Explain the theme of isolation/alienation in Gabrielle Roy's The Tin Flute. Provide relevant examples from the story.

The themes of isolation and alienation in Gabrielle Roy's The Tin Flute stems from Florentine's desire to escape life with her impoverished family, find love, and elevate her social status.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I would argue that our protagonist, Florentine Lacasse, was isolated from the life she wanted rather than being isolated in the sense of being lonely. She is part of a huge family with her eleventh sibling being on the way, but the family is extremely poor, and many of her siblings do not even have necessities like shoes. Florentine dreams of breaking free of the shackles of poverty and climbing the social ladder until she is able to live a comfortable life surrounded by high society, rather than by her impoverished family. In other words, she feels alienated from her family as a result of her aspirations.

Florentine briefly believes that she has found everything she has been looking for when she meets Jean Lévesque, who flirts with her at work and asks her out on a date. When he stands her up, however, her feelings of isolation and alienation return with force, and leads to her throwing herself at him, which ultimately has devastating consequences.

Finding herself pregnant after being raped by Lévesque, she turns to Emmanuel, Jean's friend who had fallen in love with her, and marries him not for love, but for his ability to provide for her and be deceived into believing that he is the father of Florentine's child.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial