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Assignment 3:7 Hyper-Linking Green Grass Running Water.



The purpose of this assignment was to hyperlink a chosen section from Green Grass Running Water, for this task I have chosen pages 101-114.



Assignment 3:7 Hyper-Linking Green Grass Running Water.

The purpose of this assignment was to hyperlink a chosen section from Green Grass Running Water, for this task I have chosen pages 101-114.


I chose this section as it best represented the two distinct narrative aspects utilized in this book. It begins with a series of short chapters all pertaining to the repeated attempts to share First Nations origins stories with a twist. This particular section begins with Ishmael adding the falling of Changing Woman into Noah’s arc, although Noah is not named, which differs from the tradition of Changing Woman landing on a turtle’s back. This is yet another exchange where King is challenging the conflict between First Nations beliefs and the imposing Christian equivalents. The scene than shifts to the Dead Dog Café; a place that is relevant solely by its name. There are some accounts from settlers and American generals, most notably general George Custer, that First Nations peoples were known to eat their dogs. It should be noted here that in Custer’s accounts this act is attributed to desperation, as there was a major food shortage among the First Nations peoples he encountered. This passage shows many good examples of the interplay between past and present, and the references that he uses to tie his characters and storylines together.




Lone Ranger:

            The Lone Ranger is a fictional character that was made famous through his original appearance on radio broadcasts in the 1930’s. From here the legend only grew, and the story of this fictional Texas Ranger was adopted in the genre of film in the 1950’s. Significant here is the Lone Ranger’s Indian sidekick Tonto. In Green Grass Running Water (GGRW) King has Changing Woman playing the role of the Lone Ranger. On numerous occasions she escapes the prison in Florida by donning her Lone Ranger mask and walking out the front door. There is irony in the fact that King has chosen to adorn Changing Woman in the mask of a hero who was said to be a Texas Ranger, a group that was designed to police the frontier, in many cases they came in direct conflict with various American Indian groups. His presence in the book also draws reference to a photo shoot that King was involved with where he dressed First Nations peoples in Lone Ranger masks.



            Hawkeye was yet another reference that King was making to famous European pioneers who had some involvement with American Indians. His real name was Clyde Hopkins, and he was most notable for his aptitude when it came to being a woodsman, and his knowledge of the “Indian” ways. I find it interesting that King ties the four ‘Old Indians’ together by naming them after four non-First Nations characters. Besides Hawkeye and the Lone Ranger, Ishmael and Robinson Crusoe were the other two that will be explored later in this blog. It is almost as if King is reasserting the importance of First Nations people by imposing the names of “white” heroes upon the four pivotal characters in his book.


Robinson Crusoe:

            The third character we are introduced to in this section is Robinson Crusoe. This of course is a direct reference to the character made famous in Daniel Dafoe’s early 18th century work. Crusoe, the character in the novel, is constantly being mocked for his attention to detail and his penchant for making lists. I believe this is a critique to the systematic methods used in North America to divide and conquer this continent’s original inhabitants. The plotting of land, and in general the premise of land ownership, juxtaposes the traditional practices and beliefs of the First Nations peoples North America wide.



            The fourth of the old Indians was named Ishmael, his name being a direct reference to the biblical character and the narrator in Melville’s Moby Dick. Notable here is that Ishmael tells of the adapted legend in which Changing Woman lands in Noah’s ark. I think the use of Ishmael, particularly in his nautical capacity in Moby Dick, is a smart choice for this particular aspect of the novel. Even more appropriate is the mockery of the Christian legends and beliefs surrounding the Ark, that appear later in the novel as Ishmael continues his tale.




            Coyote is a character that we have become quite familiar with in this course, and I find him to be one of the most interesting characters in this novel. Coyote is a trickster who plays a prevalent role in many First Nations’ mythologies. He is often portrayed as devious or cunning, constantly creating havoc, but always there for important events. In this novel he represents the ties between the past and modern traditions. He is viewed in many First Nations mythologies, specifically the Cherokee, as having belonged to an ancient mythical race of human beings. He is said to have been there at the beginning of the world. King also makes this claim, but takes it further by stating that Coyote was indeed there, but he was in the middle of a dream where he meets Dog, who turns out to be God. In this exchange Coyote tries to make sense of Dog’s claims of wanting to be a big dog, ultimately poking fun at the Christian notion of superiority over other groups and belief structures.


