Margaret Laurence instinctively turned to the epic mode to create archetypal narratives of loss, exile, and redemption. Drawing on the Bible, Dante, and Milton, Laurence absorbed the epic structure and populated it with the Manawaka world of Hagar Shipley, Rachel Cameron, Stacey MacAindra, and Morag Gunn. Paul Comeau traces the development of Margaret Laurence's voice from its tentative beginnings in her African fiction to its culmination in the Manawaka Cycle. According to Comeau, Laurence's ability to illustrate the epic dimension in her characters' strengths and weaknesses has ensured her a lasting place among great Canadian writers.
Paul Comeau lives in Burnaby, British Columbia. He is currently the Department Head of English at Windermere Secondary School in Vancouver.