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THE IMPOSSIBLE HOME: Robert Kroetsch and his German Roots
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EPISODE: 9 "The Impossible Home: Robert Kroetsch and his German Roots"
Directed by Carl Bessai


Carl Bessai focuses on novelist and poet Robert Kroetsch, who, through his award-winning stories and poems, recounts the immigration of his German great-great-grandfather to Ontario and then onward to Heisler, Alberta.


  • The reasons why Germans immigrated to Canada
  • The continual search for a home identity by all Canadians
  • The role of the journey in the development of the Canadian identity


  • Miller
  • First-growth forest
  • Migration
  • Virgil and Homer
  • Sod House


  • To know the contributing factors in German immigration
  • To appreciate the importance and role of oral history in Canada
  • To understand the contributions of German Canadians to Canada


  1. Prepare a genealogical study of your own family history. Consult the A Scattering of Seeds Web site on the Tracing Your Family History page for a study plan to follow.

  2. "The history books didn't give us a history." Tell an oral tale about your own family history to the class.

  3. Perform a German folk song for the class. Titles may be found on the A Scattering of Seeds Web site.

  4. Obtain a copy of Kroetsch's novel The Studhorse Man. Read a one page excerpt to the class.

  5. Write a poem that pays tribute to one of your ancestors. Read the poem to the class.

  6. Build either a model of a sod house or an actual sod house.

  7. Find the location of an old or current mill in your region. Photograph or paint the mill.

  8. Research three Canadian writers who incorporate their family history in their work.

  9. "Is the truth of the man in the man or in the biography." Debate this statement as a class. Submit a one page opinion on the topic following the class debate.

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