Changing Woman (First Woman)

            Changing Woman is a common figure in many First Nations creation stories; she is believed by the Seneca to have fallen from the sky and landed on a turtle’s back. This led to the creation of Turtle Island, and the subsequent creation of the earth. In this novel she is placed in the mythical Genesis story that King presents. She is credited with the creation of the First Garden, and seems to pay little mind to God who pursues her while attempting to prevent her from eating the fruit in the garden during his vain attempts to evict her. Similar to the Genesis story, she is there with her partner, the first man, who is referred to in a more phonetic spelling of his name, Adahmn.



            Adahmn is present in the first Garden with Changing Woman, and subsequently plays a similar role in King’s work to that of his role in Genesis. I also think that King is having some fin with his audience in the spelling of Adahmn’s name, primarily because the pinnacle of this story is the destruction of the dam, blocked by Eli Stands Alone.


Dead Dog Cafe:

            The Dead Dog Cafe is yet another one of King’s jokes. On the surface the name of the restaurant is making fun of the belief that the Blackfoot people commonly ate their dogs. As earlier stated, I believe that this myth came from quotes by General George Custer, and others, who witnessed American Indians have to resort to eating dogs when food was scarce.  Flick also believes this to be a play on Nietzsche’s belief that god was dead, which also ties into the ongoing struggle between First Nations and Christian ideologies and practices throughout GGRW. The Dead Dog Café is also the name of a long-running comedy show on the CBC that King was known for.


Eli Stand Alone:

            Eli Stand Alone is the man who left his reserve to pursue life in a Canadian, non-traditional, manner. He left the reserve and moved to Toronto to complete his education, became a professor, and upon his retirement chose to return to his mother’s cabin. In doing so he defied the government by refusing to leave his house, which was the only obstacle blocking the completing of the aforementioned dam. Flick also believes that he is based on Elijah Harper, the man who singlehandedly blocked the ratification of the Meech Lake Accord by refusing to sign it. He represents the longevity of First Nations culture, and shows his strength via his passive resistance to the expansion of Western ways and the encroachment onto First Nations territories.


Clifford Sifton:

Sir Clifford Sifton was a major proponent of Western settlement, and in this novel the perfect foil to Eli Stands Alone. The real-life Clifford Sifton served as the Minister of Indian Affairs under Wilfred Laurier (1896), and he wholeheartedly championed the settlement of First Nations peoples in reserves, and of pioneers in the west. Another level of irony that King presents in GGRW is the running dialogue, and frequent conversations, between Eli and Sifton. In real life Sifton was deaf, making the causal, and constant, conversations between the two men quite unlikely.


General Notes:

A repetitive theme in GGRW, as well as many other of Kings works, is the fluidity of First Nations belief structures; which he repetitively juxtaposes against the rigid Christian belief structure. As this article in the Encyclopedia Britannica explains the belief structures of North America’s First Nations groups was not only fluid, but also regionally diverse. This aspect would make the understanding and the acceptance of the more rigid Christian ideals even more unintelligible to First Nations peoples, which adds another level of complexity to King’s commentary.


Works Cited

Aboriginal Tourism BC. 2016. 25 July 2016 <>.


Flick, Jane. Green Grass Running Water Reading Notes. Toronto: Harper Collins, 1994.


Sulivan, Lawerence E. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 04 March 2016. 25 July 2016 <>.


Weisleder, Barry. Dead Dog Cafe. 2014. 25 July 2016 <>.


Wikipedia: Lone Ranger. 25 07 2016 <>.


Wilson-Smith, Anthony. Historica Canada. 25 July 2016 <>.


—. Historica Canada. 25 July 2016. <>.


xroads: Changing Woman. Virginia Press. 25 July 2016 <>.



Eng 470 Assignment 3-7 Hyperlinking GGRW



  1. Coyote Pedagogy is a term sometimes used to describe King’s writing strategies (Margery Fee and Jane Flick). Discuss your understanding of the role of Coyote in the novel.

