Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 214
Barometer Rising by Hugh MacLennan can be read in two ways: as a realist-style fiction or as a mythological fable. While both are contradictory, both interpretations of the book are actually two layers superimposed on each other. The tone of the book is realistic in terms of details, but the author also uses elements that are more commonly found in fables and mythology canons, such as the author's omniscience, which is a literary method used to insert the author's personal views through the characters.
If Barometer Rising is interpreted as an allegory, the central theme would be Canada's creation—such as the creation stories found in other cultures or in religious texts—and the creation of the modern Canadian identity.
When the protagonist—who is half-American of English-descent and half-Scottish Canadian—loses his memory in Europe, the author uses the character's predicament to explore and articulate his thoughts on creating the Canadian identity. The protagonist's memory loss is like a blank piece of paper that the author could write his thesis on.
In the end, MacLennan, through the protagonist, concludes that Canada could be a kind of cultural and political bridge linking the Anglosphere—The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and their respective English-speaking colonies—to create a unified world order.
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