel May and Albert Henry Robinson, in addition to
those of three of the most successful artists recently working in the
Charlevoix region: Bruno Côté, Christian Bergeron, and Raynald Leclerc.
Gilles Vigneault: Mon pays
Gilles Vigneault's song Mon pays is composed of six stanzas; four stan-
zas consist of four alexandrines (twelve-syllable verses) each, which
encase two longer stanzas of nine octosyllabic verses each. The four-
verse opening stanza functions as a refrain, to be repeated three more
times with significant variations:
Mon pays, ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver
Mon jardin, ce n'est pas un jardin, c'est la plaine
Mon chemin, ce n'est pas un chemin, c'est la neige
Mon pays, ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver 4
[My land is not a land, it is winter/My garden is not a garden, it is the
plain / My path is not a path, it is snow / My land is not a land, it is winter]
Not only is national identity ('mon pays') identified with nature
('l'hiver'), but nature threatens to obliterate culture in the form of the
cultivated garden, which provides sustenance and beauty, and the
pathway, which guarantees human contact and commerce. As a result,
paradoxically, Vigneault's country can be said to lack true identity
('Mon pays, ce n'est pas un pays') or to have a muddled sense of it, as
Norell and Johnson contend: 'Lorsque Gilles Vigneault chante “Mon
pays, ce n'est pas un pays, c'est l'hiver,” le glissement entre territoire et
climat résume un stratagème fréquent dans le traitement romanesque
de l'identité québécoise ... ce glissement met en évidence les difficultés
à saisir l'essentiel de l'expérience québécoise.' (195; When Gilles
Vigneault sings 'My land is not a land, it is winter,' the shift between
territory and climate represents a strategy that is frequent in the treat-
ment of Quebec's identity in the novel … this shift points to the diffi-
culty of grasping the essence of the Quebecois experience.)
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