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From Cather Studies Volume 4

"The Hero Within"

Heroic Archetypes in Shadows on the Rock

Willa Cather maintained a lifelong fascination with both real-life and fictional heroes. Among her earliest readings were Homer, Shakespeare, Emerson, and Carlyle—all writers whose subjects could be termed heroic. Clearly this fascination with heroes was interwoven with her preference for romanticism. As Bernice Slote observes in her introduction to The Kingdom of Art, Cather "obviously liked these patterns of romance, whatever the story .. . [because] romance exalts courage, honor, daring, love, and all the emotions she considered ennobling; it also represents the creative, exploring truth of the imagination" (63).

As Cather's art developed, her use of the "patterns of romance" changed rather dramatically from a focus on the outer "heroic action" of romance in which the "hero is the exemplum of courage, daring, and the strong passions that give life purpose and strength" (Slote 63) to the "creative, exploring truth of the imagination" to what Harold Bloom has called the "internalization of quest-romance" (15). Her active male protagonists—Bartley Alexander, Jim Burden, Tom Outland, and Archbishop Latour, for example—and her proactive female protagonist Thea Kronborg embody the heroic quest archetype of separation, initiation, and return described by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (30). However, this powerful paradigm proves inadequate to explain the heroic roles of the characters in Shadows on the Rock—especially the role of female protagonist Cécile Auclair.

The traditional quest structure cannot elucidate the heroic ideal in Shadows on the Rock because this structure presupposes a central action, and as many critics have observed—and even complained—this novel has little or no plot and thus little or no action. Instead of focusing on external action, Cather sets her novel in "the internal arena," where, according to Dana A. Heller, the great romantic poets found "the true drama of the quest"(5). Indeed, Carlyle declared in On Heroes and Hero-Worship, a book that Cather read in her youth (Slote 42), "The hero is he who lives in the inward sphere of things, in the true, divine and eternal, which exists always, unseen to most" (184). Even Campbell emphasizes the inner quest, asserting that "The passage of the mythological hero may be overground, incidentally; fundamentally it is inward—into depths where ... long lost, forgotten powers are revivified, to be made available for the transfiguration of the world"(29). Heller believes that this romantic internalization of the quest "anticipates the feminization of the form by creating a kind of heroism not determined by physical strength but by intellectual and visionary endeavors"(5). The paradigm that best explains this internal heroic quest is that of "the hero within" as discussed by Carol Pearson. Like many feminists, Pearson recognizes that "The great books on the hero, such as Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces, assumed either than the hero was male or that male heroism and female heroism were essentially the same"(xx). In her study, Pearson found that "although on the archetypal level the patterns of male and female heroism were quite similar, they differed profoundly in detail, tone, and meaning from analogous stories about men"(xx). However, Pearson also declares that many feminist theorists "overemphasize differences" in male and female heroes and proposes to explore "female and male journey patterns together" (xx). In The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By, Pearson expands the idea of the hero to portray the lifetime heroic journey based on the "additive" but "not strictly linear" (xxii) archetypal stages of the Innocent, the Orphan, the Martyr, the Warrior, the Wanderer, and the Magician. Although some correlation exists between Pearson's archetypes and the standard Jungian archetypes, such as the correlation between her Magician and Jung's Wise Old Man or Wise Old Woman, her focus is quite different from that of the classic psychologist. Defining archetype as "essentially an unconscious content that is altered by becoming conscious and by being perceived" (Basic 289), Jung focuses on the unconscious whereas Pearson explores "the archetypes active in our conscious lives" (xxvii)—archetypes that in Shadows on the Rock Cather, the artist, has filled out with symbols and characters that are "the material of conscious experience" ( Jung, Aspects 107).

Many of the characters in Shadows on the Rock exist primarily on the level of archetype, or shadow. As Susan J. Rosowski has observed, the characters in Shadows on the Rock, like many of the settings and incidents, "all have the reality of an idea for which capital letters are appropriate: Cécile is Mother, Jacques is Child, the Rock is Loyalty, and the wilderness beyond it Annihilation" (Voyage 187). According to Pearson's archetypal paradigm, we may read the young Cécile as the archetype of the Innocent, Jacques as that of the Orphan, Jeanne Le Ber as the Martyr, Pierre Charron as the Wanderer, Count Frontenac as the Warrior, and Euclide Auclair and Bishop Laval as Magicians—one secular and one religious. In addition to providing the key to understanding how these characters embody specific archetypes, Pearson's archetypes also explain the personal growth that occurs within the protagonist Cécile Auclair and, to a lesser degree, within other major characters in the novel.

