Sunday, January 22, 2006

Reader's Diary #17- Leslie Bella: Newfoundlanders Home and Away (up to p.90)

The next 35 pages have been pretty much more of the same. My attention is starting to wander. If it wasn't for the great number of typos (I know, this is the pot calling the kettle black), I think I'd have been drowsing pages ago. Leave it to bad editing to keep you on your toes.

I've been thinking, what if suddenly all the Newfoundlanders across Canada (and even the world, why not?), came back suddenly. How would Newfoundland be different? Other than just more crowded, I think there'd be an initial change and then things would probably get back to normal. Listening to those interviewed by Bella, it often seems that Newfoundlanders who have gone to the mainland are more concerned about keeping the culture alive than those of us who are still in the province. What do you think?

I've mentioned before about my problems with Bella's research sample, and the sample she chose for her interviews is even more frustrating. All of them come from the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). While I know that Ontario probably has more Newfoundlanders than the other provinces, there's still a lot in Alberta, B.C., and the North (and most likely large pockets in the other provinces as well) and it would have been nice to get a different point of view.

1 comment:

Robert Hiscock said...

It's long been observed that the Scots become more Scottish and the Greeks more Greek when they leave their native shores and I guess the same thing is true of Newfoundlanders. When we leave, as a means of coping I suppose, we tend to amplify the things that we think exemplify who we are. It's interesting and I expect, in some ways it explains the existance of 'Newfoundland Food' Stores across the country because I'm sure most Newfoundlanders don't actually consume those foods in any great quantity until they leave the island. Newfoundlanders still on the island don't need to amplify the culture to feel connected because we're surrounded by it but those who have left cling and magnify the culture to preserve a sense of connectedness, to remind themselves of their roots.

As a side bar, have you noticed who it is that is preserving the old architecture in the outports? It's not locals and often not even former Newfoundlanders. The old houses are being bought by off-islanders and being converted to summer and retirement home. Entire coves are being converted into 'theme park versions' of what Torontonians think outport Newfoundland ought to look like. I wonder what the implications are for future outport culture.