Relationships in The Stone Angel, The Fire-Dwellers, and The Diviners
There are always problems in every relationship, in every marriage. With strong communication, acceptance and a love for one another, these challenges can be overcome. In Margaret Laurence's Manawaka Cycle, the characters all have enormous problems in their relationships. In the books The Stone Angel, The Fire-Dwellers, and The Diviners, the characters' marriages all have varying degrees of trouble. However, through hard work and perseverance, the partners survive and grow. Each relationship in these books has two or three problems, that when combined, become daunting. However, the characters' real problem is that they are alone in their marriage. Margaret Laurence states that "men and women suffer equally; the tragedy is not that they suffer, but that they suffer alone."1 These men and women are alone, not communicating nor respecting each other, which leads to personal problems in and in their confidence in themselves and each other.
In Laurence's The Stone Angel, Hagar Currie, a girl from town, marries Bram Shipley, a widowed country farmer. From the time of their marriage ceremony until Hagar leaves Bram, Hagar's sense of pride hurts her, Bram, and their marriage. Hagar gives the appearance to Bram and the community that she hates his looks, and is disgusted with him. Even at the dance where they first meet, Hagar reveals her contempt.
As we went spinning like tumbleweed in a Viennese waltz, disguised and hidden by the whirling crowd, quite suddenly he pulled me to him and pressed against my thigh. Not by accident. There was no mistaking it. No one had ever dared in this way before. Outraged, I pushed at his shoulders, and he grinned. I, mortified beyond words, couldn't look at him except dartingly. But when he asked me for another dance, I danced with him. 2
Hagar often claims to be "mortified beyond words" but she always feels a strong attraction. Hagar...