Truth and Love in Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners


March 29, 2013 by Vicki

The DivinersI read Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners twice before I felt able to write my perspective on the novel. I found the book extremely dense in its meanings and overtones. Morag Gun, however, is my new personal hero. I love the way she faces her own life and can be critical about her actions and decisions. In telling our own stories, we should always tell the full, unvarnished truth.

English: Louis Riel, after a carte de visite f...

English: Louis Riel, after a carte de visite from 1884. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Truth, however, is a difficult concept. Characters in The Diviners struggle constantly to find the truth about themselves and their history. Morag eventually decides that there is no one truth only your experience of it. During the course of The Diviners different people tell the story of Louis Riel and his Rebellion. Each one tells the story differently depending on their background and experiences. Jules Tonnerre, a Métis, sings of his grandfather involvement with the rebellion and how its failure destroyed his spirit. Christie Logan, on the other hand, a Scotsman whose family had immigrated to Canada, tells how his ancestor, Piper Gunn, rallied his people to defend their land. Each describing the same event based on their ancestral experience of it. Morag struggles to unite these different interpretations but, eventually, accepts that our history is based on our ancestral experience of it.

vultureOur experiences, also, determine our character as Morag discover in Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners. Morag Gunn starts off with the belief that home is what she must escape. She is embarrassed by her adopted parents, Christie and Prin, and never felt that she belonged in the small town of Manawaka. Christie works as the town’s garbage man and is referred to as the “Scavenger.” Christie believes, however, that they mock him because he knows the things that they have hidden in the garbage dump, colloquially known as “the Nuisance Ground.” Christie shares some of the town’s secrets with Morag, including the burial of an aborted baby girl. I believe Christie tries to show Morag the truth to armor her for her own future. Morag only knows that the town folk include her in their exclusion of Christie and Prin from “proper society”. She, eventually, makes it out of the town to go to school.

woman-with-speech-bubble-mdMorag discovers, however, that she brings her experiences and the town with her wherever she goes. She knows the secrets hidden in the Nuisance Grounds and therefore, cannot hide them herself. In her youth, she had hidden who she truly was from her first husband. She had made every effort to “conceal everything about herself which he might not like” (Laurence, 213). Her desire to please him translated into her becoming a blank slate for him to mould. Her own pride and strength of character, however, eventually found the moulds entrapping. She realizes that her first marriage with Brooke hurts both of them and eventually, finds a way to end the marriage. I could not help but see the correlation between Morag and the women in my post “The Dating Game.” She also believed that what she was had no worth. Only as Morag grew older did she discover her own worth.

SuccessMargaret Laurence’s The Diviners tells the story of Morag Gunn as she struggles to find truth and love. I don’t think it would be a spoiler to say that she does find both but not in the way that she expected. Morag’s life struggles reflect the struggles of many Canadian woman. She had to find a way to balance her own needs with the demands of her world. Her experiences form her into a strong, determined woman from who we can all learn.


Related Articles:

2 thoughts on “Truth and Love in Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners

  1. […] Truth and Love in Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners ( […]

  2. […] Truth and Love in Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners ( […]

Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


Follow on Bloglovin

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 162 other followers


Hi, I'm the blogger behind Boudicabooks. Tour around the site and hop into the discussions. This site discusses life as a woman. The site also hosts a Book Club that investigates the lives of women through novels by women, about women, and for women.
For more information about me, check out the About the Blogger page.

Grow up proper

A raw view on life

The girl who keeps reading

Confessions and opinions of a book geek with a severe addiction of buying more books than she can ever read during her life time. Feel free to stay for a while and share your literary thoughts.

Interesting Literature

A Library of Literary Interestingness


"Kick the truth to the young black youth,!"~HipHop

The Oracle

The Blog

Living in Other Worlds: The Life of a Fantasy Writer

A blog about writing, fantasy, and everything else.

El Space--The Blog of L. Marie

Thoughts about writing and life


Overanalyzer, Ninja Squirrel Wrangler, Urban Fantasy Author

Stasha Padgett

Finding the beautiful in the usual...

Cori Wong, Ph.D.

Thinking Through Life in Transformative Ways

The Periphrastic Mind Of A Liberal Arts Major

Kristen Hope Mazzola

Everyone has a story; this is mine

The Elementalist Epoch

Stories and Poems from the mind of Tristan Nagler

Eeva Houtbeckers

Sensory ethnography on post-growth work

Word Flows

Creativity flows through my veins

Canada Writing Project

The Canada Writing Project is a platform on which writers can share, discuss, and critique written work; it aims to foster a love and appreciation of literary expression.

%d bloggers like this: