The Stone Angel tells a story of an old woman who grows up tough and is filled with pride. She goes through life being an unhappy individual. The protagonist is uncompromising especially with what she believes and comes off as a deeply single-minded character. She suffers a painful tragedy which brings her closer to her human emotions, and at the end of the story she encounters redemption.
Hagar Shipley is the protagonist in the story. Her mother died when she was young and she was raised by her tough, self-made father. Her character and personality were mostly shaped by her father but she ended up defying him by marrying Bram, a man her father considered a lowlife. She did this because of pride and as an act of rebellion toward her father, ending their relationship. She despised her husband and confronted him most of the time, especially with regard to his mannerisms. Their marriage was not a happy one but they had two sons, John and Marvin. Hagar loved John more and to some extent shunned Marvin. She later took off due to her uncompromising nature and left Bram a lonely man who later died. Her favorite son John also died in a freak accident. Hagar grows old and is taken care of by Marvin and his wife, who she verbally abused until she was taken to a nursing home. She is not comfortable there and visits an old cannery for soul searching. It is during her meditation that she comes to terms with John’s death and for the first time she understands her failures in life. She makes changes in her approach and even at some point helps another in the hospital.
In summary, Hagar changes from being a proud, uncompromising woman to a caring woman who eventually attempts to make amends with her past.