The Stone Carvers
The Stone Carvers is a book of obsessions. Each one of the characters has their own obsessions that at one point they believe to be a natural and helpful to their lives. However each of the characters in The Stone Carvers learns that these obsessions with perfection, love, adventure, or anything end without them being able to be satisfied and on many occasions without achieving what they were obsessing over. The author Jane Urquhart made a compelling story on the nature obsession and the effects of obsession over any matter.
The characters of the novel were fixated on a large range of ideas; they were obsessed with ideas from love to architecture and because of the diversity that Jane has shown that obsession of any form will always end without resolve. The conclusion about obsession can be grasped through the various trials that each character of the story is placed under. In The Stone Carvers Urquhart is able to show that obsession can never lead to a successful happiness, through a few powerful ideas; when someone is fixated on an idea the task may not be able to be completed, a person’s obsession can be counterproductive to their cause, and fixating on one thing can cause the person to lose track of the rest of their life.
When someone is fixated on one task or idea their obsession may not ever be complete in their eyes. In Klara’s love affair with Eamon, Klara is obsessed with staying with and caring for Eamon. When Klara was not with Eamon she was thinking of him; “All the rest of the day she was thinking of the moments when Eamon’s arm was on her shoulder or his hands were in her hair.” (pg. 121) This obsession of love seems like a natural and healthy idea to have however Klara’s work begins to be influenced by their love and she begins to be jealous of anyone with a relationship with Eamon.
Klara becomes particularly upset at one point she exclaimed “I saw you laughing, Eamon, with your friends outside the brewery. I think you’d forgotten me altogether, that’s what I think.” (pg. 117) Klara’s obsession with Eamon was never able to be complete because she would never be able to complete her storybook obsession of loving him and him loving her. Her obsession eventually led to an extended period of grieving her lost lover.
Sometimes an obsession with something can actually blind the obsessed person into actually being counterproductive to their goals. In a minor case in The Stone Carvers Refuto, who broke down because he held himself responsible for his brother’s death, ran from his family to not bear with the pain of reuniting with them. Refuto’s reasoning for not going back to his family was that: “I could not put the burden of a killer on their shoulders.” (pg. 211) Refuto was obsessed with keeping his name clean and his family safe. When he ran away from home however his family was left to fend for themselves and live without his support. When he and Tilman had become friends was the only time that he realized he had been hurting his friends with his own obsession. When Refuto did get over his obsession and went home, his wife and he talked at length about the family and how they were able to get along for so long without him.
Refuto said that “I was gone but Tilman told me to come back.” (pg. 215) Since his departure Refuto was able to “clear my head in four directions at once.” (pg. 215) This fixation on Refuto’s name had kept him away from his family but finally he was able to go back and correct what his obsession did to him. His obsession had blinded him to the harm that his actions had caused to his family. Instead of helping keep his family safe he was only harming it and only once he accepted that he had an unhealthy obsession was he able to return to his life with his family.
When someone is fixated on an idea they tend to lose focus on other important aspects of their lives. In The Stone Carvers an example of this would be in Tilman and Klara’s mother, Helga. Helga had recently mourned what she thought was her son’s death and became obsessed, as soon as Tilman came home, with controlling where Tilman went and how he would live. Tilman however “responded neither to her questions nor her attempts at incarceration and intimidation but looked at her with confusion on his perfect face.” (pg. 63)
Helga became so hysterically obsessed with keeping him with her that eventually she chained Tilman to the house however “Helga would never recover – not from his imprisonment and not from his escape.”(pg. 67) Tilman screamed and refused to eat while he was chained and his mother only then realized that she had made a mistake in obsessing over keeping Tilman caged. She pushed Tilman away with her passions for keeping him with her. The Stone Carvers shows that someone who is obsessed with an idea or task is more prone to making mistakes or causing a problem in a related aspect of their life.
Throughout the book Jane was able to show her views on obsessions in persuasive undertones and themes throughout the entire novel. Jane was able to show that no matter how justified a fixation may seem the outcome is always negative. Throughout the novel the theme of obsession can be seen from the minor characters all the way to the major events of the story. Jane makes her case with many examples of the ways obsession can lead to the destruction of a person. She does this through showing that when someone has an obsession they might never be able to complete, a person’s obsession could be counterproductive to their cause, and fixating on one idea can cause the person to lose track of the important parts in their life.
The persuasive undertones in the story are able to clearly convey the message of obsession being something that only harms the obsessed person. Walter Allward once said “I have been eating and sleeping stone for so long it has become an obsession with me. And incidentally, a nightmare.” (pg. VI) The inspiration for such a great novel and theme can be found in this quote because the amount of emotion that went into Walter’s work on the Vimy Ridge Memorial but also the tragic way Walter was unable to be truly happy after his most amazing creation.