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Garrison mentality

The garrison mentality is a common theme in Canadian literature and Canadian cinema, in both English Canada and French Canada. In texts with the garrison mentality, characters are always looking outwards and building metaphorical walls against the outside world. This mentality is assumed to come from part of the Canadian identity that fears the emptiness of the Canadian landscape and fears the oppressiveness of other nations (especially the United States). The term was first coined by literary critic Northrop Frye and further explored by author Margaret Atwood, who discussed Canada's preoccupation with the theme of survival in her book Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature.

Further readingEdit

  • Atwood, Margaret. Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1972.
  • Blattberg, Charles. Shall We Dance? A Patriotic Politics for Canada. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2003, ch. 3.
  • Frye, Northrop. "Conclusion to a Literary History of Canada." The Bush Garden: Essays on the Canadian Imagination. Toronto: Anansi, 1975.