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Conquering the Future: A Summary of Margaret Laurence’s ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ (1963)

Conquering the Future: A Summary of Margaret Laurence’s ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ (1963)

Margaret Laurence’s ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ is a novel that explores the themes of identity, belonging, and cultural clashes in the context of post-colonial Africa. Set in the fictional country of West Africa, the story follows the journey of a young Canadian woman named Sara who comes to teach in a remote village. Through her experiences, she learns about the complexities of the local culture and the struggles of the people who inhabit it. This article provides a summary of the novel, highlighting its key themes and motifs.

Overview of ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’

“The Tomorrow-Tamer” is a novel written by Margaret Laurence in 1963. The book is set in the fictional town of Manawaka, which is based on Laurence’s hometown of Neepawa, Manitoba. The story follows the life of a young woman named Sara who is determined to conquer the future and make a better life for herself. The novel explores themes of identity, family, and the struggle for independence. Through Sara’s journey, Laurence paints a vivid picture of life in rural Canada during the mid-20th century. “The Tomorrow-Tamer” is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that continues to resonate with readers today.

Background of Margaret Laurence

Margaret Laurence was a Canadian novelist and short story writer born on July 18, 1926, in Neepawa, Manitoba. She grew up in a small town and attended the University of Manitoba, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1947. After graduation, she worked as a journalist and a public relations officer for the Canadian government. In 1949, she married Jack Laurence, a civil engineer, and moved to England, where she continued to write and publish her work. In 1957, the couple returned to Canada, settling in Vancouver, British Columbia. Throughout her career, Laurence wrote about the struggles of women and marginalized communities, drawing on her own experiences as a woman and an immigrant. Her work often explored themes of identity, belonging, and social justice. She is best known for her novels, including “The Stone Angel” (1964) and “A Jest of God” (1966), both of which won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. Laurence died on January 5, 1987, in Lakefield, Ontario, leaving behind a legacy of powerful and insightful writing.

Main Characters in ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’

The main character in Margaret Laurence’s ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ is a young woman named Sara. She is a determined and independent individual who is determined to make a better life for herself and her family. Sara is a hard worker and is not afraid to take risks in order to achieve her goals. She is also very intelligent and resourceful, which helps her to overcome the many obstacles that she faces throughout the novel. Another important character in the book is Sara’s husband, Roy. He is a kind and supportive partner who is always there for Sara when she needs him. Roy is also a hard worker and is willing to do whatever it takes to provide for his family. Together, Sara and Roy make a formidable team, and their love and dedication to each other is a driving force throughout the novel.

Setting of ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’

The setting of Margaret Laurence’s ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ is a small town in rural Manitoba, Canada. The town is called Manawaka and is based on Laurence’s own hometown of Neepawa. The town is described as being isolated and cut off from the rest of the world, with harsh winters and a close-knit community. The main character, Sara, is a young woman who has returned to Manawaka after living in the city for several years. She is determined to make a life for herself in the town and to help the people there overcome their struggles. The setting of the novel plays an important role in shaping the characters and their experiences, as they are forced to confront the challenges of living in a remote and unforgiving environment.

Plot Summary of ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’

In Margaret Laurence’s ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’, protagonist Sara Benteen is a young woman who has grown up in a small town in Manitoba, Canada. She is restless and yearns for adventure, so she decides to leave her hometown and travel to Africa to work as a teacher.

Once in Africa, Sara faces many challenges, including cultural differences and the harsh realities of life in a developing country. She becomes involved in the local community and forms close relationships with her students and colleagues.

As Sara becomes more integrated into African life, she begins to question her own identity and her place in the world. She struggles with her own sense of belonging and her relationship with her family back in Canada.

Throughout the novel, Sara grapples with issues of race, gender, and colonialism. She becomes a champion for the local people and fights against the injustices she sees around her.

In the end, Sara must make a difficult decision about her future. Will she stay in Africa and continue to fight for justice, or will she return to Canada and try to make a difference there? The novel ends on a hopeful note, with Sara determined to continue her work as a tomorrow-tamer, conquering the future one day at a time.