Coyote is one of the more intriguing characters in this novel, and also in the spectrum of readings that we have had in this course.  In Green Grass Running Water he is positioned as the creator, or at the least present when the world began.  He plays a pivotal role in the novel, by this I mean he is always present, but often outside of the regular narrative.  I read his appearance as an ‘outsider’ to be King’s commentary on the ignorance of the ‘new spiritual powers’ (western religions) to recognize the pedagogy of the first nations traditional teachings.  Though King challenges this notion with the conversation between Coyote and Dog, and further illustrates when Dog, who refers to himself as god, who asserts that he wishes to be the more important figure.  In paralleling Coyote and Dog, he positions Coyote as the First Nations equivalent of the creator to juxtapose the christian equivalent in god.  You can draw further parallels in the chaos that Coyote has attributed to his actions, and the fact that water, symbolizing great floods, appears wherever Coyote appears.  This appears to be an obvious reference to the biblical flooding that is attributed to the will of god.

Coyote is almost always referred to as a catalyst, and true to form, he is present at the climax of the novel when the dam finally breaks.  It should also be mentioned that the other four characters of note, the old ‘Indians’ choose Western names to identify themselves.  This notion is presented in a manner that shows the adaptability of the First Nations people in accepting and absorbing new and strange structures into their worlds.  In contrast to this, Coyote does not assume any western name, he simply is Coyote.  This sets him somewhat above the rest, if a hierarchy were to be constructed.  Though it appears that his travelling companions at times are annoyed with Coyote, there constant references to his placement during key events in the history of the world actually state Coyote’s claim to be of an ancient race, and assert his importance in creation.  This conforms with the duality that Coyote represents; on one hand he is a pivotal figure in creation stories, yet by his very nature he needs to be handled with care, for his actions often lead to unforeseen events.

Coyote represents the bridge between old and new traditions.  He remains active and relevant in current events as they happen, but at the same time his involvement in the early history of the world is repetitively confirmed.  Coyote is the character that enhances the relevance of the modern narrative in the novel, while still affirming the traditional First Nations belief structures and traditions.


Question 3:


“For this blog assignment, I would like you to explain why it is that Scott’s highly active role in the purposeful destruction of Indigenous people’s cultures is not relevant for Frye in his observations above? You will find your answers in Frye’s discussion on the problem of ‘historical bias’ (216) and in his theory of the forms of literature as closed systems (234 –5).”



I believe that the irrelevance of Scott’s role in the “purposeful destruction of indigenous people’s cultures” lies in the cycle of detachment that derives from the closed literary forms in Canadian writing. Frye speaks of a group of writers that gets their motivation from their own experience, but lacks the tools to translate these into relevant literary works. In a more direct manner, the Canadian authors lack a sense of cultural unity, and are often writing more in the image of European roots rather than their own unique literary identity.


Frye also speaks of the closed, nearly out of touch, nature of the writer’s work. Within this paradigm Scott would be able to lament the decline of the “noble savage” in one instance, than play an active role in legislation that created, in reality, the circumstances of his poetry. Furthermore, Frye is a literary critic, albeit with his own political opinions, but his focus when critiquing Scott would have very little interest in Scott’s political leanings. In essence, the same vacuum that Canadian authors exist in, being disjointed and lacking of plot in their works, would allow Frye to overlook the ‘real world’ work that Scott did in favour of the fictional literature that Scott created. In the same way that Frye says that “Even when it is literature in its orthodox genres of poetry and fiction, it is more significantly studied as part of Canadian life than as part of an autonomous world of literature.” (Frye 216) This would allow Frey to separate the subject matter of Scott’s poetry from the parallels that existed in his political world.

4] In the last lesson I ask some of you, “what is your first response to Robinson’s story about the white and black twins in context with our course theme of investigating intersections where story and literature meet.” I asked, what do you make of this “stolen piece of paper”? Now that we have contextualized that story with some historical narratives and explored ideas about questions of authenticity and the necessity to “get the story right” – how have your insights into that story changed?



