Therelationship between Lou`s and Canadian literature as well as herrelationship with the bear
Canadianliterature refers to the type of literature that has originates inCanada. Most of the criticisms of the Canadian literature mainlyfocus on regional and nationalistic themes, even though this part isjust a small portion of the criticism of the Canadian literature.According to Betts (2013), the critics argue that entirely focusingon the themes of the Canadian literature creates a dimple that theCanadian literature is sociologically oriented. The Canadian authorshave tried their level best to come up with different genres. Theinfluences to the Canadian literatures are diverse, both historicallyand geographically. Originally, the dominant cultures of Canada wereFrench and British in addition to the aboriginal (Betts, 2013). Withthe announcement of the Pierre Trudeau`s, the prime minister aboutthe implementation of a policy of multiculturalism with the BilingualFramework in Canada the literature of Canada has changed greatly(Atwood, 2009). Since then, the literature of Canada has mainly beenimpacted by international immigration, mainly in the modern decades.The literature of Canada mainly reflects the perspective of Canada,that is, the nature, frontier life, the position of Canada in theworld. The cultural and ethical diversity of Canada greatly reflectsin its literature, but most of the Canadian authors have mainlyfocused on the ethnic angle.
Someof the common traits in most of the Canadian literatures includefailure, humor, Mild anti-Americanism, Multiculturalism, human versusnature tension, Satire and irony, Self-deprecation, Search for one’sSelf-Identity, the loser hero, Urban versus rural and SouthernOntario Gothic among others (Keith, 2006). The theme of search forone’s identity is common in most of the Canadian literature. Inaddition to this, some of the novels revolve a situation whereby theauthors try to justify their own identities and existence. A perfectexample of such kind of literature is Fifth Business, authored byRobertson Davies whereby the protagonist Dunstan Ramsay is in searchof a new identity through leaving his original city of Deptford. Oneof the notable books in the Canadian literature is the novel, Bear,authored by Marian Engel. The book was published in 1976 (Keith,2006). The book is the fifth by the author and is the most famous ofher books. The novel narrates about a lonely librarian in thenorthern Ontario who joins a sexual relationship with a bear. Thebook is the most controversial novel that has ever been authored inCanada. This paper analyses the relationship between Lou`s andCanadian literature as well as her relationship with the bear.
This booktakes place in the Algoma district in the northern part of Ontariowhereby the area is heavily wooded and with mixture of deciduous andconifer forests. The biggest part of the story occurs in an old,octagonal house, located in a minute island on a very remotelake(Engel, 2009). Cary’s island, which is the location of thestory is fictitious and is located in the northern part of Highway17, after the "Fisher`s Falls" and close to the Brodyvillage. On the outside of the house, there are many buildings thatinclude a shed that accommodates a huge semi-tame bear. The narrativeis centered on Lou, who is aged 27 years (Engel, 2009). She is alibrarian whose main duty is to document the library and the house ofColonel Cary that has been donated to the Heritage Institute, heremployer. In order to escape the monotonous and unsatisfactoryToronto life, Lou enjoys the opportunity of working in the Cary`sIsland solitude (Engel, 2009). In her new work, she has to study andcatalogue the library. Her work is not easy and she has to strugglewith her balance of emotions and the correlation with her work. Shesluggishly starts to approach the resident bear of the island thatused to be a pet of the late colonel. Due to her loneliness andisolation, she finds herself in an irregular sexual relationship withHomer Campbell, who is the caretaker of the estate. Within a shortperiod, she becomes too closer with the bear assisted by Lucy Leroy,who is senior First Nations woman. Lucy offers Lou advices on how toincrease the confidence of the animal towards her (Engel, 2009).While doing her investigation and deep researches in the library, shecomes across bear folklore and findings that had been collected bythe late colonel. After going through the various studies, shebecomes confident on the way she should handle the animal and thisleads to the increased understanding of the life of the bear and howshe can better relate with the animal (Engel, 2009). After goingthrough the studies for a while and practicing her relationship withthe bear, her relationship with the bear graduates to a sexual one aswell as spiritual. At the end of the story, she is scratched deeplyat the back by the bear and this ruins her relationship with theanimal. As a result, she leaves the island with a focus of renewal.
