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Notes and Commentaries

Volume 10, Number 1 (1985)

The Heroine of The Manor House of De Villerai

  • Kathleen M. O'Donnell
May 22, 2008


The nature of French Canadian women has been examined by many scholars, their concern being more with the dire effect an omnipresent and omnipotent mother has had on the national psyche than with the women themselves. In Rosanna Leprohon's The Manor House of De Villerai, the mother figure, represented by only one unhappy mother and step-mother, is not central. The novel reflects the historical reality that women have played an autonomous role of considerable importance in the formation of our race, and that in this role they asserted themselves with an authority and independence that has profoundly marked our collective memory. The history of French Canada reveals admirable women surrounded by an aura of prestige and veneration heightened by the solitude of their vocations. Leprohon creates an independent heroine in the tradition of those admirable women of history.