Quebec Studies

Involuntary Selective Memory as Underlying Structure in Roch Carrier's Les Enfants du Bonhomme dans la lune

Quebec Studies (1983), 1, (1), 268–273.


Involuntary Selective Memory as Underlying Structure in Roch Carrier’s Les Enfants du Bonhomme dans la lune Eileen M. McHugh Although Roch Carrier and many critics feel that his “serious” works like La Guerre, y e s sir! are his most significant contributions to Quibtcois literature, it is quite possible, even probable that his works which draw on memories of his rural childhood like Les Enfants du bonhomme dans la lune will be better remembered and more widely read. In this collection of twenty stories Carrier accomplishes what Quebec literature is often faulted for neglecting; he touches the chords of universal themes. We are drawn into the stories, they are not just Carrier, not just Quibec, they typify a child’s first encounter with anxieties of the human condition. Carrier’s child is struck by these encounters and something about them burns its way into his memory. Carrier’s skillful strokes depict in spare prose (the stories average just over 1000 words each) and with great verisimilitude brief snatches of scenes from the past which flash upon the inward eye of the adult. He shows himself to be a master of the mimetic devices which evoke in the reader the sensations and feelings of a spontaneous childhood memory. The reader and the adult narrator are often both left grappling to account for the presence or fragmented and incomplete form of certain memories which seem to indicate that some denial mechanism idwas at work, while other memories embellished by time and retrospection constitute perfect, almost poetic, manifestations of basic human experiences. Carrier expresses his fascination with the selective nature of involuntary memory in speaking of his inability to recall the

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Author details

McHugh, Eileen