Plot Develops The Meaning Of The Title In 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 Marvin’s 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. Hagar’s 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. Currie’s 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
, 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
can’t because it requires love. Another example of Hagar’s 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 Bram’s favorite horse
runs away and dies in a storm, Hagar shares Brams distress over the
death, but doesn’t 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 family’s
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 doesn’t accept John and Arlene’s love, because of Arlene’s
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 can’t 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. Hagar’s blindness is comparable to
the stone angel because the stone angel never had any eyes carved into
it. Hagar’s cold emotional state, her pride, and her blindness are very
similar to those qualities in the stone angel.
Hagar’s 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
. Hagar realizes these things, but it is too late to change.
These characteristics revealed through out the story describe the stone