After completing this week’s readings I am compelled to say that I no longer read the original story, at least in order of presentation in this class, as a legend, but as a historical narrative. It certainly does not fit into the Western interpretation of history, but it does serve as an entry point to both a past occurrence, although impossible to prove, and a bridge to the post-contact colonial world. By this I mean that after reading the story of Coyote and the King, the ongoing narrative, which is common to oral story telling traditions and practices, provides the context for the second reading.


The main characters are again Coyote (the black twin) and the King (the white one). In this case the older twin (Coyote) has the upper hand, and gets his way over his younger brother, at least initially. The law is written on paper as coyote wants, and the terms are to be sent to what is Canada to be read when the First Nations peoples become literate. This certainly differs from the first tale, at least in the beginning, in that the older brother appears to be in control. Though we soon learn that this is yet another trick by the younger brother, in that the documents end up being locked away and their contents do not become accessible to the First Nations people as they were intended to be.


Arguably, the story is fictional, but the direct correlation to real world events, and the still large divide between European powers and First Nations groups is clearly illustrated in both of these stories. The information, in the form of laws, is still being hidden from Coyote’s peoples, and the balance of power still sits in the deceptive ‘white” peoples hands. The political commentary is succinct, and the method of delivery (direct transcription from Robinson’s words) adds to the power of the message in the story.


After this weeks readings both stories, the origin story and the follow up, represent a voice that needs to be heard. It commands one to recognize that there was an established culture, with their own ways and practices, well before the arrival of settlers in North America. It is the time to listen, and not just with our ears, but with our hearts and minds. Once this occurs then, and only then, can a true dialogue develop, and the potential for reconciliation, perhaps a societal do-over, can occur.

For this post I have chosen to tackle the following question.

“If Europeans were not from the land of the dead, or the sky, alternative explanations which were consistent with indigenous cosmologies quickly developed” (“First Contact43). Robinson gives us one of those alternative explanations in his stories about how Coyote’s twin brother stole the “written document” and when he denied stealing the paper, he was “banished to a distant land across a large body of water” (9). We are going to return to this story, but for now – what is your first response to this story? In context with our course theme of investigating intersections where story and literature meet, what do you make of this stolen piece of paper? This is an open-ended question and you should feel free to explore your first thoughts.”


After completing all of the readings lesson 2:2, I was immediately intrigued by question 5. The concept of two twins, one light skinned and one dark skinned, of the same basic ancestry is both interesting and problematic for me. On one hand it is presented in the form of an origin story, and therefore contains many unrealistic components (such as animals with agency). On the other hand it does relate to my personal beliefs about a similar origin of all people on the planet.


My initial point of contention is caused by the negative representation of the white twin, which in the context of Robinson’s story is an obvious reference to the European colonizers who came to North America from the 11th century to the 19th century. This story, and its perspective, directly challenges the ‘Europeanized’ version of history, and therefore the civilization, that we in North America have been raised on. The fact that I initially felt this way leads to a second conflict, a deep understanding of the sentiment buried in this particular origin tale. Drawing back to the aboriginal belief in having a connection with all aspects of life, it only makes sense that the coming of the ‘white’ man to their lands would seamlessly fit into their narrative. I have been so conditioned to believe in the correctness of European accounts, that a rational response, from a completely different perspective, could initially seem threatening to my preconceived notions of first contact narratives.


When thinking specifically about the stolen piece of paper, I am drawn towards the conclusion that what was written on that paper was not important, as the paper symbolized the ability to write, something that was not prevalent among aboriginal groups in Canada prior to European contact. Wickwire makes reference to this in her introduction to Harry Robinson’s stories, in particular where she states Robinson’s belief that if the twin had not stolen that paper, Robinson’s ancestors would have known how to write and the Europeans wouldn’t have. This sentiment also highlights the ongoing friction between the first inhabitants of Canada, and the invading Europeans who alienated them upon their arrival. The importance of this particular narrative to Robinson, as highlighted by his multiple renditions of this story, indirectly express aboriginal resentment to the usurpation and assimilation attempts of European settlers.