James Woodress's complaint that "the dramatis personae of the novel tend to be flat" and "two-dimensional" (430), justified by Merrill Skaggs as the appropriate form for what she views as Cather's "miracle play" (After the World 137), can also be explained by the concept of archetype, of the primordial forms that become Cather's Shadows on the Rock of Quebec. Along with the archetype of the Innocent, which will be discussed later in the context of Cécile Auclair's growth, the archetype of the Orphan is what Pearson calls a "preheroic" archetype. According to Pearson, "Life inevitably will liberate Innocents from their illusions, but Orphans, more than any other type, need help crossing the threshold and embarking upon their heroic journey" (37).

The archetypal Orphan in Shadows on the Rock is Jacques, "a chunky, rather clumsy little boy of six, unkept and uncared for, dressed in a pair of old sailor's breeches" by his "irreclaimable" mother 'Toinette Gaux (49-50). Even young Cécile notices that "This child never looked very well. He was not thin,—rather chunky, on the contrary,—but there was no color in his cheeks, or even in his lips. That, Cécile knew, was because he wasn't properly nourished" (63). The help that Jacques needs to embark on his own heroic journey comes not from his mother or his unknown father but from the Quebec community—from Bishop Laval who, seeing in him the type of the Christ Child, takes him home one cold night, feeds him, and ceremonially washes his feet; from Count Frontenac, who provides the money for a pair of shoes to protect his feet from the intense cold; and finally from the Auclairs, especially from Cécile, who "had first noticed Jacques playing about the market place, and begun to bring him home with her, wash his face, and give him a piece of good bread to eat"—adopting him and caring for him as she had cared for her sick mother (51-52).

Like most orphans, Jacques's primary fear is of abandonment, first of all by his worthless mother and then by the "jolly Breton sailor who had played with him in the summer and carved him a marvelous beaver" before sailing off on La Garonne (68). Through the love of Cécile and other citizens of Quebec and through the religious instruction about the Holy Family that Cécile gives him, however, Jacques begins to move beyond the Orphan stage, to give love as well as to take it, when he gives his beaver to the Christ Child in the Auclairs' crèche. Although we do not follow Jacques's journey closely, we discover in the epilogue that he has become a sailor, a Wanderer, but that between voyages he returns to the Auclair household and stays in Cécile's old room, vacated upon her marriage. Just as Cécile's engraved cup had once symbolized her home, so do Jacques's shells and corals in Auclair's apothecary shop symbolize that Jacques is no longer an Orphan.

Whereas an Orphan, such as Jacques, "seeks rescue from suffering, the Martyr embraces it, believing it will bring redemption" (Pearson 98). Shadows on the Rock is filled with stories of martyrs but the most dramatic martyr, perhaps even, as Skaggs asserts, the "most exceptional presence in this novel is that of Jeanne Le Ber" ("A Good Girl" 35), the recluse who steals "down the stair-way like a shadow on her way to mass" (132). Certainly Jeanne Le Ber is the most problematic character in the novel. Wearing "a little haircloth shirt next to her tender skin" (131) even as a child and ultimately sacrificing marriage to her childhood friend Pierre Charron as well as her life with her own family, Jeanne Le Ber embodies the Martyr's belief "that salvation must be earned by suffering" (Pearson 101). Alone in her cell, Jeanne encounters both the personal shadow of her own sins and the archetypal Shadow of Original Sin itself. According to Jung himself—with whose works Cather may have been familiar through her friendship with Jungian enthusiast Elizabeth Shepley Sargeant (Sargeant 238-40), "The encounter with the dark half of the personality, or 'shadow,' ... is as important as that of sin in the Church" (Basic 462).

A question arises, however, about the motivation of a Martyr such as Jeanne Le Ber. Is her sacrifice as useless as the embittered Pierre believes after, in stolen meetings with her, he hears her "harsh and hollow" voice, "like an old crow's" (180), and sees her "stone face" that "had been through every sorrow" (182)? Is her sacrifice even self-serving and manipulative like that of the pseudo-Martyr, such as the young Saint-Vallier? Certainly Cather—like Pierre—must have asked these questions as she wrote Shadows on the Rock, for Jeanne Le Ber had to face some of the same personal choices about life and family that Cather and her autobiographical protagonist Thea Kronborg faced. Although Thea completed her opera tour instead of returning to see her dying mother and Jeanne Le Ber sent the message "Tell her I am praying for her, night and day" (133) instead of responding personally to her mother's deathbed plea, Cather herself delayed work on Shadows on the Rock to make two long visits to her own mother, who had suffered a stroke while visiting Douglass Cather in Long Beach, California, after the death of her husband (Woodress 417).

