Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 360
Within Hugh MacLennan’s Barometer Rising, there are a few important quotes that show the author’s almost nationalist view of Canada. The novel takes place in Nova Scotia during World War I, and revolves around the lives of Neil Macrae and Penelope Wain.
In the first chapter, “Sunday”, MacLennan shows the reader Nova Scotia. MacLennan starts by unashamedly tying the character of Neil directly to the city of Halifax.
The war had made as big a change in him as it seemed to have made in Halifax.
The reader is meant to see the beauty in Canada and feel the pride that Neil has for his homeland.
The details of Halifax were dim in the fading light but the contours were clear and he had forgotten how good they were. The Great Glacier had once packed, scraped, and riven this whole land; it had gouged out the harbour and left as a legacy three drumlins the hill on which he stood and two islands in the harbour itself. Halifax covers the whole of an oval peninsula, and the Citadel is about in the centre of it.
Through Neil the reader gains an appreciation for this Canadian patriotism.
As his eyes shifted from the dull floor of the distant sea to this shredding blaze of glory crowning the continent, he felt an unexpected wave of exultation mount in his mind.
With this quote the reader is given the beauty that Neil sees in his beloved country. This is immediately followed with his pride for being born Canadian.
Merely to have been born on the western side of the ocean gave a man something for which the traditions of the Old World could never compensate. This western land was his own country. He had forgotten how it was, but now he was back, and to be able to remain was worth risking everything.
MacLennan’s novel is full of descriptions of places from Halifax, Nova Scotia—meant to show the beauty of his country, his Canada. Not only is Canada painted so beautifully by the author, but his characters are walking representations of what he feels it means to be Canadian.
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