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"Gainsay Who Dare" Hagar's Lack Of Emotional Growth In Margaret Lawrence's "The Stone Angel"

1121 words - 4 pages

Hagar, the protagonist of Margaret Lawrence's The Stone Angel, has the emotional maturity of a child. Throughout the novel, Hagar is portrayed as someone who never fully developed emotionally. Her impulsive actions and inability to make connections with others are the causes of her immaturity. Hagar's past allowed her to build an emotional mask, which prevents others from getting close to her. Hagar uses these techniques as defence mechanisms to protect her inner child from being shown. Hagar uses her tough exterior to hide the characteristics of the weak child inside.Hagar's impulsive actions demonstrate her lack of emotional growth. Hagar's impulsivity is revealed through her relationships with other people. This is best shown in an argument with her father, regarding her marrying Bram Shipley. Jason Currie states, "There's not a decent girl in this town, who would we without her father's consent. It's not done." Hagar responds by saying, "It'll be done by me." 'I said, drunk with the exhilaration at my daring.'(42) This shows that Hagar's motive for marrying Bram is out of spite towards her father. Hagar liked the rush she got from disobeying him. Hagar exhibits her impulsivity when she leaves Bram. After Bram had an incident that involved the RCMP, Hagar becomes so ashamed by him, that she feels that she must leave. This displays Hagar's sudden decisions because she doesn't wait to see what happens. When things get rough, Hagar's impulse is to run away. She displays this impulse when she ran away from Marvin and Doris. Hagar immediately focuses on the negatives which lead her to rash decisions. This is shown when she meets Murphy F. Lees. Hagar states, "You've come for me, have you? Well I'll not go. Marvin didn't tell you what he plans to go with me. I'll bet. Oh no, they'd not tell a soul about that. Those places have nothing to do with nursing or homes - the name's all wrong. Once they get you in, you're there to stay. They don't consult you. I won't be lugged around like a sack of potatoes," (197) Hagar automatically assumes the nursing home will abuse her. Like a child, Hagar sulks and does not listen to reason when presented with situations she does not like. Hagar's stunted emotions are products of her spontaneous decisions.Hagar's inability to make connections with other makes her emotionally young. Hagar was brought up in a strict family. Her father wouldn't allow her to socialize with all types of people. Hagar remembers, "When we were in our teens, Father used to let us have parties sometimes. He went over the list of intended guests and crossed off those he thought unsuitable. "(18) Hagar couldn't associate herself with who ever she wanted. This created forced connections with other people. Since Hagar's father monitored who she could be friend with, Hagar could never learn to develop relationships naturally. Hagar also demonstrates inability to make connections through her sons. Throughout the novel Hagar reflects on her...

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