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Additional resources for Margaret Laurence: Critical Reflections
They see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave. —PLATO, The Republic, Book VII, 514-515 WlTH CORRESPONDENCE between Margaret Laurence and Marian Engel as its point of departure, this essay considers Laurence's 1974 novel The Diviners in conjunction with Engel's 1978 novel The Glassy Sea. These works present striking parallels, and part of my purpose is to show this. Beyond a 24 comparative study, the essay reflects on the conditions for women writing in Canada at mid-twentieth century.
My purpose is to suggest how white female critics, such as myself, can begin to approach their critical tasks in ways that neither slight their own culture's supportive and positive accomplishments, nor lead them to critical positions that are ideologically acceptable in established postcolonial practice, but ultimately unproductive in bringing a literary critique to the polyphony of women's voices currently expressing their experience in the English language. My goal in performing this admittedly political act is to enter postcolonial discourse in a way that requires neither my abjection as a white woman nor the diminution of my feminism.
Donaldson points out thé violence donc to feminism, however, when ideological critics engage in a privileging of oppressions, as both thé Gilbert and Guber and thé Spivak readings do in their désire to validate certain important values in their readings. It is thé kind of violence that produces thé energy-sapping quarrels of récent years, that keeps feminist critiques from being enabling, and that often leaves feminists caught in using postmodern deconstruction not as a means to an end, but as an end, a rather négative end in itself.