I can’t also help but notice how the oral tradition of compiling history and origin through stories has survived well into the age of literature. I think it speaks to the importance of tradition to the first inhabitants of North America, and the underlying strength of their cultural beliefs and practices to have endured this long in an environment where every effort was made to extinguish said beliefs and practices.


I welcome any feedback on this post.



After reading through more than the required 3 blogs, I have come up with a list of common themes that have run through a majority of the stories that I read.  The predominant theme that I encountered was that of belonging.  Home is a place where you were able to be you.  It was where acceptance and understanding was the norm.  In many of the stories I read this was directly correlated with the people, and the many memorable events and activities that took place there.  I did find that in many of the stories that I read, the more stationary the home (ie. long term common residences), the more the stories tended to commemorate the individuals and the events that they shared.  In many cases this led to an association, or in many cases a presence, even in the absence of the friends and family members that the moments were shared with.  In contrast, those that spoke of constant move and change, tended to comment more on the common aspects of home that moved with them from place to place.  This included the individuals, and specific items, that helped them connect with what home meant to them.

The second most common thread was the contrast between the inclusion of home, and in many cases where moving was a common feature in their lives, the exclusion of new cities and towns (the outside world).  This can both be attached to physical items, mementos and the likes, as well as the experiences and personalities that occurred when growing up.

If I were to sum up the general tone of the stories that I read it would be as follows:  Home is the place where personalities were able to develop in a safe and inclusive environment.  The safety led to many positive associations, and the general feeling of belonging.  These aspects were made even more prevalent with increased amounts of moving, or in many cases the struggles of dealing with new surroundings, and different cultures and their ways.  Home is the foundation on which each individual, both personality wise and experientially, is formed.  For those who have had a more consistent place of residence, it became a foundational place to set out and explore the world.  To those who struggled with constant change, or external pressures, it became a place to be.  Somewhere that all was right, and that provide safety, comfort and support in facing their external challenges.


It started out like every other day. She rolled out of bed, made her coffee, and perched herself in her favourite spot on the east-facing patio.


To Stella, the east is where the day is born. The sun first appears, its golden rays gently coaxing the world into action. To her, this signifies the importance of positivity and light. It wasn’t long ago that everything in her life seemed perfect. Perfect job, perfect family, she had it all. As she gave into this train of thought, she thought back to her early childhood.


She had a stable, if unspectacular childhood. She was not overly popular, but she was liked well enough. She would never be described as an exhilarating person, but rather as safe, stable and reliable. It was in this mediocrity that she thrived.   Her home life was much the same; her parents had seemingly been together forever. Sure, they had their share of tense moments, but they always seemed to come out the other side of them. While inspiration was not their strong suit, love and stability was. Thinking back on it, a smile starting to appear on her face. She always felt safe at home, regardless of what was happening in the outside world. Her foundation was solid, there was always mom and dad, there was always her childhood fortress; these things all added up to her sense of home. It was when she was deep in this thought, that very precious moment, when the phone rang.


Stella glanced at her watch, it was only 8am; for a moment she hesitated as the sun was just clearing the top of the forest behind her house. That glorious moment when one feels in touch with nature, the warmth of the sun providing the same sense of security for her that home did. It was then that her sense of curiousity overtook her; who would be calling so early, what in the world could they want?


She slowly rose, and chided herself on her ingrained sense of obligation; yet another carryover from her upbringing, her inbred desire to be there whenever anybody called. She told herself that it was selfless, but deep down she knew it wasn’t. These acts of service did more to satisfy her sense of purpose more than her desire to help others. She learned this from her parents. They had a habit of being ‘helpful’, even when their presence was unwelcome. Perhaps this was a byproduct of her introverted personality? Perhaps this was how she reached out to the world. Maybe it was just her strong sense of curiousity? Whatever the reason, she lunged for the phone and picked up the receiver.


