Master of Arts
Theory and Criticism
This thesis uses Barthes’ Mythologies as a framework to examine the ways in which the Canadian nation has been mythologized, exploring how this mythologization affects our sense of national identity. Because, as Barthes says, the ultimate goal of myth is to transform history into nature, it is necessary to delve into Canada’s past in order to understand when, why, and how it has become the nation it is today. This will involve tracing some key aspects of Canadian history, society, and pop culture from Canada’s earliest days to current times to uncover the “true origins” of the naturalized, taken-for-granted elements of our identity. In doing so, I hope to demonstrate that Canada’s reputation as a peaceful, tolerant, and equal-opportunity nation is a myth perpetuated to obscure longstanding power structures that serve (and have always served) the agenda of Canada’s hegemonic core.
Summary for Lay Audience
This thesis examines the many myths that have shaped Canada over time, exploring the stories, stereotypes, and symbols that we use to represent our nation and ourselves. By tracing specific aspects of Canadian history, society, and pop culture from Canada’s earliest days to current times, I attempt to uncover the “true origins” of the most taken-for-granted elements of our identity and nationhood. In doing so, I hope to challenge Canada’s reputation as a peaceful, tolerant, and equal-opportunity nation by demonstrating that it is not based in fact but is rather a myth designed to draw attention away from the many issues and inequities in Canadian society.
Lodoen, Shannon, "The Myths That Make Us: An Examination of Canadian National Identity" (2019). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 6408.