“ Volkswagen Blues ” , published in 1984, is a route novel written by French-Canadian writer Jacques Poulin. During the novel, we follow the supporter, a author under the pen-name Jacques Waterman, in his hunt for his alienated brother Theo. Near the start of his journey, Jacques picks up a hitchhiker named Pitsemine, who is a immature Metis adult female who is nicknamed “ La Grande Sauterelle ” , and her cat Chop Suey. After this, the twosome embark on the journey from Gaspe to San Francisco, going through many of the big North American metropoliss such as Toronto and Chicago, in order to happen Theo. As the narrative unfolds, it is clear that the novel is far more than entirely a narrative about happening Jacques ‘ brother, it is clear that it contains many metaphorical characteristics which give the reader much information about the relationships between the White Francophone and the autochthonal population of North America. Furthermore, Poulin gives us an penetration on the geographic expedition of the continent by the Europeans and the autochthonal people ‘s attitudes towards them.
In order to analyze the novel as an geographic expedition of the resonance between Francophones and autochthonal North Americans, we must put it in its historical context so we can analyze the attitudes of the two populations during this period. The old ten old ages before the novel was published were an of import clip in the effort to set up a peaceable relationship between the changing populations in Quebec. In 1976, the political party “ Parti Quebecois ” came to power in Quebec under the leading of Rene Levesque. This signalled purpose from the population of Quebec for a referendum on national sovereignty, and this was granted in 1980 when a public ballot took topographic point to make up one’s mind the hereafter of Quebec. However, the result was a licking for those encouraging national sovereignty as they merely earned 40 % of the ballot, although this still showed there was a big divide in sentiment amongst the people of Quebec. Furthermore, in 1982, two old ages before the publication of the novel, tensenesss amongst the separate populations increased further when Quebec refused to sign the footings of Canada ‘s new fundamental law. This historical information Tells us that the metaphorical issues of integrating and multiculturalism were at the head of the political docket during the period which the novel was written and published. Therefore it seems sensible to take these political characteristics as the chief subject of the novel and finally this is why Poulin wrote the narrative.
Furthermore, the chief characters of the narrative entirely, without even sing the events that unfold, tell us much about the political motivations of the book. For illustration, the chief supporter Jacques Waterman is a in-between category author who has no clear background and apparently no true foundations in Quebec. Pitsemine is Metis who appears rather independent with many competencies, for illustration she is a machinist who has driven lorrys. Straight off we can detect the diverseness within the Quebec part, and possibly Pitsemine ‘s skilfulness as opposed to Waterman ‘s passiveness is a message conveyed by the writer in order to underscore that any racism in Quebec towards the native population is baseless.
Furthermore, this twosome come together from the two separate groups in order to travel on a seeking journey, it is clear that Poulin intended this hunt as a metaphor for the political and cultural state of affairs in Quebec. The two supporters are non entirely seeking for Theo, but many different elements which Quebec as a whole is besides seeking for in the period in which the novel is written. They follow in the footfalls of the early European inventors of North America in hunt of wealth and prosperity, the storyteller mentions the fabulous, aureate metropolis of Eldorado in order to reenforce this. Furthermore, the supporters are besides embarking through North America in order to clear up their individualities, they are on a hunt to happen out who they genuinely are. This component is besides relevant for Quebec in this epoch as it was get downing to oppugn its individuality and topographic point in America as a consequence of the big diverseness that exists. Furthermore, the chief intent of the journey is to happen Theo who it seems is symbolic in the same facets as the United States in the elements of freedom and autonomy, he has left Quebec and is hence deemed as free and making as he pleases, once more this is a metaphor for something that Quebec is looking for.
However, there are many other facets which support the position that the novel is an geographic expedition of the relationships of the different populations in Quebec. For illustration, Poulin makes usage of both English and French in order to reenforce the multiple ethnicities of the part. This underlines to the reader that in many ways the two linguistic communications run side by side peacefully, nevertheless there is besides an implicit in feeling of independency of civilizations and linguistic communication which can sometimes do division. It could be said that Poulin is seeking to convey the message that if the two linguistic communications can travel together in the novel so there is no ground as to why they ca n’t co-exist in world. Furthermore, during their journey, Jacques and Pitsemine meet many monolingual Americans, for illustration the bull rider ‘s married woman, and Jacques struggles to pass on efficaciously in English. This could be deduced as an allusion to the domination of English in modern North America and could possibly suggest to Quebec that they should seek to continue the Francophone tradition at that place. Furthermore, despite Jacques ‘ improbably competent ability in his native linguistic communication, Gallic, the reader is told of his battle with English, we know that he is an intelligent adult male as he has had many books published. It could be said that this is a metaphor for the division that exists between Francophones and Anglophones in Quebec and how hard it could be to incorporate the two groups into eachother.
However, during the journey we can detect that Jacques and Pitsemine are non ever certain that they are traveling in the right way and frequently acquire lost. Furthermore, they are non wholly certain of the end of the journey and this is much the same of the journey of Quebec and the population who live in it. This uncertainness is reflected in Jacques as he does non needfully understand the chief ground as to why he is looking for Theo, who he has non spoken with for many old ages and is merely a memory inside his caput. It is possible that the writer is seeking to convey the message that Quebec is besides unsure of how it wants its journey to complete. Much of the population of the part at the clip were naming for independency from Canada, nevertheless many people were besides opposed to this, besides a big figure of people were naming for better integrating of the cultural groups of Quebec, once more many people were against this as they wanted to protect the alone civilizations.
At the terminal of the journey, the twosome find Theo and to their surprise he is enduring from memory loss and palsy, he is unable to retrieve his brother. However, as a consequence of this, Jacques finds the inspiration to compose a new book and he apparently has a fresher mentality on life, as though he is eventually affirmed as to his true individuality. Furthermore, the twosome terminal up holding a instead doubting position of the ideological American dream, possibly because they have travelled such a long manner through the huge land of North America merely to happen Theo terminally ill instead than the wealth and prosperity that they had hoped for.
Therefore, in decision, it is apparent that “ Volkswagen Blues ” has far more depth than merely being a narrative about a adult male and his friend sailing about North America looking for his long doomed brother, but a sophisticated, politically and culturally metaphorical novel about the relationships amongst the ethnically diverse populations of North America and the hereafter of the first scene of the novel, Quebec. We can infer from the many facets of the narrative, such as linguistic communication and characters, that like much Quebecois literature of this epoch, there are outstanding political characteristics and messages throughout the full novel.
Postcolonialism in North America: Imaginative Colonization in Henry David Thoreau ‘s “ A Yankee in Canada ” and Jacques Poulin ‘s “ Volkswagen Bluess ”
Adam Paul Weisman, The Massachusetts Review, Vol. 36, No. 3 ( Autumn, 1995 ) , pp. 477-500.
The Quebec Novel Today: Multiple Positions, Mary Jean Green, The Gallic Review, Vol. 67, No. 6, Particular Issue on Quebec ( May, 1994 ) , pp. 922-92.
Volkswagen Bluess: Rebirth through communicating, Andrea Portt, Guelph, A Vol 2, No 2 ( 2009 ) .
Writing against cognizing, composing against certainty ; or what ‘s truly under the gallery in Jacques Poulin ‘s Volkswagen Blues, Roger Hyman, Journal of Canadian Studies ( 1999 )