Unintentional Allusion: The Albino Canada

So allusions can be intentional and unintentional right?

While reading Barney’s Version there was one point in the book that I thought was alluding to the Canadian literature “canon”, but I knew was not really. This part was when Barney marries his first wife Clara because she is pregnant. Seven months into her pregnancy she has a stillborn child, who turn out to be not to be Barney’s child because the baby is half African American.

I thought alluded to the fact that Canadians so desperately wanted to have an identity, they accepted the white-dominated literature to be a representation for Canada, forgetting about any of the culture not represented under this supposed canon.

Just as Barney believes the child is his, Canada (or at least Canadians represented in the canon) believes that the literature is Canadian.

Of course some of the literature did represent part of Canada, but not all of it. As pointed out in class it was not until 1960’s that Aboriginal Peoples in Canada began to find their voice through literature.

Richler, of course would not have been a writer who was omitted from this canon which is why this is an unintentional allusion. It is often stated that he is part of the Canadian canon. He was a white Canadian. Sure he was Jewish, but as pointed out multiple times in the novel, being Jewish was not always a bad thing.  In the novel Barney shows this by using his the threat of another Holocaust to convince people to fund the United Jewish Appeal.

When the doctor asks Barney is the child’s baby and Barney says that he is the doctor answers by saying, “you must be an albino” (117). I think that this completely summarizes what the Canon did for Canada. It made all of Canada appear to be from European decent, forgetting about the Aboriginal Peoples and those of hyphenated identities who immigrated to Canada. The multiculturalness that Canada is so proud of today did not exist in the literature Canon.


Attention M*A*S*H 4077

Is anyone else out there a M*A*S*H fan? I love M*A*S*H! I started out by watching the movie and then moved onto the television series. So when I first started reading Green Grass Running Water and the old Indian named Hawkeye was introduced I instantly thought of Captain B.F. “Hawkeye” Pierce played by the incredible Alan Alda and Donald Sutherland and created by Richard Hooker. I know that Hawkeye is meant to be an allusion to Natty Bumppo of ‘The Last of the Mohicans” , which is where Pierce gets his nickname from.

In the story it makes much more sense that Hawkeye is Natty, yet I still could not stop seeing things that alluded to Hawkeye Pierce. For one in M*A*S*H the series it is a common site to see Hawkeye in a Hawaiian shirt.

Hawkeye Pierce reminds me a little of coyote. His character is known to be a trickster, but he also a confusing character who is can sometimes be difficult to understand.

Hawkeye as a M*A*S*H surgeon was also there just to help, much like the four Indians are trying to do.

Really all I have is the hawaiian shirt (which was really Robinson Crusoe’s) and the name Hawkeye that connects the character to Pierce, but I was just wondering if anyone else thought the same thing.

If you haven’t watched the tv show or the movie I highly suggest it.

We are celebrating the Wrong Things

Within my assigned twenty pages the number twenty-six appears four times.

To start off I decided to list anything that involves twenty-six.

  • Iron’s atomic number
  • letters in the interlingua alphabet
  • it is the number that means the God of Israel YHWH
  • 26 red cards/ 26 black cards in a deck of cards
  • John Wayne was born May 26 1907
  •  April 1726 : when Isaac Newton tell William Stukeley how he developed his theory of Gravity (interesting since there is so much falling done in the novel)
  • 1789 Washington declares November 26 Thanksgiving Day
  • November 26 1863 Thanksgiving is made a national, annual holiday

Since Canada’s Thanksgiving is this weekend I decided to stop and look at the significance of November 26. In the present-day USA the holiday seems to revolve around football, turkey and parades. So if this is such a joyous holiday then way does Coyote say he/she doesn’t “care much for November” (195)? The ‘First Thanksgiving’ is remembered as being a celebration where the Pilgrims thanked the Natives (but really they were ta for allowing them to survive the brutal winter in New England and Natives were invited to the feast. But in reality it was a land discussion that brought the ‘Natives’ to the feast. I cannot give justice to what really happened on the ‘First Thanksgiving’ in less than 600 words so please check out this site and this site + video. The ‘friendship’ that the Pilgrims and Natives supposedly gained from this feast eventually led to war and murder.

