Gender Roles In Margaret Laurence's The Stone Angel

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In Margaret Laurence’s novel The Stone Angel, the reader follows an old woman named Hagar struggle with coming to terms with her past and present as she approaches the end of her life. One recurring theme that Hagar reflects back on was her struggle to break free of the gender roles her patriarchal inner circle assigned to her. In The Stone Angel the main character Hagar is oppressed and controlled by the gender roles enforced by her father and husband. From a young age Hagar’s father restricted her because she was female. He had a very specific mold of a traditional victorian lady that he tried to make Hagar conform perfectly to. Despite Hagar being drastically different from that role. However, her father was able to acknowledge some of Hagar’s strengths, as he described her as, “smart as a whip, she is, that one. If only she’d been-” (13). Implying that intelligence is a useless trait in a lady.If only she had been a boy, then she would have been given opportunities to take advantage of her strength and smarts. Sadly, Hagar never got to explore her full potential because of her father's male dominating presence. Her father’s controlling and oppressive demeanor continued into Hagar’s adult life. Every decision…show more content…
Hagar’s way of thinking about independence, personal goals and the capabilities of a woman were very innovative for the time. Being an educated and opinionated woman during this period was a threat that needed to be shut down by the dominant man. There was no place for an independent woman in society. Even though Hagar knew she could thrive on her own, constantly being told that she needed to be dependant on a man by not only her inner circle, but her society caused Hagar to feel inadequate or lost without a man to properly guide her. Eventually forcing woman like Hagar to become good house wives and live lives that they did not necessarily want for

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