Analysis of the Character Hagar in Margaret Laurence's The Stone Angel

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An Analysis of the Character Hagar in Margaret Laurence's The Stone Angel

The main character in the novel The Stone Angel, by Margaret Laurence, is a character who possesses incredible depth. Hagar is an old women who has never lost her spirit and free will. Hagar is still being faced with obstacles which she must fight to overcome. Since Hagar is a character who is not perfect, the audience is capable of relating to her. The tragic hero through his struggle and the recognition of his own shortcomings reveal man's essential or potential nobility, and we are ennobled, uplifted by the spectacle.

Hagar Shipley can be considered a tragic hero because through her struggles she managed to retain her spirit and free will, which she
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She strongly believes, " ... if a person doesn't look after herself in this world, no one else is likely to",( p. 187 ) even though she was surrounded by people who were willing to help her with her problems. One of those people, the nurse, while doing her job brings Hagar her medication, making her realize it's acceptable for her to show her gratitude, " I can't bear to feel indebted. I can be as grateful as the next person, as long as it's not forced on me" ( p. 258 ).

Never losing her spirit or freewill, Hagar finds herself faced with obstacles to conquer. Overcoming her fear of self- expression, her disappointment in Marvin, and her world of appearances, Hagar finally understands what it means to be truly human. One obstacle occurred in the hospital, when Marvin asked how she was feeling. She wanted to tell him she was fine, but she said, "I'm- frightened. Marvin, I'm so frightened- ...What possessed me? I think it's the first time in my life I've ever said such a thing. Shameful. Yet somehow it is a relief to speak it " (p. 303-304). Saying this reveals that in the last days of her life she comes to terms with her true emotions. She is finally able to depend on someone other than herself. Her disappointment in Marvin is conquered when she is lying in her deathbed, "You've not been cranky, Marvin. You've been good to me, always. A better son than John " (p. 304). She finally releases Marvin from her prejudice. Hagar never realized that her whole life had

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