The Tin Flute

Themes

  • Dispossession- The novel details the loss of many things in the lives of several characters. For Rose-Anna it is the loss of her children, first Eugene to the army, then Florentine to marriage and Daniel to death. For Azarius it is the loss of his vocation and subsequently his identity as a "man".
  • Solitude- Despite being about a family the novel demonstrates the solitude of the various characters. For Rose-Anna this is best seen at the end of the novel when she gives birth practically alone. She feels completely alone and even Azarius is not there when she calls for him.
  • The feminine condition- The condition of the woman is treated throughout the novel both on the individual level (in the lives of Rose-Anna and her daughter Florentine) and universally when Rose-Anna identifies with women across the world who are affected by the senselessness of war. Feminist undertones can be found in the way Gabrielle Roy describes Rose-Anna's role in the family. Rose-Anna is, in some ways, a victim of circumstance with a husband who has no work, poverty which causes her to go searching for new lodging every spring and her Catholic faith which does not allow her to use birth control and results in many pregnancies which take their toll on her both physically and emotionally.
  • The futility of war- A theme discussed throughout the book Roy shows many opinions on the war via various characters but there is a strong sense of war being senseless. Emmanuel Létourneau is one character (along with Rose-Anna Lacasse) who questions the meaning and motive behind going to war. He struggles with his own motivations and concludes that the purpose for going to war must be to end it one day.

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