Themes Explored in ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’

In “The Tomorrow-Tamer,” Margaret Laurence explores several themes that are relevant to contemporary society. One of the most prominent themes is the struggle for identity and belonging. The protagonist, Sara, is a young girl who is torn between her desire to fit in with her peers and her need to assert her individuality. She is constantly searching for a sense of belonging, but she also wants to be true to herself and her values.

Another important theme in the novel is the tension between tradition and modernity. Sara’s family is deeply rooted in their traditional ways of life, but she is drawn to the modern world and its possibilities. This tension is reflected in the conflict between Sara and her father, who wants her to conform to the traditional roles of women in their community.

Finally, “The Tomorrow-Tamer” explores the theme of environmentalism and the need to protect the natural world. Sara is deeply connected to the land and the animals around her, and she is horrified by the destruction caused by human activity. This theme is particularly relevant today, as we face the urgent need to address climate change and protect our planet for future generations.

Overall, “The Tomorrow-Tamer” is a thought-provoking novel that raises important questions about identity, tradition, and the environment. It is a powerful reminder of the need to confront these issues and work towards a better future for ourselves and our planet.

Exploring the Idea of Colonization

The idea of colonization has been a controversial topic for centuries. It involves the expansion of one nation’s power and influence over another, often resulting in the displacement and oppression of the colonized people. Margaret Laurence’s novel, “The Tomorrow-Tamer,” explores this idea through the story of a young man named Jason who is sent to a fictional African country to help establish a new colony. As he navigates the complexities of colonialism, Jason begins to question the morality of his actions and the impact they will have on the people he has come to govern. Through Jason’s journey, Laurence raises important questions about the ethics of colonization and the long-term consequences of such actions.

The Role of Women in ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’

In Margaret Laurence’s ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’, the role of women is a significant aspect of the story. The protagonist, Sara, is a strong and independent woman who defies societal norms and expectations. She is determined to make a better life for herself and her family, and she is not afraid to take risks to achieve her goals.

Throughout the novel, Sara faces numerous challenges and obstacles, but she never gives up. She is a symbol of resilience and perseverance, and her character is a testament to the strength and determination of women.

In addition to Sara, there are other female characters in the novel who play important roles. For example, Sara’s mother, Mary, is a supportive and loving figure who encourages her daughter to pursue her dreams. There is also Mrs. Bannerman, a wealthy and influential woman who helps Sara in her quest to build a better life.

Overall, the role of women in ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ is one of empowerment and strength. Laurence’s portrayal of female characters challenges traditional gender roles and highlights the importance of women in shaping the future.

Analysis of the Writing Style in ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’

Margaret Laurence’s writing style in “The Tomorrow-Tamer” is characterized by its vivid imagery and poetic language. The author uses descriptive language to create a sense of place and atmosphere, immersing the reader in the world of the novel. The use of metaphors and similes adds depth and complexity to the narrative, allowing the reader to see beyond the surface level of the story. Additionally, Laurence’s use of multiple perspectives and shifting points of view creates a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty, challenging the reader to question their assumptions and interpretations of the text. Overall, Laurence’s writing style in “The Tomorrow-Tamer” is both engaging and thought-provoking, making it a timeless classic of Canadian literature.

Impact of ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’

“The Tomorrow-Tamer” by Margaret Laurence has had a significant impact on Canadian literature and society. The novel explores themes of colonialism, identity, and the struggle for power in a post-colonial world. It is a powerful commentary on the effects of colonialism on Indigenous peoples and the need for reconciliation.

The novel has been praised for its vivid descriptions of the Canadian prairies and its portrayal of the complex relationships between settlers and Indigenous peoples. It has also been criticized for its portrayal of Indigenous characters as passive and in need of rescue by white settlers.

Despite these criticisms, “The Tomorrow-Tamer” remains an important work in Canadian literature. It has inspired discussions about the legacy of colonialism and the ongoing struggle for Indigenous rights. It has also influenced other Canadian writers, such as Thomas King and Joseph Boyden, who have continued to explore these themes in their own work.