As Shadows on the Rock shows, however, Cather believed that the mission of the spiritual traveler, whether in the realm of religion or art, is vital not only to the traveler but also to the community in which he or she lives. Thus a true Martyr like Jeanne Le Ber is, as Pearson observes, "not trying to bargain to save self but believes that the sacrifice of the self will save others. That is what the Christ story is about: sacrificing to save others" (103). Significantly, Cather introduces Jeanne Le Ber's story with Blinker's report of the "miracle at Montreal. The recluse has had a visit from the angels," he continues, "the night after Epiphany.... That day she broke her spinning-wheel, and in the night two angels came to her cell and mended it for her. She saw them" (128). This miracle—brought about, we must assume, by Jeanne Le Ber's vicariously enduring the suffering of all human beings just as Christ literally bore their sins—brings the angels closer to all Quebec: "By many a fireside the story of Jeanne Le Ber's spinning-wheel was told and re-told with loving exaggeration during that severe winter. The word of her visit from the angels went abroad over snow-burdened Canada to the remote parishes. Wherever it went, it brought pleasure, as if the recluse herself had sent to all those families whom she did not know some living beauty,—a blooming rose-tree, or a shapely fruit-tree in fruit. Indeed, she sent them an incomparable gift" (136-37).

Jeanne Le Ber's gift is imaged as a flower, the archetypal expression of the feminine spirit as represented in classical myth by the spring reunion of Persephone with Demeter and in Christianity by the rose symbolism of the Virgin Mary. In The Feminine in Jungian Psychology and Christian Theology, Ann Belford Ulanov declares: "In the highest expression of the feminine spirit both heaviness and materiality are transcended, not to vanish into abstraction but to be transformed. It is a process often symbolized by a flower. The feminine spirit, like a blossom's scent, always remains attached to earthly foundations as to something concrete and individual but also exquisite in beauty and grace. The downward-going road of the feminine spirit is a road of the lowest dung, of the commonest air and water, of the everyday soil of experience in which one receives and achieves transformation" (189). Thus Jeanne Le Ber's intense suffering and self-abasement, symbolized spatially by the lowest of her three cells, from which she makes her confessions, sprout and grow into the flower of the gift of faith that she distributes throughout Quebec in the form of the "beautiful alter-cloths and vestments" she makes in her upper cell (134). But Cather extends the image of the flower even further in this highly symbolic passage: "The people have loved miracles for so many hundred years, not as proof or evidence, but because they are the flowering of desire. In them the vague worship and devotion of the simple-hearted assumes a form. From being a shapeless longing, it becomes a beautiful image; a dumb rapture becomes a melody that can be remembered and repeated; and the experience of the moment, which might have been a lost ecstasy, is made an actual possession and can be bequeathed to another" (137).

Through the imagery of this passage, Cather equates religion and art as she has so often done before, most notably in her essay on Carlyle, in which she states that art is a "more exacting master . . . even than Jehovah" (423), and in Professor St. Peter's statement that "Art and religion (they are the same thing in the end, of course) have given man the only happiness he has ever had" (The Professor's House 69). The connection in the above passage from Shadows on the Rock, however, is not so much that of sacrifice or fulfillment as that of desire—the process of spiritual desire that creates a miracle in either religion or art. The archetypal longings, the shadows of the moment, are transformed by art and religion into a miracle, into permanent images and symbolic objects that embody archetypal truths. Like Jung and Paul Tillich, Cather is—through Jeanne Le Ber—seeking "a revitalized spiritual life through return to and reinterpretation of symbols" (Ulanov 103-04). Thus the symbol of the lamp, like that of the flower, takes on a dual meaning in Shadows on the Rock. For Jeanne Le Ber the sanctuary lamp symbolizes the divine light that she wants to become to her community: "watching that spot of light," she prays, "I will be that lamp; that shall be my life" (131). For Cather, as for other romantic writers, the lamp is, as explained by M. H. Abrams, a symbol of divine inspiration, "the divine Idea beamed from God into the soul's mirror, thenceto be projected on the written page" (44).

Contrary to Pierre Charron's belief, Jeanne Le Ber, like any true Martyr, does not intentionally pass her suffering along to others. "Heroes," as Pearson declares, "not only endure hardships, they maintain their love of life, their courage, and their capacity to care for others. No matter how much suffering they experience, they do not pass it on to others. They absorb it and declare: Suffering stops here" (103). Thus Jeanne Le Ber not only releases Pierre, telling him that he should marry, but she also prays "that God may preserve you from sudden death without repentance, and that we may meet in heaven" (179). Pierre acknowledges to Auclair that he has indeed been preserved from sudden death three times, but it is not until after his own journey as the archetypal Wanderer that Jeanne Le Ber's sacrifice becomes transformative for him, embodied in the transformed self of Cécile Auclair.

