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Can you please describe the characterization in these Canadian short stories? "Do Seek...

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pashti | Student, Undergraduate | Valedictorian

Posted February 12, 2013 at 7:14 PM via web

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Can you please describe the characterization in these Canadian short stories?

"Do Seek Their Meat from God" by Charles G. D. Roberts

“The Desjardins" by Duncan Campbell Scott

“Last Spring They Came Over" by Morley Callaghan

“One-Two-Three Little Indians" by Hugh Garner

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K.P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted March 3, 2013 at 10:43 PM (Answer #1)

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[The eNotes format and purpose allows for only brief discussion of detailed questions but can get you started.]

"Do Seek Their Meat from God" has two focalizations. The first is the panthers who are sympathetically observed and characterized as though through the eye of a naturalist: their behavior is given no suggestion of being negative or willfully malicious. Through pathetic fallacy (a type of personification), emotions are ascribed to them through the sound of their cries and their actions.

That terrible cry, ... was a summons to his mate, telling her that the hour had come when they should seek their prey. ... The male walked around her in fierce and anxious amazement.

In addition, the man who owns the "substantial frame-house," who is father to the darkness trapped boy, and his son are characterized through their actions and desires but also through their own cries or assertions. The man commands and restricts; his son seeks a lost friend; the boy chokingly cries in terror; the man drops his desires and his bundle and goes to rescue a boy with an unknown identity.

In "The Desjardins" characterization follows the standards of Realism, as is true of "Do Seek Their Meat." Philippe, Adèle and Charles are characterized through their interests--walks, piano, study, isolation, courting--and through their thoughts and emotions. For instance, Charles knows he will be protected by his brothers touch in his hair:

Charles dropped on his knees ....  Philippe, ... thrust his fingers into his brother's brown hair. ... [Charles] knew ... his brother would guard him.

In "Last Spring They Came," the brothers are characterized in their public and their private personas. In private, they laugh and have jokes with each other and write imaginative letters home about things that may not have happened exactly as told. In public, they err and are duped and criticized. In public, they are failures who cannot perform their jobs. In private, they are unable to adapt because death comes before the next spring: last spring they came.

In "One-Two-Three Little Indians" Mary is characterized in a stereotypical way as the irresponsible night-clubbing wife who is unconcerned for her baby; she is at a nightclub when the baby dies. Tom is characterized more psychologically revealing his feelings and motivating thoughts. Tom is characterized as being exploited by tourists while capitalizing on it by exploiting them. His motive for accepting exploitation is a noble one: he tries to raise money off the tourists for his baby's medical care.


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