Evangeline; A Tale of Acadie

Evangeline; A Tale of Acadie Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

The Statue of Justice (symbol)

In Father Leblanc's story there is a statue of Justice that symbolizes that very thing. When it topples it reveals the necklace of pearl that the young girl was unjustly accused of stealing. It is at first look a clear-cut symbol in that justice prevailed because the innocent girl was exonerated (albeit after she died). However, it is also complicated in that the statue of justice has to fall to the ground and break before the girl is exonerated. This raises questions about justice actually being destroyed for everyone else even as the girl is freed. Overall, though, it is probably not as ominous as this because it is God, depicted through the bolts of thunder, who smites the statue and reminds everyone He is still in charge.

The Vulture (symbol)

The vulture that circles overhead symbolizes the wildness and savagery of the Native Americans and of the lands to which Gabriel travels and into which Evangeline follows him. This land is much different than the peaceful, harmonious, and idyllic lands from whence the lovers came. The vulture’s evocation of death is also a foreshadowing of Gabriel and Evangeline's death at the end of the poem.

Dancing (motif)

Dancing occurs frequently, most notably at the wedding celebration of the lovers and the reunion of Basil, Evangeline, and the other Acadians. It signifies peace, happiness, and relief from toil. It occurs when the Acadians feel like they are safe and at home.

Land (symbol)

Land is a potent symbol because its possession provides peace, safety, sustenance, freedom, and autonomy. The fact that the rich and poor people of Acadia all have land is a testament to this fact. Their literal expulsion from their land has a deeper, emotional significance, because with the land they have to leave behind that security and that sense of identity affiliated with actually having a claim to land of one’s own. The Acadians in the British colonies and territories are made rootless in all senses of the word.