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Stories and storytelling in Alice Munro’s fiction Somerville, J. Christine 1985

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STORIES AND IN  STORYTELLING  A L I C E MUNRO'S F I C T I O N By  J.  CHRISTINE  B.A., Queen's U n i v e r s i t y  SOMERVILLE a t K i n g s t o n , O n t . , 1959  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE (Department o f  We a c c e p t to  this  thesis  the reguired  STUDIES  English)  as c o n f o r m i n g standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April ©  Christine  1985  Somerville,  1985  22  In  presenting  requirements of  B r i t i s h  i t  freely  agree for  this  thesis  f o r an advanced  Columbia, available  that  i n p a r t i a l  I agree  that  f o rreference  permission  scholarly  degree  may  be  a t the  shall  and study.  I  copying  granted  by  o r by h i so r her representatives.  understood  that  for  financial  gain  or publication  shall  n o t be  allowed  permission.  Department  o f  English  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h 1956 M a i n M a l l Vancouver, Canada V6T 1 Y 3  Date  A p r i l 25. 1985.  Columbia  make  further  of this  t h e head  department  copying  University  the Library  f o rextensive  purposes  fulfilment o f the  thesis  o f  my  I ti s  of this without  thesis my  written  ii-  Abstract  R e f e r e n c e s t o s t o r i e s and s t o r y t e l l i n g throughout A l i c e Munro s f i v e  short  1  THE  TO T E L L YOU, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? a n d THE.  MOONS OF JUPITER.  This  stories—mentioned  briefly  counterpoint written  imitate,  t h e s i s contends  them t h r o u g h o u t  figures.  reflect  Occasionally,  on t h e d i f f i c u l t y  SOMETHING r a i s e s t h i s  stories  within  texts  rather  perspective  thenarrators of expressing  i na l l five  discovering  than glimpses o f r e a l i t y .  order  that  By embedding the workings  to her narratives A feminine  emerges, i n w h i c h t h e  n o t as imposing  already  works  truth i n fiction,  h e r n a r r a t i v e s , Munro i m i t a t e s  sees h e r task  storytelling  a r e a w r i t e r and  repeatedly.  on n a r r a t i v e g r a d u a l l y  woman n a r r a t o r  l i f e , but  protagonists  issue  O r a l and  i d e n t i f y w i t h , and  o f memory; m o r e o v e r , s h e draws a t t e n t i o n as  length—provide  I n L I V E S and WHO,  becomes c e n t r a l b e c a u s e t h e i r actress.  at  f o r Munro's c h a r a c t e r s .  i n y o u t h , when t h e y e a g e r l y  fictional  that  or recounted  to experience  stories influence  especially  but  s t o r y c y c l e s : DANCE OF  HAPPY SHADES, L I V E S OF GIRLS AND WOMEN, SOMETHING I'VE  BEEN MEANING  an  appear  exists.  order,  b u t as  Table of Contents  Abstract  ii  Short  iv  Titles  Acknowledgements  V  Introduction  1  Chapter  One  7  Chapter  Two  43  Chapter  Three  73  Chapter  Four  102  Chapter  Five  126  Conclusion  164  Bibliography  168  iv •  Short  The in  following  short  titles  Titles  f o r A l i c e Munro's works a r e u s e d  the text:  DANCE f o r DANCE OF THE HAPPY SHADES L I V E S f o r L I V E S OF GIRLS AND WOMEN SOMETHING f o r SOMETHING  I'VE BEEN MEANING TO T E L L YOU  WHO f o r WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? MOONS f o r THE MOONS OF JUPITER  V  Acknowledgements  For generously g i v i n g wish and  t o t h a n k my  so much t i m e  a d v i s o r , Dr.  judgement s u s t a i n e d me  throughout  For r e a d i n g the p e n u l t i m a t e argument and Blom and  Mrs.  style, Marya  a c k n o w l e d g e Mrs.  