Essay Comparing “A Jest Of God” To “The Fire Dwellers” The

3283 words - 13 pages

ESSAY COMPARING "A JEST OF GOD" TO "THE FIRE-DWELLERS" The prominent life of Margaret Laurence, one of Canada's most renowned female authors, began on July 18, 1926, in the quaint prairie town of Neepawa, Manitoba. Unfortunately, at a very young age, Laurence suffered the tragic loss of both her parents. Laurence's love for literature gradually developed with the support and guidance of her stepmother, a teacher and a librarian. Early in life, Laurence decided she would fulfil her passion for literature by turning to a career in fictional writing. She used her brilliant writing skills to express her personal concern; the progress of women as they struggle for self-realization in a male-dominated world, thoroughly in many of her novels. Laurence's dedicated devotion to the female movement has been the powerful basis of several novels throughout her career, but most significantly in A Jest of God (1966) and The Fire-Dwellers (1969). However, even after completing numerous novels concerning the equality of women, Laurence continued supporting significant issues, such as world peace, social justice, and environmental protection. Her life story is inspirational and her works emit an influential persona. Sadly, Laurence lost a battle to cancer and passed away on January 5, 1987, in Lakefield, Ontario. Many avid readers of Laurence find that both A Jest of God and The Fire-Dwellers depict essential elements of the lives of women in 1960s North America. However, it is The Fire-Dwellers that most explicitly and realistically portrays the women's movement. Through an analysis of Laurence's use of characterization and thematic structure, the external and internal conflicts facing women are made poignantly clear.Laurence has the remarkable talent of starting from scratch and gradually creating personality traits to bring her characters to life. In A Jest of God, readers are introduced to the wearisome life of Rachel Cameron. Rachel is an elementary school teacher in Manawaka, Manitoba where she balances an unfulfilling existence between personal problems and problems of friends and family. At the age of thirty-four she still resides with her widowed mother in a small apartment above a Funeral home. Rachel seems respectful towards her mother on the outside, but fights back the urge to challenge her from within. She experiences a streak of bad luck that convinces her to commit suicide. Luckily, her attempts to take her own life are weak and force her to search for an alternative solution to her problems. Rachel takes a different approach in solving her dilemma. She realizes that her problem is not with those around her, but with herself. Rachel begins soul-searching and strives to find her "true" identity. Gradually, she learns to be defenceless towards love, to take risks, and to even realize her own foolishness. On occasion, Rachel loses sight of her identity and begins to pity her miserable life. Situations like these always conclude with a reference to...


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