This sample essay on The Hockey Sweater Theme offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and the conclusion are provided below.
The Quebec Vexation The French speaking people of Quebec lived under heavy oppression in the 1950s and 60s. Many francophone people looking for work in Quebec cities were refused because of their French background. In areas such as Montreal, the francophone people were earning up to 50 percent less than their English speaking peers.
There was a clear distinction between the quality of life for the English and the quality of life for the French. It was because of this distinction that the people of Quebec often resented the English and their ways of life.
And it is from this resentment, the story The Hockey Sweater was written. The Hockey Sweater is a story told from the perspective of a young boy living in a small town in Quebec. He, like all the kids his age loved hockey, especially the Montreal Canadiens.
He is so deeply loyal to his French heritage that he hates the Toronto Maple Leafs and anything about them for the sole reason that they are not French. Roch Carrier’s The Hockey Sweater is an allegory underlining the tensions found between Francophone and Anglophone Canadians.
These tensions stem from Quebec’s economic reliance on the English, Quebec’s desire to maintain their culture and traditions, and the frustration demonstrated by Quebecers with regards to the language of Canada.
The book The Hockey Sweater as well as the French economy in the 50s and 60s demonstrated a certain economic reliance on the English. In The Hockey Sweater, when the main character Roch needs a new sweater, his mother decides to order it from the Eaton’s catalogue. Now with Mr. Eaton being English, he sends a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey instead, greatly upsetting Roch.
Roch’s mother then refuses to send it back because she is afraid to offend Mr. Eaton. Quebec’s culture in the 1950’s and 60’s was very similar to this. When Quebec’s working class went out to find jobs, they found that many major Quebec companies were run by English speaking businessmen. By extension, this also meant that these businesses would favour those who could speak English. Even the French people who were able to find jobs found that what they earned was meagre compared to the English workers.
Political activist Felix Leclerc described this phenomenon, writing, “Our people are the water boys of their own country. ” Nevertheless, they were forced to deal with it because they simply had no other choice. Where were they going to work if not for the English speaking bureaucrats? Finding a job in other English speaking cities was even more difficult because being a distinct minority they were easy to manipulate to conform to the company’s needs. This led to frustration amongst the Quebecois, being unable to find a job in their own French speaking cities because they were French.
The hockey sweater Roch was forced to accept is just like the jobs many Quebecers were forced to accept in that if they didn’t, they had no other place to go. Quebec, since its inception into Canada, has developed a culture greatly different from any other province. Over the years, a key part of this French way of life has been preserving their distinct culture and traditions. Quebec, with their completely different language and a more traditional religious denomination, has established themselves as a distinct society within the nation of Canada.
The short story The Hockey Sweater has this theme of loyalty to the French traditions. The first page of The Hockey Sweater contains the line “We lived in three places – the school, the church and the skating-rink – but our real life was on the skating-rink. “ The choice of the hockey rink as a center of life puts the setting of the story deep in Canadian culture. Throughout the story, the author, Roch Carrier, uses the Montreal Canadiens as a metaphor for the French and the Toronto Maple Leafs as a metaphor for the English.
It is of the main character’s belief that the Montreal Canadiens, or in this case the French, are superior to his English speaking brethren. Stemming from this superiority complex comes the frustration of the French that they to live and work under the laws and policies that the English impose upon them. The Quebecois found that their cultures were too different to be placed on equal footing with the other provinces. This frustration with the other provinces eventually led to The Quiet Revolution and an attempt to separate from the rest of Canada.
Up until the end of the 1960s, the French people of Quebec could be seen living as second-rate citizens in Canada. It wasn’t until 1969, that the Official Languages Act was passed by Pierre Elliot Trudeau giving both the English and French languages equal representation in Canadian parliament. Up until then, most documents written by the Canadian government and its affiliates were solely in English and did not recognize French as an official language. In The Hockey Sweater, the character of Mr. Eaton can be equated to the role of the Canadian government.
The order forms provided in the Eaton’s catalogue were completely in English even though they were being shipped to a small French town in Quebec. This could be seen as the English speaking people of Canada imposing their language and culture upon Quebec in an almost assimilation-like manner. The lack of equality with regards to the French and English language pre- 1969 led to many people of Quebec feeling subservient to the rest of Canada. The language issue played a vital role in the story of The Hockey Sweater which led to great turmoil just as it did with Quebec’s culture during the 1950s and 60s.
Quebec culture in the mid- 20th century was very different from any other province. Sporting a different language, find equality with the rest of Canada was often a struggle for the Quebecois. English run companies in Quebec had a tendency to take advantage of the French, using their language against them. Also, with having a unique society, it was always a challenge for the people of Quebec to follow “La survivance” and preserve their language and traditions.
It is also of note that during the 50s and 60s, the French language had not been recognized as an official language of Canada with English residing as the language spoken by the majority of Canada. All of these things combined left a bitter taste in the mouths of the French. Roch Carrier’s The Hockey Sweater is a perfect metaphor for this, mirroring the struggles of an entire province in the tribulations of a young boy. The English or in this case the Toronto Maple Leafs had no place in Quebec and was shunned by the people of Quebec.
The anti-Anglophone sentiments found in late 20th century Quebec can be witnessed as early as 1946 as in when The Hockey Sweater takes place which leaves the age old question; should Quebec separate from the rest of Canada? Works Cited “Analysis of “The Hockey Sweater”. ” Academon. N. p. , 2008. Web. 26 May 2011. Bond, Karen. “French as a Minority Language in Bilingual Canada. ” Karen’s Linguistics Issues. N. p. , October 2001. Web. 26 May 2011. Canada. Official Languages Act. , 1969. Web. 26 May 2011. Canada. The Quebec Question. ” Encyclopaedia Britannica , Web. Claude, Belanger. “The Quiet Revolution. ” Quebec History. Marianopolis College, 23 Newman, Garfield. Canada: a nation unfolding. 1st ed. Toronto, Ontario: McGraw-Hill, 2000. 297. Print. “The Quiet Revolution. ” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2004. Web. 25 May. 2011. Vermette, David. “La Survivance and Revolution: The Ideological History of a Remnant. ” A Franco-American and Quebecois History and Genealogy Site. David Gerard Vermette, April 22, 2006. Web. 26 May 2011.