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recalls that of Montesquieu's Lettres persanes and leads to a similar rela-
tivizing of cultures and satirizing of big-city life, where there's 'beau-
coup d'asphalte et de maisons grises' (7; a lot of pavement and grey
houses [9]) and 'une grande école grise et une cour en asphalte grise'
(8; it's a big grey school with a grey pavement yard [10]), thereby re-
vealing the sterile drabness and homogeneity connoted by one of the
two colours in the title. The meaning of the other colour is not revealed
until the final paragraph,when the narrator sees snow for the first
time: 'La beauté blanche qui tombait à plein ciel, absolument blanche
partout où c'était gris.' (9; The white beauty falling from the sky, abso-
lutely white where before it was grey [11].) In effect, the colour white
represents not only purety, but also the freedom of undifferentiated
space (previously missing in the confined place of the city), 34 as well as
the salvatory triumph of nature over culture, a complete reversal of
Vigneault's Mon pays .
In Jaune et blanc , dedicated to the Shanghai-born Quebecois writer
Ying Chen, the visual use of colour in the physical world is expanded
and abstracted to represent two races. The narrator (a young Chinese
woman, herself a recent immigrant from Shanghai) writes to her grand-
mother, describing a terrifying but revealing experience in her new cul-
ture: a visit to a modern Western department store. In this case the
previous comfort of places, sites of memory - 'les lieux sont des
miroirs poreux qui gardent les traces de tout ce que nous sommes' (53;
places are porous mirrors that hold traces of everything we are [50])
- is altered by the vast, undifferentiated space of the department store,
where inumerable, indeterminate objects 'se multiplient et se déro-
bent et se fondent à l'infini en un seul objet monstrueux' (54; multiply
and hide and melt together into one single enormous object [51]).
Since places, however horrifying, are nonetheless 'mirrors,' the narra-
tor sees the store as a reflection of the city: 'Montréal m'est apparu
comme une énigme indéchiffrable dont les clés et les codes pour sur-
vivre m'échapperaient à jamais.' (54; Montreal seemed to me an indeci-
pherable enigma for which I would never find the keys and the codes
for survival [51].) Well, not quite 'never,' since the narrator is deter-
mined to understand and thus adapt: 'Je parle mieux français chaque
jour, mais chaque jour je sens leur méfiance. Je reste une ombre en re-
trait. Ils sont les seuls à pouvoir se libérer de leur méfiance, les seuls à
pouvoir conquérir le sol qui leur appartient déjà.' (56; With each day
I speak French better, but each day I feel their mistrust. I remain a
weightless shadow in the background. They are the only ones who
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