Another date involving 26 is January 26. In Australia this is known as Australia Day, but to Aboriginal Peoples of Australia it is known as a ‘Day of Mourning’. While most of Australia celebrate their great country, the Aboriginal Peoples see this as the day that began the “degradation and mistreatment by white settlers” in 1788 and symbolizes their loss of land, culture and human rights at the hands of invaders… the wrong things that have happened to them. In 1788 the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Cove.

On the 1888 Australia Day Aboriginal leaders boycotted the celebrated, but it wasn’t until 1938 that the first “Day of Mourning’  protest took place.

On the anniversary in 1938 the Australian Government tried to re-enact this. They wanted to make the re-enactment authentic so they sent for 26 Aboriginal People to come from the re-enactment. These men did not come voluntarily, but came only because they were told that their rations would be cut off it they did not. These men were kept in stables at the back of the police department until the day of the re-enactment.

As pointed out in class Alberta tells a story about the Aboriginal Peoples who were held prisoner at Fort Marion. She states that twenty-six of these prisoners drew. Now I have looked this up and found many different numbers for how many prisoners who would draw. So Alberta could have been wrong in her lecture. In the movie that Charlie watches on channel 26 and the book Lionel read, particularly chapter 26  it is shown that it is wrong for the  Aboriginal People to win and the ‘white’ hero always comes out on top.

So adding all this up together I have come to the conclusion that the number twenty-six symbolizes all the wrong things that have happened to the Aboriginal Peoples worldwide.  It shows all the loss of land, the torment that their people have gone through because of people who think that they are coming to a “New World” but are instead of coming to a place that is already occupied.

That is all for my hypertext post! I hope you all enjoy your weekend. I hope my little spiel about holidays doesn’t ruin your Thanksgiving!

Assigned Pages: 200-220

It’s delovely, it’s dynamic, it’s De Soto

If you can’t tell from my title I am concentrating on the allusion of the De Soto car that Eli and Karen take to their first and last Sun Dance together.

I believe that the allusions involving the De Soto the car are extended to it’s namesake Hernando de Soto. Hernando de Soto was a Spanish explorer who lived from 1496-1542 who made his first sailed to the New World in 1514.

Eli says that while he sat on the bumper of the De Soto he “watched the world turn green and gold and blue” (202). This is how Hernando de Soto approached the New World. Hernando de Soto first came to the New World in hopes to colonize Florida. In other words he came to the New World to get more land for Spain … for more green.

Later de Soto would travel from Florida into Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi in search of gold.

Okay, so I’ve mention the green and gold that Eli mentions seeing, but what about the blue. What is the first thing that you think of when someone mentions the colour blue? If you said water, that is exactly what de Soto found.  De Soto was the first recorded European to have crossed the Mississippi River.

So now the colours that Eli sees make sense, but what does de Soto have to do with Aboriginal Peoples and why did King place him in Green Grass Running Water?

Along with his explorations de Soto was also known for terrorizing any and all Aboriginal Peoples that can into his path. Like many explorers he is known for the “good” that he brought to the history of the New World, and the terror that he brought to the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada is hidden in the background. So like the de Soto that Eli drives at first it appears that it is “floating over the landscape like a bird in flight” (201), but later Eli sees that it becomes an entirely different car that leaves behind a “huge towering dust plume [that] rose off the road into the night sky” (201).

Eli says that if he were to get a car he would want a De Soto. Knowing the history of de Soto the person I find this intriguing. Does this mean that he want to get rid of all his cultural background? Once he leaves for Toronto he spends much of his time trying to  stay away from his home. Norma seems to indicate this slightly when she looks at the De Soto and shakes her head (203). I interpreted this as her disappointment. A disappointment that Eli is not embracing his culture and is instead trying to distance himself or even go as far as to kill it as de Soto did.

I find it amazing that I was able to find so much that King was able to allude to that concerned a car that only appeared in the novel for 5 pages. I can’t wait to see all the other seemingly small allusions that people have extended!

Assigned Pages: 200-220

If you are wondering about my title I got it from a 1957 De Soto ad.