Contemporary Canadian women's fiction a jungian reading of Ying Chen's L'ingratitude, Christiane Frenette's La terre ferme, Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall on your knees, and Anne Michaels' Fugitive pieces
These novels suggest the paradoxical nature of a quest in which fulfilled desire is certain death at the same time as the desire for no desire is an inevitable state which leads to psychological rebirth. In this thesis, I explore lung's theory of the inevitability of desire and its expression in the four novels. I consider lung's theory of the archetype of the self for its potential to name the phases of the characters' psychological growth. I see in lung's theory of the mysterium coniunctionis, or marriage of opposites, the potential to make unusual interpretations in the study of symbols and character development. I suggest that the character of Kathleen transforms into the character of Lily in MacDonald's Fall On Your Knees. I see Kathleen's death as the death of a limited identity, of"the father's daughter," and Lily's birth as the beginning of the continuation of the same character, one who has undergone a fundamental change of"self." In the second chapter, I read the narrator's death in Chen's L'Ingratitude symbolically as an experience of the unconscious. In the third chapter, I examine how Jakob's quest to find himself takes him to an imaginary place which can be compared to that place which Jung calls the collective unconscious. I read the narratives presented in the italicized portion of the novel as voices from a place with no time-space limits, as the fugitive pieces which complete the puzzle of Jakob's character. In the final chapter, I suggest that the character of the mother in La Terre ferme breaks free of the traditional boundaries set for the mother in fiction and rescues the fictional mother from her marginalized place as one and the same as the silent unconscious.