Literary Review and Interpretation of Main Themes of the Stone Angel
In The Stone Angel, Margaret Lawrence portrays a woman attempting to understanding herself and her life. Hagar is the narrator of the book. She is ninety, and is trying to avoid an old aged home where her son Marvin, and Marvins wife Doris want to put her. During this her attempt to move to Shadow Point and live alone, Hagar remembers the many parts of her life and her life story is revealed to the reader in that fashion. Hagar grew up in Manawaka, in the prairies. Hagars mother died while giving birth to her, and her father Jason Currie had a great stone angel brought from Italy at a great expense for Mrs. Curries grave. Hagar had two brothers, Matt and Daniel. Daniel was a lazy boy, and was very delicate physically. Daniel died at eighteen of pneumonia. Matt intended to go to university, but Hagar was sent by her father. Matt married, but never had children, and died of disease without putting up a fight in his death bed. Hagar eventually goes to university and returns to marry Brampton Shiptley, against her fathers will. At that point she loses contact with her father. Hagar eventually regrets marrying Bram, who often embarrasses her. Hagar and Bram have two boys, Marvin and John. Hagar never really loves Marvin, and when he moves out, she moves out with John. She loves him, and does everything for him.
They eventually return to Manawaka when Brampton is dying. At that point John is in love with Arlene, something Hagar does not understand nor approve of. John tragically dies while performing a stunt while drunk. Hagar moves to the coast, buys a house, and ends up living her last days with Marvin and his wife Doris. Shortly before her death Hagar realizes many things about herself. First of all that her heart is made of stone, secondly that she has a lot of pride like her father, and thirdly that she is blind, or in other words she can only see things from one perspective, her own. These characteristics and those of the stone angel, which was made of stone, was erected out of pride, and has no eyes, are strikingly similar.
Throughout Hagars recollection of the past there are many instances where Hagar could not express her emotions. This is seen very early when Hagars father punishes her and she refuses to cry in his presence. When her brother Daniel is dying of pneumonia, Matt insists that Hagar cradle him with her mothers shawl. Hagar wants to help her brother, but cant because it requires love. Another example of Hagars heart of stone is that she is unable to tell her father that she feels that Matt should be going to university instead of her. When Brams favorite horse runs away and dies in a storm, Hagar shares Brams distress over the death, but doesnt admit it or attempt to soothe Bram. Only near the end of her life does Hagar show her emotions by telling Marvin she is frightened, but remains ashamed to have revealed her emotions. At this point Hagar realizes that her heart is made of stone, and that she has been hard and has never opened up to anyone, like the stone angel. The stone angel was brought from Italy, as a symbol of the Currie familys pride, and not as much to honor Mrs. Currie. Jason Currie has incredible pride, and upon his death leaves his money to the city so that he would be remembered. Hagar has inherited this pride. Because of this pride Hagar doesnt accept John and Arlenes love, because of Arlenes background. Hagar never loves her son Marvin neither, because he is not the type of son she wants. Hagar is also cold with Lottie and Mrs. Jardine upon meeting them, because of her pride. Because of this pride Hagar is also blind, for she can only see things from her perspective. She cannot see that her son loves Arlene, she only sees Arlenes background. Hagar cant see that Lottie is in a similar situation as herself either because she is blind. Murray Lee helps Hagar discover this and helps her open up a little. Hagars blindness is comparable to the stone angel because the stone angel never had any eyes carved into it. Hagars cold emotional state, her pride, and her blindness are very similar to those qualities in the stone angel.
Hagars understanding of herself grows a lot during the last days of her life as she reminisces of the past and spends time with many people.
Her life story is not tragic, but her main bad qualities of being cold emotionally, her great pride which in turn caused her blindness, are revealed to her through out her recollection of her life and throughout the plot. Hagar realizes these things, but it is too late to change.
These characteristics revealed through out the story describe the stone angel.
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In The Stone Angel, Margaret Lawrence portrays a woman attempting to understanding herself and her life. Hagar is the narrator of the book. She is ninety, and is trying to […]