Atwood believes that the national mental illness of Canada is paranoid schizophrenia, and she is delighted to discover the numerous hidden dichotomies in Model’s vision of reality * “roughing it in the bush” cries that echo across the harsh and vacant Canadian wilderness, carrying with them resonances and traces of the world from which she came. * Orient herself in what seemed a meaning and unfamiliar environment. Model’s relentless struggle to carve out a home for herself and her family within this physical topography is paralleled by her search for the words, the diction and the language with which to explicate her perceptions of his foreign place.
* Hardworking conception of the natural world does not entirely correspond with the harsh and disenchanting reality of the Canadian wilderness. * As she rocks hesitantly aboard the immigrant ship, caught between two countries and two cultures. She is at once attracted to, and simultaneously alienated from, the unforgiving terrain.Intermingled with such moments of displacement, however, she reveals an instinctive affinity for the Canadian terrain.
* She vacillates between a vehement nostalgia for her native shores and a Joyous acceptance and celebration of the natural world she encounters, while negotiating ND resolving her dichotomous relationship with the physical space. * Utilities a maternal language to articulate her developing relationship with the landscape, she figures her emigrant experience as a daughter caught between her motherland, Britain, and her adoptive mother, Canada. (Essay – critique) Moodier is divided down the middle: she praises the Canadian landscape but accuses it of destroying her; she dislikes the people already in Canada but finds in people her only refuge from the land itself; she preaches progress and the march of civilization while brooding illogically upon the destruction of the wilderness; she delivers optimistic remorse while showing herself to be fascinated with deaths, murders, the criminals in Kingston Penitentiary and the incurably insane in the Toronto lunatic asylum.
She claims to be an ardent Canadian patriot while all the time she is standing back from the country and criticizing it as though she were a detached observer, a stranger. * Glaring and paradoxical division * Atwood is not interested in the documentary component of Model’s books, nor is she even prepared to grant that such a component plays a central role in the autobiographies that she is about to interpret.Rather, Atwood is primarily interested in the psychological dimension of the immigrant experience in Canada and the ways in which the encounter with the wilderness precipitates a psychological reaction which is irrational and symptomatic of something larger than the reality at hand.
The unconscious, the repository for valuable truths about the human personality Model’s commentary gave an account of the state of society in the colony, but Atwood spun a new tone to the autobiographical account, changing its emphasis from Model’s reconciliation with the harsh social and environmental conditions to sousing on the healing of the individual self: Tattoo’s ‘Nature’ usually does not refer to the physical world, but rather, to the mental landscape of Moodier.However, there are instances where nature is conflated with the physical environment – The Planters. * While some parallels in details can be drawn between Model’s books and Tattoo’s poems, they don’t have to be read in connection.
In fact, because Tattoo’s interpretation and imposition of her 20th century sensibilities on a 19th century character, they should be read, and viewed, as autonomous creations. Journal 1, Moodier is fully formed by reason, civilization, and manmade order.When she encounters the world of nature, where man’s definitions of good and bad, order and chaos, no longer exist, she suffers psychological torment. These unnatural institutions, thoughts and ways of understanding the world have thus become obsolete against the backdrop of an indomitable wilderness – it is a grey area where such absolutes coalesce and diverge simultaneously, a homestead of contradictions and of dichotomies, and such is personified by none other than Moodier herself, who has to grapple with these contradictions and dichotomies in her elusive search for her identity.In Journal 2, Atwood presents Susann as she reaches a kind of comprehension of the nature of the duality from which she suffered in Journal 1, and realizes how and why she has adapted to the physical environment of Canada. Finally, in Journal 3, the readers are treated to a glimpse inside the mind of Moodier in old age and beyond.
Susann Moodier is fully self-conscious, and is now able to communicate to the rest of society what she has learned about man’s refusal to abandon his reason-dominated ways of perceiving and viewing the world.Atwood gives Moodier the voice with which to ponder her own death, seeing it as inseparable room the life and death of the land she inhabits. * Chronicling the psychological journey from madness to sanity, a Journey which posits the existence of an unhealthy duality in society between the conscious (reason) and the unconscious (instincts), mind and body, civilization and nature, men and women. The experiences of Moodier are the perfect metaphor for a psychic Journey in search of the Jungian self- knowledge that is necessary to achieve the integrated personal self. Fundamental tensions in creating and defining a self.
