Monday, November 05, 2018

Reader's Diary #1948- Gilbert Parker: The Going of the White Swan

Gilbert Parker's The Going of the White Swan begins strong enough. Set in a cabin in the Canadian wilderness, a young boy is dying after a cougar attack has led to an infection. His father is trying to keep it together, but on top of his son dying, his wife (the boy's mother) has also recently run away. The boy seems to be drawing solace for his situation through his faith in God, whereas the father wishes he could also believe.

Unfortunately the story then begins to show its age and colonial perspective (it was written in 1912), hitting on all those familiar refrains: women are property, Indigenous people are evil drunkards, and it's perfectly acceptable to coerce a man into religion. Sigh.

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