Failure To Belong In Margaret Laurence’S Essay

1665 WordsNov 24, 20097 Pages
Failure to Belong in Margaret Laurence’s The Rain Child The story “The Rain Child” by Margaret Laurence involves a number of different characters who all try to deal with the feelings associated with being an outsider. They each feel as though they do not belong in Africa, which leads them to feel misunderstood, alone, unaccepted and rejected. Violet Nedden has lived in Africa for many years but still struggles to feel as though she belongs there. She is a teacher at a school in Africa, and when Dr. Quansah brings his daughter Ruth back to his home country, it is her job to take care of Ruth and to help her adjust. Both Ruth and her father have a difficult time trying to fit in, just as Violet expects, and she feels powerless in her attempts to make others accept them. Each character in the story struggles to find a sense of belonging and is left feeling as though they are too different or that they are misunderstood by the others. “The Rain Child” is a story about each of its character’s experience of being an outsider while living in Africa, which for each of them is a huge challenge. Violet Nedden came over from England to teach, and although over the years she has come to embrace and enjoy the African culture, she still finds herself feeling as though she is a stranger to the land. Unlike the headmistress, Hilda Povey, Violet does not try to keep her identity as an English woman, “I will have no English flowers” (Laurence, 112), nor does she try and push the English culture onto her students. “How absurd Wordsworth seemed here then. I spoke instead about Akan poetry and read them the drum prelude Anyaneanyane in their own tongue” (Laurence, 107). She feels strongly about the importance of culture and tradition in her students lives and she responds negatively to Hilda’s

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