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Abstract

This essay explores the lyrical work of Gord Downie as part of the iconic Canadian rock band, The Tragically Hip. It uses the work of music journalists, Canadian literary theorist and pop culture theorists to explore what Downie’s lyrics communicate about Canadian identity and how Downie engages with the theme of space, boundaries, and kenophobia in Canadian literature. By applying Margaret Atwood’s and Northrop Frye’s ideas of space and nature in Canadian literature, The Tragically Hip’s song “At the Hundredth Meridian” can be understood as an important work of Canadian music. In “At the Hundredth Meridian,” Downie challenges the concepts of empty spaces versus filled spaces, external and internal space, and accepting oneself as part of Nature’s process. In doing so, Downie articulates a post-survival mentality, finding a way to become what Atwood called “a creative non-victim”.

BRENT HOLMES graduated from Huron University College in 2014 with a Bachelors of Arts in English and Film Studies. He worked full time as Deputy Editor for Volume 108 of Western's daily student newspaper, The Gazette. Mr. Holmes will be going to the University of British Columbia for his Masters in Journalism program starting in September.


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