One such tension is the assertion of will on the world as well as on one’s self, set against the spirit-crushing revolutions of loneliness and hopelessness. * Nature is the animal nature that man has tried so hard to repress as he celebrates and exalts his reason. As such, Atwood allegories the Journey into the unconscious (into Nature) in terms of an actual physical Journey into the Canadian wilderness. (Background) Moodier is from England, the civilized nation.
She is of upper class gentility, and is the true exponent of man’s belief in the supremacy of reason in distinguishing himself from his surroundings. She arrives at Canada, a country that is everything but civilized (at east from the way she saw it) – natural, untamed, and demands a physical life of its inhabitants, a life which an English gentlewoman, accustomed to the world of cultivated gardens and intellectual pursuits, cannot get used to. Disembarking at Quebec – she is immediately isolated from her surroundings by the trappings of civilization that she brings with her from the Old World – her cloths, books and knitting – for these objects symbolism her own “lack of conviction”.
Tattoo’s Moodier ponders the uncaring landscape of rocks and water which, because it is all so foreign o her sensibility, refuses to confirm her own reality. She is not merely an English- speaking immigrant arriving at a French-speaking settlement, but a person speaking the language of order and reason n a land which only understands the language of nature.Resonating Witt themes tot dislocation, disorientation and the awkwardness of language, Tattoo’s account of Model’s experiences after “Disembarking at Quebec” draws a penetrating awareness of the convergence of the old and the new (Old World and New World) as beautifully (or awkwardly) exemplified by the “incongruous pink of (her) shawl”. Moodier contemplates the lenses of disillusionment and disenchantment through which she perceives and creates her fashion of the New World, however acutely aware that it was her “own lack of conviction which makes these vistas of desolation”.She looks to the foreign land as a mirror, but cannot locate herself there: “the moving water will not show me my reflection,] the rocks ignore”. This loss of geographic identity translates into a loss of linguistic identity, as the forlorn Moodier laments that she becomes “a word in a foreign language”. Not only is this reduction diminishing, it intensifies the effect of meaninglessness – unable to locate herself in the land, she is thus rendered a meaningless word in a foreign context, like an English word in a French dictionary.There is also a deep irony within this elusive search for self – the speaker is unable to see or locate herself in the watery surface’s reflection – and it is precisely this lack of recognizable self that actually reflects her fractured consciousness.
* Two Fires – the split between rational understanding and irrational nature. Atwood shows that the burning of the house occasioning in Moodier a realization that clinging to one’s dead of civilized order is no way to survive in the new landscape. It is at this moment that Moodier begins to consciously connect man’s fear of nature to his exaltation of reason.Apprehension at what he fails to understand, ironically, is a behavior that is guided by instincts and the primal self, not reason. Fire of summer – natural because it is occurring outside where only the trees melt. The fire of winter is unnatural and particularly threatening because the roof of a man-made house disintegrates. The house represents the world of reason amidst the untamed backwoods of Canada, a twisted and hostile environment that is at odds with Model’s manmade sanctuary. With the second fire, Moodier is forced to seek refuge in the menacing winter wilderness.
At this point she is gaining new knowledge about her own relationship with nature. Winter is not determined to destroy her; it is merely an entity that she has misunderstood. Nature can no longer be perceived exclusively as a threat, Just as human logic can no longer be trusted to provide adequate protection from the illogical power of nature. Just as immutable as the omnipotent God, the natural environment and her subconscious are beyond humanity feeble attempts of comprehension. Path and Teething’s – The sense of being overrun by the wild, uncontrollable, and relentless land pervades the text.The pioneers’ deluded endeavourer of seeking out the “signals”, “letters”, “codes” and “numbers” is in fact a misguided search for home – it is a desperate struggle to impose order, structure and sense on this wild terrain, as though a retrieval of Old World signs, symbols, and markers will somehow allow for the gleaning of some coherent and tangible meaning.
* Looking in a Mirror – The “old”, enigmatic self has completely shattered, dissolved, and decomposed – the speaker has become the and that she once hoped would mirror her. The trappings and markers of her Old World self have been “rotted… Y earth and the strong waters a crushed eggshell among other debris” – and the speaker herself has been absorbed by the earth, with nerd “skin thickened Witt bark and the white hairs tot roots . ” See it these trappings were destroyed by the fire, and which did she save? * Departure from the Bush – marks Model’s exit from the backwoods that she has virtually become. * Dream l: The Bush Garden – The land becomes haunted by the dreaming Model’s lifeblood.
