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The Biblical Archetypes in The Stone Angel: A Comparison Between the Bible and The Stone Angel

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Introduction

The Biblical Archetypes in The Stone Angel: A Comparison Between the Bible and The Stone Angel In the same fashion that the law binds the Biblical Hagar to Abram and Sarah, Hagar Shipley is bound by the Currie code of values, the Shipley freedom, and the Manawakan elitist attitude, in addition to her own pride. Hagar Shipley is a modernised version of the Biblical Hagar, in that, people can no longer be bound as slaves in western culture but are, quite often, bound by personal or social restraints, like Hagar is. Hagar's freedom is limited by the conflicting influences in her own life. The Currie virtue keeps Hagar from expressing any outward form of emotion, which, ultimately, limits or ruins the majority of her relationships, including her marriage to Brampton Shipley. Initially attracted to the Shipley casualness and freedom, because it is the exact opposite to the Currie conformity, Hagar marries Bram, a poor farmer and social outcast. Her marriage, however, seems to be more out of spite than anything else. Having gone from one extreme to the other, Hagar realizes that the Shipley freedom or, more accurately, laziness is not what she wants or needs. In the meantime, Hagar, like her archetype, plays the role of "the dutiful wife." ...read more.

Middle

Hagar, from the book of Genesis, shares a bed with Abram, but nothing else. Their relationship is purely physical. Hagar Shipley's relationship with Bram is also physical, for the most part. Hagar and Bram are not connected spiritually. In fact, Hagar and Bram barely see eye to eye on many issues - primarily about their work and social life. Many scenes depict Bram and Hagar as nothing more than bedmates, and, even then, Hagar is reluctant to share with Bram. The few times that Hagar does miss Bram, she is alone, in bed, at night; Hagar never longs for Bram during the day. Secondly, Hagar's relationship with John parallels the Biblical Hagar's relationship with Ishmael. Both women love their sons dearly and are willing to do just about anything for them. Hagar, also known as Agar, prayed to God, asking for Him to save her son from starvation in the desert. Hagar, the protagonist in The Stone Angel, prayed to God, or found God, in order to reconcile with John. Although her reconciliation with John came through Murray F. Lees posing as her dead son, Hagar still makes peace with him. Unlike Hagar's relationship with John, she has a poor relationship with Marvin. ...read more.

Conclusion

Similarly, John flees from his family and into his own wilderness, Manawaka. In Manawaka John tends to his dying father, Bram, and receives Bram's blessing before his death. Marvin never receives Bram's blessing, even though they were close when Marvin was a child. John, in essence, takes Marvin's place. More important, however, in this comparison is the relationship each boy shares with Hagar. Hagar, having always been inclined to love John more, wants John to be her Jacob and to want and to receive her blessing. She says, "I wish he could have looked like Jacob then, wrestling with the angel and besting it" (Laurence 179), as John struggles to lift the stone angel tombstone for Hagar. John dies before Hagar receives a chance to bestow her blessings upon him. It is only in dying that Hagar realizes, through Marvin's kindness, that Marvin is her Jacob. He is the son that loves and cares for her more than anything else. Hagar states, "Now it seems to me he (Marvin) is truly Jacob, gripping with all his strength, and bargaining. I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And I see I am thus strangely cast, and perhaps have been so from the beginning and can only release myself by releasing him" (Laurence 304). He will not let Hagar go "gentle into that good night"(Thomas, prologue). Marvin finally receives Hagar's blessings, the blessings that John had, for so long, undeservingly taken. ...read more.

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