Pearson's assertion that "the Wanderer is exemplified by stories of the knight, the cowboy, and the explorer who set off alone to see the world" (51) seems a ready-made description of Pierre, whom Cather describes as "a slender man in buckskins, with a quick swinging step. . . . He was not a big fellow, this Pierre Charron, hero of the fur trade and the coureurs de bois, not above medium height, but quick as an otter and always sure of himself" (169-70). Even Euclide Auclair's description of Pierre is archetypal, for to Euclide and his wife, "Pierre Charron had seemed the type they had come so far to find; more than anyone else he realized the romantic picture of the free Frenchman of the great forests which they had formed at home on the bank of the Seine" (171-72).

Pierre's identity as a Wanderer may perhaps be best understood in relationship to the archetype of the Martyr. According to Pearson, "the Wanderer makes the radical assertion that life is not primarily suffering," that "it is an adventure" (51). Like most Wanderers, Pierre's wanderings are motivated by a pivotal, or "transformative, person or concept" (Pearson 65)—in Pierre's case, by his "disappointment" over Jeanne Le Ber's rejecting him as a lover and taking her initial vow as a recluse. Pearson says that "Wanderers identify a person, an institution, [or] a belief system as the cause of their misery, and then they can avoid or flee the cause" or the "captor" (65). Thus Pierre flees from the wasteland of his emotional life to the literal wasteland of the forest where he squanders half of his money on "drink and women and new guns" (173). On returning to Montreal, "his behaviour was always exemplary, out of respect to his mother" (173), but he is clearly an outsider and he, like many Wanderers, experiences spiritual doubt (Pearson 52). Bitter over the miracles associated with Jeanne Le Ber, he initially rejects all miracles, telling the Auclairs and Captain Pondaven, "Oh, you have nothing over us in the way of miracles! . . . Here we have them all the time. Every Friday the beaver is changed into a fish, so that good Catholics may eat him without sin" (224).

Paradoxically, however, the Wanderer's "movement into isolation and loneliness ultimately leads back to community" (Pearson 72). For Pierre, it is his friendship with the Auclairs and his growing feelings for Cécile that bring about his transformation. Hearing of the death of Count Frontenac, the Auclairs' protector, Pierre rushes back to be with them in their sorrow, and the crisis begins to bring out the other archetypes in his life. Finding that Euclide has been too busy during the count's illness to keep food in the house, Pierre takes charge, bringing in a deer he has shot and telling Cécile, "You attend to everything else, but by your leave I will cook the venison in my own way" (266). More important than the food, however, is the warm friendship and calm wisdom that he brings into the household. Cécile's "last thoughts before she sank into forgetfulness were of a friend, devoted and fearless, here in the house with them, as if he were one of themselves. He had not a throne behind him, like the Count. . . , not the authority of a parchment and seal. But he had authority, and a power which came from knowledge of the country and its people; from knowledge, and from a kind of passion. His daring and his pride seemed to her even more splendid than Count Frontenac's" (268). By the conclusion of book 6, Pierre the Wanderer has gained "the Warrior's ability to assert . . . [his] own wishes in the relationship, the Martyr's capacity to give and commit to others, and the Magician's knowledge that there is no scarcity, that we can have all the love we need as our birthright" (Pearson 73).

As suggested by Cécile's comparison, the dominant archetypes of Pierre Charron and Count Frontenac are quite different. Whereas Pierre is initially a Wanderer, the count is primarily a Warrior. According to Pearson, whereas the Wanderer "identifies the dragon and flees," the Warrior "stays and fights" (74). Certainly Count Frontenac was always a fighter—in real life as well as in Cather's novel. Francis Parkman writes that Frontenac's "attitude towards public enemies was always proud and peremptory, yet his courage was guided by so clear a sagacity that he never was forced to recede from a position he had taken" (436). Auclair remembers his first sight of Frontenac in a soldier's uniform, a literal Warrior, and even in his old age in Shadows on the Rock he "still walked, rode, struck, as vigorously as ever, and only two years ago he had gone hundreds of miles into the wilderness on one of the hardest Indian campaigns of his life" (57). Frontenac is indeed one of the archetypal Warriors who, as Pearson says, "change their worlds by asserting their will and their image of a better world upon them" and who "take strong action to protect us all" (76, 82). "When the King had sent him out here nine years ago" Cather writes: "it had been to save Canada—nothingless. The fur trade was completely demoralized, and the Iroquois were murdering French colonists in the very outskirts of Montreal. The Count had accomplished his task. He had chastised the Indians, restored peace and order, secured the safety of trade" (237, 238). In addition to being the military savior of all of Quebec, the count was also the special protector of the Auclair family. "Since I was six years old," Euclide tells Cécile after Frontenac's death, "the Count has been my protector, and he was my father's before me" (261).

