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Through the character Hagar Currie Shipley from the novel “The Stone Angel” by Margaret Laurence and Edgar Gallant, we can see that life experience and religion have certain affects on people which may change as they grow older. Those impacts can be for the good or the bad. These decisions are made by the people who experience something so great that had changed their minds. When someone goes thought something that might have changed their lives then they sometimes become a different person.
Hagar Shipley is often found in contact with her past but not with her emotions. She had been thought a lot in her life and one thing was holding her back which lead her to make the decisions she did. On the other hand, Edgar Gallant, uses his emotions to share his past with his relatives and loved ones. Being this way Edgar became the person he is now. These two people are unique in their own ways but they still have certain similarities with their lives experiences.
Hagar Shipley’s life experience has an important affect on her present self since she keeps on leaving the present whenever she feels uncomfortable. In her old age, she escapes the present through daydreaming and wanders around in her past in search of a situation where she had control instead of having to deal with the present situation. For example when Hagar is given Barium by the doctor at the hospital and she is wondering what will happen next: “I’ve waited like this, for things to get better of worse, many and many a time.
I should be used to it. So many years I waited at the Shipley’s place…” We see here that Hagar does not feel comfortable in the present being given a substance she does not know. Therefore Hagar leaves the present in search of a situation she has been in previously where she knows what will happen. Hagar does not only escape from the present mentally but also physically. Even though Hagar is a very proud woman, she becomes progressively more powerless to care for herself and therefore becomes an unbearable tension on her son, Marvin and his wife, Doris.
This tension becomes even worst as she takes a trip away from home leaving them stranded, not knowing where she has disappeared: “Oh dear, you threw an awful scare into us. Why should you go and do such a thing, anyway, mother? When I came back from the store, and found you weren’t there, I nearly when out of my mind. Its been so worrying for us, and we felt so awful, having to go to the police. They looked at me in such a funny way, as though I should’ve taken better care, but how on earth was I to know you’d do a thing like that?” We see here the problems that Hagar has inflicted upon her son and his wife. We do not hear very often of an old lady of ninety two years old running away from home. Hagar needs care because she has become a child. Hagar was never a child because her father made her grow up faster then her age. So as Hagar looks into her past at her childhood she sees a grown up child, so in her old age, she became the child she never was.
Hagar’s college education was not a very important part of Hagar’s life even though it has prevented her to live the care free of a young growing women. In those days, college was not the same for girls and boys. We can see this through a quote from Jason Currie: “It’s not the same for you-there’s no women here to teach you haw to behave like a lady.” Jason was sending Hagar East to learn how to become a lady, not for work related knowledge. This is shown by Jason when Hagar come home two years later: “Do you think I sent you down East for two solid years just so you could take a one-room school?” Hagar’s father did not need her to learn to do any type of work, he had sent her there for her to be pretty and know how to behave herself like a lady to show off to the entire town to show off his daughter.
“You’re a credit to me. Everyone will be saying that by tomorrow. You’ll not work in the store. It wouldn’t do.” We here realizes that Jason has sent his daughter Hagar to college so that he could be proud of her. Hagar is also very proud as we can see when her father hits her: “I wouldn’t let him see me cry. I was so enraged.” This is pride, she has inherited from her father. Her father then realizes that she will not let him see her cry and says: “You take after me, you’ve got backbone, I’ll give you that.” From this quote, we can see that Hagar’s pride comes directly from her father. Hagar once said:” “Pride was my wilderness and the demon that led me there was fear.” She has been afraid of being unrespectable which is why she decided to go to college and was easily convinced that it was she that should go and not Matt. Afraid of needing too much and giving too much, Hagar’s pride is both unsettling and inspirational.
Edgar Gallant’s life experience and past memories have an important effect on his life and relationships with others. Edgar had a very interesting past that affects him even today. His past affects his career as a volunteer in the later years of his life as he helps out others with his knowledge. He has been asked to take part in over a dozen organizations due to his previous success in his life’s work. Not thinking he has fulfilled his dream and what he was sent here to do, he has accepted to help out in about nine different association for the public usually as a president or vice president of comities. Edgar Gallant uses his past, not to hide, but to enrich his every day’s work. Unlike Hagar, Edgar has usually worked in a team thinking that several brains are better then one, sharing information to reach a better solution that one could not come up with alone.
Edgar does not hide his emotions, he believes that hiding a certain part of them is good in the work environment because of the professional look and rational approach to have in a work environment with work partners. On the other hand, he is very open towards his family and shares everything with them. He has shared hi time between work and family always leaving enough time to carry on his duties as a responsible father. Sharing his feeling with his wife and children, he was able to create a feeling of trust and educate his children in the way he thought was best.
Edgar found that sharing some degree of emotion show as well as the rational view of things was the best approach in family situation. It is good to show emotion to a certain degree. One does not want to overwhelm, but share his problems with his family. “I have always consciously made an effort not to let emotion dominate reason.” This shows that he shares his emotions with others but does not let them take over by keeping a rational look on things. Edgar was never really proud in the same way as Hagar. He was often given position he though were above his expertise, but decided that since others had that trust in him, that he would not deceive them so he went on to do what was expected of him, never letting anyone down.
Hagar’s take on religion has changed throughout her life. In her younger age, Hagar was very religious and went to church with her father. Then she found out that her father was having an affair with Lotions mother and since then she started being less religious. After John’s death Hagar stopped being completely religious. She prayed for him to live, but to no avail as she explained to Mr. Troy. She feels that praying is useless because god will not respond to her in the end. Edgar’s take on religion has also changed with age. When he was a boy, his family was very religious. At the age of 13, he was sent to a boarding school which had a priests where all his companions and teacher were extremely religious. As soon as he left the boarding school, he then realized that he did not agree with some of the religious concepts he was taught.
From then on he decided to take a different look on religion. As he got old he leaned more about the world and that added to his concepts to religion which was also a reason why it changed. Just like Hagar, Edgar does not currently practice a certain religion but has beliefs of his own inspired from the Catholic Church and books. Edgar has changed his view on religion due to philosophical books, religious texts from other religions and his work which is about social justice and truth to the people. Due to his knowledge as he grew older, he has come to realize that not one religion is true, but that all of them have something good and that religious belief is a sum of all of them. He also mentioned that there is not way of knowing which religion is the right one so taking bits from all of them can maybe create a better understanding from all of them. He also did not let religion take over his life which enabled him to work more frequently.
From her childhood as a daughter of a Scottish merchant to her marriage, Hagar has fought a long and wrong battle for freedom and respect. In the end she realises her wrong doings when it became too late, she has gone with her life without thinking about her actions and the consequences. When someone does not know if they are at fault they keep repeating those actions until its too late to reverse them. Edgar on the other hand has nothing to look back on, he knew exactly what he wanted and went right for it. In Edgar’s case he was raised by and worked hard to earn respect which in the end he was granted respect by others.
The work he has done for the society is incredible and he is still doing so in a manner that will benefit the society and him self. He will not stop working until he probably can’t function anymore. The benefit that he is getting out of it is the joy of being able to make a difference. Hagar unfortunately realized this near the end of her life, when time was running out. She realized this when she only performed one task to help out the girl in the hospital. If only she realised that helping others is rewarding and makes a difference, then she could have started at an earlier age. Whether it’s a person’s character or religion, as one grows older their views change. This could include a change in heart or opinion.
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