"...beyond the invisible barrier at Portage and Main": Liminality in John Marlyn’s Under the Ribs of Death

Wenzl, Bernhard (2016) "...beyond the invisible barrier at Portage and Main": Liminality in John Marlyn’s Under the Ribs of Death. In: In-Between: Liminal Spaces in Canadian Literature and Culture, 2-4 June 2016, University of Graz.

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Sandor Hunyadi grows up in the working-class community of Winnipeg’s North End. As the teenage son of immigrants, he is faced with poverty at home and prejudice at school. Feeling estranged from his Hungarian parents and excluded from Anglo-Canadian society, he is set on gaining wealth and recognition. In order to become a successful businessman he adopts an English name, takes commercial courses at night school and starts working as assistant manager in a real-estate office. Although his career takes him to “the very threshold of everything he had hoped to achieve”, Alex Hunter loses employment and prosperity when the Great Depression hits Canada. Liminality is a central motif of John Marlyn’s Under the Ribs of Death. First published in 1957, this two-part novel focuses on the development of Sandor Hunyadi/Alex Hunter in pre-World War I and interwar Winnipeg. The young foreign-born Canadian is portrayed in a variety of liminal spaces, ranging from the meeting place of the neighborhood gang to the local railroad station where immigrants arrive. More significantly, he experiences change and transition at multiple levels, passing from boyhood to adulthood, crossing from minority to mainstream culture, and moving from his family home in the slums to the business world on Main Street. In short, his life is marked by permanent liminality.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Lecture)
Uncontrolled Keywords: liminality; Under the Ribs of Death; John Marlyn
Subjects: 000 Computer science, knowledge & general works > 070 News media, journalism and publishing
Research Group: Administration
Depositing User: Bernhard Wenzl
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2017 08:03
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2017 08:03
URI: https://repository.ist.ac.at/id/eprint/731

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