In the Prologue of The Mountain and The Valley, we are introduced to David Canaan and his family. The novel takes place in Nova Scotia in a small farming community. The writer spends a great deal of time talking abpout the nature surrounding the town. This gives the reader a very good mental picture of where the story is taking place. The writer describes in detail the way the area looks around the house. He describes the climate as very cold and dreary:"Rain had taken the first snow on the fields. The the sudden cold had come" (8). This is showing the reader that the world around the house was at rest, in a winter sleep.
Ellen is introduced to us as she is working on her rug. We learn that the rug is made from torn clothes. "They were good rugs. All the garment were whole"(9). The rags for the rug are from the family's old clothes that they have either worn out or grown out of.
Ellen sorts the clothes out, and reminds herslef whose shirt or jacket it was, and when did they have it. Ellen is shown to the reader as a sort of artist; she is very talented at the work she does. Even though she can no longer see to draw the designs for the rug, and has to have David trace them on for her. "David had marked them for her. Her eyes could no longer trace the outlines of scrolls and flowers"(9). Throughout the novel we are taken to Ellen constantly working on the rug.
In the Prologue, Ellen is the artist and David is her apprentice. He does not realize that he too can be an artist, that there are other forms of art. He is looked at as an odd child because he is so smart, but he is not odd, he just wants more out of life. He does not realize his calling in life until the end of the novel, when he decides he wants to be a writer. Throughout his life he struggles with the fact that he is different from the rest of his friends. He tries to be normal around them, but he is ultimately different. He is also very different than the rest of his family. He sees things clearer than the people around him, with more detail and a better understanding. David becomes an artist in his own way. He does not tell anyone of his aspirations and dreams; he keeps all of these to himself. If given the opportunity, he could have been very successful and happy with his life