The Diviners—Learn to Be Grateful

Ruohan Chen
Ms. McLennan
May 20, 2011
Learn to be grateful
People are unaware of the precious things they already possess. As something is seen every day, it becomes negligible and people simply do not care about it any longer. However, after some time living without it, they will find it indispensible to them. In the Diviners by Margaret Laurence, a small town girl in Manawaka, Morag Gunn, comes to a difficult phase in her life when she cannot identify the love that her adoptive father Christie has given her. When Morag was three years old, her biological parents died because of disease. Their friend Christie adopts her, providing her shelter and food since then. Morag, however, is not thankful to Christie and keeps ignoring his love until Christie is dying in hospital. Due to her hatred towards Christie, Morag believes she belongs to Sutherland where her ancestors come from; however, after a trip to Sutherland, she realizes her true home is with Christie.
Morag hates her foster father, Christie Logan, because of the humiliation he brings her. As the only financial source of the family, Christie collects garbage for a living. He does not have enough time and money to make himself clean and tidy. Though Morag does not say it out loud, she often expresses her scorn towards Christie in her mind: ???How silly he looks. That is the worst. No. The worst is that he smells??¦How much do other people notice Plenty.???(Laurence, 44). Morag is not satisfied with Christie??™s image in public because he is always slovenly dressed and does not shave. The terrible smell that Christie gives off also makes Morag ashamed of him. She blames Christie for the humiliation she suffers and denies Christie being her father. Once Morag??™s friend Jules refers to Christie as Morag??™s ???old man???(Laurence, 82) in a conversation, Morag replies, ???Christie??™s not my old man! My dad is dead.???(Laurence, 82). Morag, being an immature teenager girl at that time, can only see the bad aspects of being Christie??™s daughter. She refuses to admit the connections between her and her indecent adoptive father. As a result of feeling that she does not belong to her foster family, she misses her biological parents and goes to search for her roots.
Morag takes a trip to Sutherland in the hope of finding a sense of belonging, but is disappointed. When Morag is a child, Christie often tells her stories about Morag??™s ancestors. Morag is interested in those stories and feels Sutherland is calling for her. She tells her friend Ella in a letter: ???I??™d like at some point to go to Scotland, to Sutherland, where my people come from??¦it haunts me??¦I??™ll have to go.???(Laurence, 354). The use of phrase ???my people??? demonstrates that Morag considers herself a Gunn, a descendant of her bloodline instead of a daughter raised by Christie. She is so keen to prove herself belonging to her lineage that the idea of going to Sutherland is too strong for Morag to resist. Morag believes she has to go there one day to see the place where her ancestors once lived. Unfortunately, she is wrong about what Sutherland means to her. When Morag finally stands on the land that she believes to be hers, she says to her friend coming with her as well as to herself, ???It??™s a deep land here. All right. But it??™s not mine??¦I always thought it was the land of mine, but it is not.???(Laurence, 415). Morag now realizes that she has made a mistake by constantly convincing herself that Sutherland is her land. In fact, she is a total stranger to it. She has never lived there and has no memory of that land. Although Sutherland is her ancestor??™s home, it is not hers. By the end of her trip to Sutherland, it is clear to Morag that she does not belong to Sutherland and her land is actually where she grew up.
Morag is finally aware that her true home is in Manawaka with Christie. Shortly after return from Sutherland, Morag receives a cable from a doctor, which says Christie is seriously ill. She decides to go back to Manawaka to visit Christie. She says to her daughter, ???Pique, we??™re going back home??¦Yes. Home.???(Laurence, 416). This is the first time Morag calls Manawaka, where she grew up, her home. It indicates that Morag has come to an acceptance of the family that Christie gives her. Also, Morag??™s view towards Christie changes greatly. In the hospital, She tells Christie, ???I used to fight a lot with you, Christie, but you??™ve been my father to me.???(Laurence, 420). Instead of trying to contradict Christie, Morag tells him by herself that she does consider him as her father. Although Morag used to hate Christie, she cannot ignore the fact that Christie has at least fulfilled a father??™s responsibility to raise her. This time, she sees herself as a daughter of her adoptive father but not of her birth parents. Morag??™s family, her true home certainly includes Christie.
At last, daughter recognizes her father. Morag always denied Christie when she was young, but she realizes she should love him after her root-searching trip to Sutherland. Similarly, many people in real life also do not see the advantages of possessing something or having someone around. It takes time for them to understand how important that thing or that person is to them. In Morag??™s case, it is already too late for her to tell Christie how she really feels about him, because Christie dies that night and she is never able to give her love back to him. For those people in the real world, the best they can do is learning to be grateful for what they have, so they will not regret in the future.

Work Cited
1. Laurence, Margaret. The Diviners. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1988. Print.

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