Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis



Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Raymond Pelletier

Second Committee Member

Susan Pinette

Third Committee Member

Jacques Ferland


Beginning in the 1820s but especially after the American Civil War and up until the 1930s, nearly a million French Canadians who could no longer make a living on their family farms left their homeland to work in the factories and mills of New England. Fearing the effect of this "great hemorrhage" on the province of Quebec, writers, poIiticians, and the clergy made use of a nationalist, patriotic, and religious ideology which glorified the rural life in order to convince their compatriots to stay. Several novels written during this period thoughtfully examine the question of going or staying and thus illuminate the historical contexts in which they were written. In his 1878 novel, Jeanne la Fileuse, Honore Beaugrand makes a strong case for the material necessity of going and uses a strongly pro-capitalist ideology to defend both the French Canadians who chose to go and the American political and economic system which encouraged their emigration. Meanwhile, in his 1914 novel, Maria Chavdelaine, Louis H6mon makes the opposite argument, using the "voices" of nature, tradition, and Survivance to raise to the level of myth those who chose to stay in their homeland.