I am  Finally,  E . Hardman.  has  the e n t i r e advising  I also  ORPHEO and  I t h a n k my  h e l p e d me  whose w i t project.  Howard  gratefully  One  I explore  the  Munro's DANCE develops  mother, B e a t r i c e B r y c e , Munro f o r y e a r s , and  e v e r y b i t and  I  on i t s  Margaret  Alice  i d e a which Chapter  whom I have d i s c u s s e d A l i c e h u s b a n d , who  and  thesis,  Stephens,  Hardman's s u g g e s t i o n t h a t  HAPPY SHADES, an  length.  draft  G.  i n d e b t e d t o Dr.  c o n n e c t i o n between G l u c k ' s THE  Donald  to t h i s  at with  Richard,  byte of the  OF  way.  my  •1  Introduction  Forrest set  L . Ingram d e f i n e s  the short  o f s t o r i e s so l i n k e d t o one a n o t h e r t h a t  e x p e r i e n c e o f e a c h one i s m o d i f i e d o t h e r s " ."^ The s e p a r a t e greater  autonomy  bi-focal  individual distance. that  apparent  exhibit but s t i l l  story  cycle  t o see c l e a r l y  o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l s t o r y must  the u n i f y i n g p a t t e r n  of the e n t i r e  of a short  story  consciousness  than n a r r a t i v e  (1971) and WHO  the n a r r a t i v e  story  between  be  work. be  i s used) o r setting,  A l i c e Munro has 1968 and  (1978) show a p p a r e n t u n i t y  focusing  ( 1 9 6 8 ) , SOMETHING  cycles  voice).  one,  c y c l e may  (where t h e s t o r i e s a r e l i n k e d t h r o u g h theme,  short  both the  t o o , t h e f o r m i s a demanding  t o Ingram, t h e u n i t y  five  form  r a n g e and t h e e n t i r e work a t a  pattern  imagery, r a t h e r  LIVES  i n a novel,  i n order  (where a s i n g l e n a r r a t i v e  published  of  For the w r i t e r  against  According  or  at close  the inner  balanced  hidden  story  as "a  the reader's  the c y c l e  For the reader of a short  v i s i o n i s required  cycle  by h i s e x p e r i e n c e o f t h e  stories within  t h a n do c h a p t e r s  a u n i f i e d whole.  in  story  1982.  as a r e s u l t  on a s i n g l e p r o t a g o n i s t ;  (1974) and MOONS (1982) e x e m p l i f y  DANCE hidden  unity. This explain as  s t u d y o f Munro's why  t h e word  " l e g e n d " and  As t h e s e words  short  "story",  "tale",  recurs  story  as w e l l  cycles  seeks to  as r e l a t e d words  so f r e q u e n t l y  i n her  such  fiction.  p r o l i f e r a t e , they s i g n a l the importance of  2  stories  i n the l i v e s  repeatedly own is  text  of Munro s c h a r a c t e r s .  mentioning as a t e x t ,  s t o r i e s , she draws a t t e n t i o n  and r e m i n d s t h e r e a d e r t h a t  an i n t e r p r e t e r o f t r u t h whose  entirely  objective.  so  point-of-view  to her  the  narrator  i s not  By o f f e r i n g numerous r e a l i s t i c  t o h e r r e a d e r s , Munro b r i n g s But,  M o r e o v e r , by  1  them c l o s e  the s t o r i e s her characters  tell  to her  details  characters.  one a n o t h e r a r e o f t e n  e x a g g e r a t e d , g r o t e s q u e , o r o t h e r w i s e u n c o n v i n c i n g as t o  draw t h e r e a d e r b a c k f r o m t h e t e x t  and a r o u s e h i s  skepticism. Frequent references cycles,  t o s t o r i e s appear  in a l l five  e s t a b l i s h i n g a m o t i f w h i c h o f f e r s a way  prose, which, while g e n e r a l l y  a d m i r e d by c r i t i c s  readers  q u a l i t y that  a l i k e , has an e l u s i v e  Even t h e a u t h o r h e r s e l f how  h e r s t o r i e s work.  w i t h Tim S t r u t h e r s ,  claims  into  Munro's  and g e n e r a l  baffles  analysis.  