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The Island Motif in the Fiction of L. M. Montgomery, Margaret Laurence, Margaret Atwood, and Other Canadian Women Novelists


Theodore F. Sheckels, Jr.

Islands, both literal and figurative, recur in fiction authored by many prominent Canadian women writers. Using a critical lens based on Northrop Frye and Julia Kristeva, this book closely examines fourteen novels by eight twentieth-century authors, emphasizing works by L. M. Montgomery, Margaret Laurence, and Margaret Atwood. Several of the novels, such as Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, Laurence’s A Jest of God and The Diviners, Atwood’s Surfacing and Bodily Harm, Alice Munro’s The Lives of Girls and Women, and Gabrielle Roy’s The Tin Flute, are among Canada’s most well-known. Some of the works discussed present the island as a redemptive retreat, but in most cases the island’s role is ambiguous, ranging from a temporary respite from life’s pressures to a nightmarish trap.