Thursday, August 27, 2009

Canadian Literature is shitty.

i mean that in the most literal way. In the past year, i seem to encounter a lot of poop in CanLit. Leonard Cohen's experimental novel Beautiful Losers and Rohinton Mistry's short story collection Tales from Firozsha Baag come to mind (mostly because TfFB is on a course reading list for my upcoming semester). In both works, constipation is a metaphor for Canadian identity. Canadian identity is often expressed as absence: we are not x or y, we are not Britain or the United States, we are not a starting point or a destination. In TfFB, Mistry explores pluralism; he shows that Canadians must negotiate between old world and new, cultural heritage and assimilation. Constipation is associated with tradition, with the inability to let go, with the desire to keep something pure or singular. Cohen's narrator experiences similar constipation: he tries to keep everything organized, he cannot break out of his structured (imperialist?) mindset.

Poop, then, is the ideal Canadian state. At least, that's what the lit seems to say.

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