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Photoessay. You need: a 200-word quote from our readings; 12 images which you take yourself that illustrate the quote; 300-word discussion of what you learned.

GL Econ 1680
Jan 29.

Continue with Bothwell, Chaps 7 & 8.
Tin Flute, Chaps 10-20.
-Some notes on the novel.
Things to watch for:
a. This is a trajectory of a family in a specific historical moment.
b. It is also specifically the story of a low-income Quebecois family.
c. Notice the backdrop of historical events.
d. How does the emerging war influence the action?
e. Notice the effects of the colonial experience on the family.
f. Think about this: many characters find themselves thinking about decisions that they never actually formulated;
they just find themselves in the middle of deep thought about a decision that they must make. Is this a legacy
of the colonial experience? The fact that situations emerge which confront people immediately and urgently,
they had not initiated any ideas about a decision.
g. There is a gender difference you can notice too about decisions. Men and women approach decisions very
differently and come up with very different results at times. I hope you pay attention to this.
Ch 11.
After the party; Florentine’s choices: Jean or Emmanuel. At church with Emmanuel, Florentine notices nothing
about the mass, about the liturgy, the homily, etc. Instead, she blots the mass out, substituting her thoughts about
Ask: how long has she been considering this choice, or any choice like it?
Ch 12.
Snowstorm. Azarius and financial problems: unemployed. No job for 8 years. Conversation in the store is only men.
Even Sam Latour, owner of 2 records, and his wife speak as though they are one person. Job prospect for Azarius is
possible. He is skeptical. He returns home; a different kind of economic stress. Rose Anna is overcome with the
problem of how to provide for the children and the household. She is concerned for Daniel, who is sick. Azarius:
he wants to have a job that gives him dignity. Rose Anna: they can’t afford to wait for a job that will give him
dignity, not when they have urgent needs to pay for things. Poverty means having no choices. Azarius’ response to
their situation: leave, hit the road. Rose Anna’s response: go find the guy who might hire Azarius.
Notice: Azarius has an idea; one of the very few times in the novel when we see a character nursing an idea for later
Ch 13.
Rose Anna meditates. She sees the bond between herself and Florentine. She sees how each of them is coming to
terms with their poverty. See passages on p167 (the house was caught …) and 169 (Azarius was never able to calm
Rose Anna’s worries, even though he was able to lift her mood. Azarius comes home, promises a trip to Rose
Anna’s family.
Notice: we know that Azarius has been thinking about a road trip.
Ch 14.
Jean and Florentine.
Ask: why does the relationship fail at every turn? The action seems to happen partly at dinner, and then also after.
Find a passage that illustrates something essential about the couple.
Ch 15.
Visit to Rose Anna’s parents. Her family is worried, they don’t believe her story that everything is ok. Rose Anna
asks herself: will she be able to do for Florentine what her mother is doing for her?
Ask: how does this chapter illustrate the emotional burden caused by poverty? How does Rose Anna reflect this
Function of chapter: it’s like an x-ray of Rose Anna’s life and choices; it casts a harsh light on the stories she
sustains to make her life bearable.
Ch 16.
Jean visits Florentine. He reacts viscerally against the house, Florentine, and the décor. See p204. Florentine and the
house awaken in him a great unhappiness. We learn about his early life in an orphanage. We learn that he is largely
self-educated, even though he attended school. See also p208: what does Florentine symbolize for Jean?
Ask: how does the setting in Florentine’s house condense Jean’s childhood experiences?
Ch 17.
Jean meditates. See pp210-11. He is a committed solitary. He wants no connections, p214. He sees couples together,
concludes that they are simply “ensuring the perpetuation of poverty.” (215) He has no emotional interiority, no
sense of sustained connection or desire. He decides he will leave, hit the road. Much like Azarius was musing earlier.
Ask: what went into his decision to leave? How long had this really been taking shape? Is it impulse? It doesn’t seem
so. Was Florentine the last straw? Her promise of love seems tainted by more experience of poverty.
Ch 18
Daniel has leukemia. One of the Lacasse children is taken to an English hospital. Rose Anna uses the walk to the
hospital to obsess over her failure as a mother. She sees Daniel’s illness as her fault. Daniel had been failing at
school because of illness and because of Rose Anna’s decisions to periodically keep him from school. He loved
learning, writing and reading. But this became impossible. Ironically, at hospital there is a woman there, a nurse,
who seems to displace Rose Anna. And this nurse, Jenny, teaches Daniel English, not French. It’s as though his
health is meant to distance him from his family. Rose Anna is self-conscious, convinced that he likes the nurse
Ask yourself: do you think Rose Anne’s self-criticism contributes to the trajectory of the family? Does she have a
sort of negative self-talk? Is Azarius as much engaged in negative self-talk? If not, would you think this is a feature
of gender?
Ch 19.
Women and solidarity. Rose Anna makes her way from the hospital. News about the war confronts her. Germans
Invade Norway; Oslo Bombed. (233). She goes from this piece of news to thinking about the women in the far
away lands caught up in war. There’s a beautiful passage on p234 which captures Rose Anna’s feeling then. Bur as
she goes home she is met by her son, Eugene, who had joined up in the army recently. She is overjoyed to see him
and is grateful to him for giving the family his first month’s pay of 20$. But Eugene has other ideas and asks his
mother for the money back. You can notice Eugene’s thoughts about the family home mirrored those of Jean,
p237. He is ashamed of the poverty that’s everywhere in the household. Rose Anna gives him the tenner and
Eugene heads off to join his friends and spend the money on frivolity while Rose Anna was counting on the money
for the first month’s rent in the new flat they would have to be moving to soon.
Notice: how Rose Anna’s thinking about war is more about how to care for the families, and she is always mindful
of women in these countries who have to make unbearable sacrifices. Think about the solidarity she feels for these
Ch 20
The response to Eugene comes from Sam Latour. You should notice the comment he makes about how the Nazis
invaded Norway on p246. The discussion pauses to talk about how people will do anything for money. The
suggestion was that the Nazis bribed certain Norwegians to help the invasion by abandoning certain border posts
and disarming some troops who could have mounted some resistance. But the allegation was that some Norwegians
were bribed into helping the Germans. Sam Latour and others are furious at the idea. Sam says: “There’s people
who would sell their own mother for money or a bit of ribbon.” (246). And Eugene is there, the boy who had asked
his mother for money when she could not afford it. He leaves the shop and heads out. On his way, he sees a girl he
wants to spend some time with; his dream of giving his mother some of the money back goes out the window as his
impulses got hold of him. He literally sold his mother for a bit of money.
Notice: the impulsiveness here. How does it compare with what we see in other men in the novel? Azarius, Jean,
Emmanuel? How are they like Eugene or unlike him?

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