t o be u n a b l e t o u n d e r s t a n d  Discussing  Munro s 1  1981  interview  Eva-Marie K r o l l e r observes t h a t  Munro 2  seems r e l u c t a n t I t may to  be t h a t  that  craft.  of priestess  As she a d m i t s  her e a r l y  talking  of her c r a f t .  Munro i s u n a b l e , r a t h e r  a n a l y s e h e r own work.  like  of  to a r t i c u l a t e the secrets  than  Her a p p r o a c h t o w r i t i n g  to sacred i n an e s s a y  spring  i s more  than craftsman to  she w r o t e t o accompany  s t o r i e s i n THE NARRATIVE VOICE,  about w r i t i n g  unwilling,  "Writing  two  or  makes(herj s u p e r s t i t i o u s l y  3  uncomfortable". of  gratitude  Her a t t i t u d e  for gifts  responsibility  to the c r e a t i v e  received;  f o r inventing  she n e i t h e r  process  i s one  claims  her s t o r i e s , nor i n q u i r e s  into  3  the  wellspring  always claims tribute  to  of her  writing.  i s that  their  narrator the  she  i m p o r t a n c e by  past,  or  that  truth.  a character  reciting  She  at  length,  retelling  an  when  a poem f r o m memory, r e a d i n g reading  a letter. may  book t i t l e  mentioned  i n conversation  or glimpsed  as  myth o r  reference  a metaphoric pattern a  may  story cycles  meaning  i n h i s memories.  writer,  actress  succumbing  or  to the  than the  storytelling  that  The  appear i n the  suggest, i s a  other  artist—differs  temptation self  or  aspires  recounting  an  and  a  shelf.  story with  a  to t e l l  immediate t o be  his  looks  story  family.  Of  applied  artist  to the  t r u t h through t h e i r  fictions.  assumption t h a t  essence of being  i n which to t e l l Therefore,  only wider  stricter average the  s h a r e a common d e s i r e  alive  to  is  one's s t o r y u n d e r l i e s  words a r e  in  course,  a n e c d o t e ; however, b o t h  the  for  to a  a r t must s a t i s f y  discover  Munro's f i c t i o n .  storyteller  from o t h e r s  p e r s o n and  a voice  the  past,  ordinary  having  on  a  professional s t o r y t e l l e r — t h e  s t a n d a r d s t h a n w o u l d be  storyteller  The  c r y p t i c as  which runs p a r a l l e l  b e c a u s e e v e r y o n e remembers h i s own  aesthetic  other  fairytale.  Everyone, these  audience  as  from  a  At  to s t o r y t e l l i n g  the  be  the  incident  reference  cycle  pays  anecdotes  the  E v e n more s u b t l y ,  she  fiction.  newspaper s t o r y , w r i t i n g o r times,  thing  giving narrative  treats storytelling  describes  one  s t o r i e s embody t h e  prominence i n a l l her Often  The  respected,  held  a l l of  4  almost and  i n awe:  they are i t a l i c i z e d ,  meanings d i s c u s s e d ;  misunderstand  t h e y p u z z l e c h i l d r e n who  p e o p l e go  u t t e r words.  on t a l k i n g  A senile  a conversation w i l l presence  by  f o r m words c l e a r l y  i t ; a man  In t h e s e  longer carry  t o a word s a i d has  lost  the a b i l i t y  of a stroke w i l l  o f s p e e c h . Even  on  i n her  still  when t h e  as t h e once g a r r u l o u s F l o does i n WHO,  to  grunt aged their  and  learn  personalities  i n chronological  about and  LIVES  of  a young w r i t e r ,  s t o r e up memories.  (1974), i n which  p o i n t - o f - v i e w and  stories  Del Jordan.  MOONS ( 1 9 8 2 ) ,  stories  Storytelling, through A l i c e  Chapter reveal  Two  the  Three  i s devoted development  analyses with  storytelling.  (19 7 8 ) , i n w h i c h  Finally,  f e m a l e ways o f  Chapter  of  children  form  Munro e x p e r i m e n t s  becomes a c o m p u l s i o n . i n which  them,  Chapter  One  influence  influence  e x p l o r e s the l i m i t s  e x a m i n e s WHO  Chapter  stories  the world around  (1971), i n which  Four  order.  (19 68) , i n w h i c h  to  SOMETHING  published collections  1  c o n s i d e r s DANCE  male and  c a n no  s t u d y examines M u n r o s f i v e  separately  Chapter  the  l o n g as t h e y a r e a b l e t o  who  as a r e s u l t  and  i s eloquent.  This  as t h e y  as  respond  anh-anh-anh, i n a t r a v e s t y  silence  the confused.  o l d woman who  still  spelling  stop t a l k i n g ,  and  sounds  misuse  them; t h e y c o n t i n u e t o s t r u g g l e o u t o f  mouths o f t h e o l d , t h e s i c k , stories,  repeated, t h e i r  storytelling  Five, discusses  differences  between  thinking.  t h e n , i s a common t h r e a d w h i c h  Munro's f i c t i o n .  runs  Frequent r e f e r e n c e s to  5  stories by  show how,  stories  as  children,  they hear or  her  r e a d and,  characters as  adults,  are  become  storytellers  t h e m s e l v e s when t h e y remember and  their  At  past.  individual narrative circular Without  the  same t i m e , h e r  places within incorporates  and the  the  characters  larger  story  them, a s t o r y  take  cycles  and  f r o m books appear, i n Munro's f i c t i o n i n the  imitates.  memories o f  influencing  them i n ways t h e y may  influencing  them  powerfully.  not  her  Oral  is  or  w o u l d be  i t i s memory t h a t  they r i g h t l y belong  the  myth.  augment  memory, and stories  their  i n which  classical  embedded s t o r i e s w h i c h e i t h e r  she  interpret  whose s t r u c t u r e  whose themes r e a c h b a c k t o  u n d e r c u t e x p e r i e n c e , Munro's s t o r y  influenced  less  stories because  characters,  understand,  like  but  6  Notes  1 F o r r e s t L Ingram, REPRESENTATIVE SHORT STORY CYCLES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY (The Hague: Mouton, 1 9 7 1 ) , p. 13. 2 E v a - M a r i e K r o l l e r , " C r a f t and C r i t i c i s m , " r e v . o f PROBABLE FICTIONS: A L I C E MUNRO'S NARRATIVE ACTS .ed. L o u i s K. M a c K e n d r i c k , CANADIAN LITERATURE, No. 103 ( 1 9 8 4 ) , p . 129. 3 A l i c e Munro, "The C o l o n e l ' s Hash R e s e t t l e d , " i n THE NARRATIVE VOICE, e d . J o h n M e t c a l f e ( T o r o n t o : M c G r a w - H i l l R y e r s o n ) , p . 183.  7  C h a p t e r One How  S t o r i e s Shape P e r c e p t i o n ,  Beguiled fifteen  by a c c u r a c y  short  stories  drawn i n t o t h e r u r a l imperceptibly,  P e r s o n a l i t y and Memory  of d e t a i l  i n the s e t t i n g s of the  t h a t c o m p r i s e DANCE, t h e r e a d e r i s Ontario  kitchens  domestic order  o f t h e past?"  g i v e s way t o w i l d n e s s  violence  a s f o x pens and meat h o u s e s b e g i n  linoleum  and r a g r u g s .  specific  details  Although A l i c e  to refer  the reader  place—Southwestern Ontario forties—she references  gives  reality  to stories  mythic  ORPHEO, b a s e d on t h e c l a s s i c a l  For up  to displace  Munro s e l e c t s v i v i d  t o an a c t u a l t i m e and  s i g n i f i c a n c e through  and l e g e n d s .  the e n t i r e  and  i n t h e n i n e t e e n - t h i r t i e s and  HAPPY SHADES, f o r example, p o i n t s  which c o l o u r s  Almost  The t i t l e , to the Gluck  DANCE OF THE. opera,  myth o f Orpheus and E u r y d i c e  collection.  the mainly youthful  protagonists  o f DANCE,  growing  means d i s c o v e r i n g t h e l a y e r e d t e x t u r e o f r e a l i t y .  