Margaret Boyce is a PhD candidate in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. Her areas of research have included critical animal studies, settler-colonial studies, and especially the connections between incarceration in Canada and colonial recognition politics. Her current research project examines Inuit art appreciation in southern art museums in the context of Canada asserting sovereignty over the Arctic.
Margaret is the author of “Taking Cereals Seriously in Martha Ostenso’s Wild Geese.”
This article proposes a fresh reading of the classic Canadian novel, Wild Geese, by Martha Ostenso. By way of Anna Tsing’s discussion of the cross-species influence of crops on the development of Western agricultural societies, I reconceive of the novel’s surly antagonist Caleb as beholden to the fruits of his labour. I thereby develop a reading of Ostenso’s frontier narrative that takes seriously the role of other-than-human actors in the novel, which counters scholarship that ascribes solely symbolic status to the novel’s plant life, while also revealing the novel’s intrinsic anxiety regarding the limitations of settler belonging.
Canadian Literature issue 234, Eclectic Mix, is available to order through our online store.