abstract: Anne Hébert, a 20th-century Québécoise novelist and poet, often exploits the relationship between love and death in her prose. In “Le Torrent,” Kamouraska, Les Fous de Bassan, and L’Enfant Chargé de Songes, she explores this connection by relating four very different stories, all of which contain violent acts. Hébert does not, however, limit herself to the relationship between love and death, but rather expands upon this idea in order to explore the correlation between violence and sex. She also looks beyond the traditional gender stereotypes, according to which acts of brutality are generally reserved for men. Hébert introduces the reader to characters that are at the same time uniquely disturbed and disturbingly normal. This contrast serves both to draw in and to trouble the reader. Instead of creating murderers who are cruel, two-dimensional monsters, she depicts normal people who, for various reasons, have become capable of acts of extreme violence. She shows that there are many reasons for which otherwise normal people can be driven to such things.
Carrie Helmold, 01 Silver Spring, MD
Sponsor: Jan Boney