Book 43, Glengarry School Days (1902) – Ralph Connor
“The 15 sketches that make up Glengarry School Days look back affectionately on childhood in Ontario at the time of Confederation. Yet behind Connor’s delightful account of boyhood enthusiasms – and his clear desire for a more orderly and courageous world – lie glimpses of the moral rigidity that also characterized homesteading life in early Canada.”
Other useful links:
the Wikipedia entry for Ralph Connor
Summary: This book was worth reading for the shinny chapters alone. Hockey takes its place within the Canadian canon. Longer review to come when I have some time. Eight and a half out of ten for the shinny rivalry, six out of ten for Hughie’s moral journey, three out of ten for the butchery of the bear, two out of ten for the religious conversion of Craven and crew.
Thoughts amidst reading:
Certainly not as heavy-handed as the bulk of Man From Glengarry, thank goodness. In addition to Angel Mrs. Murray, we have Saint* Mrs. Finch. Connor really had a thing for idealising (in a Christian Victorian mould) and idolising the mature women in his stories. Yet his opinion of girls and women in general is hyper-patriarchal (for the most part…I keep thinking of Kate driving that frisky team of horses). The girls scrub and clean up the school room while the boys have the freedom to go out in the woods and gather evergreen branches, playing the entire time. The man of the house is expected to lay down the law in the form of a beating and only relents when challenged by another man (his wife is yelled at and told to STFU). The denigration of the “gurl” teachers and the general consensus of everyone, including Her Holiness Mrs. Murray, that a man is required for the position.
A couple other interesting points of observation:
The gun culture is crazy. It’s really more expected than not that the boys will be playing with real guns. I know the focus in this part of the story is about Hughie’s fall into temptation, but I can’t help but be distracted by the fact that the object for which he fell was a pistol that he could shoot squirrels with.
Foxy reminds me of a baby Milo Minderbinder from Catch-22.
***spoiler for Chapter 9 ff.***
*and Martyr, one would presume
I was kind of turned off by the whole mass conversion thing. Surely Tom Finch, Hughie, and Craven could think of doing something better with their lives than becoming ministers.
Apart from that, we had the expected deathbed martyrdom of the female saint, which was also rather…I dunno, can something be maudlin and twee at the same time?
All made up for with the shinny chapters. Really got me in the mood for the World Juniors which started the day after I finished the book. It’s worth reading those chapters alone.