And in perhaps one of the most startlingly and poignant vignettes offered by Atwood, the speaker “bends to pick” and her “hands came away red and wet”.With quiet resignation, she remarks that she “should have known anything planted here would surely come up blood”. * The Deaths of the Other Children – land becomes infused not only with the speaker’s own fractured “edifice, her composite self”, but with the children who haunt her. Her identity is unshakably maternal, as everywhere she walks, her skirt was tugged at by the spreading briers they catch at her heels with their fingers. * Plants, animals, Moodier are all becoming one. She is successfully merging with the landscape in a way which would have been impossible for the woman who first arrived from England.
As more of her children die, Suntan’s bond with the earth becomes terribly real and vital, with each loss etched into her memories of her search for an identity, and indelibly associated with her immediate environment. “they catch at my heels with their fingers” – who are “they’? The briers? The children? It no longer matters. The ambiguity lends itself open to many interpretations, but more significantly, Atwood is emphasizing the unyielding truth hat at that point in time, Model, the landscape and her consciousness have all dissolved into one – all distinctions, all barriers are absolutely meaningless.Double Voice: Acknowledges the “two voices” which “took turns using (her) eyes”. The native tongue of the Old World from which she came is a voice steeped in manners, postures, sentimental verse and Romantic rhetoric.
In this double-voiced moment, she accepts the unresolved, inescapable divisiveness of her sight, her speech, her stance, she becomes a metonymy of the fissured, fractured Canadian consciousness. * A Bus Along SST. Claim: December – Paradoxical timelessness.
He old woman sitting across from you on the bus. ” While there is a sense of timelessness to her presence, she is also very much an anachronism, sorely out of place in this unfamiliar world of grey air, the roar going on behind it… She reasserts the impenetrable wilderness that, despite the careful concrete, remains untamed and omnipotent: “There is no city: this is the center of a forest your place is empty’. * Moodier discovers that the natural, organic self has always been a part of her.
But because of her exaltation of reason, she has repressed her animal qualities, qualities which she is Just beginning to discover. But true to its nature, the greater the repression, the more traumatic the reprisal is on the consciousness. * “entered a large darkness” (probably from Disembarking at Quebec) – the darkness Moodier has entered was not physical by any sense; it was her own ignorance of how to exist in the world of the physical.
* What is Nature? Should it even be capitalists? Atwood and Moodier have vastly differing understandings and perspectives on the term “Nature”.For Atwood, who understands man’s psychological problems to be rooted in his alienation from the animal part of his psyche, nature tends to be defined more closely as that which is “other” to the rational human mind. Model, a true romantic, tends to view Nature with reverence, dignified and picturesque.
In fact, the beautiful scenery is a constant solace for Model, though it in no way lessens the actual physical hardships M IEEE must confront daily, and seen does not expect the sublime force behind the glorious scenery to help with the vegetable garden. * What then is Civilization?Should it be capitalists? Atwood seems to present a more mechanistic view of civilization, which brings to mind imagery of sprawling cities, high standards of living and towering skyscrapers. Model’s appreciation of her background lies not in the ingenuity of bringing life to the inanimate (though she was quite captivated by the enterprise) like locomotives and steamships – civilization to her is a congregation of like-minded souls with similar sensitivities and passions, a walk with kindred spirits who share a similar sense of awe at literature and other romantic pursuits.To Model, civilization is the crown of the triumph of the human condition, but most importantly, it is the sense of kinship and familiarity at which she seeks refuge. (Background information) “The Promised Land” – she arrived in Canada during a holler epidemic and one of the first things she witnessed in the New World was a series of drowning. The horror continues to haunt her, despite gradually undergoing acculturation’s to Canada through the Journals. Moodier can never go home to England, and her awareness of this fact and her acceptance of Canada as her new homeland grew slowly but steadily. She even attempts to chart the change in her perceptions.
(Where? ) * It is a surprise Moodier wasn’t cast into an asylum for her numerous neuroses, or was it Just Tattoo’s stroke of melodrama? * From the backwoods of asses Canada to the concrete expanse of asses Torso’s SST. Claim Street