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The Two Solitudes Allegory Essay

1367 words - 6 pages

“Two Solitudes” is a term that has turned into a significant part of the vernacular of many Canadians. It is used to describe the relationship between the anglophones and francophones in Quebec and the rest of Canada. The metaphor became more popular, though, through MacLennan's seminal work titled Two Solitudes, about an intercultural family trying to maneuver themselves in and around the cultural undertow of Quebec during the 20th century. In Quebec's reality the historical term “two solitudes” has still been used today, and one can blame it on the exclusiveness of francophones and anglophones plus the way Quebec is still divided up in a “two solitude” fashion. Thus, in a fashion that transcends the symbolic impression of characterization—of seeing the 1945 Canada in Athanase Tallard, and viewing the new Canada through Paul Tallard—the novel alone epitomizes Canada.
Two Solitudes is an allegory for French and English Canada dating from 1917 to 1939—World War I and the beginning of World War II. MacLennan divided his novel into 4 significant parts. It is happening mostly during World War I, and a group of prototype characters relay the plot, being depictions of French Canadians, working-class businessmen, or Catholics during the set time period. The plot of this novel hones in on the day-to-day life of a fictional character named Paul Tallard, who battles with himself between the differences of his dual identities, English and French Canadian. Those struggles are what some Canadians face today. On top of that, MacLennan separates each chapter by a timeline, in chronicle form to highlight the truthfulness of Canada and its people's history in dichotomy especially.
The Canadian French-English dichotomy (or two solitudes) is represented in microcosm in the city of Montreal where, like Quebec is amongst the English provinces in Canada, the English
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and French communities live side by side, each having their own sort of section that is separated by Bleury Street—the frontier: “Two old races and religions meet here and live their separate legends side by side. If this sprawling half continent has a heart, here it is. Its pulse throbs out along the rivers and railroads; slow, reluctant and rarely simple, a double beat, a self-moved reciprocation.1”
It is understood that half of the book is said during the First World War which was when the division between French Canada and the rest of Canada begun. This really broke out with the conscription crisis when English Canada thought that it was absolutely right that everyone in Canada should be rounded up to join in the war without choice, and folks in Quebec thought that this was basically an English war in which they did not want any parts of. The Tallard family, at the heart of two solitudes, is right at the centre of this conscription crisis because the father, Athanase is a Quebec based MP who tries to bridge the golf between English and French Canada in parliament. And his son,...

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