What is the significance of the title of The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The significance of the title of The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence depends on the recollection by the protagonist Hagar of seeing a large marble angel in the churchyard in her hometown of Manawaka. The angel is important in many ways. First, it is an emblem of Hagar herself, who is proud and impassive; Laurence emphasizes the parallelism when she makes Hagar think:

“Is it a mausoleum, and I, the Egyptian, mummified with pillows and my own flesh, through some oversight embalmed alive? There must be some mistake.”

Next, an angel is a messenger. As the stone angel is located in a cemetery, the message it bears is about death; given Hagar's age and failing health, she is both recipient of the message and also, to readers of the novel, herself a messenger, telling us the readers something about the nature of old age and death.

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