Quebec Studies

Body in Transit, Body in Transition: Resignifying Colonial Wounds in Roch Carrier’s La Guerre, Yes Sir!

Quebec Studies (2015), 59, (1), 107–130.

Abstract

Québec’s status as a potentially colonial space that underwent a process akin to decolonization during the Révolution tranquille has generated much critical attention in recent years, as scholars consider how Québec’s liberatory struggles resonate with other narratives of decolonization around the globe. Roch Carrier’s first and most renowned novel, La Guerre, Yes Sir! (1968), deserves particular attention as a literary work that interrogates Québec’s colonial dynamics. While scholars have emphasized the images of the body in Carrier’s work, with particular consideration of La Guerre, Yes Sir!’s carnivalesque elements, no study thus far has focused on how shifting depictions of individual bodies over time and space allegorize transformations of an imagined national body. In this article, I argue that La Guerre, Yes Sir! dramatizes Québec’s struggle to regain possession of and define its national body, as represented by the villagers’ desire to recover physical and symbolic possession of the corpse of the fallen soldier, Corriveau. Specifically, I examine Carrier’s engagement with familiar tropes of contemporaneous anticolonial writing, such as the wounded or cannibalized body, demonstrating the community’s power to ultimately reinterpret them. This article concludes by considering how the novel’s final scenes critique the nationalism that seems a prerequisite for the villagers’ assertion of autonomy.

Access Token
£25.00

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. New York: Verso, 1991.Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism Google Scholar

Bakhtin, Mikhail. Rabelais and His World. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009.Rabelais and His World Google Scholar

Bérubé, Renald. “La guerre, yes sir! de Roch Carrier: humour noir et langage vert.” Voix et images 3.1 (1970): 145–164.“La guerre, yes sir! de Roch Carrier: humour noir et langage vert.”Voix et images3.1145164 Google Scholar

Bhabba, Homi K. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge, 1994.The Location of Culture Google Scholar

Bouthillette, Jean. Le Canadien Français et son double. Ottawa: Éditions de l’Hexagone, 1972.Le Canadien Français et son double Google Scholar

Butler, Judith. Undoing Gender. New York: Routledge, 2004.Undoing Gender Google Scholar

Carrier, Roch. La guerre, yes sir!: trilogie de l’âge sombre. [1968] Montreal: Éditions Internationales Alain Stanké, 2008.La guerre, yes sir!: trilogie de l’âge sombre Google Scholar

Césaire, Aimé. Discours sur le colonialisme. Paris: Éditions Présence Africaine, 1955.Discours sur le colonialisme Google Scholar

Colombo, John Robert. Canadian Literary Landmarks. Toronto: Dundurn, 1984.Canadian Literary Landmarks Google Scholar

Conklin, Beth A. Consuming Grief: Compassionate Cannibalism in an Amazonian Society. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001.Consuming Grief: Compassionate Cannibalism in an Amazonian Society Google Scholar

Dorion, Gilles. Roch Carrier: Aimer la vie, conjurer la mort. Ottawa: Presse de l’Université d’Ottawa, 2004. Web. 5 July 2011.Roch Carrier: Aimer la vie, conjurer la mort Google Scholar

Gikandi, Simon. “Between Roots and Routes: Cosmopolitanism and the Claims of Locality.” Rerouting the Postcolonial: New Directions for a New Millenium. ed. Janet Wilson, Cristina Şandru, and Sarah Lawson Welsh. New York: Routledge, 2010. 22–35.“Between Roots and Routes: Cosmopolitanism and the Claims of Locality.”Rerouting the Postcolonial: New Directions for a New Millenium2235 Google Scholar

Greenwood, F. Murray and Beverley Boissery. Uncertain Justice: Canadian Women and Capital Punishment, 1754-1953. Toronto: Dundurn, 2000.Uncertain Justice: Canadian Women and Capital Punishment, 1754-1953 Google Scholar

Harsh, Mary Anne. “The Carnivalesque and the Grotesque in Roch Carrier’s La Guerre, Yes Sir!: A Twentieth-Century Novel with Renaissance echoes.” Interdisciplinary and Cross-Cultural Narratives in North America. ed. Mark Cronlund and Irene Maria F. Blayer. New York: Peter Lang, 2005. 109–20.“The Carnivalesque and the Grotesque in Roch Carrier’s La Guerre, Yes Sir!: A Twentieth-Century Novel with Renaissance echoes.”Interdisciplinary and Cross-Cultural Narratives in North America10920 Google Scholar

Jones, Richard and J.L. Granatstein. “Conscription.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica-Canada. 2 February 2006. Web. 12 February 2011.“Conscription.”The Canadian Encyclopedia Google Scholar

The Official King James Bible Online. n.p. n.d. Web. 5 December 2010. Google Scholar

Loichot, Valérie. The Tropics Bite Back: Culinary Coups in Caribbean Literature. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2013.The Tropics Bite Back: Culinary Coups in Caribbean Literature Google Scholar

Longworth, Philip. The Unending Vigil: The History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Barnsley: Pen and Sword Books, 2010.The Unending Vigil: The History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Google Scholar

Northey, Margot. “Sportive Grotesque.” Canadian Literature 70 (1976): 14–22. Web. 25 April 2011.“Sportive Grotesque.”Canadian Literature701422 Google Scholar

Pratt, Mary Louise. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. New York: Routledge, 2008.Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation Google Scholar

Le Robert Micro: Dictionnaire de la langue française. Éd. Alain Rey. Paris: Dictionnaires Le Robert, 1998.Le Robert Micro: Dictionnaire de la langue française Google Scholar

Tremblay, Victor-Laurent. “La Quête de pouvoir avortée dans La guerre, yes sir!” The American Review of Canadian Studies 34 (2002): 59–67.“La Quête de pouvoir avortée dans La guerre, yes sir!”The American Review of Canadian Studies345967 Google Scholar

Vautier, Marie. “Les Pays du nouveau monde, le postcolonialisme de consensus, et le catholicisme québécois.” Québec Studies 35 (2003): 13–19.“Les Pays du nouveau monde, le postcolonialisme de consensus, et le catholicisme québécois.”Québec Studies351319 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Smithson, Tara