Between Languages and Cultures

Between Languages and Cultures: Colonial and Postcolonial Readings of Gabrielle Roy

Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Between Languages and Cultures
    Book Description:

    Drawing on archival material, postcolonial theory, and translation studies, Between Languages and Cultures explores the traces and effects of Roy's intimate knowledge of English language and culture, challenging and augmenting the established view that her work is distinctly French-Canadian or Québécois.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7580-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. Tables
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. Introduction: Power Relations in Roy’s Manitoba
    (pp. 3-18)

    In her autobiographyLa Détresse et l’enchantement, Gabrielle Roy captures a moment from her schooldays in Saint-Boniface that reveals the complex cultural situation of the Franco-Manitoban minority in the 1920s. Recalling a visit from the (anglophone) inspector from the Department of Education, she describes the kind of bicultural role-play expected of French-speaking Manitoban pupils: “Il me demanda si je connaissais quelque passage de la pièce. Je ne perdis pas une minute, imprimai sur mon visage le masque de la tragédie et me lançai à fond de train:Is this a dagger... [He asked me if I knew some passage...

  6. 1 The Ambivalences of Learning to Be Canadian
    (pp. 19-68)

    For the Department of Education in Manitoba, the new legislation in 1916, which at last made schooling compulsory between ages 6 and 14 (grades I–VIII ), opened up the prospect of educating the new generation of Manitobans as English-speaking Canadians. However, particularly in the context of the early years of the Great War, these young Manitobans were also still being taught to be British citizens. The teaching of English played an essential role in constructing a model of Britishness. As Robert Morgan puts it: “Imperialism was just as much a set of literary pedagogical practices as it was an...

  7. 2 Colonial Legacies and the Clandestine Curriculum
    (pp. 69-106)

    The double process of teacher training that Gabrielle Roy and her fellow Franco-Manitobans experienced in the interwar years, well exemplified Deborah Britzman’s statement that: “Teacher education, like any education, is an ideological education.”¹ When Roy began her teacher training at the Central Normal School on William Avenue in Winnipeg² in September 1928 at the age of nineteen, she was moving from the safe (francophone) cultural environment of the Académie Saint-Joseph to what many Franco-Manitobans felt to be hostile territory. François Ricard describes francophones’ view of this most anglophone of establishments: “Not only was the instruction given entirely in English but...

  8. 3 Bilingualism, Diglossia, and the Other’s Language
    (pp. 107-150)

    In 1943 Gabrielle Roy wrote, somewhat provocatively: “Le plus grand bien qu’on ait fait aux Canadiens français de l’Ouest, c’est peut-être d’avoir obligé leurs enfants à apprendre l’anglais [Perhaps the greatest favour that has been done to French-Canadians in the west is to have required their children to learn English].”¹ As she explains in her article in theBulletin des Agriculteurs, in her view it was only by mastering English that she and her fellow Franco-Manitobans could avoid remaining in a position of servitude in relation to anglophones. Yet Roy’s personal identification with English language and culture was far more...

  9. 4 Translating Differences: Conveying Context
    (pp. 151-196)

    The previous chapter explored the ways in which Roy used linguistic encounters and exchanges to represent the Other’s language, and considered the extent to which such scenes demonstrate a sense of “hyperconsciousness of language.” In it I also suggested how representations of the Other’s language may have been related to Roy’s experiences of and responses to her bicultural and bilingual formation. We observed that Roy’s references to, and use of, elements of languages other than French in her autobiographical and fictional works can both highlight and problematize the status of the languages concerned, and alert the reader to the difficulties...

  10. 5 Writing Canada: Finding a Place Between
    (pp. 197-248)

    In the preceding chapters on education and language I attempted to trace the origins and effects of Roy’s ambivalent position between languages and cultures. Close examination of the curricula that Roy followed as a student and subsequently taught as an elementary school teacher in Manitoba revealed a complex pattern of sources and influences. The strands that fed into the parallel anglophone and francophone curricula in Manitoba in the interwar years ranged from the “universalism” of the British Empire to elements of an emerging Western Canadian identity, and a traditionalist, Catholic ideology drawn variously from France, Belgium, and Quebec. This plurality...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 249-284)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 285-302)
  13. Index
    (pp. 303-308)