Montreal in "Barney's Version" and "Bottle Rocket Hearts" Comparison Essay by scribbler

Montreal in "Barney's Version" and "Bottle Rocket Hearts"
A comparative analysis of the depiction of the city of Montreal in M. Richler's "Barney's Version" and Zoe Whittall's "Bottle Rocket Hearts".
# 152536 | 789 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on Mar 14, 2013 in Literature (Canadian) , Canadian Studies (General)

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The paper examines M. Richler's "Barney's Version" and Zoe Whittall's "Bottle Rocket Hearts" and discusses how in both works, Richler and Whittall have used the energy of the era surrounding the 1995 referendum, capturing the political urgency as well as illustrating the separatist feelings of the time. The paper argues that both authors portray the city in a incredibly visceral manner, which leaves the reader with the feeling that he or she has experienced the city too. The paper does note, however, that Whittall's depiction of Montreal is much more relevant in terms of modern literature, while Richler's book offers us a distinct look at the political, social, and culture environment of the time.

From the Paper:

"While the doctor's questions, "What city are we in?" as well as "And the country..." (Richler 395) seems a fitting question to ask a man with Alzheimer's disease, it's also just an all around fitting question as the 1995 referendum made those questions very real. Barney describes his Montreal saying, "It suits me to be rooted in a city that, like me, is diminishing day by day" (Richler 80-81). Barney states his frustration with "The Weasel" (the "provincial premier") (81) and his underlings in Quebec City, commenting that "Soon the only English-speaking people left in Montreal will be the old, the infirm, and the poor" (81).
"Whittall also depicts the city of Montreal as weakening and the downtown area she calls home is rife with drug dealers, poets and gays. Her Montreal is a bit chaotic as opposed to Richler's more common perspective of city life. Barney lives in a "rich old fart's castle" (Richler 77) as he calls it in a rather upper-class area where his neighbors are ex-senators and other "Anglophone septuagenarians" (77). Both Whittall and Richler use the city as a sort of character, but for Eve, Montreal is symbolic of fun, freedom and youth while Barney's Montreal is more for his pleasure. Eve struggles with the city while Barney lavishes in it."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Richler, Mordecai. Barney's Version. Washington Square Press, 1999.
  • Webb-Campbell, Shannon. "Sharpener: Zoe Whittall." Broken Pencil. Retrieved on June 16, 2010, from the Web site:
  • Whittall, Zoe. Bottle Rocket Hearts. Cormorant Books, Inc., 2007.

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