Trapped Lives Essay

Submitted By Vossie206
Words: 1378
Pages: 6

Elsje Dijkman
English 240-07
Ruby Ramraj
February 25, 2009

Trapped Lives
(1. Discuss the importance of Carol Shield's use of symbols and images in “The Stone Diaries” showing how these literary devices enhance the characterization and themes of the text. Make specific reference to the novel.)

“[Daisy Goodwill-Flett] believ[ed] herself to be wanderer [], with an orphan’s heart and a wistful longing for refuge, for a door marked with her own name.” (305) She felt trapped in her relationships, life style, and most importantly she felt trapped in her own life. The four main symbols and images Carol Shield uses in “The Stone Diaries” is the gardens, the stones, the wedding ring and detachments with sex. Daisy’s father, Cuyler Goodwill, wanted to bring flowers into Mercy Stone’s life by carving flowers into stone. His life was as hard as stone because of his work in the quarry but wanted to remember his wife as soft and loving, which she was although she felt cold inside, by carving “a bird, a flower, a fish, a face, a sun or a moon.” (64) The only way to get the “stone” out of Daisy’s life was to engage in nature. Clarentine Flett introduced young Daisy to the gentleness of flowers in a garden. Teaches her how to “love it [] purely” “every leaf, every stem, [and] every root.” (196) Also to show her that not everything in the world is hard and clinical. Daisy the name that Clarentine picked for the baby was Clarentine’s way of helping her out of the hardness of her situation as an abandoned baby girl. Clarentine had many hopes for this little girl and hoped that her name would help her get there. After Barker’s death Daisy takes over his column in the Recorder and while working there she is the most alive. Writing about flowers and most importantly about gardening she was able to share with the rest of the world her passion of nature. Then when she is replaced by the “full-timer” Pinky Fulham because of a “policy” that was put into effect long before Jay Dudley was there, she receives a great blow to her being and became depressed and in that instant she was fossilized. In the novel “The Stone Diaries” there are many mentions of stones. One kind of stone that is represented in this novel is a fossil. A fossil literally means “having been dug up” in Latin, however, Daisy was not dug up per se, but she was unbeknownst to the world around her, just like a fossil. Mercy Stone was the rock in which Daisy Goodwill was concealed. She was exposed to the world when she was born on “a boiling hot day”(1) in 1905. She then becomes her own stone hiding the skeleton of herself inside, like a fossil. After a long life “stone is how she finally sees herself, her living cells replaced by the insentience of mineral deposition.”(358) She did not want to decay she wanted to stay the way she was, so that she could “become, finally, [like] the still body of her dead mother.”(359) Her life began as an unknown “fossil” and she wants to end up as one as well. Her life is the stone surrounding the fossil – her – and she is trapped and because she does not know anything else, she can only want that one “stone.” She wants to be a stone because then she does not have to feel anything anymore, but also she will feel closer to her deceased mother, Mercy. A wedding ring is round, hard, and has no end. It is the symbol of continuous love between two partners, however to Daisy Goodwill it is like she is enfolded in marriage and cannot escape. Just like her life, not knowing where she started or where she will end up. Her apathy for her first husband on their honeymoon was evident in her lack of interest in what he was doing and did not feel connected to him. She was enclosed in her own little world, daydreaming about the familiarity of the room they were occupying. “She can’t imagine what she’s doing I this dim, musty room, and yet she feels she’s been here before, that all the surfaces and crevasses are familiar, part of the