What are the conclusions in these Canadian short stories? "Do Seek Their Meat from God" by Charles G. D. Roberts "The Desjardins" by Duncan Campbell Scott

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The conclusion to "Do Seek Their Meat from God" is a duality: for one focalized group, it concludes happily while for the second focalized group, it ends tragically. This short story tells the tale of a family of panthers and a family of people. The panther's behaviors are motivated by the need to locate their next meal which will end their fast. The people's behaviors are motivated by the desire to seek out friends and the need to have food supplies at hand.

For the panthers, who pursue their natural feeding instincts and who find a young boy trapped in the dark in an abandoned hut, it ends tragically when both female and male are shot. For the humans, who find each other against their baser instincts yet in accord with their higher instincts--which win out over the baser ones--it ends happily when the father finds he has unwittingly saved his own son (instead of his son's rejected friend) from being torn alive by the panthers. The ironic climax of the panther's tragedy is that later, the man finds the two panther cubs lying dead in their den.

The conclusion to "The Desjardins" is comically tragic though the tragedy is brought about by fate, not external foes, and is a repeating and repeating one. With a whispered family history of mental illness that is attested to by Adèle as true, "'It has come!' sobbed Adèle," Charles becomes more and more studious, withdraw and solitary. Adèle finds a sweetheart who is courting her as they walk over the bridge of the River Blanche that symbolically cuts off the family when it floods and breaches its banks. Philippe finds a woman whom he anxiously waits to see each Sunday.

Then Charles proclaims that he is Napoleon Bonaparte (with none of the humor attached to the contemporary cliche). After Philippe's decision to cut themselves off, "'We must cut ourselves off; we must be the last of our race'," and his promise to guard Charles, the seasons roll by while Charles over and over again enacts Bonaparte's battles against Russia. After a long confinement in bed, he recognizes Adèle, holds her face in his hands, kisses her, then with the snow, again makes his plans against Russia. The cycle broke for one ray of reality, then closed over his derangement in a comically tragic yet symbolic truth.

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