narrators  are r e s o l u t e l y unsentimental:  their  pasts  Helen  sums up i n "The P e a c e o f U t r e c h t " :  nostalgia,  courageously,  trying  striving  they  to avoid  l o o k b a c k on the t r a p which  "Cowardly  t o g e t back t o a g e n t l e r t r u t h "  memories, b u t o n l y  tender  (p.202).  T h e s e n a r r a t o r s n e v e r manage t o l a y t h e g h o s t s t h a t their  The  haunt  t o r e i n t e r p r e t them f r o m t h e  8 perspective  of  maturity.  "Images",  "Boys and  a r e t h r e e key remembered appears  stories  stories  t o her  experiencing comparing  surpasses  to convey the  protagonists.  i t with  i t into  female  observed  For  m a t r o n i n "The and  also  r e f l e c t i n g upon  t h e y have r e a d , h e a r d ,  the  raw  the o u t e r world,  not y e t hardened;  own  but  they  are  and  of  to  their  have  as w e l l history  stories  as and  Not is  harmful  e x p e c t a t i o n s based  Although  i s the  creating  experience.  l i v e s with  in that their  young  personalities  folklore,  limited  their  satisfy.  the  characteristic  f a m i l y legends,  f r e q u e n t l y higher than can  lives,  p o s s i b l e c h o i c e s . At  i n the process  domaine f r o m  comparing  as w e l l as h e l p f u l ,  their  are  deeper concern  lives, their  supplement t h e i r  circumstances  daily  G i r l s " , and  Sharing  their  natures  in their  i n the p u b l i c  are  and  the n a r r a t o r s attempt  Therefore, private  surprisingly,  fiction  invented  c h r o n o l o g i c a l s t a g e s : the c h i l d i n  determination,  stages  literature,  or  experience,  m a t e r i a l of t h e i r  Peace o f U t r e c h t " .  these  stories  experience,  p r o t a g o n i s t s i n the chosen s t o r i e s  of t h e i r  identity.  only  recognizable narrative patterns.  inner world early  Munro u s e s  them, l i v i n g i s n o t  "Images", t h e a d o l e s c e n t i n "Boys and  understand  Utrecht"  t e x t u r e o f r e a l i t y as i t  hunger f o r d i r e c t  at d i f f e r e n t  curiosity  Peace o f  T h e i r l o n g i n g f o r meaning i n e x i s t e n c e  minds c o n s t a n t l y s c a n  The  but  stories  even t h e i r  rearranging  "The  w h i c h i l l u s t r a t e how  the world,  themselves.  G i r l s " and  on  actual  the p l e a s u r e s  and  9  corresponding the as  literature well  that her  as  tend  but  abiding  to  also  pattern  awareness of  and  g r o w i n g up,  sensibility  heroines  relating  of  the  to others  p h r a s e s and  A l t h o u g h the  voice  powerless are  subtle  see  use  of  i s an  still  earlier  evident  explanations  she  from the  express h e r s e l f well living the  to express  narrator the  and,  language.  when  of being  almost from the  moment she  as  she  her  words the  reveals. ears  older  being self  example,  for  the  the  destructive to  protect  cannot  sense  under a s p e l l .  of It is  is finally  able  earlier.  time i n e a r l y  becomes c o n s c i o u s o f b e i n g  of  contradict  desperately  senses, but  suffered  the  her  from a d u l t s  enough t o a r t i c u l a t e  she  medium f o r  "Images", f o r  whose remembering v o i c e  dread  growing  sense of  P h i p p e n , whose  tries  d a n g e r she  "Images" e x p l o r e s first  Joe  She  inside a fairytale,  older  to  e y e s and  and  do  narrative  the  observations  receives  b e h a v i o u r o f Mary McQuade and strongly.  In  own  only  out  as w e l l  whose c o n f u s i o n  impressions.  Not  draw a t t e n t i o n t o  a d u l t woman's, t h e  painfully  fantasy  Repetition  language, which conceals  i s h e l p l e s s when h e r  parents  l a n g u a g e as  of  capture  and  protagonists'  italics  a child  her  fact  living  forming a s e l f .  