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Volume 02, Number 2 (1977)

Margaret Laurence, Carl Jung and the Manawaka Women

  • Nancy Bailey
May 22, 2008


Margaret Laurence may be called a Jungian, in the sense that some of Jung's most penetrating intuitions are exemplified and illuminated in her four Manawaka novels: The Stone Angel, A Jest of God, The Fire-Dwellers, and The Diviners. While the earlier female characters represent aspects of Jung's concept of personality, Morag Gunn, the protagonist of The Diviners, goes through a series of developments that corresponds closely to Jung's full process of individuation. Although Laurence's fiction demonstrates the scope and articulation of a complete cultural myth that lends itself to Jungian analysis, it also moves beyond Jung's ideas on male-female relations. The woman novelist ultimately diverges into a significantly different psychological and cultural mythos of woman, one in which the integrated but isolated self must learn to be its own support and create its own finality.