The Use of Symbolism in Margaret Laurence's Stone Angel Essay

The Use of Symbolism in Margaret Laurence's Stone Angel Essay

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The Use of Symbolism in Margaret Laurence's Stone Angel


The statue of the stone angel is symbolic of the Currie family pride, Hagar's inability to relate and share her emotions, and the blindness and ignorance that comes from constantly refusing to see things from another point of view other than your own.

The Stone angel is symbolic of the Currie family pride because it does not seem to serve it's purpose, which is to honour Hagar's mother who had died giving birth to her. Hagar describes Mrs. Currie to be a "meek woman" and a "feeble ghost", whereas she describes herself to be "stubborn" and "practical". The statue was bought in Italy and brought to the Manawaka cemetery "at a terrible expense . . . in pride to mark her bones and proclaim his [Mr. Currie's] dynasty, as he fancied, forever and a day" (p. 3). Mr. Currie bought the angel "in pride" rather than in grief for someone he considdered his possesion, his "dynasty". The stone angel is also a symbol of Hagar's pride as she inherrited it from her father. It was this pride that kept her from speaking up and fighting for her brother when Mr. Currie sent her away to college to become "more civilized". She knew Matt deserved to go more than her, but she never stuck up for either him or herself. In an attempt at freedom, or maybe just to spite her father, Hagar married Bram Shipley soon after she came back from school. From day one, Hagar's marriage to Bram was a complete embarrassment to her and her family: "When i'd listen to Bram spinning his cobwebs, then it would turn my stomach most of all, not what he said but that he made himself a laughingstock" (p. 114). Upon hearing about their plans to wed, Hagar's father disowns her. Bram was not a rich man by any means, he ...


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...itals rise to meet his. he never knew. I never let him know. I never spoke aloud, and i made certain the trembling was all inner . . . i prided myself on keeping my pride intact, like some maidenhood.

(p. 81)

The stone angel, in additon to being made of hard marble, is "doubley blind". Not only because it is made of stone, but because the artist neglected to add the eyeballs to his masterpiece. This is also symbolic of Hagar because she is blind when it comes to the feelings of others. It prevents her from having a friendship with Lottie. It isn't until it's too late that she realizes she has more in common with lottie than either of them had ever imagined. It also prevents her from seeing that Marvin was the son she'd been looking for, that her pride had been holding her back, and that sometimes the problems of others were of more importance than her own.

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