Overall, “The Tomorrow-Tamer” is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that continues to have an impact on Canadian literature and society. Its themes of colonialism, identity, and reconciliation are as relevant today as they were when the novel was first published in 1963.

Comparison to Other Margaret Laurence Works

Compared to Margaret Laurence’s other works, “The Tomorrow-Tamer” stands out as a departure from her usual themes of Canadian prairie life and the struggles of women. Instead, this novel explores the complexities of colonialism and the clash between traditional African culture and Western influence. However, like her other works, Laurence’s writing in “The Tomorrow-Tamer” is characterized by her vivid descriptions and empathetic portrayal of her characters. The novel also shares similarities with Laurence’s later work, “The Diviners,” in its exploration of the supernatural and mystical elements of African culture. Overall, “The Tomorrow-Tamer” showcases Laurence’s versatility as a writer and her ability to tackle a wide range of themes and subjects.

Reception and Criticism of ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’

Upon its publication in 1963, Margaret Laurence’s ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ received mixed reviews from critics. Some praised the novel for its exploration of themes such as colonialism, identity, and the struggle for independence. Others, however, criticized the book for its slow pace and lack of action. Despite the mixed reception, ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ has since become a classic of Canadian literature and is widely studied in schools and universities. Its themes and characters continue to resonate with readers today, making it a timeless work of fiction.

Exploring the Idea of Hope in ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’

In Margaret Laurence’s ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’, the idea of hope is explored through the character of Sara Stanley. Despite facing numerous challenges and setbacks, Sara remains optimistic and determined to create a better future for herself and her family. This is evident in her decision to leave her abusive husband and start a new life in Africa, where she hopes to find freedom and happiness. Throughout the novel, Sara’s unwavering hope serves as a source of inspiration for those around her, including her children and the local villagers. Ultimately, ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ is a powerful testament to the transformative power of hope, and a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is always a glimmer of light to be found.

The Importance of Self-Discovery in ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’

In Margaret Laurence’s ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’, the theme of self-discovery plays a crucial role in the protagonist’s journey towards conquering the future. The novel follows the story of a young boy named John, who is forced to leave his home in Scotland and move to the Canadian prairies with his family. Throughout the novel, John struggles to adapt to his new surroundings and find his place in the world. However, it is through his journey of self-discovery that he is able to overcome his fears and conquer the challenges that lie ahead.

One of the key themes in ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ is the idea that self-discovery is essential for personal growth and development. John’s journey towards self-discovery is not an easy one, as he is faced with numerous obstacles along the way. However, it is through these challenges that he is able to learn more about himself and his place in the world. Through his experiences, John learns to embrace his strengths and weaknesses, and to use them to his advantage.

Another important aspect of self-discovery in ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ is the idea that it is a continuous process. John’s journey towards self-discovery is not something that happens overnight, but rather something that he must work on throughout his life. As he grows older and faces new challenges, John must continue to learn more about himself and his place in the world.

Overall, the importance of self-discovery in ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ cannot be overstated. Through his journey towards self-discovery, John is able to conquer his fears and overcome the challenges that lie ahead. This theme is a powerful reminder that personal growth and development are essential for success in life, and that we must always be willing to learn more about ourselves in order to achieve our goals.

Comparison to Other Works of Literature

In comparison to other works of literature, Margaret Laurence’s ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ stands out for its unique portrayal of the African continent and its people. Unlike many other works that depict Africa as a place of poverty, disease, and violence, Laurence’s novel presents a more nuanced and complex view of the continent. Through the eyes of its protagonist, Sara, we see the beauty and richness of African culture, as well as the challenges and struggles faced by its people.

Moreover, Laurence’s novel is notable for its feminist themes and its exploration of the role of women in African society. Sara, a strong and independent woman, challenges traditional gender roles and expectations, and fights for the rights and freedoms of women in her community. This makes ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ a powerful and inspiring work of literature that continues to resonate with readers today.

