However necessary the Piper Gunn tales are to develop Morag's sense of her own past, they represent, to use the word Laurence invents, "infactuality." Although they genuinely convey the spirit of the Scottish immigrants' struggles, they are historically inaccurate. More precisely, the tales tell only part of the story and, taken alone, disguise the whole movement of Canadian history. The limitations of the Piper Gunn tales become starkly obvious in the final two stories of the "long march" and "the rebels." Once the Scots are settled in
Resolution of these contradictions is a slow and difficult process. Like the river that flows both ways, development of conscious understanding is never presented as a unilinear progression. Instead, it is a hesitating movement towards perception, often thwarted by retreat into confusion and mystification. Morag's insight into self and her society is both intensified and complicated by her identification with Jules Tonnerre. Driven from their lands in the last century, the Métis literally possess no living space. Morag has learned that they are mysterious and unmentionable.
"Belonging nowhere" is the significant image. Because the Métis have no land, Jules cannot be deceived that his identity is centered on present space instead of past time. His first glance at Morag, a silent, nonverbal communication, affirms a solidarity against the social humiliation of the classroom. From Jules, Morag hears Lazarus' tales of Rider Tonnerre and Old Jules, stories that confirm her intuitive identification with Riel. Her intense but incomplete love-making with Jules serves as an emblem of her uncertain consciousness: she has begun to construct a self-image based on class identification, yet oppression still seems to be based in the spatial world of Manawaka. Freedom appears as escape from that space.