In theearly parts of the story, Lou starts discovering little notes left bythe deceased Colonel Cary, every scrap giving data on the lives ofscience of bears, and additionally mythology about these loftyanimals, and the way that different social orders have loved andworshipped them. Lou looks upon her new friend with interest, yet itis not until Lou takes the guidance of an old Native American islandinhabitant and takes a poo nearby the bear that their bond starts toextend, and the bear`s affection for (or acknowledgment of) his newcompanion develops.
It is nothorribly much sooner than Bear heightens their relationship fromevening strolls and lively swims in the lake to something startlinglysexual, as the bear excitedly licks Lou`s vagina and the two startsspending numerous nights times together (Engel, 2009). However, Loustays baffled the bear never gets an erection or uncovers his penisto her, yet she stays delighted with the animal, requesting that herip her head off or shred her. Sex and savagery have dependably beenalluringly entwined, and it is not phenomenal for some to tell theirpartners amid sex that they wish to be torn separated, assaulted,demolished, crushed into pieces, or softened up two. It is not asolicitation to be physically hurt, but rather a craving for thatindividual to physically endeavor so totally over and into us, toirately have intercourse to us in a manner that we feel pulverized,where the physical activity encapsulates the mental state, for allintents and purposes overshadowing it. Lou`s enthusiasm and desirefor this bear is so all devouring that she does not need anythingmore than to see and feel her feelings represented physically. Herrequests are figurative she yearns for the sexual demonstration todischarge her from the hurt of longing.
Lou, as thevast majority got somewhere down in the throes of the sort ofirritating desire that is regularly confused for affectionateemotions, extends her belief system of the ideal perfect partner ontothis bear.
Engelprovides only a few of Lou’s romantic history, authored in such anoblique way, to the extent that we know it to be told from theperspective of Lou. Lou has just ever related with men, who seem tobe relationally stunted, viewing her as unessential (Metamute.org,2014). She took part in an extramarital relationship once with a manwho left her for a younger woman, and Lou retorted with implausiblepuberty, harming his squiggling contemptuous, accusatory dialect onhis home in chalk (Metamute.org, 2014). She engages in sexualrelationship with the boss of the estate constantly round her workenvironment, yet consistently takes implausible contemplation not tohave sex on top of any profitable maps. The intercourse with her bossseems to be spur of the moment and impassive, something she presumesshe is simply allowing him to do to her a mid-evening interruptionto her typical work process and a minor interference. Her life lackscraving, desire and energy (Metamute.org, 2014).
One of therelations between Lou and the Canadian literature is the conflictbetween personality and the nature. In the novel, Lou seems to beisolated from the very nature where she lives. She is an introvertand that is why she spends most of her time on the library studyingbooks and documenting about the new building. Even though the land isfull of many animals and people, she seems to be in a world of herown and her relationship with fellow human beings seems to bechallenging. She has had so many sexual relationships with otherpeople but these seem not to work. For example, at some point, sheentered into a sexual relationship with managers in her previousplaces of work but still this seemed not to work. For example, Due toher loneliness and isolation, she finds herself in an irregularsexual relationship with Homer Campbell, who is the caretaker of theestate(Metamute.org, 2014). This relationship seems not to work andshe quits it in order to enjoy her loneliness. She lives in solitudeand she seems to enjoy this kind of life.
Eventhough the area around the island has many bears, she seem to havevery little or no knowledge at all concerning the lives of the bearsand their relationship with human beings. She is isolated from thesame environment that she lives. In order to get accustomed to thelives of the bears, she has study to deeper to understand the live ofthese animals and their relationship with human beings and how theyare handled. Her life seems funny and one that is completely inisolation with the same environment where she lives. For this reason,she has to study everything that seems to be new to her instead oftaking time to learn from other people.
