Feminism was at its nadir in the mid-twentieth century; cries of women’s liberation, freedom, and independence resonated from all parts of the world. This era is perhaps best perceived as one, which was replete with images of women burning their bras. Armed with gainful education, women from different echelons of womankind were seen fighting adversities to assert and establish their rights. Margaret Laurence in “The Diviners” illustrates this phenomenon and delineates the status and challenges faced by the women of this era, by relating the story of its protagonist Morag Gunn, and the people responsible for mapping the course of her life.
“The Diviners” narrates the story of Morag Gunn, a dispossessed girl from a small Canadian prairie town, whose life reflects the fever of freedom and liberation, which had rapt the womenfolk of this era. Morag’s tale incorporates lessons in valor, endurance, and confidence tutored by diverse people. Orphaned at the tender age of five, Morag is reared by the town garbage collector Christie and his wife Princess. Morag’s childhood epitomizes the life of every estranged and dispossessed child. Morag being a strong and independent woman does not let this deter her yen to thrive in this world. She overcomes various impediments posed by the world around her to become an established writer. Her endeavors pilot trysts with diverse places and people; each of them teaching her an important lesson in life.
Her lessons in independence, which begin early in life, are fostered by circumstances and the accompanying experiences. Her tenacity not to let people and circumstances preside over her life is fortified in many ways by Eva Winkler, her best friend and neighbor. Eva, a person of subservient dispo…
…nments have made it even more difficult for contemporary women to bridge the gap between their vocational aspirations and the female expectations. Today, even though the exclamations for freedom, liberation are not perceptible, the dilemmas and conflicts plaguing womankind continue to exist.
Ward, Susan. “Morag Gunn in Fictional Context: The Career Woman Theme in The Diviners.” New Perspectives on Margaret Laurence: Poetic Narrative, Multiculturalism, and Feminism. Ed. Greta M. K. McCormick Coger. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1996. 179-184.
Lindberg, Laurie. “Wordsmith and Woman: Morag Gunn’s Triumph Through Language.” New Perspectives on Margaret Laurence: Poetic Narrative, Multiculturalism, and Feminism. Ed. Greta M. K. McCormick Coger. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1996. 187-201.
Laurence, Margaret. The Diviners. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1988.