by Shannon King
This paper argues that the plays Les Belles-Soeurs and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing tackle the classism associated with languages, and particularly regional dialects of Canada. The plot of Les Belles-Soeurs is about a housewife who wins a large prize of stamps that can be exchanged for products at certain stores if they are glued into booklets. The housewife Germaine invites the women in her neighbourhood to a get-together where they sit and glue stamps while they chat. Germaine’s neighbours were not fond of doing free labour and stole some stamps for themselves. Dry Lips is about a group of men from a First Nations reservation in Ontario protesting a local women’s hockey league and trying to find their place on the reservation. The plot’s momentum comes from Dickie Bird Halked: an Indigenous young man with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and mutism who commits a violent sexual assault on a woman. When the victim’s fiancé comes to confront Dickie Bird with a gun, Dickie Bird’s father who had been absent his entire life suddenly decides to protect him. These plays are commentary that attempts to decolonize Canadian language, while satirizing, entertaining and giving a sense of self to the country.
This paper will be analyzing the language of marginalized groups versus the hegemonic western European Canada.