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Water can symbolize many things throughout the novel. Whether it is in Manawaka, the Pacific Coast or Shadow point, what is constantly recognized in the number of times water is used. If one were to closely examine these situations, they would soon discover it s symbolic importance. In the novel The Stone Angel,

water is presented in the many fluctuations, in Hagar s life. Hagar goes through many stages in her life, where water is represented but without it being physically present. Without the imagery of water, the story would be less effective and meaningful for the reader.

When Hagar reaches Shadow Point, hungry and confused, she eats some food from her paper bag. She feels restored but is very thirsty because she forgot to bring water with her. There s no water-none. How has it happened? I d give almost anything right now for a cup o tea. (153, The Stone Angel) Hagar is mad at herself for not remembering to bring water with her. This shows how important water is for Hagar s well being. When she wakes up the next day, she is wandering around and finds A rusty and dinted bucket beside a shed has gathered the rain water for (186, The Stone Angel) Hagar. This symbolizes a sign of hope and life since it is a known fact that man cannot live more than three days without water. At this point Hagar is feeling good about herself for being able to survive this long.

When Hagar first gets to Shadow Point, she is desperate for water. Hagar can t drink seawater , because it meant to be poisonous. (186, The Stone Angel) This shows that water is sort of a paradox. It is meant to do well but it can also do harm. When one reaches a point where they must have water but all that is available, is salt water, where it can do harm if one tries to drink it. It can also demoralize their hope. The novel states, It was at dusk, all shapes and colors having turned grey and indefinite, that my brother Daniel, skating backward to show off for the girls, fell in. (23, The Stone Angel) Hagar doesn t really tell the pain she felt for losing her brother because she wasn t really one to express her emotions. This is one of the lower points in Hagar s life that shows how water can kill.

After Hagar is found by Marvin and Doris, she is taken to the Hospital. Here she complains plenty about the conditions. When staying around Mrs. Jardine, Eva says, Mercy, does my hair ever need a good wash. (266, The Stone Angel) This just goes to show how little they wash at the hospital. When one in cleaned with water, they feel cleaner because they know that they smell and look fresher. Hagar goes on to say, A person can t give their hair a wash without permission. (270, The Stone Angel) This is just like saying a person can t look clean without permission in a hospital. This is depriving people of their need for cleanliness. Hagar needs to be clean in her own eyes because she is so concerned about what others think of her.

In Hagar s first night at Shadow Point, a light rain suddenly awakens her. The novel says,

Rain. I waken groggily in the darkness, and for a moment I wonder if Doris has been in yet to close my window. Then fumbling my way out of sleep, I realize where I am .. A mild rain, fortunately, not like the thunderstorms we used to get on the prairies, when the lighting would rend the sky like an angry claw at the cloak of God. (161, The Stone Angel)

This represents spiritual baptism for Hagar because she has come to Shadow Point to get rid of all her troubles. It is just like she is being cleaned of all the sin she has committed. At this stage in her life, she feels stronger because the weight of her sin has been lifted off her shoulders. When Hagar is rescued by Murray Lees, it seems that she was taken off to heaven when she is taken to the hospital.

Marvin and Doris are forcing Hagar to go to Silverthreads, so she decides to run off to Shadow Point where there is peace. The sea of water their, represent peace because Shadow Point is a very quiet and private place. When Hagar is in the hospital, the nurse gives her a few pills and says, Here have some water. (256, The Stone Angel) Water is used as an aid all the time, to help digest certain things. In this case Hagar is taking a two-ninety-two and a sleeping pill. Water just makes it taste better and it is easier to swallow. At the end of the novel, Hagar drinks a glass of water right before she dies. I wrest from her the glass, full of water to be had for the taking. I hold it in my own hands. There. (308, The Stone Angel) This symbolizes that Hagar was dying in peace.

All over the novel, one will find that water plays a significant role in the development of the storyline. Margaret Laurence uses water to show different states that Hagar is going through. She uses water, to symbolize the roller coaster ride that Hagar is on throughout the novel, The Stone Angel. Because water is used as a paradox, Hagar goes through bad situations, when her brother is killed and good situations, when she is symbolically baptized. Without water being used, the novel would be less educational for the reader.


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