Overall, ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ is a unique and important work of literature that deserves to be recognized and celebrated for its contributions to our understanding of Africa and its people, as well as its exploration of feminist themes and issues.

Exploring the Idea of Family in ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’

In Margaret Laurence’s ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’, the idea of family is explored through the protagonist, Sara, and her relationships with her husband, children, and extended family. Sara’s marriage to Manfred is strained due to their differing views on life and their roles in the family. Manfred believes in traditional gender roles, while Sara desires more independence and freedom. This tension leads to conflicts and ultimately, a separation.

Sara’s relationship with her children is also complicated. She struggles to connect with her son, who is distant and uncommunicative, and her daughter, who is rebellious and resentful. However, as the novel progresses, Sara begins to understand and accept her children for who they are, and they in turn, begin to open up to her.

The theme of family is also explored through Sara’s interactions with her extended family. She is torn between her loyalty to her own family and her desire to help her cousin, who is struggling with poverty and illness. This conflict highlights the importance of family and the sacrifices one must make for their loved ones.

Overall, ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ delves into the complexities of family relationships and the challenges that come with them. Laurence’s portrayal of family dynamics is both realistic and poignant, making the novel a compelling read for anyone interested in exploring the intricacies of human relationships.

The Significance of the Title ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’

The title of Margaret Laurence’s novel, “The Tomorrow-Tamer,” holds great significance in understanding the themes and messages conveyed throughout the book. The term “tomorrow-tamer” suggests a sense of control and power over the future, which is a central theme in the novel. The protagonist, Sara, is a strong and independent woman who is determined to shape her own destiny and overcome the challenges that come her way. The title also implies a sense of responsibility and accountability for one’s actions, as Sara must navigate the consequences of her choices and decisions. Overall, the title “The Tomorrow-Tamer” encapsulates the novel’s themes of empowerment, resilience, and the ability to shape one’s own future.

Analysis of the Ending of ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’

The ending of Margaret Laurence’s ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ is a poignant and thought-provoking conclusion to the novel. After a long and difficult journey, protagonist Sara Stanley finally achieves her dream of building a new life for herself and her family in the Canadian wilderness. However, this success comes at a cost, as Sara must leave behind her beloved husband and children in order to pursue her own ambitions.

The novel’s final scene sees Sara standing alone on a hilltop, looking out over the vast expanse of land that she has claimed as her own. Laurence’s vivid descriptions of the landscape create a sense of awe and wonder, as Sara marvels at the beauty and power of the natural world. At the same time, however, there is a sense of sadness and loneliness in Sara’s isolation, as she realizes the sacrifices she has made in order to achieve her goals.

Overall, the ending of ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ is a complex and nuanced reflection on the nature of ambition and the price of success. While Sara’s triumph is undeniably impressive, it is also tinged with a sense of loss and regret. This bittersweet conclusion leaves readers with much to ponder about the choices we make in pursuit of our dreams, and the impact those choices can have on those we love.

Exploring the Idea of Identity in ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’

In Margaret Laurence’s ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’, the idea of identity is explored through the character of Sara. As a young girl growing up in Africa, Sara struggles to find her place in the world. She is torn between her African heritage and her Canadian upbringing, and she feels like she doesn’t quite fit in with either culture.

Throughout the novel, Sara grapples with questions of identity and belonging. She wonders if she will ever truly feel at home in Africa, or if she will always be seen as an outsider. She also struggles with her own sense of self, as she tries to reconcile her Canadian upbringing with her African heritage.

Despite these challenges, Sara remains determined to forge her own path in life. She is a strong and independent character, who refuses to be defined by others’ expectations of her. Through her journey of self-discovery, Sara learns to embrace her unique identity and to celebrate the diversity of her heritage.

Overall, ‘The Tomorrow-Tamer’ is a powerful exploration of the complexities of identity and belonging. Through Sara’s story, Laurence reminds us that our sense of self is shaped by a multitude of factors, including our cultural background, our upbringing, and our personal experiences. Ultimately, it is up to each of us to define ourselves on our own terms, and to embrace the richness and diversity of our individual identities.