Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
her first steps on the path of salvation. It is he who has returned to save his
child and give eternal life to her liberator.]
Again the personal viewpoint is marked not only by expressions of visual
perception ('un regard,' 'elle aperçut,' 'elle reconnut'), but by the very
stages of the act of perceiving, from the impression of a detail for one of
the two persons in the canoe ('elle put distinguer une robe noire') to his
later identification ('elle reconnut le père Piquet'). We learn here that
Louise, like Atala, is a Christian, and this religious difference creates the
same dilemma for her and her lover as it did for Chateaubriand's cursed
couple: 'Mais sa religion lui défend d'aimer un idolâtre; et Saguima n'est
point Chrétien.' (66; But her religion prohibits her from loving an idolater;
and Saguima is not a Christian.) Fortunately, Père Piquet is able to do
what Père Aubry cannot: baptize the infidel and join the couple in mar-
riage, albeit, in this case, just as the man, not the maiden, expires (71).
Accompanied by the grieving widow, Père Piquet transports Saguima's
body to his mission at Coteau-de-Sable, where it is buried under the
stone that launched the tale. Twenty years after this event, but at least
twenty years before he recounts the story, the Iroquois had discovered
the stone and learned its lore from a Huron, who, presumably, also filled
him in on the details he could not have known personally of Louise and
Saguima's life. The story then returns to the initial narrative frame, as the
youthful Canadian narrator queries the old Indian storyteller about the
fate of the other characters, including Canatagayon, the Mohawk chief
and would-be ravisher, whom the Iroquois proudly identifies as himself
- 'Canatagayon! C'est moi!' - as the story ends.
Clearly the tale is one of harmony and unity, not only between the
lovers, Louise and Saguima, and between them and the European Père
Piquet, but especially between the Algonquins and Canatagayon, who
is proud to have 'buried the hatchet' (so to speak), and even more be-
tween the young Canadian narrator and his new Amerindian 'ami'
(52), the old (and formerly dreaded) Iroquois warrior. The narration not
only makes a memorial, but forges a friendship, both of which mirror a
vision of a new national hybrid identity that Boucher de Boucherville
appears to promote.
The much shorter story, 'Caroline' (1837), by Amédée Papineau bears
many similarities to 'Louise Chawinikisique,' beginning with the retro-
spective narrative framework. The narrator recalls an excursion with
his father and a friend of his father to the Montmorency Falls near
Quebec City in 1831, when the narrator was just leaving the seminary,
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