The Hockey Sweater Essay

1322 Words Dec 21st, 2011 6 Pages
The Quebec Vexation
The French speaking people of Quebec lived under heavy oppression in the 1950s and 60s. Many francophone people looking for work in Quebec cities were refused because of their French background. In areas such as Montreal, the francophone people were earning up to 50 percent less than their English speaking peers. There was a clear distinction between the quality of life for the English and the quality of life for the French. It was because of this distinction that the people of Quebec often resented the English and their ways of life. And it is from this resentment, the story The Hockey Sweater was written. The Hockey Sweater is a story told from the perspective of a young boy living in a small town in Quebec. He,
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The Quebecois found that their cultures were too different to be placed on equal footing with the other provinces. This frustration with the other provinces eventually led to The Quiet Revolution and an attempt to separate from the rest of Canada. Up until the end of the 1960s, the French people of Quebec could be seen living as second-rate citizens in Canada. It wasn’t until 1969, that the Official Languages Act was passed by Pierre Elliot Trudeau giving both the English and French languages equal representation in Canadian parliament. Up until then, most documents written by the Canadian government and its affiliates were solely in English and did not recognize French as an official language. In The Hockey Sweater, the character of Mr. Eaton can be equated to the role of the Canadian government. The order forms provided in the Eaton’s catalogue were completely in English even though they were being shipped to a small French town in Quebec. This could be seen as the English speaking people of Canada imposing their language and culture upon Quebec in an almost assimilation-like manner. The lack of equality with regards to the French and English language pre- 1969 led to many people of Quebec feeling subservient to the rest of Canada. The language issue played a vital role in the story of The Hockey Sweater which led to great turmoil just as it did with Quebec’s culture during the

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