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acknowledged master, the message is rarely explicit but must be teased
out by the vigilant reader (with encouragement by the writer, such as
that provided by Carrier's comment above) through extrapolation in
the form of problem solving. And, by approaching the problems dra-
matized in Le chandail in terms of solutions rather than causes, an en-
tirely different set of values emerges.
The initial misunderstanding is not due to shopping by catalogue (a
common practice in rural Canada since 1880 and continued today by
online shopping), but to linguistic deficiency: the mother knows no
English, the shipping clerk no French, although each lives in a bilingual
country. Indeed, Montreal is a bilingual city and the Canadiens a bilin-
gual team. The NHL is bilingual and international. Even Richard's
well-known nickname, the Rocket, is English, and he himself learned
English diligently, as necessity dictated. 18 The solution for Carrier
would appear to be in the bilingualism championed by Trudeau among
others at the very time of the story's writing. 19
A second misunderstanding arises from the mother's misreading of
her son's values and the symbolism of the sweater. The solution is clearly
one of déchiffrement (decoding, learning to read signs), which is part of
the act of communication, the first and foremost part of which is expres-
sion. Carrier is, after all, by trade and by calling, not a hockey player, but
a reader and a writer: that is, a communicator. 20
A third example of misunderstanding stems from the boy's friends'
failure to see him as a person rather than just the representative of a
foreign (English-speaking) culture, which leads to his exclusion not
only from the hockey rink, but also from his peer group and thus to an
'identity crisis.' In a sense, the French-speaking community perpetu-
ates the very schema of exclusion that it accuses the English-speaking
community of foisting upon it. When pride (even national) begets prej-
udice it can become destructive and self-destructive. 21 For Carrier, the
solution seems to be an openness and appreciation of the individual as
a human being not for the culture (or symbol of it) that he wears: that
is, at least tolerance, at most multiculturalism. 22
The fourth misunderstanding involves the priest's misreading of the
motives - both for the boy's anger and for his wearing the sweater -
then his authoritarian edict and punishment of the boy: a pattern that
resembles the mother's behaviour and points to a 'generation gap.' The
implied solution is a detachment or liberation, not only from the family
(the past) but also from the church (religion), the mainstays of the con-
servatism that reigned in Quebec prior to the Quiet Revolution. 23
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