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Brian Moore, Black Robe. Report Review - Book Report/Review Example

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Intriguing by Unbalanced: Black Robe review Historical fiction can vary widely in quality of writing, accuracy, the kinds of sources used, and the perspective taken. A novel written from the point of view of a German officer during the Second World War will, for instance, have a very different message and function than a novel written from the point of view of Allied officer…
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Brian Moore, Black Robe. Book Report Review
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Brian Moore, Black Robe. Report Review

Download file to see previous pages... It is traditional in that it tries to tell the reader of another time and place, but does nothing to shift their point of view. Moore uses a variety of sources, but mostly based his novel on a group of primary sources he stumbled upon Black Robe tells the story of a Jesuit missionary, Father Laforque, who wants to penetrate the interior to baptize people. He is originally very highly intentioned, and the novel gives an excellent view into his character – for instance, he is eager to pursue his mission despite significant risk of physical danger (Moore, 5). The novel is presented entirely from his point of view, including his observations, his internal dialogue and so on, presenting the reader with a perspective of First Nations society that is exactly in line with that of a French Jesuit missionary from the seventeenth century. Father Laforgue embarks with two guides, members of the Algonquin tribe, who are supposed to lead him to an interior mission. To his initial disappointment, the Algonquians are entirely unreceptive to his preaching, completely disinterested in his way of life, and even mock him for his personal choices (such as abstinence from sexuality). Worse, they are actively suspicious of Laforgue’s spirituality, for instance calling his baptismal practices “water sorcery” (25). They eventually even briefly abandon him because of his spirituality, when they see him baptizing a dead infant, an act they cannot understand and think of as evil. After they return, the whole group is captured by Iroquois warriors. They spend the rest of the novel in captivity, and Laforgue faith is sorely tested by the trials he sees, and the complete unwillingness of any of the people he meets with to treat his faith seriously. The novel closes with Laforgue having to choose between baptizing an Iroquois chief who is seeking baptism for the wrong reasons, or refusing to do so. Now that the basic contents of Black Robe have been discussed, it is important to analyze the types of sources Moore used in writing his novel. This work is completely devoid of notes and references, which makes identifying which parts were based on historical primary sources, which were based on contemporary research or other secondary sources, and which are simply artistic license nearly impossible. This makes evaluating the depictions presented in the book very difficult, as the reader is never sure which aspects of seventeenth century French and Indigenous culture presented are most accurate, and which are less so. Though Moore does not provide references to specific aspects of his work, as mentioned above, he does open the novel by providing a list of areas he has gotten his sources: by far his most important source were “Relations” a primary source text by Jesuit missionaries describing their missionary activity (x). He got secondary sources from a variety of places, mostly consultation with people including “James Hunter, Curator of Sainte Marie Among the Hurons” and a number of professors, including “Bill Byrick, Bruse Trigger,” and “W.J. Eccles” (x). He augmented this with visits to places which contain information on “Iroquois, Algonkin and Huron history and Customs” along with visits to sites of Huron settlements which have been restored by the government of Ontario (x). One of the major ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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