This isone of the themes evident in most of the Canadian genres. Most of theCanadian folklore is about the theme of solitude and loneliness. Thisshows how people have been isolated from the same nature that theylive. In addition, the theme shows that people do not understandtheir environment and what needs to be done. This is mainly evidentbecause of the nature of work people are involved in the currentworld. With the economic growth and industrialization, the nature ofwork has changed which leads to longer working hours. The longworking hours make people to keep most of the time on their own andthis leads to isolation of people from the same nature where theylive. This makes many people not aware of the kind of things thattake place around them. In addition to this, the increasing level ofsolitude and loneliness means that people lose the interest ofinteracting with fellow human beings. This is very evident in thelife of Lou, she has been lonely, and in solitude for long, that shefinds no more pleasure in living with human beings. Her relationshipwith wild animals seems to be very satisfying compared to therelationship with her fellow human beings. Because of this, sheallows the wild bear to lick her vagina and even engage in sexualintercourse (Janoušková, 2011). This seems to be more satisfyingthan the relationship between her and the Homer Campbell, her fellowhuman being.
AnotherCanadian literature where solitude and loneliness is evident is theNymphomaniac, a movie by Lars von Trier. Both the Bear and theNymphomaniac, seems to evoke the same themes of solitude,longing, loneliness and the struggle of human beings to reconciletheir mentality with nature (Hayes, 2014). Even though are verydifferent in terms of narrative similarities, Lou and Joe are lonelywomen who seem to suffer and even struggle because of their nature but still find a high level dignity and strength in the same (Hayes,2014). The limblines of both Joe and Lou is an affliction while atthe same time a self-imposed defense line. In the novel, Bear,Lou uses her solitude life for justifying her loneliness while on theother hand Joe lives and accepts lonely life for justification ofher solitude. In her entire life, Lou has never had an attraction tothe right partner however, the bear seem to allow her to develop andideal, one that wretchedly evades her (Hayes, 2014). The two her areinfuriatingly after something that none of them can achieve, that is,indefinable and thorough satisfaction. For example, at some point,Joe whispers to her lover that he should fill all her holes andwhereas he had the capability of doing this act physically, it is theexistential meaning that is very difficult for Jerome to reciprocate(Hayes, 2014).. On the other hand, Lou requests the bear to rip herhead off, and even though the bear could do this, it is theexistential desire that is very difficult for the bear to fulfil.Regrettably, both women find some closure in their correspondingconditions, which is a better comprehension of the meaning ofsolitude and the kind of people who they truly are (Hayes, 2014).Even though the colure does not erase all their memories and pains,they both find separate completeness at the culmination of theirdespairing and incongruent journeys, welcoming whom they truly areeven though their true selves leaves something to be much loved(Hayes, 2014).
Anothercharacteristic of the Canadian literature that is evident in the Bearis pushing of sexuality far above the socially accepted levels. Thenovel has pushed sexuality above accepted levels of the society. Thelove scenes of Lou with the bear do not only encompass her fondlingof the sexual organs of the animal, but also include variousgraphically described instances whereby the bear licks her sexualorgans hence bringing her to orgasm (Turcotte, 1995). Even though Louuses the burdened countenance of having the curse in order to avoidhaving intercourse with Homer, she seems to be very delighted whenthe bear is licking her genitals commenting that “her menstrualfever made him more assiduous” (Turcotte, 1995). In variousCanadian literature works, sexuality is praised in a way differentfrom what actually happens within the society. Like most of thesocieties around the globe, sexuality is viewed as sacred and anystory surrounding it is narrated with a lot of carefulness andmaturity but this is very different from what happens in the writtengenre (Turcotte, 1995). In various novels, the authors haveelaborated the issues beyond what takes place in reality. The bear isa good example of the novels that surround the issues of sexuality.In this novel, the relationship between Lou and the bear seems to besatisfying than the relationships she has ever had with fellow humanbeings. In one view, the author seems to support this relationshipbecause Lou seems to be satisfied and contented and seems to view thebear as the best partner ever. For example, she allows the bear tolick her vagina and even have sexual intercourse with the animal(Engel, 2009). Considering the ugly looks of the animal, the smellthat comes from it among other factors, it is very clear that therelationship between the animal and human beings in this case of Louis a mockery. Homer Campbell, her former partner is far better thanthe bear and therefore this relationship is a great satire to theCanadian society. Even though there have been many cases ofrelationships between animals and human beings, it is not pronouncedas it is brought up in this case.