It was her cousin, and childhood best friend, Joan. There were no pleasantries or platitudes in this conversation, just an explosion of frantic dialogue. While only half listening to Joan, as she had a habit of carrying on like this, Stella got lost in the story of how she met her soul mate.   She met Steve while she was at work one day; handsome and funny he had swept her completely off of her feet. It wasn’t the dialogue of the phone call that brought Steve to mind, but the abruptness of it that triggered her memory. Her parents were unimpressed with him, not personally, as they found him rather charming, but in what he represented. He was a break in the solidity of their family unit. Her relationship with Steve was all encompassing, and for years she tried to live in this self-concocted duality. She tried to evolve into her new role as a life-partner without severing her ties to her parents. Even as an adult, her parents represented security, and most poignantly home. In building her future with Steve, she was faced with the task of reconciling her past. Her parents and their stability versus Steve and his passion. She knew from her childhood example that she had to buy-in with Steve, but what of her parents? Where was the balancing point, was there a middle ground…


It was in this moment when Joan recaptured Stella’s attention. It was abrupt, a single phrase that did it; there has been an accident, it was pretty bad…


It was her father, there was a drunk driver, or perhaps he was drunk. The details didn’t really matter, as it appeared as if he wasn’t going to survive this. Her mind wandered back to her childhood impressions of him. He was stoic, strong and stubborn. He rarely bared his soul, but when he did that is when his true essence shone through. He had a strict sense of duty to family that had more than imprinted on her; it had enveloped her. It was this that caused her to fight when Steve expressed his dislike for where their relationship was heading. It was her insecurities, also from her father, that had caused most of the fights in the first place. It was this that saw her wake up alone on this morning, her sense of duty that triggered her stubbornness. Joan slowly brought Stella back into focus; in the short amount of time Stella had become engrossed in her own thoughts her father had passed. Her childhood broken, but her future secured.


She hung up the receiver and mechanically returned to her patio. As she slowly brought the cup of coffee to her lips, fighting the accompanying tremble, she decided it was time. She finished her coffee and picked up the phone. When Steve answered, all she could do was sob.




Good morning class,  please find my submission for how evil came into the world in the following text.


The young seer was having a restless sleep, one of those nights where it was hard to tell whether you were awake or dreaming. One particular dream seemed to be playing on repeat.


It started off in a cave, not just any cave, but a thing of nightmares. It was dark and unending, the noise reverberated and appeared to come back at you from the unseen depths. There was a great council occurring. In attendance were the wise women from all corners of the earth. This was to be a fun event, a chance for these wise women to show off their worst. For deep in their hearts, theirs was a mischievous spirit harnessed, the likes that the world had never seen. The premise was simple, each participant would demonstrate their worst, whether it be a physical act, or an act of dark-magic. Nearing the end of the meeting they had seen it all, transformations, mutations, hexes and grotesque costumes comprised of various animal hides.


Near the end of the conference a stranger arrived, one that none of the others had seen before. There was a weird air about this stranger, a little older, a little taller, a little darker. Though the most eerie thing about her was her silence. You see, the wise women were a raucous bunch, laughing and joking at the top of their lungs. When it came time for the newcomer to speak, the cave grew deathly silent. What came from her presentation was completely unexpected. You see the mysterious character didn’t perform any magic at all, she simply told a story. She spoke of torture, betrayal and all other manner of things that was brand new to her shocked audience. Though repulsed by the story, her audience couldn’t pull themselves away from it. By the time she was finished the council had decided her the unanimous victor, and each individual made an effort to speak to her privately.


In the final encounter, with one of the more revered wise women, the mysterious stranger was questioned about the nature of her stories. Where had she heard them? Could these things actually happen? Why would she say such vile things in such a prophetic manner? In the same cool and collected tone in which she told her story, she vanished from the cave, but not without a final warning. “These things that I have spoken of will come to pass, simply by me sharing them with you, they have been introduced into your world. In the future you would do well to be cautious with the words you say, and the ones you listen to as a story is one of the most powerful things in existence.”


As the seer awoke, she wrote this dream down, and the next morning she shared it with her peers at their annual gathering, in that very same cave in her dream.



In general, the feedback was positive.  All of the people who heard my tale were able to discern the moral, in the form of a warning about the power of stories, from my tale.  Another key response I got was the darkness, or in many cases ‘eerie’ tone of the tale.  I think that came about through my attempt to distance the tale from it’s original context (first nations) to a more universal truth.

This story was fairly easy for me to write, as the power of words and story is a concept I firmly believe in.

