Books and Movies Reviews

The Stone Angel

In the novel, The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence, it becomes quite evident that Hagar Shipley's inability to communicate is the source of the problems encountered in her life. It is this vicious quality that further enhances the inaccuracy of perception provided by Hagar. We will look at failed relationships of Hagar's past regarding her brothers, her father Jason Currie, her husband Bram, and Hagar's encounter with her realization of the truth.
Even when Hagar was a young girl, her inability to communicate was easily recognizable. She was even then incapable of showing affection to others. In her young teens, Hagar was confronted with a situation she wasn't able to cope with emotionally. Dan Shipley, her older brother by four years, was dying and craved the comfort of their deceased mother. Matt, her eldest brother, begged and pleaded Hagar to put on their mother's shawl and hold Dan while he died. At the mention of this proposal, Hagar stiffened and and drew away her hands. Hagar is unable to do what is demanded of her:
" …all I could think of was that meek woman I'd never seen, that woman that Dan was said to resemble so much and from whom he'd inherited a frailty I could not help but detest, however much a part of me wanted to sympathize. To play at being her – it is beyond me.
"I can't Matt." I was crying, shaken by torments he never even suspected, wanting above all else to do the thing he asked, but unable to bend enough "
(page 25)
Although Hagar believes she is successfully avoiding exposure of weakness on her part by holding back her emotions, she is only showing her weakness as a person, through lack of compassion for her dying brother. This experience with her brother Matt caused many disturbances in their future relationship,…


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