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Character Analysis of Hagar Shipley - The Stone Angel

            In Margaret Lawrence's novel, "The Stone Angel", Hagar Shipley is the main character. The reader quickly realizes all of Hagar's faults from reading the first few chapters, but is incapable of knowing how a little old lady could become so cold and heartless. While travelling back and forth through past and present, the reader is slowly able to understand why Hagar does and says the things she does. No matter how arrogant, rude, or sarcastic Hagar seems to be, the reader cannot help but like her character. Throughout the novel Hagar displays negative qualities which deprive her of her joy and a sense of dignity within her life.
             As a result of her father's overwhelming influence, Hagar develops a pride in which shuns weakness of any form. This obsession with vanity began at a young age when Hagar was still living with her father and two brothers. Hagar's father, Jason Currie, was an extremely strong willed man. He believed that the expression of any emotion was a form of imperfection and defeat, and that a strict and disciplined life ensured a good and successful one. Since Hagar admired her father so much, and desperately wanted his approval, she adopted this personality trait. But Hagar took this characteristic to the extreme, so much so, that it made her unapproachable and arrogant.
             Hagar reveals this quality when her father slapped her on the hand with a ruler when she was a child. "I wouldn't let him see me cry, I was so enraged" (Lawrence, 9). Although she was in pain, Hagar fought her natural reaction, which was to cry, in order to prove to her father that she is not afraid of being punished by him. She also mentions how enraged she was. Hagar often let the more threatening emotions, such as anger, overrule her other feelings. Perhaps this was a defence mechanism she used because, for Hagar, it was better to get angry than to be hurt and upset. Another situation where Hagar shows off her pride is when she was comparing her brother, Dan, to their mother.

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