The Stone Angel


Margaret Laurence

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Themes and Colors
Memory and the Past Theme Icon
Choices and Identity Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Resentment Theme Icon
Womanhood Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Stone Angel, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Memory and the Past

Margaret Laurence’s The Stone Angel is narrated by Hagar Shipley, an elderly woman looking back on her life as a way of escaping, or perhaps understanding, her dire present-day circumstances: she lives uneasily with her son Marvin and his wife Doris, whose care she requires but continually shirks even as she battles senility and a debilitating gastrointestinal condition. As Hagar looks back on her youth, her contentious marriage, and her difficult relationships with…

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Choices and Identity

Throughout The Stone Angel, as Hagar Shipley reflects on her past and struggles against an unhappy, embarrassing, and undignified present, she attempts to figure out how she has arrived at the moment she’s in: elderly, antagonistic, willful, and yet weak in mind and body and entirely dependent on the care of her least favorite son Marvin and his bumbling wife Doris. As Hagar looks back on the choices she’s made, Margaret Laurence shows how…

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Family, Love, and Resentment

At the heart of The Stone Angel is a story about the ways in which families sometimes foster feelings of pain, anger, confusion, and resentment rather than feelings of love and comfort. As Hagar Shipley remembers her own fractured family, and the new one she attempted to build with her husband Brampton Shipley, she is forced to confront the ways in which resentment—not love—has calibrated her relationships with her brothers, her father, her…

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The complicated duties and burdens of womanhood are laid bare over the course of The Stone Angel as the elderly Hagar Shipley reflects on her life. Hagar’s story encompasses her childhood, her coming-of-age, her uneasy début into womanhood, and her steady decline in health and spirit over the years. In Margaret Laurence’s careful hands, Hagar’s story becomes an indictment both of the societal and economic forces that devalue and oppress women as well as the…

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