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Private Soldier


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A: Marcel Dubé Pf: 1958, Montreal Pb: 1958; rev. 1967 Tr: None known G: Drama in 2 acts; French prose S: Canada and Korea, 1945–52 C: 3m, 3f, extrasJoseph Latour returns to his father's home at the end of the Second World War. He had joined the army after he became a disaffected teenager and dropped out of school. His father Édouard lives in Montreal with Joseph's half-sister Fleurette and with his latest wife Bertha and her two children Marguerite and Armand. Joseph, unable to tolerate unreasonable authority, drifts from job to job, which takes him all over Canada. When he returns once more to his father's home, he causes Édouard so much hurt and disappointment that the old man dies. Joseph leaves and joins the army again, ending in Korea, where he is killed.

A: Marcel Dubé Pf: 1958, Montreal Pb: 1958; rev. 1967 Tr: None known G: Drama in 2 acts; French prose S: Canada and Korea, 1945–52 C: 3m, 3f, extras

In this play, originally written for television, Dubé, one of Canada's leading francophone playwrights, spoke for a whole generation of young Canadians. Especially as a French Canadian, he expressed the alienation of returning soldiers who had given so much for a British Empire that meant little to them. Now, at home, the sense of frustration persists. Like a Canadian James Dean, Joseph fights the system, reflected in the Asbestos strike, the nuclear threat, and the crisis over conscription, without himself having any clear sense of direction. The ‘simple’ of the title is ironic: Joseph is a deeply complex character and is the focus of some powerfully emotional scenes.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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