Summary (Masterplots, Definitive Revised Edition)
Maria Chapdelaine was a French-Canadian girl whose family lived in the northern part of Quebec province near Lake St. John, a country to which spring came very late in the year and the winters, always severe, came too soon. Maria’s father, Samuel Chapdelaine, had moved his family several times to new locations in the north country. Each time, he hoped to get away from neighbors and civilization, for he was a man who took great delight in the hard work of clearing land from the wilderness but disliked to farm that land after it had been won.
When she was in her late teens, Maria Chapdelaine was sent to spend part of one winter with relatives in town. Her father met her on her return to Peribonka, the settlement nearest to the farm, and they stayed in the village overnight in order to attend church before leaving for their home in the wilderness. At church, they met Francois Paradis, a young man who had lived near the Chapdelaines in another location some years before: Young Francois, who had last seen Maria seven years earlier when she was as yet a child, was much impressed by her beauty and manner, and promised to visit the Chapdelaines soon. When he appeared at their house ten days later, Maria learned for the first time of the age-old difference between those men who are born farmers and those who are born pioneers, between those who seek an ordered life cultivating the land, and those who are only happy with a life of adventure and wandering. Maria...
(The entire section is 1238 words.)
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