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Extra info for From the Heart of the Heartland: The Fiction of Sinclair Ross
Daniells's assertion of "no doubt" appears to rest more on unstated biographical information about Ross than on marks in the text: "Ross's little town," he suggests, is "a composite of, or rather an abstraction from, little towns he had lived with and endured" (vi). In fact, the absence in the text that Daniells notes of "precise dates, places and historical events" is so pervasive that it is only by geographical inference that a reader identifies the continent on which the novel is set; the text's national setting, and its regional ones such as "Alberta" and "Saskatchewan," are neither specified nor implied.
In fact throughout the novel Mrs. Finley attempts to adopt authoritative, quasi-theological positions—advising the Bentleys against adopting the Roman Catholic Steve, striking Steve during Sunday school when he fights with her twins, informing the Bentleys about decency and respectability when they buy Steve a horse. Her beliefs—that unsuccessful farmers are "shiftless," that children should help their parents, that women should not act like men, that people should not aspire to roles they are not born to, that steadiness is a virtue, that solitary happiness is a sign of instability, that unconventional people are appropriately subject to gossip—are declared as "natural" throughout the paragraph.
36 Canada in As for Me and My House is, like Mrs. Bentley, unnamed. In the place of national or regional indicators is a variety of contending meaning systems. There is the ranch/freedom/wilderness system of cowboy, coyote, wolfhound, horse, bull, and the cowgirl Laura. There is the rigid, heavily defended marriage-economy of the small town. There is the Logos, the authority of the word and all the "Eastern" institutions that flow from it: church, university, art, music, Judith's commercial courses, Mrs.