photography and Polaroid photography share one major prerequisite with regard to their finished product, namely a negative exposed to light.
In other words, for both systems, the positive print cannot come into being without the negative film.
These images serve as a metaphor for ways of reading Canadian texts within heterogeneous groups experiencing strife and controversy.
Owing to its heterogeneity, Canadian literature can elicit expressions of empathy, repression, trauma, anger, and healing.2 Such texts deal with what Diana Brydon defines in this volume as “issues that matter enough to get people angry” (57), and I would add, “or sad.” For a foreign reader, Canadian texts of resistance enable the externalization of numbing alienation and traumatic experience in the safe literary distancing of other cultures, other times, other bodies.
Cheryl commits suicide and April finds herself the sad inheritor of her sister’s diaries.
Yet Cheryl’s narratives help April realize that in order to overcome the trauma of her childhood and her experience of rape, she must accept her Métis heritage as integral to her configuration of a new self—even if that new self is highly motivated and shaped by values attributed to White Christian culture, values inherited from her good foster parents, the Dions.
She perceives that her dream of extreme upward mobility remains contingent on divorcing herself from her Métis past, and especially on distancing herself from her younger sister.
April’s darker sister, Cheryl, romanticizes the Métis tradition, idealizing a return to a pure Aboriginal culture.
One of the tasks I give them in class involves a sheet with anonymous reflections taken from their writings.
I ask them to read the statements and match the probable identities of their authors.