Throughout Margaret Laurence's novel "The Diviners" the character of Morag Gunn experiences values which are ever evolving from her childhood until she reaches old age. As we read the novel it becomes apparent that Morag learns from the values of those whom she is in contact with for a prolonged period of time. Because of Morags tendency to learn from the values of others and then move on, she experiences many changes in her value systems, and personality during her entire life. The first major change in value systems for Morag Gunn occurred when she was a child. Morag was the only child of a relatively well off family that lived in Manawaka. During this time Morag was instilled with values that represented those of the higher class citizens in Manawaka.
Morags lifestyle then took a drastic change when both of her parents died. Morag was then taken in by Christie and Prin Logan. Christie and Prin had no children of their own, and were not very well off. Christie, who had saved Morags biological father in World War One, was the keeper of the town dump, and Prin was a housewife. Christie was the person who was responsible for instilling a value system in Morag from her childhood, until she moved out of Manawaka to attend University.
Christie didnt consider etiquette, and proper manners to have much merit in life, and chose to instill Morag with the values of self worth, self esteem, and a belief that he holds dear, which is not to conform to what society believes is appropriate, but to be your self at all times. "The ones who have to wrap the rye bottles in old newspapers and try to hide the fact that there are so goddamn many of them. The ones who have fourteen million pill bottles the week, now. The ones who will be chucking out the family albums the moment the grandmother goes to her ancestors" With this quote Christie is trying to demonstrate to Morag that everyone in Manawaka has different sets o values, and just because Morags values may differ from the values of the upper class, doesnt necessarily mean that their values are better than Morags. When Morag decides to attend University in Winnipeg she becomes attracted to a professor of hers named Brooke Skelton. As Brooke and Morag become involved in a relationship Morag soon realized that in order for her and Brooke to be together she must abide by his set of values.
In Morags conversation with Brooke before, during, and after their first sexual experience together, Morag lies about her virginity to Brooke. She does this because she feels that she has to conform to Brookes value system in order for the relationship to work. Along with Brookes values regarding a womans sexual past, Morag felt the need to conform to many of Brookes other values which included a woman always looking good for her man, not working, and having dinner ready when the man came home. These values definitely did not fit Morags personality, or own set of values, and eventually she became tired of being someone else other than herself and left Brooke to try and find herself again. After Morag had left Brooke, she decided to move to Vancouver where she would have her child, be an only mother, and write for a living. While in Vancouver Morag was introduced to Fan Brady, and shortly there after moved in with her.
Fan was a dance use, and created a big change in Morags values dealing with sexual relations. Fan took the morality, pleasure and meaning out of sex for Morag. Fan led a promiscuous lifestyle, where she would be with a different man sexually almost on a nightly basis, and readily admitted to Morag that she didnt enjoy sex. Since Morag thoroughly enjoyed sex this made her envious of Fan, and began demeaning her self by having sexual relations with almost anyone who was willing to fulfill her needs.
The values which Morag learned from Fan stayed with her even after she moved out of Fans house and to England. In fact the values Morag learned from Fan allowed her relationship with Dan McRaith to take place. With Morag still believing sex to be an act that she attached no morality to, she was able to engage in a sexual relationship with Dan, who was a married man, and father of seven children. Morags relationship with Dan lasted until she decided to visit him in Scotland. When Morag arrived in Scotland she sees the immorality of her relationship with Dan McRaith. This immorality becomes apparent to Morag because his family is no longer far away, and out of her mind, but instead they are close by, which allows Morag to see her mistake.
This realization ultimately causes Morag to end her relationship with Dan, and puts an end to her life in England. The values Morag has obtained throughout her life have allowed her to constantly grow as a person, and experience more in one lifetime than many would in two. Since Morag seems to be the only character whos values arent already determined she learns from the values of others. Since the values of all the people Morag comes in contact with are static, and do not represent the values of Morag, she then moves on to experience other people, and things. This unwillingness to remain static allows Morags values to constantly evolve throughout her life.