Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Lorraine M. York
Timothy Findley and Findley scholars and critics have by and large promoted the idea that the Findleyan world is one littered with innocent children forced into a dark, adult reality. In his effort to assign significance to the loss of childhood innocence, Findley attempts to construct epiphanal, or "atomic" moments that cause a sudden shift from innocence to post-innocence - a sudden awareness in the child of life's inherent suffering and mortality. However, a close examination of Findley's early novels reveals that, in fact, Findley often contradicts the supposed sequential paradigm of innocence, loss of innocence, and adulthood, even raising the question as to whether innocence exists at all. Findleyan childhoods are highly complex and conflicted phenomena, collapsing traditional "storybook" ideals of childhood.. This "collapse" is perhaps better understood when studied with an eye on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, which place a very adult little girl (fixated on mortality, reason, and power) in the supposedly child-like world of Wonderland. Though Alice possesses the ability to dream Wonderland, her cynicism prevents her from really enjoying its wonder. Such is the case for Findley's fictional children, who may be young, but are hardly unaware of life's more cutting realities ... are hardly innocent.
Hunter, Latham, ""Unmitigated Hell" in Wonderland: Depictions of Childhood in Timothy Findley's Early Fiction" (1999). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6626.
McMaster University Library