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An Unacceptable Demise

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The Unacceptable Demise In order to die in peace, one must accept the inevitability of death. Often when death becomes a reality, regret begins to consume the person. In the novel The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence, Hagar never seems to be able to grasp an acceptance of death. Hagar is constantly characterized as being a stubborn person, which results in her continually fighting her fate and persistently disregard the fact that she is going to die. Also, throughout many distinct settings in the novel, Hagar tends to deny death which is reflected through the different settings in the novel. Finally, due to the fact that Hagar has had so many missed opportunities throughout her life, she ends up being overwhelmed with the feeling of regret which is demonstrated through the narration of the novel. Hagar is a very complex and stubborn character, and as a result she is never able to accept her death. Hagar is portrayed as being a very obstinate individual who can never grasp the fact that she will eventually die. Throughout the novel, there are many occasions where we see Hagar trying to change the outcome of her own fate. We first see this when Hagar is brought to Silver Threads. Hagar being the stubborn woman that she is says “’you’ll not see me here,” I blurt. “Oh—I don’t mean to be rude. But you’ll not see me coming here to stay’” (Laurence 104). Hagar says this when she is consulting with Mrs. Steiner, and even though she enjoys speaking with her, Hagar’s fear of staying in the nursing home completely overturns the pleasure of the situation. Also, the thought of being left in a nursing home to die irritates her because she is not choosing the way she wants to spend her remaining years. The next time we see Hagar try to change her destiny is when she leaves town and goes to Shadow Point. This is a prime example of her trying to run away from her fate. She defends her decision by saying “the only escape from those places is feet first in a wooden box” (Laurence 185). Hagar knows that once she is in the nursing home, she will never be able to get back out. Hagar see’s Silver Threads as being her death bed, and due to her relentless personality, she thinks that the only way to avoid her death is by weaseling her way out of living at Silver Threads. Lastly, while Hagar is close to her death, she still tries to avoid and deny the fact that she is going to die. While in the hospital, she asks one of the nurses “I’ll be out here soon, wont I? I’m ever so much better. I’ll be home soon?” (Laurence 269). Hagar is not only trying to deny her fate here, but she is in such denial that she believes she’s well enough to go home. She does not comprehend that her illness is going to leave her dead in the hospital. From these examples in the novel, we see that Hagar is in such denial that she cannot grasp the inevitability of her death. As Hagar gets older, she shows a constant fear of death demonstrated through various settings in the novel. Hagar first demonstrates her fear of death when she is taken to the nursing home. At first she does not know she is going, but when she realizes, she is flabbergasted and says “I fear this place exceedingly. I cannot even look. I don’t dare. Has it walls and windows, doors and closets, like a dwelling? Or only walls? Is it a mausoleum?” (Laurence 96). Hagar shows an exceptional amount of fear when it comes to the nursing home, to the point that she compares it to a mausoleum. Her fear of Silver Threads is a direct result of her fear of death. She also shows a fear towards death when she is at the hospital. This is portrayed when she is in the room awaiting her x-ray when she says “what sort of dungeon is this, and what is happening? They’ve put me on the table, as before, but now the lights are out and I’m falling, falling through darkness as on does only in dreams” (Laurence 109). Considering she is on a table with the lights off, she envisions that she is in a something that resembles a mausoleum. Shortly after this incident, she envisions that she is in “another sort of darkness… a darkness absolute, not the color black which can be seen, but a total absence of light. That’s hell all right” (Laurence 110). Here Hagar proclaims that the hospital she is in can be compared to hell. This is also an example of how Hagar is not only afraid of death, but afraid of going to hell. Her experience in darkness frightens her and also reminds her of the possibility of hell, which evidently is the reason she does not want to die. From these various settings throughout the novel, we see Hagar’s fear of death clearly, and realize that her death is evident. Hagar’s life is filled with many missed opportunities that eventually turn into regret, resulting in her struggle to accept death. Many of these regrets are demonstrated throughout the narration of the novel. The first occurrence we see Hagar faced with regret is when she is looking up at the clouds and reminiscing upon a game she used to play when she was a young girl. She goes on to say “how I shall hate to go away for good” (Laurence 120). Here Hagar shows a disappointed attitude towards death while reflecting back upon her childhood. The regret that she has collected throughout the years including her childhood has played a substantial role in her feeling towards death. Hagar’s visit to Shadow Point is where she also demonstrates her feeling of regret throughout her life. When Hagar is settled in at Shadow Point, she goes on to say “I can’t change what’s happened to me in my life, or make what’s not occurred take place. But I can’t say I like it or accept it, or believe it’s for the best” (Laurence 160). We see that Hagar is not pleased with what her life has come to and dwells upon how she cannot do anything about it now. Lastly, while Hagar is still in Shadow Point, she has an encounter with a little girl and boy. As she is watching the two, she goes on the say “I long to warn her—watch out, watch out, you’ll lose him” (Laurence 188). Hagar sees that the little girl is making the same mistake as she did when she was in a relationship with Bram. She feels obligated to say something because she does not want the girl to regret her decisions later on in life. Due to the fact that Hagar cannot accept what she has done in the past, she never can accept what is going to happen in the future, which in this case is death. Hagar looks back upon her life trying to find a meaning to all of her regretful mistakes, but as a result, she still cannot grasp an acceptance of death. In the novel The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence, Hagar is never able to grasp an acceptance of death. Hagar is characterized as being a reluctant individual, who continually fights her fate and persistently discards the fact that she is going to die. Demonstrated through various settings, Hagar shows a strong fear of death and persists on denying her fate. Lastly, Hagar reveals her many regrets throughout her life, and is shown through the narration of the author. Death is the one thing many people still do not know much about. Without death, people would not have to always live their lives to their full potential. Death is the one thing in this world that is evident, and the sooner everyone learns to grasp the fact, the better off everyone will be.

Work Cited
Laurence, Margaret. The Stone Angel. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Ltd, 1968. Print.…...

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