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

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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.