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National Identity of The Battle of Sainte-Foy by Joseph Lgar - Research Paper Example

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Running Head: Visual Arts and Film Studies The Making of Canadian National Identity: An Analysis of Joseph Legare’s The Battle of Sainte-Foy Name Name of Professor The Battle of Sainte-Foy was a grand milestone in the institutionalization of British imperialism…
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National Identity of The Battle of Sainte-Foy by Joseph Lgar
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Download file to see previous pages This paper analyses the themes of national identity and representation in Legare’s painting. The Battle of Sainte-Foy depicts the war between Britain and France on April 1760 at the western part of Quebec City. The war is lengthy and difficult. According to Buckner (2005), the English had more or less 3,000 soldiers while France had approximately 5,900. Canadians have fought hard for centuries to gain a sense of national identity. Even though the country’s size is vast, its population is the opposite, and the entire of Canada is remarkably diverse in terms of culture that it can be thorny for its people to unite together. Nevertheless, even though significant, this does not belong to the major concerns of the Canadian pursuit for a national identity, since the nation’s actual dilemmas rest in its history (Chodos, Murphy & Hamovitch, 1991). Only as the years passed did the entire meaning of the events in the Battle of Saint-Foy become apparent and only, as well, with their regress, did the Canadians find power to express and depict it. English Canadians, whose identities have emerged long after the battle, as often as not deal with this event in their history with calm indifference, as shown by Legare: they can sense the victory of Britain and Wolfe and relate their identities with it, yet it is, after two centuries, an unruffled victory, without great jubilation in it, without great sentiment raised to strengthen it. Two important battles have downplayed these 18th-century events nearly to the height of insignificant fights. However, for Legare, the case is somewhat the other. The 18th century, particularly the 1760, was the period where in the French banner fell, never to rise again. Prior to 1760 were periods of remarkable successes when they were the powerful in their own lands, people of the supreme ruler in Christendom (Romney, 1999). Subsequent to it, the periods of misfortune have been ended. In that case, it is not surprising that Thomas Chapais introduces his historical work with opposing images (Lower, 1958, 81): The 8th of September, 1760, at eight o’clock in the morning, the Marquis de Vaudreuil, last governor of New France, signed at Montreal the capitulation which put an end to French rule in our country. The prolongation of the heroic struggle… had become impossible. The English general, Sir Jeffrey Amherst, surrounded the city… with twenty thousand men, to meet whom there were hardly twenty four hundred soldiers. Food, artillery, munitions, everything was lacking. No more help could be expected from France… the fatal hour had sounded and it was necessary to bow before the inevitable… In the distance between them, for Legare, Chapais, and for all French Canadians, a wonder had taken place: the wonder of national identity. The painting of Legare actually make no broad depictions of the Battle of Sainte-Foy, but there emanates from the painting a breath, as it were, of catastrophe and nationalism: the people of Canada were an unfortunate people, entrusted completely in the hands of colonizers. His painting, in its entirety, is a commemoration of nationalism and in spite of its numerous errors and at times its excesses it has been recognized by the well-educated people of French Canada as the standard exhibition of the Battle of Sainte-Foy (Bumsted, 1979). In another remarkable effort to portray the emerging but weak sense of national ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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