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Volume 23, Number 1 (1998)

Iconicity, Space, and the Place of Sharon Butala's "The Prize"

  • Ian Adam
May 22, 2008


The American philosopher Charles Peirce created a taxonomy of signs based on the triadic distinction between symbol, icon and index. The icon is a literary and specially narratological manifestation in Sharon Butala's short story "The Prize" from her collection Fever. Three groups of icons emerge in Butala's work: those of transience and discontinuity, those of space and distance, and those of genius loci, the "genius of place." The icon is also a broad cultural symbol in Western Canadian and Canadian literature by such authors as Margaret Laurence, Robert Kroetsch, and Rudy Wiebe.