Great Names of Canadian Literature

Essay by aginka January 2005

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Modern Canadian literature is inseparably connected with such names as Sinclair Ross, Morley Callaghan, or Margaret Atwood. These famous writers are widely read not only in Canada, but all through the English-speaking world and their short stories have been translated into many languages. In this piece of writing I would like to analyse some of their works, or, at least, have a try at it.

The first short-story that I have chosen is The Lamp at Noon written by Sinclair Ross. When reading this great short story of him, I was struck by the imagery of the story, the howling wind, the pregnant pauses, tense moments, barren fields and weathered looks. Ross's stories depict the often tragic struggles of people during the drought and the Depression of the 1930s. He usually concentrates on depicting these struggles through the life of a certain family. The members of these families lead lives of quiet desperation, they are usually lonely and they cannot find understanding within their families.

In The Lamp at Noon the author concentrates on the disintegrating marriage of Paul and Ellen. Paul is hopelessly trying to make a living off his own farm and he is afraid of being unable to do so. His wife is being driven mad by the lonesomeness of her life on the farm. She has no friends to talk to, not even her husband. Paul cannot understand that it is his wife that he should find an ally in, whom he should trust and he is not able to realise that the land is his "enemy". He is unable to look for understanding or support on her wife's side and so their disability to understand each other, their isolation leads to a tragic end.

The title of the short story is very...