The Character of Hager Shipley in "The Stone Angel"

Essay by blue_devil April 2006

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

Downloaded 39 times

In Margaret Laurence's novel, "The Stone Angel", Hagar Shipley is the main character. Born the daughter of Jason Currie, she is one who possesses incredible depth in character. Mingling past and present, we observe the very qualities, which sustained her and deprived her of joy such as her lack of emotional expression. As well, inheriting her father's harsh qualities, she exhibited pride that detested weakness in any form. Despite of her negative attributes she also displayed a positive mannerism through courage. Thus, Hagar is a cold, but strong willed woman. Such qualities give us a portrait of a remarkable character. Hagar's most noticeable characteristic was her lack of feeling and emotion. Indeed there where many situations where she could not physically express what she felt in her heart. She did not cry at the death of her son John. That night she was "transformed to stone and never wept at all (Laurence 243)".

During Marvin's childhood, she would impatiently dismiss him due to his slowness of speech. Once when an ecstatic Marvin told Hagar that he finished his chores, Hagar bluntly sends him away saying, "I can see you've finished. I've got eyes. Get along now ¼ (Laurence 112)". Even as a child she was lacked emotion when she could not provide comfort to her dying brother, Daniel. Daniel needed the comfort of his mother, but for Hagar, "to play at being her - it was beyond me (Laurence 25)." Indeed, Hagar's deficiency in feeling or expressing emotion was a visible characteristic throughout the novel.

As a result of her upbringing, Hagar possesses pride that despises weakness in any form. As a young girl she displayed this trait when her dad slapped her hand, "I wouldn't let him see me cry, I was so enraged (Laurence 9)."...