The Moose And The Sparrow Essay Definition

Hugh Garner
BornFebruary 22, 1913
Bartley, Yorkshire, England
DiedJune 30, 1979(1979-06-30) (aged 66)
ResidenceToronto, Ontario, Canada
NationalityBritish, Canadian
EducationDanforth Technical High School

Hugh Garner (February 22, 1913 – June 30, 1979) was a British-born Canadian novelist.


Early life[edit]

Hugh Garner was born on February 22, 1913, in Batley, Yorkshire, England. He came to Canada in 1919 with his parents, and was raised in Toronto, Ontario where he attended Danforth Technical High School.[1]

During the Great Depression, he rode the rails in both Canada and the United States, and then joined the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War.[1] During World War II he served in the Royal Canadian Navy.


Following the war, Garner concentrated on his writing. He published his first novel, Storm Below, in 1949. Garner's most famous novel, Cabbagetown, depicted life in the Toronto neighbourhood of Cabbagetown, then Canada's most famous slum, during the Depression. It was published in abridged form in 1950, and in an expanded edition in 1968. The Intruders, a sequel depicting the gentrification of the neighbourhood, was published in 1976.

Later in his career, he concentrated on mystery novels, including Death in Don Mills (1975) and Murder Has Your Number (1978).

His background (poor, urban, Protestant) is rare for a Canadian writer of his time. It is nevertheless, the foundation for his writing. His theme is working-class Ontario; the realistic novel his preferred genre. Cabbagetown is the best-known example of his style. His focus on the victimization of the worker reflects his socialist roots.[2]

In 1963, he won the Governor General's Award for his collection of short stories entitled Hugh Garner's Best Stories. Garner struggled much of his life with alcoholism, and died in 1979 of alcohol-related illness.[1] A housing cooperative in Cabbagetown is named in his memory.


He died on June 30, 1979.



Storm Below (1949)
Waste no Tears (1950; published under the pseudonym "Jarvis Warwick," reportedly after the seedy Warwick Hotel on Jarvis Street)
Cabbagetown (first published in abridged form in 1950; restored version published in 1968)

The Sin Sniper (1970)
A Nice Place to Visit (1970)
Death in Don Mills (1975)
The Intruders (1976; something of a sequel to Cabbagetown)
Murder Has Your Number (1950)
Don't Deal Five Deuces (1992; novel completed by Paul Steuwe after Garner's death)

Short Fiction[edit]

The Yellow Sweater (1952)
Hugh Garner's Best Stories (1963; winner of the 1963 Governor General's Award)
Men and Women (1966)
Violation of the Virgins (1971)
One Mile of Ice
The Moose and the Sparrow (1966)
The Father (1958)


Author, Author! (1964; essays)
One Damned Thing After Another! (1973; memoir)

Biographical Works[edit]

Steuwe, Paul, 1988.The Storms Below: The Turbulent Life and Times of Hugh Garner. Toronto: James Lorimer.


External links[edit]

Winners of the Governor General's Award for English-language fiction

  • Ringuet, Thirty Acres (1940)
  • Alan Sullivan, Three Came to Ville Marie (1941)
  • G. Herbert Sallans, Little Man (1942)
  • Thomas Head Raddall, The Pied Piper of Dipper Creek (1943)
  • Gwethalyn Graham, Earth and High Heaven (1944)
  • Hugh MacLennan, Two Solitudes (1945)
  • Winifred Bambrick, Continental Revue (1946)
  • Gabrielle Roy, The Tin Flute (1947)
  • Hugh MacLennan, The Precipice (1948)
  • Philip Child, Mr. Ames Against Time (1949)
  • Germaine Guèvremont, The Outlander (1950)
  • Morley Callaghan, The Loved and the Lost (1951)
  • David Walker, The Pillar (1952)
  • David Walker, Digby (1953)
  • Igor Gouzenko, The Fall of a Titan (1954)
  • Lionel Shapiro, The Sixth of June (1955)
  • Adele Wiseman, The Sacrifice (1956)
  • Gabrielle Roy, Street of Riches (1957)
  • Colin McDougall, Execution (1958)
  • Hugh MacLennan, The Watch That Ends the Night (1959)
  • Dave Godfrey, The New Ancestors (1970)
  • Mordecai Richler, St. Urbain's Horseman (1971)
  • Robertson Davies, The Manticore (1972)
  • Rudy Wiebe, The Temptations of Big Bear (1973)
  • Margaret Laurence, The Diviners (1974)
  • Brian Moore, The Great Victorian Collection (1975)
  • Marian Engel, Bear (1976)
  • Timothy Findley, The Wars (1977)
  • Alice Munro, Who Do You Think You Are? (1978)
  • Jack Hodgins, The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne (1979)
  • George Bowering, Burning Water (1980)
  • Mavis Gallant, Home Truths: Selected Canadian Stories (1981)
  • Guy Vanderhaeghe, Man Descending (1982)
  • Leon Rooke, Shakespeare's Dog (1983)
  • Josef Skvorecky, The Engineer of Human Souls (1984)
  • Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale (1985)
  • Alice Munro, The Progress of Love (1986)
  • M. T. Kelly, A Dream Like Mine (1987)
  • David Adams Richards, Nights Below Station Street (1988)
  • Paul Quarrington, Whale Music (1989)
  • Nino Ricci, Lives of the Saints (1990)
  • Rohinton Mistry, Such a Long Journey (1991)
  • Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient (1992)
  • Carol Shields, The Stone Diaries (1993)
  • Rudy Wiebe, A Discovery of Strangers (1994)
  • Greg Hollingshead, The Roaring Girl (1995)
  • Guy Vanderhaeghe, The Englishman's Boy (1996)
  • Jane Urquhart, The Underpainter (1997)
  • Diane Schoemperlen, Forms of Devotion (1998)
  • Matt Cohen, Elizabeth and After (1999)
  • Michael Ondaatje, Anil's Ghost (2000)
  • Richard B. Wright, Clara Callan (2001)
  • Gloria Sawai, A Song for Nettie Johnson (2002)
  • Douglas Glover, Elle (2003)
  • Miriam Toews, A Complicated Kindness (2004)
  • David Gilmour, A Perfect Night to Go to China (2005)
  • Peter Behrens, The Law of Dreams (2006)
  • Michael Ondaatje, Divisadero (2007)
  • Nino Ricci, The Origin of Species (2008)
  • Kate Pullinger, The Mistress of Nothing (2009)