Even in defeat and in the ultimate battle with old age and approaching death, the count is a true Warrior. As he watches his patron standing "lost in reflection, Auclair thought he seemed more like a man revolving plans for a new struggle with fortune than one looking back upon a life of brilliant failures. The Count had the bearing of a fencer when he takes up the foil; from his shoulders to his heels there was intention and direction. His carriage was his unconscious idea of himself,—it was an armor he put on when he took off his night-cap in the morning, and he wore it all day, at early mass, at his desk, on the march, at the Council, at his dinner-table. Even his enemies relied upon his strength" (239). Although we don't actually see the inner development of the count, at his death we see the results of that development. According to Pearson, Warriors in the higher levels of their development "learn to be more subtle and politic," and ultimately they "give over control of the outcome and assert themselves as part of the dance of life" (97). Before his death Frontenac develops a deep respect for his old enemy Bishop Laval, and on his deathbed the "Count raised his eyebrows haughtily, as if to demand why his privacy was thus invaded. He looked from one face to another; in those faces he read something. He saw the nuns upon their knees, praying. He seemed to realize his new position in the world and what was now required of him. The challenge left his face,—a dignified calm succeeded it" (262). Like the Magician, this old Warrior has discovered that "at a deeper level, force does not work" (118). Like the Magician also, Frontenac has found a new "discipline [that] operates in a context of humility and a certain positive fatalism... . Magicians know," Pearson says,"that they are not the center of the universe; yet that knowledge does not distress them" (118).

Although both Pierre Charron and Count Frontenac—and later Cécile and Bishop Saint-Vallier—reach the level of the Magician, the characters for whom the Magician archetype is dominant are Euclide Auclair and Bishop Laval. As a "philosopher apothecary" (3), Auclair is both physician and scholar. Although he is religious, his wisdom derives from secular sources rather than divine ones. Thus he believes that while "sacred relics are all very well" for working miracles, these miracles are not performed "through the digestive tract," and if Mother de Saint-Augustin "had given her heretic a little more ground bone, she might have killed him" (126). Mild, thoughtful, studious, and creative, with a mind that is "free" (32), he rejects "modern" methods of treatment suggested by Bishop Saint-Vallier: the "cauterization of the arm, to draw the inflammation" away from Bishop Laval's "enlarged and congested veins" in his leg as well as the practice of bleeding for Count Frontenac (119, 257). Striving, like Pearson's Magician, "to live in harmony with the supernatural and natural worlds" and in "wholeness and balance within" (119), Auclair relies on practical and natural remedies, "tisanes and herb-teas and poultices, which at least could do no harm. He advised them [his patients] about their diet; reduced the surfeit of the rich and prescribed goat's milk for the poorly nourished"(29), and is preparing a herbarium, a "collection of medicinal Canadian plants" to take back to France (226). Moreover, he consciously avoids the Magician's temptation to misuse his power (Pearson 147), speaking out against the French fad of drinking viper broth and telling Cécile, "Medicine is a dark science" (212).

Whereas Euclide Auclair is a secular Magician, old Bishop Laval is a true spiritual Magician who is "able to inspire hope in others" that "it is possible to have a peaceful, humane, just, and caring world" because he himself has "learned to be peaceful, caring, and respectful of others"(Pearson 150). Laval himself lives in "naked poverty," having given all his "silver plate and velvet and linen . . . little by little, to needy parishes, to needy persons" (73). Laval's most meaningful experience as a Magician occurs one cold night when he finds the orphan Jacques crying outside Bishop Saint-Vallier's palace. Taking Jacques home, Laval ceremonially bathes the child's feet, musing: "This was not an accident, he felt. Why had he found, on the steps of that costly episcopal residence built in scorn of him and his devotion to poverty, a male child, half-clad and crying in the merciless cold? Why had this reminder of his Infant Savior been just there, under that house which he never passed without bitterness, which was like a thorn in his flesh?" (75). From this experience, the Magician in Laval realizes "that we are not life's victims; we are part of the unfolding of God" (Pearson 117). Reviewing his life after this experience, he sees that it falls into: "two even periods. The first thirty-six years had been given to purely personal religion, to bringing his mind and will into subjection to his spiritual guides. The last thirty-six years had been spent in bringing the minds and wills of other people into subjection to his own,—since he had but one will, and that was the supremacy of the Church in Canada" (75). Having passed through both the Martyr and Warrior archetypes on his way to that of the Magician, then, Laval learns not only the Magician's lesson "that it is only in giving . . . [one's] unique gift to the universe that true happiness and satisfaction can be found" (Pearson 118) but also his own personal lesson that "it was time to return to that rapt and mystical devotion of his earlier life" (Shadows 75).

