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The article under in analysis under this review is entitled, “Charivaris and the lower Canadian rebellion of 1837.” The author of this article is Allan Greer. In the arguments, the author presents the continuous existence of a practice called Charivari in the traditional society of the Canadian people during the middle age. The practice whose origin did not get an evident discord in the French society. However, it is said to have come from Canada who had previously been a French colony. In the article, the author expressly gives an account of a practice that was once used as folklore and later turned into a political science device to express the desire of a group of people. It turned into a way of rebellion against the colonial government in the Lower Canada, particularly the District of Montreal (Henderson, 2013).
In the traditional setting, the author clearly outlines the use of charivari as a way to rebuke those who went against the societal norms. Such people included old men who married young wives, couples who practiced infidelity and unmatched couples regarding age. For instance, an example given is of a couple that married; the woman was sixty-eight while the man was fifty. Considerably the arguments raise the fact that the practice of Charivari cut across the societal elements before the colonial insurgence of 1837 when it worked as a tool to mobilize crowd against the colonial government. Although it carried the weight of rebellion, to any British visitor this practice of Charivari seemed like a simple practice whose motivation was the traditions of the people in the now Quebec City (Buckner, 2008). However, any Frenchman who visited the city would not consider it strange since it was common in the French society. In the French society, Charivari was used “against any unpopular such as corrupt officials, submissive husband or promiscuous women.” The Charivari practice significantly went across the French society, and some part to Germany and the US South (Underdown, 2011).
The author is dominantly persuasive regarding the rich outline of the Charivari practice whose harmless nature and social usage turned into the political side. The questions that arise from this matter regard the caution of the colonial government to summon the extent of this native practice and take action. The small growth and flourishing of the French-Canadian Charivari are questionable. It is very wrong that those who intended to rule the small colony of Lower Canada did not find any threat of such a practice whose effects were explicit and disruptive (Barker, 2009).The Practice of Charivari overlooked as a social and traditional ritual whose effects were neutral or even less meaningful. The politicizing of the practice turned as a big surprise to the colonial government that unfortunately had no external allies for help.
The state of the facts that regard Charivari also touch the matters of the church and the societal views. While seemingly intended for good as far as the members were concerned, the author argues that the practice was not supported by the clerics who were in the church as it had clear assaults of many marital elements that were endowed by the church. The church became anchored on moral standings that stood beyond the seeming righteous attempts of the Charivari society (Ouellet, 2016). The sense of clarity of presentation in the many instances, so the Charivari nursing practice proves that the practice has a certain following in the society. The reason could primarily get connected to its ability to reinforce moral standards among members of the society. Religious groups also had their take in the issue. The author assumes that the reader of this article would understand that the traditional French-Canadian society had the general support of the Charivari practice (Wood, 2009).
In the Renaissance France, the Charivari practice is said to have been engaged by the society youth who directed them mainly to “widowers or outsiders who deprived local young men of a potential mate.” In the light of anthropology, the author states that some scholars analyze the practice to have emanated from the competition in the “marriage market.” On the other hand, in “French Canada, charivari does not seem to have arisen any protectionist impulses of bachelordom. Such disparities in the practice raise questions of trust in the clear, authentic meaning of its original intentions. Although the practice was a social entity, there is no explanation of the attitude or take of the leading authorities regarding its practice.
The article is silent regarding the perspectives of different people in the societal on the Charivari practice. In need of waking to the issues that lead to the politicization of the Charivari practice, it is necessary that the continuous movement of the society regarding this matter get adequately outlined. Although the author gives incidences and examples of the practices on many occasions, the popularity or the practices had no details in line with its capacity to become that populous to the extent of leading a revolution.
1. Barker, A. J. (2009). The contemporary reality of Canadian imperialism: Settler colonialism and the hybrid colonial state. American Indian Quarterly, 33(3), 325.
2. Buckner, P. A. (2008). Canada and the British Empire. Oxford University Press, USA.
3. Henderson, J. (2013). Banishment to Bermuda: Gender, race, empire, independence and the struggle to abolish irresponsible government in Lower Canada. HistoireSociale/Social Work History, 46(92), 321-348.e
4. Ouellet, F. (2016). Lower Canada 1791-1840: Social Change & Nationalism (Vol. 8). McClelland & Stewart.
5. Underdown, D. (2011). “But the shows of their street”: civic pageantry and charivari in a Somerset Town, 1607. Journal of British Studies, 50(1), 4-23.
6. Wood, M. (2009). Unresolved Issues: The Roots of the 1970 FLQ Crisis in the Rebellions of 1837-1838 in Lower Canada. Engaging Terror: A Critical and Interdisciplinary Approach, 287-300.