Self-discoveryis another topic that is explored by many authors in Canada. The Bearis not an exception either because it is more of Lou’sself-discovery. In the big part of her life, she has never known whoshe really is and that is why her love life is tainted. She has triedto love but in vain and her later relationship with the bear helpsher to discover who she really is (Engel, 2009). In addition, it isthrough the relationship with the bear that she realizes what isreally happening within her head and who she really is. In thatsense, it is a typical Canadian book. The book seeks to raise thequestion of where the Canadians go to find out whom they really areand what really matters to them. In most cases, the Canadians go tothe wilderness becausefrom here they get peace of mind that makesthem to think beyond their problems and hence realize what isactually happening within their life.
Canada ismade up of vast wildness whereby in most cases the Canadians taketime to visit in order to relieve off their pains and discover whomthey really are. With the increased activities of life, it is easyfor people to go on with life without the clear knowledge of whomthey are and what they can do in order to improve their lives. Inaddition, it is also possible for people to fail to discover theirinner capabilities if they stay in the completely busy environment.For this reason, most of the Canadians take their time and visit thewildness in order to relax their minds hence get time to meditate andrealize whom they are and what they need in their lives. Life in thewildness made Lou to understand what she yearned for in life and whatcould fulfill her life. For example, she realized that she neededsomeone who would be close to her all times and who would offercomplete love to her. The bear was there whenever she wanted it andthat is why the relationship between the two grew to be strong. Thebear was not busy like the fellow human being and was ready for offerher intercourse whenever she wanted it. She realizes that this iswhat she lacks in her life. She came also to realize that her lifelacked company with someone who would be there regardless of the timeof the day and the context. Even though the relationship between herand the bear does not end well, she gets the portion of what shemisses in life and what can fill her life.
Anotherrelationship of Lou and the Canadian literature is that most of thenarratives do not end in good mood. Most of the stories end when thesituation is not pleasing which raises the readers’ curiositywanting to know about the fate of the characters. The Bear isnot an exception because like most of the literature, it does not endwell. Towards the end of the story, she is scratched deeply at theback by the bear and this ruins her relationship with the animal. Asa result, she leaves the island with a focus of renewal. Therelationship between the animal and the Lou was admirable until whenthe animal scratches her on the back. Even though the situation ispaining, it helps her come her senses and realize what she lacks inlife and what she needs to pursue.
Ruralversus urban is another theme in most of the Canadian literatures.Most of the Canadian literature tries to show the difference in lifein both rural and urban areas. The Bear is not an exceptionbecause it shows the difference between the encounter of people indifferent context both in urban and rural areas. Lou takes a flightfrom Toronto to an archive that is located in an isolated islandcastle in rural northern Ontario, whereby the change of the seasonsleads to her personal growth. Within the city, whereby the weathervaries between domineeringly chilly and harshly humid such kinds ofpersonal development is not possible (Engel, 2009). In the urbanareas, her relationship with wild animals is difficult and almostimpossible because it is very rare to come across a wild animal. Inthe island, she cultivates a relationship that grows. Even though thebear is feral, dirty, and untamed creature this does not hinder herfrom romancing with the animal. At some point, she tries to wriggleinto an old smoky ball gown that is followed by flopping up of herbreasts out of it, as if her new and enthusiastic sexuality isuncontained. In the isolated island, she learns many things, whichwould have been difficult, while in the urban area. For example, shelearns to relate with animals and even live for long withoutinteractions with other humans. In addition, she learns to appreciateher relationship with other human beings. For example, even thoughshe was in deep love to the bear, the relationship does not end welland all the enjoyment is ruined. Towards the end of the novel, thebear scratches her deeply in the back and this makes her realize thatthe best relationships can only be between her and fellow humanbeings. The bear is a senseless animal unlike human beings and thisis the reason it does appreciate the good life they have hadtogether.
