"The Stone Angel" by Margaret Laurence's

Essay by Khilan Patel October 1996

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In Margaret Laurence's The Stone Angel, the main character Hagar Shipley refused to compromise which shaped the outcome of her life as well as the lives of those around her. '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.' (Laurence, 292). Hagar's pride and stubbornness were the causes of her failed relationships and lack of love in her life. Her excessive pride destroyed her relationships with her father, brother and husband. It also led to the death of her son John. Her stubbornness caused her marriage to dissolve, Marvin to be unhappy, her daughter-in-law's frustration, and her own death.

Hagar's overwhelming pride was the reason she could not show love nor affection to those around her. She inherited her pride from her father and from an early age she always refused to show emotion because she was too proud to let anyone see her weaknesses.

Her father made aware that she had 'backbone' (p.10) and that 'she took after him' (p.10). The first sigh of Hagar's excessive pride was shown when her father scolded her for telling a customer that there were bugs in the barrel of raisins. She refused to cry before and after the punishment: 'I wouldn't let him see me cry, I was so enraged' (p.9). She continued to build a wall around herself to hide her emotions. Her pride interfered with many relationships in her life. When her brother Dan was dying, her other brother Matt asked her to put on her mother's shawl and pretend to be her to comfort Dan. Hagar refused: '...however much a part of me wanted to sympathise. To play at being...