CritiquesRoberts Moodie Carman

Article # 1
‘In Roughing it With the Moodies’
By Edward A. McCourt

The article “In Roughing it With the Moodies” is an explanatory essay on the life

of female author Susanna Moodie and her family. Most of her life was spent I he

backwoods of Ontario with her family. Susanna Moodie was born in England. She was

born into a wealthy family and was the youngest of five children. She received a good

education, more so than any of the other girls of her social standing. While in England

she published a variety of poems and children’s stories. She married J. W. Dunbar, a half

pay officer with the English army. They came to Canada because the British government

offered a tax free land grant to anyone willing to move, army officers also received a full

title. When she arrived in Canada her family had to travel through Montreal to arrive a

Port Hope where they were to be settled only someone was living there until the snow

arrived. They were forced to live in a log barn. She made an effort to be friendly with

her neighbours. They were always taking advantage of the newcomers by borrowing

things from them. They finally decided to give up the farm and moved into the

backwoods of Ontario, just north of Peterborough. Susanna heavily objected the move,

but to no avail. It is stated that Susanna had a better sense for business than her husband

did. The Moodie’s were unsuited for life in the backwoods. For the first year the

Moodies lived in what some would call luxury. They lived in a log house and had a male

and female servant. After a year of crop failure the Moodies had to fire their servants and

work the land themselves. They did not mind the work. The family sometimes lived on

eating bread and frozen potatoes, they had none of the luxuries which they were once

accustomed to. Susanna’s husband then got a job in Toronto coinciding with the
Rebellion of 1837. Susanna wrote to Sir Georges Arthur, the Lieutenant Governor of

Upper Canada about keeping her husband at work for a longer period. She was left alone

to tend the farm and take care of the family. She and her children developed near fatal

illnesses but luckily recovered. Her husband later got a job in Bellville and the family

moved there in 1839. “Roughing it in the Bush” was written during the harsh winter of

1839. It was then published in 1852. She uses her ordeal in the backwoods of

Canada to write her story. She uses the many interesting people, which she faced in

every day life as characters in “Roughing it in the Bush”. She died at the age of 83.

Moodie feels that through her experience in the backwoods of Canada she has grown as

an individual and grown to love Canada, her home.

‘In Roughing it with the Moodies’

The article ‘In Roughing it with the Moodies’, by Edward A. McCourt, reveals

the life and times of author Susanna Moodie. It is written in such a way that it is

explanatory of the details of Moodie’s life, both before she arrived in Canada and after

her family settled in Ontario.

This article was extremely easy to understand because the language McCourt uses is not

complicated and heavily over worded. It gave me an important understanding of the life of

Susanna Moodie and what she had to go through to survive in Upper Canada in the Nineteenth

Century. It also helps me to better understand the technique and subjects, which she uses for her

works. She has experienced everything that she is writing, therefore making it more interesting

to read and fully understand.. It assists in the appreciation of her writing and the life she led.

I have always felt that Susanna Moodie has been a very remarkable and interesting

person. In my past studies and research on the women’s rights movement, I found that she was

women’s rights advocate. She was a very dominant figure, who helped women accomplish

many goals and aspirations. I feel that she is a very strong woman. It is because of my past

interests with Moodie that I have chosen further research her.

I do