The Stone Angel is a story of pitiful life, full of disappointments and missed opportunities. The protagonist of the novel, Hagar, had everything a woman needs to be happy – loving husband, home, and children, but she did everything for not to let herself lead a full and happy life with her family. The Stone Angel is in fact a tragedy, a story about the human’s stupidity, and tragic consequences that ruined gradually the life of the young and strong women.
Tragedy is a genre of literature, when the life of the heroes of the story is ruined by the tragic concourse of circumstances, the succession of events, or by his/her own fallacious actions. In case this definition is used, The Stone Angel can be considered a tragedy. Most tragic events that take place in Hagar’s life are the results of her own actions. Moreover, besides from ruining her own life, she also ruins the lives of those, who surround her – her husband and her children. She ruins the life of John her son, and Arlene, the woman he loves, by doing everything to prevent their marriage, and, in fact, she is the one, who is guilty in their death.
The main problem Hagar has is that she cannot forgive. The protagonist has her own opinion of everything that is happening around her, and she behaves according to her findings. The problem is that Hagar isn’t able to change her behavior with the changing circumstances. Despite of the year that Hagar spends without Bram, the father of her children she cannot forgive him even on his deathbed. It seems that Hagar doesn’t feel pity for people, who suffer around her, especially if they hurt her somehow in the past. All the wounds and offences are fresh to her, and she cannot forgive her offenders and display some other feelings except for anger towards them even after many years.
In addition, Hagar is a very egoistic person. In fact, she doesn’t care about anyone except herself much. In the beginning of her lifepath Hagar marries the man she wants to marry, despite of her father’s opinion about this wedlock. Than she does her best to break the relationship between John, her son, and Arlene, just because she doesn’t like the girl and her family, and she thinks that the marriage between John and Arlene won’t be the successful one.
When Hagar’s son refuses to listen to her advice, the protagonist decides she will prevent this marriage at any price. Finally she arranges that Arlene has to leave for quite a long period, but her son dies in a traffic accident with his lover.
In the second half of the book, despite of the age, Hagar is still thinking about herself only. When her son, Marvin, ad Doris, his wife decide to put her in a nursing home, Hagar just runs away, not caring about the feelings of her relatives. Hagar doesn’t want to go to the nursing home, and she wants to stay home despite of all the inconveniences she causes to her son and his wife.
Hagar is really a “holy terror”, a person, who ruins the life of people who are around her, but in the same time, she arouses pity. Through all the text of the novel it is seen that the protagonist has never had normal, loving relationship. Hagar either doesn’t love anyone, or is so good at hiding her feelings that nobody suspects about their existence. She hurts her father, her husband, and her sons when they act in a way she doesn’t like, and she continues to punish them for those actions even years afterwards.
The protagonist of The Stone Angel is unhappy, and she makes her loved ones unhappy too. And, what is even worse, she doesn’t notice it for almost all of her life.
Hagar is so centered on her own feelings, thoughts, and opinions, that the emotions other people have doesn’t bother her at all. And, when someone tries to convince her that troubles result from her actions Hagar doesn’t believe it.
Hagar is so centered on the outer aspects of personality, on the opinion the society has of her and her family, that she forgets about the feelings her relatives has. She forgets that besides of the outer manifestations there are emotions inside every live human being.
Another thing that arouses pity in this character is the fact that it seems to her there is no one near her with whom she can share her feelings and thoughts. It sees to her that her family doesn’t understand her. For Hagar her husband is too plain, thus she doesn’t believe he can understand and share at least some of her longings and cravings. After marrying a man of her dreams Hagar eventually finds out that her father was somehow right about him, and that he is no the suitable partner for her.
In the same time her behavior towards her children isn’t much different from that of her father towards her and her brothers. She is scornful of their ambitions and longings, and she is strict with her sons. It seems that the protagonist believes that it’s harmful to exhibit love towards children. Moreover it is seen in the novel, that Hagar actually isn’t able to display the tender feeling she has.
The misstep that leads Hagar to ruin is her marriage with Bram, the man her father disapproves of. After she had married him, her father refused to see her. Hagar was deprived of love of her only parent, the person, whose opinion was the most important for her, and whose love she needed so desperately. The protagonist had been copying the behaviors of her father during all of her life, repeating all of his mistakes, and making her surroundings feel even worth than she did.
Hagar is the person to be pitied, as she is unable of displaying the feeling towards the ones she loves, and she makes them unhappy. The protagonist doesn’t care about the ones, who are near her, thus her life is empty. The Stone Angel was indeed a tragedy, a story of a woman who ruined her life, and the lives of people she loved.