A study of Ageism in Carol Shields’s The Stone Diaries: Narrative and Body Foregrounding the (old) self
This paper looks at the (re)presentation of ageing in Carol Shields’ The Stone Diaries. In an attempt to unmask society’s ageist attitudes towards its elderly, the research attempts to analyse ageing through the prism of gender as surely ageing is worse for women than it is for men. The research sheds light on how the old person is viewed just as an old body which is also genderless and therefore expected to be devoid of any carnal desires. As the novel revolves around a narrative within the novel’s narrative, the paper also sees how Daisy, the ageing protagonist, loses her self behind her narrative. Her self is also in perpetual submersion due to her hyper-visible ageing body. Her sagging skin and wrinkles are the only assertions that the world registers from her side while her selfhood and identity are either erased or ignored. The novel’s story follows Daisy through her tumultuous life but this paper attempts to live it with her. So while Daisy composes her life story, her life composes her story which eventually begins to foreground her to the extent that she is completely submerged in her story and ultimately dies in a nursing home in Florida. Her death bringing relief to her family is the peak of ageism that the story throws in our faces. She lived as an association- a mother, a grandmother, an aunty, a wife, a widow; and died as an old woman and nothing more.
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Shieldss, Carol. The Stone Diaries. Harper Collins, 2011.
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