Nellie McClung is one of the most famous women in Canadian history. Her work toward getting the vote for women as well as her involvement with the Christian Women's Temperance Union suggest a woman with energy and drive. This was seen even when she was a young girl, growing up in southern Manitoba.
When she was fifteen years old, she took examinations to qualify her to be trained as a teacher. She went to Brandon for a number of days to write these exams. She was particularly worried about her algebra exam, and the possibility that it would be the reason she failed at her efforts. She expresses, in conversation with a friend from home who was also taking the test, a desire to have a different life than the one her parents had chosen.
I have something in me that will not let me rest. I want to give people release from their drab lives! This is not all of the life - this sowing and reaping, cooking and washing dishes. There is an inner life that can be deepened and widened ...
Wheat farmers are so intent on raising wheat they have no time to watch the sunset or raise flowers, plant trees, or do anything to make their homes beautiful. Beauty has a power to heal and comfort people and help them over the rough places in life.Her comments about providing release to people in their drab lives is, evidence of a bit of youthful hubris, but it this reveals Nellie's ambition, and is consistent with the energy and activity that she had in her adult life.
(Clearing in the West, Nellie McClung, p. 234-235)