Life in the Clearings Versus the Bush

Life in the Clearings Versus the Bush

Book - 1989
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In the sequel to Roughing It in the Bush, Susanna Moodie portrays the relatively sophisticated society springing up in the clearings along Lake Ontario. During a trip from Belleville to Niagara Falls, Moodie acts as a meticulous observer of the social customs and practices of the times. Invaluable as social history and as a candid self-portrait, Life in the Clearings versus the Bush chronicles, with wit and wisdom, Canadian society in the mid-19th century.
Publisher: Toronto, ON : McClelland and Stewart, 1989
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780771099762
Characteristics: 340 p. ; 18 cm.


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May 14, 2015

Susanna Moodie's book is a collection of anecdotes, observations and comments about Canadian life in 1853, as seen through the lens of her Victorian eyes and sensibilities.
Some of the stories are amusing like "The Trials of a Travelling Musician" about a very insistent customer insisting on a free ticket; another on "Amusements" and the fake mesmerizer; another on that "incorrigible pest", the supposed singing master whose performance was "drowned in an uproar of laughter." Among other stories is the serious and humours account of the camp meeting where Moodie describes the people who go to "get religion" with the "mad gesticulations of the preacher" while "using the most violent and extravagant language". Another is the moving human interest story of Grace Marks, the celebrated murderer.
Overall Moodie has some interesting insights of the social customs and practices of the times but there is little flow to the book other than than what the book's structure provides as she travels from Belleville to Niagara Falls and tells her stories.

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