Novel Study Check in

“<We’d better start organizing ourselves>”(12)


This is Louis Riel telling his friends to prepare themselves to defend their land against the English. I thought this quote is a great way to start off a biography, especially how this quote properly represents what Louis believes in. He was always ready to stand for his land and the ones who were not properly represented in parliament.


At the time, Louis and the Red River Settlement were in a very defensive state, fighting for what they believed in, trying to get the Canadian government to respect their values. This says a lot about Canadian identity, even though the Red River Rebels were fighting the Canadian government, they were fighting for the land that would eventually become Canada. So this rebellion is an example that Canadians fight for what they believe in, and are not scared to make sacrifices, as did Louis when he committed treason to fight for his people.


“Okay, Colonel Dennis, I want you to post this royal proclamation in the settlement and raise an armed force against the half-breeds.”(45)


I found this quote interesting because it shows that Louis Riel wasn’t the only ‘traitor’ in the mix of early Canada. This ‘royal proclamation’ was supposedly a forged document created to shut down Riel’s following. With this quote, Riel is seeming more and more like a hero, rather than the traitor he was killed for.


Even though this forged document may just be real in this bibliography, it definitely makes sense. This incident in the book makes Riel seem like the heroic, ‘good guy’ compared to the Canadian government, and how the book phrases “armed force against the half-breeds” makes the government at the time seem racist and like the antagonist of the book. This means that this book was published in favor of Riel, and at a time where the idea that Riel was a hero was the dominant view.


“I propose t’at we set up a convention of 40– t’e french will elect 20 representatives, and so will t’e English. Together we’ll decide what rights we’re entitled to and what’s more, gentlemen, we’ll get t’ose rights!”(75)


I find this quote interesting because it shows that Louis was able to round up the French and the English. I always thought that Louis only cared about the French, but this quote shows that he values equality, other than the dash of sexism by calling a crowd ‘gentlemen’.


Like I said, this quote shows equality, meaning the author of this book valued showing Riels equality, making him seem more like a hero in history. Riel decided to have equal representation from the French and the English, even though the English were the minority. At the same time, the author of this book values historical accuracy by showing that Riel was sexist at times, like most of the people back then. This quote is an example of Canada’s equality. This means that certain Canadians have always cared about equality to an extent, and equality has always been part of some Canadians.


“<Very well. We’ll court-martial him tomorrow on a charge of… … of treason>”(154)


This quote is interesting to me because it shows what Riel is capable of. He decided to execute a prisoner because the prisoner was yelling in the cell. Riel’s followers wanted the prisoner dead, and Riel refused to kill the prisoner. Although, Riel eventually killed the prisoner to keep his followers loyal. This surprised me, this showed me that Riel wasn’t all hero, he killed a debatably innocent person. Now, I understand why other people, specifically English people, think Riel is a traitor. I remember my parents and other influencing adults telling me that Riel was a traitor to Canada, and I believed them, so now I know why they think/thought that.


How the author phrased this quote makes Riel seem like he’s acting against his will. From prior school assignments, I know that it is almost impossible to be completely historically accurate, so the author had some bias in this quote. This means that when this book was written, the author valued showing Riel as a hero over historical accuracy. Showing Riel as a hero means more Canadians now will think of Riel as a hero. This also means that some modern Canadians are okay with remembering the important Canadians in history as heroes, even when some of the important Canadians have done villainous things. Another good example of this is John A. Macdonald, although some view Mr. Macdonald as a villain more than a hero.


“So first you should negotiate with the settlers and get them to voluntarily join Canada. Then, if it’s still necessary to put the half-breeds in their place, we go in with troops.”(196)


This quote is interesting because it shows more of the Canadian government and how they make decisions, something this book does really well. I like how the book shows the Canadian government trying to be peaceful, but the book also shows that Canada is not afraid of getting what they want through violent means. This is how most elementary and middle school dilemmas are solved in the playground. I’ve seen many times where someone will try and get what they want, maybe a change in the rules of the game of ‘tag’, and get increasingly aggressive until they get what they want, or until a teacher comes to the commotion.


Similar to the last quote, the author of this book continues to make the Canadian government look like the antagonist of history. The author of this book shows the Canadian government being peaceful, but this ‘peace’ is false. The Canadian government was getting Louis and his settlers to join Canada whether the settlers wanted to or not. Now, Canada has become more diplomatic and peaceful. We are more okay with making compromises than we were back then.


Theme: Sometimes, history may be remembered differently by certain individuals based on how these individuals wanted the past to happen. Opinions about history easily turn into facts.


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