The Character of Marvin Shipley in the Novel Stone Angel

Essay by brightestdarkHigh School, 12th gradeB+, March 2004

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Marvin Shipley is a very interesting character in Margaret Laurence's novel, The Stone Angel. The story is written from the point of view of Hagar Shipley, who is Marvin's mother. We see Marvin as he is portrayed through his mother's eyes. Hagar never loved her son much and it is possible her view of him is bias because of this. In this novel Marvin Shipley is portrayed to us as being timid, reserved, weak and unmannerly.

Marvin is a softhearted man. We see this many times in the novel. He is a peaceful man who doesn't like arguing or arguments. "Marvin hates it is to be alarmed, upset. Calmness is necessary to him. He has a monolithic calm." (Laurence, pg. 32) As you can see from this quote, Hagar realizes that Marvin doesn't like fighting, he has more of a timid nature. Another time we are shown Marvin's meekness is in a conversation between Hagar, Doris and himself.

They are arguing over the fact that Doris and Marvin want to put Hagar into a home. Because of Marvin's apprehensiveness, he doesn't like the fighting and wishes it to stop. " 'Cut it out,' Marvin says." (Laurence, pg. 68) He honestly just wishes the fighting would cease. He states that it is "all this talk I can't endure." (Laurence, pg. 68) Marvin actions are portrayed as spineless or unnerved by Hagar, but another could also take them as kindhearted.

Marvin is portrayed as also being reclusive, a man with common sense. Hagar makes the statement that Marvin is "usually so down-to earth" (Laurence, pg.117). He is a man that is reserved. He has a cautious way of speaking. He never wants or means to start an argument. " 'I don't know what in the hell I'm supposed to do,'...