Each of the characters discussed thus far—Jacques, Jeanne Le Ber, Pierre Charron, Count Frontenac, Euclide Auclair, and Bishop Laval—has a dominant archetype, even though other archetypes may be present in their lives. However, Cather shows two characters in the novel—Cécile Auclair and Bishop Saint-Vallier—living through more than one archetype. Although the order and duration of the various archetypes varies for different people, Pearson has discovered that the usual order differs for women and men. Significantly, Cécile's own journey closely matches the typical female pattern of Innocent, Orphan, Martyr, Wanderer, Warrior, and Magician (Pearson 8). Further, as suggested by John J. Murphy's analysis of the dominant theme in each book of the novel, the novel's overall structure also parallels the order of Cécile's development, the theme of order in book I paralleling the archetype of the Innocent, the theme of "the child in the family" in book 2 the archetype of the Orphan, the theme of self-denial in book 3 the archetype of the Martyr, the theme of the wilderness in book 4 the archetype of the Wanderer, the theme of national identity in book 5 the archetype of the Warrior, and the theme of maturity in book 6 the archetype of the Magician(Murphy 38-39).

When we are first introduced to Cécile Auclair, we hear only "a child's voice, singing" and then see "a little girl of twelve, beginning to grow tall, wearing a short skirt and a sailor's jersey, with her brown hair shingled like a boy's" (9). Like the archetypal Innocent, she "lives in an unfallen world, a green Eden where life is sweet and all one's needs are met in an atmosphere of care and love" (Pearson 25)—in Cécile's case, the care and love not only of her father, Euclide Auclair, but also the entire community of Quebec. Indeed, Pearson declares that the "closest ordinary equivalents to this experience [of the Innocent] occur in early childhood"(25). Both Cécile's archetypal innocence and her growth away from this innocence is shown later in the novel when, just having been told by her father than there are "men in France this day who doubt the existence ofGod," she looks up at him in bewilderment and asks, "Are there such men, Father?" (154). Along with the archetype of the Innocent but secondary to it, Cécile experiences the archetype of the Orphan. When the novel begins, her mother has been dead for two years, and 12-year-old Cécile keeps house and prepares dinner for her father. Mother Juschereau observes that "for an orphan girl, and one so intelligent [as Cécile], there would certainly have been a career among the Hospitalières" but that Cécile "certainly has no vocation" for it (39). By symbolically adopting Jacques, Cécile moves into the Martyr archetype, in which she chooses: "to give the gift of one's life for the giving's sake, knowing that life itself is its own reward and remembering that all the little deaths, the losses, in our lives always have brought with them transformation and new life, that actual deaths are not final but merely a more dramatic passage through into the unknown" (Pearson 115). Like the Virgin Mary and her son, the true archetypal Martyr, Cécile—by loving and caring for a prostitute's son—is "giving up rigid ideas about what the world should be and loving what it is" (Pearson 113). Thus Cécile's life is truly "a story of transformations," transformations that, Rosowski believes, project her symbolically toward sainthood ("Magnificat" 68). The transformative love of the Virgin Mary would be, in Pearson's paradigm, most closely associated with the Magician archetype toward which Cécile is moving. While Cécile is in the Martyr stage, then, she looks forward to the Magician archetype and even reverts to the Orphan archetype when she feels a "chilling fear of the night" in the dirty and disordered Harnois household (194).

Because of Cécile's devotion to housekeeping and domestic ritual, the house metaphor that Pearson uses to explain such variations in the primary order of the archetypes as experienced in the typical female journey is especially appropriate for Shadows on the Rock. Pearson explains that "encountering these archetypes is a bit like redecorating a house. We begin by moving into a house furnished in part by attitudes, beliefs, and habits passed on to us by our families and by our culture. Some people never make the house their own and so do not develop a distinct identity or style. Those who do take their journeys and . . . furnish their own houses do so at different paces and in different orders" (16). Whereas "some people do one room at a time, finish that, and go on to the next," Cécile is more like those who "do a bit in each room" because some of her psychological rooms—especially those of the Innocent and the Orphan—cannot be finished until she has more fully developed the Martyr archetype and encountered the archetypes of the Warrior and the Wanderer (Pearson 16).

