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Symbloism in the Stone Angel

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Symbloism in the Stone Angel

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  • October 8, 1999
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Margaret Laurence’s novel, The Stone Angel is a compelling journey of flashbacks seen through the eyes of Hagar Shipley, a 90 year old woman nearing the end of her life. In the novel, Margaret Laurence, uses the stone angel to effectively symbolize fictional characters. The term symbolism in its broadest sense means the use of an object to stand for something other than itself. In The Stone Angel, Margaret Laurence uses the stone angel to sybmolize the Currie family values and pride and in particular, the pride and cold personality traits of Hagar Shipley. There are three primary areas where the stone angel is used to symbolize characters in the novel. They are: the Currie family pride as a symbol of egoism and materialism, Hagar’s lack of compassion for her family and friends as symbolized by a heart of stone, and Hagar’s blindness to the feelings and needs of the others as symbolized by the blindness of the angel. The stone angel is symbolic of the Currie family pride and values. The stone angel memorial is purchased and brought from Italy by Jason Currie at great expense and placed at the grave site of his wife, in the Manawaka cemetery. The stone angel is the largest and most expensive memorial in the cemetery. Although the stone angel is intended to be a memorial for Mrs. Currie, it was not really suitable because Hagar describes her as being meek and a feeble ghost. The angel is not intended for Mrs. Currie, but in fact, represents the materialistic and egotistical values that characterizes Jason and later, Hagar. Jason purchases the stone angel in pride and not in grief over the death of this wife: "bought in pride to mark her bones and proclaim his dynasty, as he fancied, forever and a day." (Laurence 3) Jason’s strong ego is emplasized when, at this death, he leaves money to the town for a memorial park that would continue his family name. 2

The angel is symbolic of Hagar’s pride. Hagar seems to be madeof...