Sometime Thursday evening, my phone buzzed with an email from Jonathan telling me that I should check Veronica’s blog, as “it look[ed] like John Vaillant commented on her chapter three post.”
Veronica’s interpretation of Grant Hadwin’s close friend (and backwoods competitor) Paul Bernier outlined him as the by-now-traditional character of a sidekick:
All classic heroes have sidekicks, so naturally, Grant Hadwin should have one too – in the form of Paul Bernier. Bernier strikes me as kind of an underdog to Grant Hadwin. Maybe it’s just how the story is told in The Golden Spruce, but the author makes Bernier seem inferior to Hadwin. I think that this is maybe to more thoroughly develop the character of Grant Hadwin. Anyways, from the quote “We’d run in the bush; we’d race each other. He didn’t like to lose.”, I assume that Bernier probably lost most of the time, so most the glory was taken by Grant.
And at present it indeed appears that Mr. Vaillant has somehow discovered and commented on the post:
I think your interpretation is a good one, based on the limited info you’ve got to work with. when I interviewed Bernier, I got the same impression you reflect above, and I think he’d probably agree. But, in the long run, Bernier may have been the stronger, more together person, able to manage the conflicts that the logging industry can present to a person.
Very best regards,
By the time I arrived at school the following morning, our newest commenting benefactor had apparently visited Meghan’s post about Loggers and Depression:
Loggers are talked about as replaceable and expendable. “Accidents were so common in the early days that if a man was killed on the job his body would simply be laid to the side and work would continue until quitting time, when a boat, plane or runner might be sent to notify the police.” Imagine seeing the man you shared breakfast with stabbed through the stomach by a massive branch, and then just having to move him to the side only to late have to drag him back to camp like a sack of flour.
Vaillant offers his agreement of Meghan’s appraisal, and an interesting possible extension of research:
thank you for posting this thoughtful (and well-supported) opinion. Personally, I think you are right on the money, but as you can imagine, not a lot of loggers go into therapy and it’s not a job, or a culture, that lends itself to introspection! Though there are some notable exceptions. It would be interesting to see what doctors and clergy in logging communities would have to say about this.
Doubtlessly a busy man with a new book out, it would be great to be able to verify if the comments were indeed the work of our author.
And if it is, Veronica has already jumped at the next question.