"The Stone Angel," by Margaret Laurence, is a novel written through the eyes of Hagar, the ninety year old protagonist who battles with a constant fear of being forgotten in her remaining years of life. The struggles that Hagar has provides an insightful first-person narrative of the what and how it might feel like to grow old. Hagar's first-born son Marvin, almost solely dedicates himself to being responsible of taking care of his mother in her time of need. However, Hagar's impressive age comes with health complications and mental deterioration, resulting in her becoming increasingly dependent, which greatly affects her immediate family and their standard of life. With great care, Laurence accurately portrays the physical, mental and social complications within the family as the individuals try to hold to their responsibilities in caring for their elders. Over time, Hagar's grandchildren, Steven and Christina, transition from a state of happiness, to tolerance, and finally indifference towards their duties in caring for their grandmother. Steven and Christina's actions (or lack of) are critical to the novel in illuminating the human condition, in particularly the challenges of a grandparent maintaining a relationship with their grandchildren as they mature into adults. .
As children grow up, they become less reliant on parents or grandparents, and their seek for independency that often conflict with their responsibility to their elders. Tina, (short for Christina,) was often on Hagar's mind and memory, as her fondness to her granddaughter often intermingled with her dependency of her. At the beginning of the novel, Doris notes that she and Marvin "have not been out this entire month since Tina left" "(53), which hints towards Tina's role as a caretaker to her grandmother when her parents wanted free time to themselves. Tina's older age of twenty-seven, combined with her new job far away from Doris, may suggest that Tina intentionally left to find freedom from the burden of her grandmother.