Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 375
In Maria Chapdelaine, Louis Hemon uses different suitors to showcase different possible lifestyles that a young French-Canadian woman could have. Each potential marriage offers a different kind of life but ultimately she has to decide which is right for her and her family. The lifestyle offered by each suitor can be seen as represented by his character.
Francois is young love that doesn't offer any kind of settlement. He's quick to speak and act without a lot of thought for the future. He doesn't offer Maria a specific kind of life beyond promising that he won't be a bad husband. When his father died, he sold the farm and went into trapping and trading--neither of which would offer Maria a stable life. Though she feels the most for him, when he dies in the wilderness he and the life he offered are removed as an option.
Lorenzo is an exciting, urban love that would take Maria away from the harsh wilderness and give her a new life in the city. He's quick to speak of his feelings, boasts about his life in the city, and promises her that they'll have a good life together. Maria has never lived outside the wilderness. She was raised on farms that her father built up from the earth. She's interested in what he has to offer--especially because it takes her away from the land that killed Francois--but ultimately sees that the fast-paced city lifestyle isn't what she's meant for. Her parents and family created a life in the wilderness and she is meant to do so as well.
Eutrope offers Maria the kind of steady, unwavering love and life that her parents had. He's their neighbor and has been working to create his farm nearby with his brother. He isn't quick to speak. He's steady and doesn't offer flowery words of love. He's honest that life with him will be full of hard work and sacrifice. Ultimately, though, these characteristics and the life he has to offer are what Maria chooses. She listens to her father as he tells her of her recently-deceased mother's bravery and work ethic. She can see the same kind of future with Eutrope and ultimately chooses him and the Canadian wilderness over the city.
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