In general, Ann Romines is correct when she implies that the "separation/return pattern so characteristic of Western storytelling" is absent from Shadows on the Rock, for the overall structure of the novel is, like the rock of Quebec, static rather than progressive ("After the Christmas Tree" 80). However, the central scene in the novel, the one in which Cécile and Pierre go on an "excursion" to visit the Harnois family on the Ile d'Orléans (184), does follow the separation, initiation, return pattern characteristic of the Warrior's journey. With the eye of the domestic artist, Cécile sees the island from the "highpoints of Quebec . . . as if it had been arranged to please the eye,—full of folds and wrinkles like a crumpled table-cloth" (184). On her actual journey Pierre is her physical guide but her mother is her psychological and spiritual guide, for Cécile packs her things in her mother's valise (185) and that night, sitting up alone to avoid sleeping in the dirty bed with the unwashed Harnois girls, she "thought a great deal about her mother," about "how her mother had always made everything at home beautiful, just as here everything about cooking, eating, sleeping, living, seemed repulsive" (192). On the Ile d'Orléans, Cécile experiences the archetypal fall from innocence. Symbolically, after her early return to her own home she does not "feel like a little girl, doing what she had been taught to do" and realizes that she performs her household tasks "for herself, quite as much" as "to please her father, and to carry out her mother's wishes" (196-97). Like the archetypal Warrior of the hero quest, Cécile has been reborn—a rebirth that is symbolized by the fire that she herself makes to prepare not just dinner but life itself. Cécile has indeed experienced the quest of the Warrior but, unlike the typical masculine Warrior, she has completed her quest as much by, as Romines observes of one of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman's characters, "literally and metaphorically 'going in'—into a house and housekeeping" ("The Hermit's Parish" 148)—as by going out into the world.

After this rebirth experience, Cécile begins a period of symbolic wandering during which she and her father await the ships on which Auclair and the count plan to return to France. The ship brings her an elegant blue dress and a gold brooch—the dress suggesting her new womanhood and the colors suggesting what Rosowski has called "the apotheosis of a French girl into a Canadian Holy Mother" (Voyage 184). Viewing this new self in a mirror would, as Pearson suggests, show how the "world outside" mirrors the "world inside" (134), but "Cécile had no looking-glass upstairs" and, for awhile, she rejects the roles symbolized by these clothes that one might wear "to mass or to a wedding" (214), perhaps even her own. Instead she maintains her childhood relationship by wearing one of her new jerseys to the dinner Pierre has planned for her and her father. After Pierre returns to the forest, Cécile watches miserably as her father makes preparations for their return to France: "The spirit of peace, that acceptance of fate, which used to dwell in the pharmacy on Mountain Hill, had left it and come abroad to dwell in the orchards and gardens, in the little stony streets where the leaves blew about. Day after day Cécile had walked about those streets trying to capture that lost content and take it home again. She felt almost as if she no longer had a home; often wished she could follow the squirrels into their holes and hide away with them for the winter" (229). Vicariously she even wanders with Pierre, the great Wanderer himself, wishing that she and Jacques "could govery far up the river in Pierre Charron's canoe, and then off into the forests to the Huron country, and find the very places where the martyrs died" (234).

The images of the "spiral" and the "sacred fire," both of which are introduced even before Cécile herself, symbolize Cécile's spiritual and psychological growth into the Magician archetype. According to Pearson, the three-dimensional spiral symbolizes the individual's growth toward wholeness, in which it is "possible to move forward while frequently circling back" (13). This spiritual movement is suggested macrocosmically by the "winding stair-way connecting the two halves of Quebec" over which Cécile travels (9), and microcosmically by the three-tiered cell within which Jeanne Le Ber experiences her inner journey. As discussed by Rosowski and Romines, fire is also a major symbol in Shadows on the Rock. Rosowski calls fire "the agent of transmutation" that "casts shadows that people a bare rock with figures of legend" (Voyage 184), whereas Romines emphasizes the role of fire in maintaining domestic ritual and order (Home 159). Moreover, in both classical and Christian religions, fire also symbolizes purification and spiritualization. Demeter attempted to make the child Demophoon immortal by burning away his mortality, and according to one nonbiblical source, Christ once said, "Whoever is near to me is near to the fire" (Ulanov 182-83).

This symbol of fire, then, suggests two qualities of the Magician archetype as experienced by Cécile. First, Romines's emphasis on domestic ritual suggests the artistic and creative aspect of the Magician who, as Pearson says, cannot exist "without ordering and arranging life" (116-17). Cécile is always concerned with domestic order; at the beginning of the novel she focuses on maintaining the order established by her mother, whereas later she creates her own order. Second, the transformative quality of fire suggests the fuller psychological and spiritual transformation of Cécile that is implied by her marriage to Pierre Charron in the epilogue. On one level, Cécile's marriage confirms her identity as a true Canadian. When she was a child, Pierre told her, "You and I are Canadians, monkey. We were born here" (174). She had been deeply disturbed by the thought of leaving Canada to return to France, and now she has become the mother of "the Canadians of the future" (278). On another level this marriage becomes a type of the holy marriage of the Virgin Mary. Combining Jungian psychology with Christian theology, Ulanov equates divine and human love or marriage, declaring that "the two loves are inseparable and that a fully developed human being is fully devoted to God. One sees, then, that the full expression of one's individuality is part of a full surrender to the divine. The full experience of human sexual love—in its literal and symbolic range of meanings—is the intimate experience of the Incarnate Word"(292). Euclide's affirmation that "Heaven has blessed her with children"(278) clearly connects Cécile and her union with that of the Virgin Mary. Whereas Mary bore a child who became the spiritual Savior of the world, Cécile bears young Canadians who will become "the Canadians of the future,—the true Canadians" (278). The narrative distancing of Cécile in the epilogue also suggests not only that Cécile has become a legend herself, like Jeanne Le Ber, but also that, like the Virgin Mary, she has experienced the apotheosis of the hero, has truly become a Canadian shadow or spirit.

