Robertson Davies American Literature Analysis
Any understanding of Robertson Davies’ literary achievement must begin with an acknowledgment of the significance of his nationality to his art. Canada plays a vitally important role in Davies’ fiction. His complicated, even contradictory attitude of pride in his country and concern over its provincialism are significant and persistent threads that bring many of his novels together. Early twentieth century life in small-town Ontario is seldom idealized in Davies’ novels; instead, he scrupulously depicts it as difficult and insular. The squabbling and petty insecurities of the members of the Salterton Little Theatre are presented for comic effect in Tempest-Tost, but Davies, who had real-life experience working with such groups and in promoting the arts in places such as the fictional Salterton, would certainly have disdained such pretensions.
Provincial attitudes reign in Davies’ fictional small towns, along with rumor and gossip, and the protagonists who hail from these places seem eager to leave their limited worlds behind and reluctant to return. In terms of religion, interdenominational distrust and rivalry are recurring themes. When protagonists do return to visit their hometowns, the visits are frequently brief and uncomfortable, as when Dunstan Ramsay returns from the Great War in Fifth Business. However, Davies is fair; he willingly showcases the best things small towns have to offer, neighborly charity chief among them....
(The entire section is 2703 words.)
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