Marion Praise Stone

Marion is the narrator of Cutting for Stone, and his voice carries the reader from well before his conception and birth through his life and trials. Although Marion is a lively, talkative child, he cannot seem to capture the attention of others around him the way his brother, Shiva, can. The harder working of the two brothers, Marion excels at school and work, but he does not have the genius of his younger twin. Marion attempts to live his life in a loyal, honest fashion; as a result, he is deeply troubled when his actions lead to the death of a soldier. Marion is also hurt by the betrayals of Thomas Stone, Shiva, and Genet. But Marion must find a way to reconcile this suffering to carry on with his life. Thus, Cutting for Stone becomes a chronicle of the journey that Marion takes to find his identity and the place where he truly belongs.

Shiva Praise Stone

Marion’s twin brother, Shiva, is a quiet child who refuses to conform to social standards. In grade school, Shiva does not participate in class discussions, nor does he seek the approval of the teacher the way other students do. Shiva never completes his homework, but he demonstrates his genius on tests and in-class assignments. From an early age, Shiva is fascinated with the female reproductive system, and he accompanies Hema in her operating theatre, learning all he can about her work. When women come from distant villages to seek Hema’s help, Shiva is there to see to their needs. But when he reaches adolescence, Shiva becomes promiscuous and sees no shame in hiring many prostitutes to satisfy his curiosity. When he has sex with the love of his brother’s life, he does not understand why Marion is hurt, and he continues his private mission to help cure the ailments of women. But long after he and his brother grow apart, Shiva still understands that he is ultimately tied to Marion and thus makes the decision to sacrifice his life to save Marion’s.

Sister Mary Joseph Praise

Although she is only present for the initial part of the novel, the loving spirit of Sister Mary Joseph Praise is continually called upon during moments of crisis. A young nun from India, Sister Mary Joseph Praise boards the Calangute in the hope of fulfilling a saintly mission. She is enticed by Dr. Thomas Stone, who asks her to join him in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; however, she will...

(The entire section is 987 words.)