Susanna Moodie The Distraught Pioneer. Roughing It In The Bush.

1242 words - 5 pages

Susanna Moodie immigrated to Canada as she approached the age of thirty, becoming one of the most historically important figures of Canadian settlement. She had already been an established writer in England and was a person of a good name, position and connections. There are many reasons why Susanna Moodie is now perceived to be rather ambivalent in her opinions, one of them being the fact that immigrating not out of necessity, but out of choice and having to overlap two separate continents of different culture, manners, philosophies, and most importantly political attitudes is sure to bring out duality.I would like to focus on the reason of Moodie's continuous ambivalence, which I believe to be her never reconciled Romanticism, primarily in her book Roughing It in the Bush, and on what Roughing It in the Bush meant in terms of setting a female Canadian pioneer character type in literature.The idea of moving away and starting a new life tickles and teases us all. Some are more prone to do it than others; some are hesitant. Susanna Moodie was of the indecisive kind, which can be clearly observed in Letters of Love and Duty: The Correspondence of Susanna and John Moodie by Ballstadt, Hopkins, Peterman. In her correspondence with her husband, she cannot make up her mind when it comes to leaving her country forever. In Roughing It in the Bush, she describes the voyage from England to Canada as a series of mostly unfortunate events taking place in an atmosphere of excitement, hope, and high-raised expectations. Part of why Susanna Moodie is considered an ambivalent writer, often tending toward sensational subjectivism, is that she immigrated to Canada greatly influenced by the English Romanticism blooming in England at the time of her young years. Greatly influenced by the Romantic idea of nature's disinterested beauty and aesthetic contemplation, she found herself surrounded by cruel wilderness. Margaret Atwood, in her Journals of Susanna Moodie, too, points out: "The Canadian wilderness breeds only survival instinct." Moodie's English romantic tendencies can be clearly observed at various occasions in Roughing It in the Bush. As the ship approaches the Grosse Island, she is carried away by the beauty and the landscape she sees: "I turned to the right and to the left, I looked up and down the glorious river; never had I beheld so many striking objects blended into one mighty whole! Nature had lavished all her noblest features in producing that enchanting scene." Moving on from Grosse Island to Quebec, we see an established pattern in the way she describes beautiful things they come across. Quite similarly to describing the previous scene, she says of Quebec: " Nature has lavished all her grandest elements to form this astonishing panorama. There frowns the cloud-capped mountain, and below, the cataract foams and thunders; wood, and rock, and river combine to lend their aid in making the picture perfect, and worthy of its Divine Originator." She...

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