a child's,  feels  weave o f  t h e m s e l v e s as  her  power she  Canadian w r i t e r s  i n DANCE i s t h e  and  a staple  o f b o o k i s h young g i r l s .  relates  reassuring  are  t h e y become h y p e r - s e n s i t i v e  the  of  frequently  few  preeminence of  slipperiness  are  self-dramatization  Munro does t h e  i s the  patterns, An  dangers of  life  when t h e  s e p a r a t e from her knows she  has  child  mother,  a self,  learns  10  to fear  death.  indirect to and  form  Sense i m p r e s s i o n s  r e f e r e n c e s t o myths and f a i r y a continuous  out of the text,  allegorical  "Images" i s more t h a n  squares  which i n v i t e  concentrates on  illusion.  the f a t h e r ' s .  Since  leading the reader  story.  suggests  illusion  form  conclusive text,  death, and  views,  the range o f p o s s i b l e  Instead,  implications  n o t outward, b u t back  inside again  is itself  a  o f t r a n s c e n d i n g s u b j e c t i v i t y and  o f "Images" d i c t a t e s  ending:  i t s three  t h e m a t i c a l l y through  the absence o f a  s e c t i o n s , separated  f u n c t i o n a s do s t a n z a s  i n a poem.  their  and m e t a p h o r i c a l l y t h r o u g h  Joe Phippen.  these  t h e r e i s no r e s o l u t i o n o f  at objective truth.  The  related  when he c o n c e n t r a t e s  because the d e s i g n  comment upon t h e d i f f i c u l t y  the  L i k e t h e b l a c k and w h i t e  The p e r s i s t e n c e o f p a r a d o x i n t h e s t o r y  optical  arriving  i n the  does n o t n a r r o w i n t h e e n d , a s i s u s u a l l y  the p a t t e r n i n s h o r t s t o r i e s .  the  of a c h i l d  Yet  v i e w o f what i s h a p p e n i n g  t h e d i s c r e p a n c y between t h e i r  multiply,  mind.  one i n t e r p r e t a t i o n when t h e v i e w e r  the c h i l d ' s  interpretations  t h e way  m o r t a l i t y ; i t i s the verbal  on t h e b l a c k , and a n o t h e r  the white,  contradicts  elements suggest  a c h a r a c t e r study  o f an o p t i c a l  Designed not  i n a young c h i l d ' s  o f coming t o t e r m s w i t h  equivalent  tales.  pattern, but to f l i c k e r i n  the f a i r y - t a l e  f a n t a s y merges w i t h r e a l i t y  process  a r e s u p p l e m e n t e d by b r i e f  by gaps i n  The p a r t s a r e  common p r e o c c u p a t i o n two v i l l a i n s ,  Mary McQuade  The n a r r a t o r remembers h e r f e e l i n g s  a d u l t s when she was a c h i l d .  with  about  Her p e r c e p t i o n o f them  11  as e v i l  and d a n g e r o u s  anxiety  over her mother's i l l n e s s ,  a c c u r a t e because allowing  may  of her  have b e e n d i s t o r t e d o r i t may  because have been  innocent, unclouded v i s i o n .  both p o s s i b i l i t i e s  to p e r s i s t  of her  i n the  By  ambiguous  e n d i n g , Munro i s a b l e t o s u g g e s t t h e p e r p l e x i n g  character  human l i f e ,  reality  the i n s o l u b l e  image, t r u t h  from  approach  misgivings  of s e p a r a t i n g  from  illusion.  Occasionally, intuitive  problem  of  Munro has  attempted  to w r i t i n g  short  to explain  stories.  over symbolic i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s  denies d e l i b e r a t e l y  setting  up  symbols  her  Expressing  o f h e r work,  i n her  she  fiction:  1 do t h i n k symbols e x i s t , o r r a t h e r , t h a t t h i n g s a r e s y m b o l i c , but I t h i n k t h a t t h e i r symbolism i s i n f i n i t e l y complex and n e v e r c o m p l e t e l y discovered. A r e t h e r e r e a l l y w r i t e r s who s i t down and s a y y e s , w e l l , now h e r e I-need a s y m b o l , l e t ' s see what I have i n t h e f i l e s ? 