Susanna Moodie - the distraught pioneer. Roughing It in the Bush.

Essay by ivanusaUniversity, Bachelor's May 2005

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Susanna Moodie immigrated to Canada as she approached the age of thirty, becoming one of the most historically important figures of Canadian settlement. She had already been an established writer in England and was a person of a good name, position and connections. There are many reasons why Susanna Moodie is now perceived to be rather ambivalent in her opinions, one of them being the fact that immigrating not out of necessity, but out of choice and having to overlap two separate continents of different culture, manners, philosophies, and most importantly political attitudes is sure to bring out duality.

I would like to focus on the reason of Moodie's continuous ambivalence, which I believe to be her never reconciled Romanticism, primarily in her book Roughing It in the Bush, and on what Roughing It in the Bush meant in terms of setting a female Canadian pioneer character type in literature.

The idea of moving away and starting a new life tickles and teases us all. Some are more prone to do it than others; some are hesitant. Susanna Moodie was of the indecisive kind, which can be clearly observed in Letters of Love and Duty: The Correspondence of Susanna and John Moodie by Ballstadt, Hopkins, Peterman. In her correspondence with her husband, she cannot make up her mind when it comes to leaving her country forever. In Roughing It in the Bush, she describes the voyage from England to Canada as a series of mostly unfortunate events taking place in an atmosphere of excitement, hope, and high-raised expectations. Part of why Susanna Moodie is considered an ambivalent writer, often tending toward sensational subjectivism, is that she immigrated to Canada greatly influenced by the English Romanticism blooming in England at the time of her young years. Greatly influenced by the...

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