I think before I can tackle question 7, I need to propose my definition of literature; it exists on a sliding scale of interpretation. To me the word literature refers to books. The old-school practice of writing, or more commonly printing, words on paper of some kind for the enjoyment of those who enjoy both the physical, and mental pleasures of a well written work. There is nothing more satisfying than picking up a book, with the accompanying smell and tactile aspect of turning pages, and getting lost in the words. This brings up the first part of my answer, in regards to the ‘modernization’ of literature, that in the truest sense of the term, literature is on the decline. The world is becoming, no actually is almost completely mechanized. Computers replaced typewriters, and screens are replacing newspapers, with smartphones becoming the go to tool for access to information. Bookstores are closing by the handful, and handheld electronic devices are nearly everywhere.

Next time you’re on the bus, or walking down the street, or sitting in a restaurant, have a look around. The number of people zoned into these devices is startling. A large contributor to this phenomenon is social media, and the unprecedented access to information that it provides. It started, at least in the current sense, with Facebook. I know of older platforms, such as MySpace, but they never really had the widespread effect that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are having. This is also an interesting development in the ongoing struggle between literature and orality. In one sense, social media sites are based on words that are typed into one device, and read on another. This itself sounds a lot like literature, except that the hierarchy of the production of physical books is being completely superseded. Gone are the editors, the social filters, and the constraints that the outdated process of book publication supplied. It can be as easy as seeing some interesting articles on the internet, having an opinion, and voila publishing these thoughts and sharing them with the world. This often, as long as the work is interesting, then goes ‘viral’ and the exposure increases greatly. This is the crux of the age of information, but what effects is it having on society?

This electronic platform is blurring the lines between literature and orality. In a traditional sense, the art of conversation, and subsequently oral story telling is dying. On the other hand, it is being replaced by a new way of communication, the instant gratification that is supplied by social media posts. I would say that this is causing a real detriment to our ability to listen, and most notably our attention span. This on its own is having a great effect on our oral communication and listening skills. Like anything else, I believe there is a middle ground to be found, but where that is I don’t have an answer for.

The hyperlink is revolutionizing the ability to gain information, from multiple perspectives and sources, at lightning speed. It gives the reader instant access, at the moment that it is relevant, to jump between articles that allows for a potentially fuller understanding of the subject they are researching. From a strictly academic perspective, it saves time. Instead of completing the work, scanning the sources and attempting to seek them out access is provided instantly for the reader. This has saved me countless hours, and in many cases has improved the quality of my work through a richer pool of sources and opinions.

As a closing point, I think that technology is here to stay, but what the overall effect that will have on the oral capabilities of our society is yet to be decided.

Welcome to my Eng. 470 Blog.

I hope that this will be a stepping stone to a greater understanding of Canadian History through the literature, both imported and developed in this great country.  I have spent many years studying the history of Canada at UBC, but have always been left wanting when it comes to the deeper understanding that literature can provide to the social and political context of any era.

One item that I hope to explore in more detail, and gain a clearer definition for, is what is Canadian literature?  Do you have to be born here to have it be Canadian?  Is it a matter of residing in Canada for a certain period, or at least for the period in which the work was written?  The following link, from a 2013 Globe and Mail article, has caught my eye on more than one occasion, and I hope this subject will be addressed in further detail in this course.

This second link, more current (2015) from the blog site Partisan, tackles the idea about the rise of Canadian literature, as a unique genre, in the late 60s and early 70s.  I also find this article interesting as it juxtaposes the nearly limitless access to literary funding and support that is available today, with the quickly declining, at least ideologically, production of Canadian literature.

I welcome any comments or feedback on this post, and I look forward to a summer of lovely debate!

Whitehouse burningThis particular image is borrowed from the aforementioned blog on Partisan , and is in reference to a Northrop Frye comment that is referenced in that article.

Works Cited:

Smith, Russell, “Why Do We Struggle With What Makes Canadian Literature?” Globe and Mail 2013. Web. May 11, 2016

Marche, Stephen, “What Was Canadian Literature?” Partisan Magazine April 2015. Web. May 11 2016

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