Laurence’s use of Lilacs to foreshadow Bad Events in The Stone Angel They often say if you want to gain something you need to lose something in return. Hagar Shipley did this by purchasing a dress that she liked if she knew that she would have to sacrifice her independence that purchase would have never happened. In the novel The Stone Angel Margaret Laurence uses the first person narrative to describe Hagar Shipley’s life the good times and the bad times. Margaret Laurence uses flower and colour imagery to symbolize the foreshadowing of disastrous events that occur in the novel. The colour lilac and the flower lilacs are portrayed through a silk dress, Which Hagar wears many times in the novel.
The lilac dress is first introduced on the day that Hagar purchases the dress. She refers to the past and reminisces on the day she bought the dress with the Doris, her daughter in law. “I wear my lilac silk because the day seems Sunday How annoyed she was with me when I bought this dress” (Laurence 29).
She mentions that her feet are hurting and how she is tired. She likes the dress mainly because it is silk material. Doris on the other hand does not think that it is real silk and not worth buying.
Inspite of what Doris thinks she buys the dress anyway. Going against her wishes is what started all the bad occurrences related to the lilac silk dress. The first occurrence in the novel is when she wears the lilac silk dress at the dinner table with Marvin and Doris. Are living with Hagar in her house and she notices something is wrong.
THE STONE ANGEL Anger and disappointment can be a source of many things. Hagar's anger and disappointment can be seen from her guilt and her criminal ways. Through Hagar's guilt she feels anger for what she did and disappointment for what could have been. In the first paragraph of the book when she is telling about the stone angel on her mother's grave she states, "I wonder if she stands there ...
“What is it I want to shout the question impatiently at the face. Instead I fold my hands, as I am meant to do over my silk lilac belly, and wait” (Laurence 35).
She later finds out that night that the problem that she was wondering about was that Doris and Marvin want to sell the house. They want to move into an apartment.
Hagar disagrees and disputes with Marvin and Doris abou selling the house that she lives in with her husband and her family for many years. Doris is constantly pushing Marvin to tell Hagar that she should let go of the house and move on with her life. Hagar is totally happy with her life and she does not think she needs a change. Later on in the novel Hagar’s health starts to get worse and Doris feels as if she needs to go to the doctor’s office to get checked out.
Everyone hates the doctor’s office so it is totally understandable that Hagar feels uncomfortable there. As people get older their bodies get weaker and they seem to get bitterer. “I’d perspire and spoil my lilac silk, but I wore it despite her” (Laurence 90).
She wore this dress on her visit to the doctor’s office despite the fact that Doris did not want her to. Again Hagar is wrong for wearing it by perspiring greatly and while she is in the doctors office she has to take off her dress and is very uncomfortable and realizes that she should not have worn the dress but she does not admit it. The trip to the doctors office is somewhere where Hagar does not want to go and is forced to.
In return she wants to get Doris mad because she makes her go to the doctors. The last occurrence concludes Hagar’s life as being an independent person. “So once again I find myself, rigged out in my lilac silk this time, conferring on the lawn with Mr. Troy” (Laurence 118).
Mr Troy is the minister of the church Doris goes to. Just before Hagar comes out to the lawn to speak with Mr.
Troy. Doris and Marvin are telling her that she needs to go to a nursing home. She does not want to feel as if she can not take care of herself. She goes outside to the lawn to ask the minister for help.
It is known that she does not want to leave her house that she lived in for many years Mr Troy suggest that she should accept that Silver threads is where she has to spend her last moments. Throughout the novel Hagar Shipley’s life is describe as good and bad. The lilac dress and Doris both relate to the negative occurrences in the novel. First it deals with her buying the dress considering the fact that Doris does not want her to buy it. It is about her freedom of choice. The second occurrence deals with a fight to keep her house and to have ability to live where she wants.
The Stone Angel is Hagar's mother's tombstone and it is in the cemetery of the town. Her father imported the statue made of marble from Italy for a hefty price. The tombstone says, "Rest in peace. From toil, surcease. Regina We ese. 1886." She died while giving birth to Hagar. Hagar stays home and remembers her past. She has a son by the name of Marvin and he doesn't like her smoking. Hagar does ...
The last occurrence leads to the loss of her freedom of choice and the loss of her freedom as a person. She is incapable to even take of herself and is forced to leave her house. The silk lilac dress foreshadows the events of from freedom of choice to not being able to take care of herself. She gained a dress but lost her capability to be independent.