External Appearances in The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence

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External Appearances in The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence

It is common in society for individuals to look no further than the external appearance of others. This is also true in many novels, such as The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence. Margaret Laurence shows this by using imagery. Imagery is employed in the novel to help intensify the significance of important events and circumstances of the novel. Margaret Laurence used flower and water imagery in her novel The Stone Angel to represent Hagar's way of life. Through the image of flowers and water Margaret Laurence created a strong-willed character who refused to be herself.

There are two different kinds of flowers throughout this novel. There is the image of wild flowers and the image of cultivated flowers. Much like people, some are wild, while others are tame or predictable. Hagar lived most of her life like a cultivated flower. Her inner responses are natural and wild, however, externally she acts rationally and tamely in fear of how she would be viewed if she were to act spontaneously. An example of this is when she wants to cry in her room but she cannot for fear Doris may see her. "What a disgrace to be seen crying by the fat Doris,"(6) she says. Hagar feels normal emotions and wants to show them, but she is unable to because she is so worried about how people will view her. Crying is seen as a weakness to her and she refuses to be seen as weak.

Hagar held a high affection for lilacs, the flowers which grew at the Shipley place. These flowers were not taken care of. They "hung like bunches of mild mauve grapes from branches with leaves like dark green hearts."(29) Hagar was a lot like these flowers in many ways. She did not care about living a normal, natural life. She needed to be seen as an educated, independent woman who did not need help from anyone This caused her to be in miserable conditions, much like the flowers. She was uncomfortable with the life she was living. Years later, when Hagar returned to the Shipley place, she found all her flowers were dead. Her lilacs were "burnt yellow, and the branches snapped if you touched them.,"(169) and her marigolds, which she always took care of were "a dead loss.
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