The short story “The Moose and the Sparrow” was written by the Canadian author Hugh Garner. The story is about a young man named Cecil, whose parents divorced when he was very young, and who grew up in several foster homes. Cecil graduated from high school at the age of seventeen, and had finished a year of university when the story begins. In order to study, he needs tuition money, and therefore he starts working in a logging camp. One man, named Maddon Moose, is determined to make Cecil break down at least once during his stay at the camp.

Cecil is young and smart. He has set his mind on studying art; he makes beautiful things out of plain wire. Moose is picking on him because of this, and because of his physical appearance, which is less strong than his own. As the new guy, it took a while before he was accepted by the other men, but they ended up liking him more than they liked Moose.

On the other hand, we have Maddon Moose. He appears to be slightly older than Cecil, though his age is not mentioned in the text. Maddon probably dropped out of school, and therefore seems to have a need of picking on those who happens to be smarter than him. Maddon is a Saw boss and very strong physically. He is unsympathetic and always picks on others, so nobody likes him.

Hugh Garner likes to show us the characters, by what they say and do, instead of just telling the reader about them. Example;

“What happened?” I asked one of Maddon’s men.

“Moose burned the kid’s hand,” he told me. “He heated the end of a saw in the tea fire and then called the kid to take it to be sharpened. He handed the hot end to Cecil, and it burned his hand pretty bad.” (Hugh Garner, ‘The Moose and the Sparrow’.)

The story takes place in a logging Camp, and often in the bunkers where the men live, during the summer holidays. This is an important part of the story, and a course to Cecil’s problems; the setting gives Moose an opportunity of giving Cecil the hardest work possibly.

Even though the story is about Cecil, it is told from Mr. Anderson’s point of view – it’s a first person angled story. The themes of this story are jealousy, murder/crime, and being picked on.

Hugh Garner creates a tense atmosphere by making a climax – he builds up the story by describing different events that get more and more exiting, and giving hints and foreshadowing’s to the reader. Also, he has a way of describing the actions of the characters that makes the reader want to know the outcome of the story.

The title is not fully understood until the end of the story, when the author tells the reader that Cecil has a sparrow-looking smile. ‘Moose’ is, of course, the person Maddon Moose. I think these are very appropriate labels, because it makes it easier to explain the relationship between them, the sparrow fighting against the moose. But, in the end, it is the little sparrow who wins. This shows that being big and strong, but dumb, isn’t always ideal; it was the small but clever one, who won. Perhaps this is what the author is trying to tell us.

In this text, there are several foreshadowing’s. Example;

‘That evening the kid turned in early…’ and, ‘I woke up during the night to hear a man laughing near the edge of the camp and Maddon’s name being called. I figured it was Moose and Lefevre coming home drunk from Camp Three.’ (Hugh Garner, ‘The Moose and the Sparrow’ .)

We also get another hint when the author tells us about how eager Cecil was to get Mr. Anderson’s wristwatch strap finished, and when we’re told about Lefevre not being at Camp Three at all the night of the incident.

I think it was a very good story, and I liked it very much. At first I didn’t quite get it, but it all came clear at the end. It is a very good short story, exiting to read and well written.

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This entry was posted on August 7, 2012, in Short stories and tagged hugh garner, short story, the moose and the sparrow. Bookmark the permalink.

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