Changing Canadian Identities in the 20th Century

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Changing Canadian Identities in the 20th Century Is Canada a nation or has its control just switched empirical hands? As Professor Hutcheson asked, did Canada go from "Colony to Nation or Empire to Empire?" This question has greatly influenced Canada's changing identity since her birth as a British colony with Confederation in 1867 to the present day. The purpose of this essay is to critically analyse the shifting Canadian identities between the years 1890 to 1960. The objective is to illustrate Canada's transforming identity by using the novels The Imperialist by Sara Jeanette Duncan, Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan, and Fifth Business by Robertson Davies and to connect the stories of each of these works of fiction to the varying political, economic, and social issues of their times. Each book is written by a prominent author, and portrays an accurate reflection of the demanding political, economic, and social concerns throughout the late nineteen and first half of the twentieth century of Canadian history. All of the novels reflect Canada's peripheral view of the world, as opposed to a central point of view, because throughout its history Canada has always been perceived as a secondary player. As George Grant says in his literary piece Lament for a Nation, Canada is "a branch plant society" , meaning Canada is controlled by another power. The essential question is where has Canada's loyalties traditionally lay and how has this shaped the Canadian identity. The Imperialist by Sara Jeanette Duncan, written in 1904 reflects a very British influenced Canada. At this time, Canada is still a British colony under British rule, and the people of Canada are very content to consider themselves British. The novel predominately ill... ... middle of paper ... ...has a national identity, an identity borne of many cultures and in the spirit of cooperation. Bibliography: Robertson Davies, Fifth Business, Penguin Books Canada Ltd., Toronto, 1970. Sara Jeanette Duncan, The Imperialist, McClelland &Stewart Inc., Toronto, 1990. George Grant, Lament for a Nation, Carleton University Press, 1995, SOSC 2200 9.0A course kit. Sandra Gwyn, Tapestry of War, (Harper Collins, 1992, SOSC 2200 9.0A course kit. C.P. Stacey, Mackenzie King and the Atlantic Triangle, Joanne Goodman Lectures, 1976, SOSC 2200 9.0A course kit. Professor John Hutcheson, "King: The Quebec Connection and The U.S. Connection", SOSC 2200 9.0A Lecture, York University, Toronto, 4 Oct. 1999. Eric Kierans, The Source of All Our Troubles, Canadian Forum, 1992, SOSC 2200 9.0A course kit. Hugh MacLennan, Barometer Rising, McClelland &Stewart Inc., Toronto, 1989.
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