Although Cécile is the emotional center of the novel, she is not the only character to undergo a major change. The most dramatic transformation occurs in Bishop Saint-Vallier, whose journey follows the typical male pattern of Orphan, Warrior, Wanderer, Martyr, and Magician (Pearson 8). Bishop Saint-Vallier's early journey is truncated, however, and he reaches the level of Magician only through forced wanderings and intense suffering. When we are first introduced to Bishop Saint-Vallier, he is like a proud but lonely Orphan who uses his "pain as a vehicle for manipulation" to "avoid fully confronting . . . rage and feelings of powerlessness" (Pearson 42) and who seeks attention by reorganizing and changing things "for the sake of change, to make a fine gesture" (Shadows 122.). He is also a pseudo-Martyr who "won all hearts by his splendid charities" but whose piety is "too conspicuous" and a pseudo-Warrior full of "arrogance and . . . rash impracticality" (124) who nevertheless tries unsuccessfully to impose his will on Laval, Frontenac, and Auclair (122,123,124). Self-righteously—and ironically, considering his own elaborate palace, Saint-Vallier claims that the dying Count "has agreat deal to put right with Heaven. He has used his authority and his influence here for worldly ends, rather than to strengthen the kingdom of God" (255-56). Fifteen years after Frontenac's death and 13 years after his own departure, Saint-Vallier returns to Quebec a broken but transformed man. The "wandering Bishop" (270), as Cather calls him, has experienced both a lengthy imprisonment in England and a long detention in France that have humbled him immeasurably. Instead of returning to his gaudy palace, the bishop now plans to live in two small rooms in the Hopital Géneral and serve as chaplain there. The bishop also asks about Cécile and exhibits his new Magician status, his "transformation," by the "warm and friendly silence" (279), the sense of community, that he now shares with Auclair.

The hero's relationship with community is an important concept in most heroic paradigms. The return of both Saint-Vallier described by Cather earlier as being "as changeable and fickle as a woman" (123)—and Cécile to the Rock of Quebec parallels Marilyn Sanders Mobley's description of "the return at the end of the female quest" that "is not a resignation to limitation or failure but a heroic expression of the desire to remain connected to the people and place of her cultural roots. . . , an act of triumph, or self-affirmation and communal celebration" (29). Campbell declares that the hero must return to "the kingdom of humanity, where the boon may redound to the renewing of the community, the nation, the planet, or the ten thousand worlds" (193). And Pearson observes that "The reward for the hero's inevitably solitary journey, then, is community—community with the self, with other people, and with the natural and spiritual worlds. At the end of the journey, the hero feels and is at home in the world" (153). Indeed, Saint-Vallier now feels more at home in his bare quarters with his duties of chaplain than he had in the prisons and courts of Europe or even in his own bishop's palace, and Cécile—though narratively removed from us—feels at home in her adopted country of Canada.

The sense of community that results at the end of the hero's solitary journey is also related to the archetypal role of the artist. According to Pearson, the "archetype of the Magician teaches us about creation" (116). As a creative Magician "ordering and arranging life" (116-17), Cécile is herself the prototype of the artist. Moreover, as Mary Ruth Ryder suggests, in telling the story of the old count (262), of the adventurer who, like Aeneas, has carried "his gods with him into a remote and savage country"(Shadows 98), Euclide Auclair is also a type of the epic poet Virgil. Most importantly, however, in the Carlylean sense, as Patricia Lee Yongue has suggested (62), Cather herself becomes the Hero as Poet or Man of Letters as she tells the epic story of Shadows on the Rock. Whereas Carlyle denigrated the symbols of the Catholic Church (142-45), however, Cather uses the symbols of the Church—the Martyr, the Rock, the Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother—to give body and experience to the shadows of the mythic and historical past, thus transforming unconscious archetypes into conscious art. The "romantic glow" (67) of Cather's mind that Governor Wilbur Cross detected in his review of Shadows on the Rock thus derives from the creative lamp within, from the divine romantic vision of Cather as Poet or, to paraphrase Carlyle, Woman of Letters (181). It is with this blinding light that Willa Cather casts her heroic shadows on the Rock.


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