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Essay on Symbolism in The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence

604 Words3 Pages

Symbolism in The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence

A symbol is a literary device used by the author to portray an idea to the reader. In Margaret Laurence's, The Stone Angel, the stone angel is a symbol used to heighten the reader's understanding of the characteristics of Hagar Shipley. First, the stone angel is used to show Hagar's pride in the Currie family name. She prizes the stone angel because it is expensive and imported from Italy to honour a mother Hagar never knew. Similarly, the stone angel is symbolic of Hagar's inability to show emotions; like the angel, Hagar is hard and cold. Lastly, the angel is symbolic of Hagar's blindness, just as the angel; Hagar is doubly blind. The symbolism of the stone angel is first…show more content…

Hagar is unable to show how she feels, or relate to other people. Just like the angel Hagar has become hard and unyielding. The stone angel is made of hard, cold marble, making it strong and stiff. Like the angel, Hagar Shipley is cool and impermeable towards the world. She never reveals her true feelings to the people she knows because she sees this as a risk of being thought of as 'soft'. This aspect of Hagar's personality is best shown when her son John dies. Hagar says, "The night my son died I was transformed to stone and never wept at all. When the ministering women handed me the cup of hot coffee, they murmured how well I was taking it, and I could only look at them dry-eyed from a great distance and not say a single word."(264) Hagar is so unable to show her emotions that even when her son dies she dare not cry. Like the stone angel she is unmoved. She fears that if she turns to the women around her for help she will be seen as some delicate, helpless creature. Hagar's coolness and hardness like that of the marble angel, is further shown when Bram's favourite horse dies; Hagar is upset for him, knowing how much the horse means to Bram. Yet, Hagar refuses to comfort him. Finally, the stone angel is symbolic of Hagar's blindness. The stone angel of the Currie family is doubly blind; this is because the artist neglected to add eyeballs to its chiseled face. This is symbolic of Hagar because she is blind to those around

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Essay on The Stone Angel

1655 Words7 Pages

The Stone Angel

Self-Inflicted Isolation and Loneliness

“I never realized until this moment how cut off I am.” (Laurence, 1988, 294) In the novel The Stone Angel, author Margaret Laurence portrays a lonely old woman by the name of Hagar. Over the course of the novel, Hagar reflects back on the memories that have created the story of her life. Hagar is a deeply lonely woman, and much of that loneliness is self-inflicted. This mental isolation is caused by her stubbornness, her pride, and the blindness that she has towards any opinion other than her own.

Hagar Currie-Shipley is a very stubborn woman at the age of ninety. She is very set in her ways, and does not appreciate being told what to do. The reader is introduced to this…show more content…

And here am I, the same Hagar, in a different establishment once more, and waiting again. I try a little to pray, as one’s meant to do at evening, thinking perhaps the knack of it will come to me here. But it works no better than it ever did. I can’t change what’s happened to me in my life, or make what’s not occurred take place. But I can’t say I like it, or accept it or believe it’s for the best. I don’t and never shall, not even if I’m damned for it. So I merely sit on the bed and look out the window until the dark comes and the trees have gone and the sea itself has been swallowed by the night. (Laurence, 1988, 160)

A major emotion that is shown in The Stone Angel is pride. Much of Hagar’s loneliness is a result of her pride and the fact that she thinks that she is socially above everyone else, regardless of what happens to her. This pride is inherited from her father, who is very proud of his social standing, and flaunts it. He brings over the Stone Angel from Italy more to show his power than to remember his dead wife, as it was the first one in the area. She hates the thought of being seen naked by Doris, her daughter-in-law, and also the thought of having Doris helping her change. “What a

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