Hagar is a ninety-year-old woman who embarks on a journey of self-discovery through the final days of her life. Hagar's experiences trigger vivid recollections of her past. As she recollects and takes stock of the life that she has led it is revealed that she does not feel compassion, humility, and love. Constantly providing an honest insight into Hagar and the people that surround her. Her struggles for independence are interspliced with her hatred of weakness, poor self-awareness, and inability to love. Hagar Shipley is the metaphorical stone angel of the novel. As a result of the 3rd person narration we are able to draw from the story a revelation of self- knowledge. Accompanied by the triumph over old age and emotional blindness, only to be granted "sight" on the eve of her death.
Hagar finds herself emotionally bound due to her inordinate self-esteem, arrogance, and personal dignity; pride. Hagar's pride exists as a symptom of her fear of being humiliated. When her brother Dan was delirious and dying, Matt begged her to put on their mothers shawl to relieve Dan to some degree. Hagar found herself "crying, shaken by torments he never even expected"(25). She is too proud to play her mother and unable to accept the role even in such a distressful situation.
But all I could think of was that meek women I"d never .
seen, then women Dan was said to resemble so much and .
from whom he"d inherited a frailty I could not help but detest," .
(The Stone Angel, 25).
Hagar is "unable to do it, unable to bend enough"(25). She cannot bend her image or lower herself to be her mother for fear of being associated with her weakness and frailty. Her fear of being humiliated leads her to isolate herself. Hagar's pride takes a blow when she reads the advertisement for Silverthreads nursing home and realizes what her son and daughter in law have been planning for her. In actuality Doris and Marvin are unable to take care of her.