The literature of Canada, just like the literature of any other nation influenced by its socio-political contexts. Canadian writers have produced various genres of literature. Originally, the dominant cultures in Canada were the French and British, together with aboriginal. This means that the first writers were British and French travelers, explorers, and military officers. Written in plain language, they documented the heroic journeys to the vast Canadian nation and how they interacted with the natives. This literature was relayed to people of various cultures. Consequently, there is a significant influence of the French and British in the literature of Canada. As time went by, Canada progressively became the home of a diverse population of authors as well as readers (New 4). In recent years, Canadian literature has been greatly influenced by international migration. Literature in Canada, either written in French or English demonstrates the Canadian perspective on frontier life, nature, and the position of Canada in the world. The cultural and ethnic diversity of Canada is reflected in its literature with the majority of its writer focusing on ethnic life. Proceeding further, Hammill (32) points out that the literature of Canada is categorized into three sub-divisions by region, author, and literary period, for instance, ‘Candian postmoderns.’ The Canadian literature has common traits: futility and failure feature commonly in most notable works; humor; mild anti-Americanism; cultural diversity, and some of the writers who have used this theme are Wayson Choy (Chinese Canadian), Margaret Laurence (Stone Age Angel), and Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient); in Canadian literature, reference to nature is very very common and it is often shown as a divine force or enemy; satire and irony, which are the core elements of literature in Canada; self-deprecation; search for self-identity; underdog hero; contrast of urban and rural lifestyles with rural character often portrayed as morally superior; self-evaluation.
Famous literal figures in Canada
There are various notable figures in Canadian literature. Nick (18) observes that the influence of Canadian writers both historically and geographically has been widespread. First, the English sisters of Catherine Parr and Susanna Moodie dominated the Canadian literature for over 50 years and wrote till their death. With Canada as their adopted nation, they recorded their experiences in literary works, such as Life in the Clearings (1853), Canadian Crusoes (1852), Roughing It in the Bush (1852), and The Backwoods of Canada (1853). The theme of these books as the Canadian rugged environment, which is a recurrent theme in other Canadian literary works.
Second, Thomas Chandler Haliburton (1796-1865) was a judge and author who resided in the British Colony of Nova Scotia. He was Canada’s first global best-selling author. He is remembered for his comic character, Sam Slick in Clockmaker together with other humorous works (Davies 4).
Third, Jean Margaret Laurence (1926-1987) was a Canadian short-story writer and novelist. She considered one of the crucial pillars of Canadian literature. Laurence is the founder of a non-profit organization; Writers’ Trust of Canada, which encourages the Canadian community to venture into literature. Due to her work, Laurence was awarded twice for her novels A Jest of God (1966) and The Diviners (1974) (King 3-16).
Lastly, Hammill (89) asserts that Margaret Atwood is the best known living Canadian author and has elevated the literature of Canada to an international stage. She is a prolific novelist, literary critic, and poet.
Davies, Richard. Inventing Sam Slick: A Biography of Thomas Chandler Haliburton, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005. Print.
Hammill, Faye. Canadian Literature. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007. Print.
King, James. The Life of Margaret Laurence. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 1998. Print.
New, W.H. A History of Canadian Literature. New York: McGill-Queens Press – MQUP, 2010. Print.
Nischik, Reingard M. History of Literature in Canada: English-Canadian and French-Canadian. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Camden House, 2008. Print.