The Stone Angel - theme analysis
all4soccer08@hotmail.com

A common statement heard throughout this decade is “Life’s a bitch and then you die.” Hagar’s character epitomizes this philosophy. In the novel The Stone Angel we are introduced to Hagar. As the author creates her story the reader learns that Hagar is capable of deep unhappiness due to her inability to accept reality and this prevents her from embracing life. As the story unravels the theme is bluntly stated that if we don’t like our lives as we have created them, then we should make adjustments before it is too late or suffer the consequences of a miserable life alone.

In the opening paragraph Hagar is discussing the stone angel on her mother’s grave, she states, “I wonder if she stands there yet, in memory of her who relinquished her feeble ghost as I gained my stubborn one…”. Hagar’s stubborn personality is the stem of most of her anger and crimes. One of Hagar’s first crimes was when her brother Daniel was dying. Hagar was unable to grant him the comfort that Matt could. Hagar would not put on her mother’s shawl because she felt that she was not like her mother at all. This shows a further development of the theme because deep down she wants to help but she can’t bring herself to it. Hagar feels anger at her mother for Daniel’s illness, “But all I could think of was that meek woman I’d never seen, the woman Dan was said to resemble so much and from whom he’d inherited a frailty I could not help but detest, however much a part of me wanted to sympathize. To play at being her – it was beyond me.” This is just one of the many times in her life where she is stubborn and unable to show compassion.

However, there is the odd time where Hagar tries to change, to show kindness and love, but still she cannot completely break through the stone that surrounds her heart. She continues to sabotage her life and her sorrow and loneliness prevails. “I would have wished it. This knowing comes upon me so forcefully, so shatteringly, and with such a bitterness as I have never felt before. I must always, always, have wanted that – simply to rejoice.” In this quote we see that Hagar has acknowledged her own resentment and she realizes that she could never express joy for she was too proud to show emotion. Another example of this is where she admits that she is in pain and scared of what is going to happen. “I’m-frightened. Marvin, I’m so frightened-”. And as a result of finally showing feeling without any forethought she immediately feels ashamed.

In conclusion, Hagar believes she can manage on her own emotionally but she is blind to see that she cannot. Hagar’s shortcoming is that she only sees things from her own point of view and is blind to see the needs and aspirations of others. She can only see things from her side of the fence and cannot see how others view the world. Therefore, while Hagar was always worried about showing her emotions, she damaged her life rather than enjoying it and all the good times.