Like mostof the Canadian literature genres, the Bear contains a lot ofsatire. Most of the Canadian literature contains mockery that helpsfor emphasis and comparison. In the Bear, satire is evident when Louseems to enjoy her relationship with the bear more than with fellowhuman beings. The sex with the animals is a satiric ending of all thethemes, and it is a real physical relationship with nature, with thewilds intruding the perimeter of the Canadian consciousness. Thecurrent super of attentiveness in Bear as a form of ironized fleshobject feels somewhat gratuitous. The book is generally comical,humorous, and ironic like in the instances when the bear waddles offfarting after intercourse, hence seeming more like a human being thathe appeared in the first instances. In these instances, the authorwants the readers to laugh. Another point that is comical is when thewriter describes the gifted tongue of the Bear and its flaccid penisthat snuggled inside “his long cartilaginous sheath” (Engel,2009). Having sex with an animal is unimaginable in Canada andtherefore when Lou is having sex with the bear, this seems to beironical.
Furthermore,feminism is another theme that is evident in the bear like in mostCanadian literatures. Bear is a form of climax of second-movementfeminist narrative. The book shows how women have continued to betaken for granted and used as sexual objectives for the fulfilment ofthe sexual needs. In the Canadian society, women are not independentand most of them depend on men who in return mistreat them and usethem as sexual objectives. Most of the Canadian literatures havecontinued to condemn this problem but the issue seems to be far fromend. In this novel, the boss misuses Lou. He views her as a sexualobject. He regularly engages in sex with her in his office and thishas made her have a very negative attitude with men. The men seem tomisuse her without offering her the much attention that she craves.This is the reason why she seems to enjoy the romantic relationshipwith the bear. The bear provides Lou with all the companion that sheneeds and that is why she is deep in the relationship with the animalcompared to Homer Campbell, the caretaker of the estate.
The Bearis a good example of the Canadian literature. From the setting of thenovel to the characters, everything lies in the Canadian context.Most of the themes in the novel have been emphasized in most of theCanadian literatures. Satire is one of the themes evident in most ofthe Canadian literatures. The novel, Bear also contains a lotof satire. In the Bear, satire is evident when Lou seems to enjoy herrelationship with the animal more than with fellow human beings. Thesex with the animals is a satiric ending of all the themes, and it isa real physical relationship with nature, with the wilds intrudingthe perimeter of the Canadian consciousness. The book is very comicalespecially in various instances when the animal seems to act betterthan human beings do. A good example is when the bear waffles after afart. This is expected of people and not animals and therefore theact of the bear is highly comical and a point that leaves all theaudience laughing. It is the nature of many animals to leave theirwaste anyhow and therefore it is very surprising to see the bearwaffle after a fart.
Ruralversus urban is among the themes in many Canadian literatures.Many of the Canadian literatures try to show the distinction oflife in urban and the local areas. A good example is the Bear wherebythe experience of Luo is very different while in the urbanarea of Ontario than while in the wildness. After taking theflight from Ontario to the island, her life seems to take U-turn andthe new change seems to lead to her personal growth. While shelived in the urban areas, she had never experienced a relationshipwith animals unlike in the island where she has entered in to asexual relationship with animals. The isolation in the islandis what leads her to cultivate a very strong relationship with thebear. With isolation and loneliness in the island, the relationshipwith the bear seems to be the only remedy to her and that is why shestrives to ensure that the relationship with the animal is strong. Inthe isolated island, she learns many things, which would have beendifficult, while in the urban area. For example, she learns to relatewith animals and even live for long without interactions with otherhumans. Like in most Canadian genre, solitude and loneliness arediscussed in this novel. This is very evident in the life of Lou, shehas been lonely, and in solitude for long, that she finds no morepleasure in living with human beings. Her relationship with wildanimals seems to be very satisfying compared to the relationship withher fellow human beings. Because of this, she allows the wild bear tolick her vagina and even engage in sexual intercourse. This seems tobe more satisfying than the relationship between her and the HomerCampbell, her fellow human being.
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