Literature has always been one of the main repositories of cultural heritage. Modern man begins to join it from the first year of life. It is through literature that a person can go to the deep past, the distant future, distant countries, real and made-up.
Literature is for us not only a means of knowing life, but also a means of learning. Its main advantage is that it is interesting to the reader. Interest creates the basis for the enrichment of the dictionary, for the use of new lexical units in speech, their application in practice during the discussion of a work of art in classes in a foreign language.
The literary text performs a special function — aesthetic, which in complex interaction with the communicative one is the defining moment of its special organization. A special meaningful feature of literary texts is absolute anthropocentrism (a world view in which a person is regarded as the center and the highest goal of the universe): they are anthropocentric not only in terms of expression, like all texts in general, but also in content.
Values and perceptions regarding the role of women and men in society, and related gender stereotypes and social attitudes are regulated at the deep mental level of public consciousness, rooted in the distant past, the most stable, and transmitted from generation to generation. This level is formed during the long history of the development of society and has the most diverse aspects: historical, social, economic, cultural, religious, and political. American researchers believe that the attitude to the social role of women, gender behavior and the corresponding stereotypes and auto-stereotypes is one of the five most significant parameters measured in the public consciousness, common to any studied cultures .
Throughout the history of humanity, outstanding minds have studied, evaluated and determined the specificity of the feminine, image, its behavior. As a result, there were tender ideas about a woman, multidimensional and contradictory, helping to justify, systematize existing observations, and describe the female nature. Thus, some authors characterize women as a combination of higher virtue and lower vice, chastity and lust, sacrifice and wickedness. According to Simone de Beauvoir, “a woman is a sinner, Eve, and the Holy Virgin Mary. She is both an idol, and a servant, and a source of life, and the power of darkness, she combines truth, cunning, gossip, lies. She is a healer and a witch she is in the prayers of men and their sins " . Myths about female power and the dangers associated with it are reflected in the art and religion of most cultures since ancient times. Despite their great diversity, one can distinguish universal, constantly occurring female images: a woman-mother (recall the analogies between a woman and fertile land; the Great Mother in various cultures was called Demeter, Isis, Ishtar, Golden Aphrodite and was the mother and nurse of gods and people. It was she who laid the ground for the man under the feet of a man), a woman-witch-seducer, knocking a man out of the righteous path, a woman- an inevitable evil (Pandora, opening her drawer, a bankrupt woman), a mystery woman whose maintaining unpredictable.
The norms and stereotypes of female behavior, the history of their formation and the regulatory function vary significantly from generation to generation and from culture to culture. At one end of these performances a fragile English lady pulled into a corset, completely helpless without her knight, at the other a resident of an African. The image of Canadian women has always attracted the attention of both readers and moviegoers. The image of a Canadian woman is one of the most popular and significant topics in Canadian cinema and literature.
Here we consider the image of Canadian women in literature. In many works of different eras, one can find various descriptions of this image, however, they are similar in one: the Canadian woman is, first of all, a strong and hardy woman who is not afraid of the hardships of fate and which cannot be broken. Let us consider this in more detail using several works of various eras as an example and compare the images of women in them. In Canadian literature, the image of a Canadian woman can be calm and gentle. Such women are fragile, meek and quiet, however, strong and proud, humbly carrying all life on their shoulders and helping men in everything.
American anthropologist O. Lewis  gives an example of the tribes of the Canadian Indians, where an obedient, restrained, obedient woman is considered ideal. However, there was also a positively assessed stereotype of a courageous woman — persistent, energetic, independent, ambitious and sexual.
She owned property, took part in religious rituals and chose partners for herself. Obviously, such behavior in masculine cultures was assessed as deviant, but provided for certain privileges. From childhood, girls who demonstrated appropriate predispositions found themselves in a privileged position: they were allowed to play with boys, to be leaders in these games. We can say that the personal qualities of these women allowed them to destroy the rigid framework of cultural norms and behave in accordance with their own desires. The path from a privileged child to a privileged woman is traced in many patriarchal cultures.
In fact, a loving woman is quite common in Canadian literature. Love is the main synonym for the image of a woman in Canadian literature, along with tenderness, calmness and meekness. The image of a woman warrior, strong and courageous, who, along with men, fights the enemy.
In Canadian literature, there is also the image of a woman who has survived grief or misfortune, who has lost someone, but has managed to overcome this in herself while continuing to help people around her. The image of a woman stranger, truly beautiful and bewitching is quite common in Canadian literature. Such an image is often found in lyrical works.
All the above images are just the main types of Canadian women found in Canadian literature. There are many others. As we can see, they are all different, but they have one thing in common: in all works without exception, the Canadian woman is, first of all, a strong spiritual and physical person, despite all her fragility and tenderness. The importance of the image of women in Canadian literature. The image of a woman in Canadian literature is very important: thanks to the image of a woman in Canadian literature, we now see Canada as it was for the common people, for women who had to submit to the will of fate and live in constant humility. Thus, we can say that the use of the image of women in Canadian literature carries historical value.
The image of a woman in Canadian literature can carry philosophical and religious significance, thanks to some internal qualities. The image of women in Canadian literature has a moral meaning; thanks to it, morality, modesty, and the ability to sacrifice are often glorified in works — all those qualities that a Canadian woman possessed. The image of a woman in Canadian literature is often associated with the image of Canada and this is no accident. Also, Canada is a mother for Canadian people, therefore, it can be associated with the image of a woman-mother, a native, who was not only worth protecting — which was worth dying for. The image of a woman stranger, beautiful, spiritual, can be associated with the reader with something inaccessible, divine, weightless. Thus, both the Canadian woman and Canada itself seemed highly moral, highly moral, possessing the best spiritual qualities.
Thus, we can conclude that the image of a woman in Canadian literature plays a very large role. It is thanks to the image of a woman that Canadian literature acquired its distinctive features and characteristics, such as: high morality and morality of works, patriotism and love for their homeland, for the land that they raised and brought up. Based on all this, we can conclude that the image of Canadian women is a supporting one, a key one in many works of Canadian literature. Without this image, it is impossible to imagine Canadian literature as a phenomenon, because it was Canadian women, beautiful, tender, fragile, but so strong — that inspired poets and writers to work at all times!
- De Beavoir S. The Second Sex. 1953.
- Holfstede G. Cultures and Organizations. Cambridge, 1991.
- Lewis O. Manly-Hearted Women among the North Piegan // American Anthropologist. 1941. № 43.