The Invasion of the Home Front: Revisiting, Rewriting, and Replaying the First World War in Contemporary Canadian Plays

dc.contributor.authorMcHugh, Marissa
dc.description.abstractThe history of the Great War has been dominated by accounts that view the War as an international conflict between nations and soldiers that contributed to the consolidation of Canadian cultural and political independence and identity. In many cases, the War has assumed a foundational—even mythic—status as integral to the building of a mature state and people. Since the 1970s, however, there has been an efflorescence of Canadian plays that have problematized traditional representations of the War. Many of these plays are set on the home front and explore the ways in which the War, in the form of disease, disaster, and intra-communal in-fighting and suspicion, invaded Canadian home space. What they suggest is that the War was not simply launched against an external enemy but that the War invaded Canadian communities and households. This dissertation examines five of these plays: Kevin Kerr’s Unity (1918), Guy Vanderhaeghe’s Dancock’s Dance, Trina Davies’ Shatter, Jean Provencher and Gilles Lachance’s Québec, Printemps 1918, and Wendy Lill’s The Fighting Days, all of which were written and published after 1970. Ultimately, it demonstrates that these plays, by relocating the War to Canadian terrain, undertake an important and radical critique; they suggest that the understanding of the War should not be restricted to overseas conflicts or Canadian national self-definition but that it should be expanded to encompass a diversity of people and experiences in domestic and international settings. At the same time, this thesis recognizes these plays as part of an emergent, bourgeoning Canadian dramatic genre, one which attests to Canadians’ continued preoccupation with the War past.
dc.publisherUniversité d'Ottawa / University of Ottawa
dc.subjectFirst World War
dc.subjectCanadian identity
dc.subjecthome front
dc.subjectcollective memory
dc.titleThe Invasion of the Home Front: Revisiting, Rewriting, and Replaying the First World War in Contemporary Canadian Plays
dc.contributor.supervisorSugars, Cynthia
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -