Jean-Pierre Thomas

Between the Sacred of Initiation and the Sacred of Transgression : Analysis of a Victimization Process in the Novel Maria Chapdeleine

The novel Maria Chapdeleine evokes a rigid world dominated by seemingly immutable regulations imposed by the clergy, the dominant French Canadian social institution at the beginning of the 20th century. Howerver, here and there, trangressions erupt, which will result in a series of crises that only sacrifice of victims, picked by the community, can resolve. The analysis of this novel from the theoretical framework proposed by the anthropologist René Girard provides an appreciation of the victimization process and it consequences. It also shows how the signs of the sacred of transgression work themselves out and in a community which is, a priori, organised around the sacred of initiation.