Informace o publikaci

Aging and the Reconfiguration of Identity in Margaret Laurence’s The Stone Angel and Margaret Atwood’s "Alphinland"



Rok publikování 2023
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Filozofická fakulta

Popis This paper examines the theme of shifting perspectives in Margaret Laurence’s renowned novel The Stone Angel (1964) and Margaret Atwood’s recent short story “Alphinland” (2014), which offer profound insights into the transformative nature of the aging process. The protagonists navigate the liminal spaces of life, where moments of reflection and self-discovery occur. By investigating how the confrontation with the wilderness acts as a catalyst for shifting perspectives in both texts, the paper explores the transformative journeys of the characters. Hagar, the ninety-year-old protagonist of The Stone Angel, seeks refuge in the wilderness as a means to resist the constraints of institutionalized care, while in “Alphinlad”, a widowed fantasy writer Constance finds herself in a heavy snowstorm, alone in her house, that she refused to leave after her husband’s death. Their encounters with nature and their fight for survival, however, propel both characters towards transformative self-reflection, representing a liminal state between the past and present. Through metaphorical confrontations with their pasts, they undergo introspection, re-evaluate their current reality, and strive to reconcile with their personal histories. As a result, they forge a new understanding of themselves and their place in the world. Furthermore, the paper suggests that anger, which often accompanies the liminal experience and the reassessment of life values, can serve as a powerful driving force for positive change. It emphasizes that it is never too late to transform and reframe thoughts and behavioural patterns, whether for the benefit of the individual or society as a whole. The importance of intergenerational understanding and cooperation in facilitating a shift in perspective from individual interests to the pursuit of the common good is highlighted by examining personal transformation through the lenses of aging, memory, and participation in the community. By analyzing the themes of aging, memory, confronting the wilderness, and finally embracing the community in The Stone Angel and “Alphinland”, this paper unveils the transformative nature of the aging process. It contributes to a broader discussion on the potential for growth and change at any stage of life, while also shedding light on the intricate power dynamics that manifest within the context of old age. Through an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates elements of psychology, cultural studies, and gerontology, it offers new perspectives on aging, memory, and the complexities of the human experience within liminal spaces.
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