"And they have done their work hysterically, desperately, almost as if they knew that the stones would someday break them."
Miss Lonelyhearts thinks this while observing skyscrapers and waiting in the park for Mrs. Doyle in "Miss Lonelyhearts on a Field Trip." The stone is used in a number of contexts in the novel, but here Miss Lonelyhearts astutely connects them all in one telling statement about man's capacity for violence and defensiveness. The stone has previously been used to put the sacrificial lamb out of its misery and as a symbol for the false advice of Miss Lonelyhearts's column. Moreover, Miss Lonelyhearts later feels his body turning into a "rock" as he becomes more unfeeling. Here, as the building blocks of skyscrapers, stones become symbolic of man's attack against nature, both against the stones themselves and against the sky. Throughout the novel West paints nature as an unwelcoming force, harboring as much harsh chaos in the country as does the city.