What is the significance of the title The Stone Angel?  How would a person approach an essay with this question?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The title applies to many aspects of the novel, which covers the ninety years of the life of one woman, Hagar. An effective essay could focus on two or three interrelated aspects to which the title seems most closely connected.

On the literal level, the stone angel is the actual monument that marks Hagar's mother's grave. It can be viewed primarily as a sign of her father's love.

Because it is a cemetery marker, it also functions as a sign of death. At various points in her life, Hagar suffers numerous losses of loved ones. At the end, she herself dies. Which of the others' deaths affects her the most? How does her attitude toward death change as she feels it grow near?

The material of stone is also significant. What aspects of Hagar's life show her or other characters to be cold and unyielding? Was she trying to hide her feelings toward them, especially those who died?

An essay could highlight two contrasting instances, such as her attitude toward her sons, as one of them died young. Another approach would emphasize the emotional growth (or lack of it) in the stony-hearted woman. The novel offers rich material to work with.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The Stone Angel  by Margaret Laurence is full of symbolism. The very title itself is symbolic as it is Hagar herself who is the stone angel.  Like the stone angel, she is emotionless, cold, and without feeling. Although in all fairness, the death of a child would be hard to deal with, and Hagar struggled with the death of her favorite child John. So it is not surprising after his death when she closes in on herself refusing even to allow herself the opportunity to cry. Like the stone angel too, she cannot see beyond her own limited perspective to recognize the needs and emotions of others.

Enotes has some referece links:


Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial