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Margaret Laurence's "The Stone Angel". Essay

1185 words - 5 pages

In Margaret Laurence's The Stone Angel the main character Hagar Shipley refuses to compromise which ultimately shapes the outcome of her life as well as those around her. As an older woman faced with death, Hagar comments that, "pride was my wilderness and the demon that led me there was fear... [I was] never free, for I carried my chains within me, and they spread out from me and shackled all I touched."(292) Hagar's stubbornness and pride are the cause for the lack of love in relationships in her life. Hagar's excessive pride destroys relationships with her father, Jason Currie, her child Marvin and her husband Bram.Hagar's relationship with her fathers is the first and key alliance in her life. This relationship is the first monumental step that turns her into an unyielding "stone". As a child Hagar takes pride in her father's ability to have a successful life by becoming "a self made man [who] had pulled himself up by his bootstraps."(7) And rising above his initial state of poverty, from growing from nothing into something. Jason's strong-willed personality and unwillingness to show any form of weakness through emotions becomes a cornerstone of Hagar's own pride and lack of emotions. Hagar's first display of pride is when she is too proud to cry in front of her father when he hits her in punishment for lying. Hagar says later to herself, "I perceive the tears...I fell they are like the incontinent wetness of the infirm. They are no tears of mine. I dismiss them, blaspheme against them - let them be gone."(31) Hagar gains the resolve to put forth the image of strength at all times and she begins to hide her vulnerability with her pride. Hagar wishes to please Jason but her prideful and stubborn personality is the very thing that destroys her relationship. Hagar also demonstrates her prideful manner and the need to rebel and prove herself when she marries Bram after her father said, "There's not a decent girl in this town that would wed without her family's consent...It's not done."(49) This act of rebellion of the need to marry the one man that Jason Currie least approves of demonstrates her need of independence and stubbornness. Jason's insistence on the disproval of the marriage only pushes Hagar's belief in marrying Bram more. When Hagar finally does leave with Bram, the relationship between father and daughter effectively ends, and neither side tries to contact the other because both have too much pride to admit they were wrong. After Jason Curries' death, Hagar still has too much pride to weep and being, "too angry with Father either to mourn his death or want the stuff from his house."(63) Hagar's inability to mourn for her father because of past conflicts, demonstrates Hagar's prideful and stubborn ways that cause her separation from her father, even past the grave.Hagar also loses her child to her pride and selfishness. When Marvin is first born Hagar feels, "as though Marvin weren't my son."(62) Hagar disfavours her because he looks...

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