The child and death in the fiction of Margaret Laurence

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Miller, Joan M.
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Almost every one of Margaret Laurence's novels and short stories explores some aspect of the concept of death as it develops in an individual's experience from childhood to adulthood, and shows how this concept shapes the individual's understanding of life. While reference is made to certain of Laurence's short stories, essays, and books for children, this thesis examines the death motif in relation to the following works: This Side Jordan, The Stone Angel, A Jest of God, The Fire Dwellers, A Bird in the House, and The Diviners. Each work is examined with four major consideratIons in mind: the child's early concept of death, the child's first experience with death, the interrelation of birth and death, and the individual's coming to terms with life and with death. The conclusion relates Laurence's understanding of death to her concept of interrelation of past, present and future, and traces the development of the theme and presentation of death throughout her works. Also examined are the increasing subtlety of insight and the increasing emotive effectiveness of the works and the writer as she matures as an artist.