The Diviners

A discussion and analysis of the novel, “The Diviners”, by Margaret Laurence.

This paper examines an aspect of Laurence?s depiction of the individual?s quest for self and includes a discussion of her use of her literary techniques, elements, and devices. It explains how Laurence’s exceptional book is the story of a writer, using vivid historic details and memories to help her recreate her past while she struggles to discover her future. It examines how Laurence uses quite unusual details, such as original songs, to not only introduce and flesh out the characters, but to move the plot along. Her ultimate theme of how the past effects the future is evident from the first pages of the novel, and her lyrical writing makes the lives of the characters come alive in the reader’s mind.
“The novel “The Diviners” is the story of writer Morag Gunn and her daughter Pique, but it is much, much more. It is really the story of the past and the present, and the place they play in women’s lives. Morag is quite cognizant of her own life, of her daughter’s life, and the forces that pry them apart. However, Morag is also quite cognizant of the past, and the effect the past has had on her as a writer, and as a woman. That is one reason she hangs on to the photographs of her past so tightly, and one reason that she often writes about the past, and reflects on how women lived in years gone by. She thinks, “Women working like horses. Also pregnant most of the time. Baking bread in brick ovens, with a loaf in their own ovens. Looking after broods of chickens and kids. Terrible. Appalling” (Laurence 77). Through the past, Morag creates hope for the future. She knows if her ancestors could endure these harsh conditions, then certainly she can endure the loneliness of her solitary writer’s life on the Canadian prairie. In fact, Morag writes in one of her novels, I like the thought of history and fiction interweaving (Laurence, 341), and indeed, in The Diviners, fiction and history do interweave in a complicated pattern that allows Morag to discover herself as she hangs on to her past.”