Feminism in Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners
The Funk and Wagnall’s Standard Desk Dictionary defines feminism as, “A doctrine advocating the granting of the same social, political and economic rights to women as the ones granted to men.” Feminists consider woman as an oppressed group, those who must present themselves as individuals and human beings. In Margaret Laurence’s The Diviners, Morag Gunn’s struggle for female self-representation is seen as she writes about her life. This is shown through Morag’s desires for lust and profanity, that which females should keep hidden. Furthermore, Morag breaks social boundaries by writing her novel from the female perspective. Finally, Laurence allows the reader to become sympathetic for Morag as she is marginalized in a predominantly male society. Margaret Laurence shows the intricacy that is feminism through the depiction of the assertive, yet vulnerable Morag Gunn. Morag is unlike many females as she allows herself to curse and show lust. Knowing it is socially unacceptable, Morag rejects swearing as a teenager: “Morag does not swear. If you swear at fourteen it only makes you look cheap, and she is not cheap, goddamn it.” (126) However, as Morag becomes more mature she revises her opinion: “Shit. Bloody bloody Christly hell. And the hell with not swearing, too.” (133) By being vulgar, Laurence shows Morag’s feminist attributes by having her go against the “social norm” of her time. Finally, throughout the novel Morag becomes more aware of her lustful desires and offers them bluntly. Alia Amer wrote about a woman’s lust in society: “Women are not allowed to look closely at a man, however, or to have a lustful or provocative look, or to look deliberately at them when they happen to be in the same setting (such as on a bus, or in a room).” (Amer) Laurence contradicts this statement as Morag’s sexual awakenings are seen as empowering to the female. In conclusion, Morag Gunn’s vulgarity is a representation of Margaret...
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