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Drama at the Farm A Canadian Survival Story Canadian Writer Margaret Atwood would argue that every country in the world has a single unifying and informing symbol to act as a belief system that keeps everyone together and working for common ends These unifying symbols manifest in the literature produce by authors and literary thinkers whether or not it is done consciously or subconsciously According to Atwood in the United States Frontier is the unifying symbol the exploration of new land the west and independence from imperial powers In the United Kingdom the Island is a distinct symbol of common national sentiments the idea of the central island nation controlling its lands and wealth from behind the safety of its metaphorical walls this symbol is perfectly represented by the medieval castles and fortresses of that nation With these examples in mind Atwood states that the unifying symbol for Canadian Lifestyle and consequently literature is Survival As a result of the Canadas geographical shape its vast landmass and bitter climate as well as the nations origins as subordinate to imperial rule Survival becomes the common thread which bonds the lives thought and experiences of all Canadians It is more real to us than the frontier or the island In her essay Survival A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature Atwood goes into great detail about this idea of survival and victimization she outlines her four victim positions with the intention of increasing understanding of Canadian literature and how these guidelines apply to anyone Canadian or otherwise In The Watcher by Guy Vanderhaeghe Atwoods concepts can be used to identify and understand the position of Vanderhaeghes main character Charlie Bradley as well as increase understanding of Vanderhaeghes work as a piece of distinctly Canadian fictional Literature Atwoods four victim positions can be used to understand characters from Canadian fiction from the distinctly Canadian point of view survival The hero of most Canadian fiction is the
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