2  Such  n o t i o n s , Munro w o u l d  fiction who  writers  t o " c o l d - b l o o d e d m a n i p u l a t o r s and  f o r genius s u b s t i t u t e  fiction  i s undoubtedly  term of which writer's puppet, figure  agree w i t h Annie D i l l a r d ,  a bag  artiface—or  Munro i s f o n d — i t  remembered e x p e r i e n c e . whose s t r i n g s ,  of Pluto,  goes  on  once  existed:  lord  to explain,  hermits, half  he  of t r i c k s " ?  has  a solid  i n the  the  ancient  R a t h e r , as  portrait  " H i s a n c e s t o r s were a few  the  i s n o t a mere  when tweaked, a c t i v a t e  i s a composite  prose  t o use  basis  Joe P h i p p e n  of the underworld.  gadgeteers  While  "illusion",  reduce  o f men  o l d men,  half  madmen, o f t e n p a r a n o i d , o c c a s i o n a l l y  she who  12  dangerous, living  living  around  t h e c o u n t r y where I grew up, n o t  i n t h e woods b u t i n o l d f a r m - h o u s e s , o l d f a m i l y  homes".  A figure belonging to r u r a l  Depression  Ontario i n the  y e a r s , he i s t r u e t o h i s t o r y  Discussing interviews  the r e l a t i o n  as w e l l as myth.  between t r u t h and f i c t i o n i n  and e s s a y s , Munro a g r e e s  w i t h D.H.  Lawrence's  observations:  The c u r i o u s t h i n g a b o u t a r t - s p e e c h i s t h a t i t p r e v a r i c a t e s so t e r r i b l y , I mean i t t e l l s s u c h l i e s . I s u p p o s e b e c a u s e we a l w a y s a l l t h e t i m e t e l l ourselves l i e s . And o u t o f a p a t t e r n o f l i e s , a r t weaves t h e t r u t h 5  The  storyteller's  as a s o u r c e on  p a r a d o x Munro a c c e p t s as g i v e n , u s i n g i t  o f t e n s i o n i n h e r work.  the c r e a t i v e process  recall  R o m a n t i c s , who  saw t h e p o e t  into universal  truth,  creative itself  o r chooses  made by t h e  as p o s s e s s i n g h e i g h t e n e d  and e x p r e s s i n g i t t h r o u g h  analysis,  Munro i s h a r d - p r e s s e d scenes  statements  p r o c e s s , as she u n d e r s t a n d s  to discursive  A t t i m e s , h e r comments  certain  details  art.  The  i t , does n o t l e n d  but i s almost  t o e x p l a i n why  insight  mystical.  she j u x t a p o s e s  certain  f r o m h e r memory:  B u t t h e f a c t i s , t h e m i n u t e I s a y t o show I am telling a lie. I d o n ' t do i t t o show a n y t h i n g . I p u t t h i s s t o r y a t t h e h e a r t o f my s t o r y b e c a u s e I n e e d i t t h e r e and i t b e l o n g s t h e r e . o She  cannot  s a y why  but  she r e w r i t e s e a c h  p a t t e r n which  she knows  she w i l l  story  something many t i m e s  belongs  i n a story,  searching f o r the  r e c o g n i z e when i t f i n a l l y e m e r g e s .  13  Therefore, short  a t t e n t i o n t o even the  s t o r y rewards the  revisions  have c o n d e n s e d  a distillation in  the  level  final of  the  The one  of  Alice  of  writer's pattern  place.  As  that  remembered w i t h actual  Alan  others  events taking  i s of  a completeness but  the  and  are  a p p r o p r i a t e l y blended  creates  i t s own  world.  In THE  explains  how  imagination,  fairy but  in simplified meet  The  case  only  a l s o e n c o u r a g e him form the  with  of  perceptions  and  unlikely in i t , using impressions  fantasy,  i s often on  the  the  case  fantasy  in  and  to understand i t s  ENCHANTMENT, Bruno  s t o r i e s not  specific  the  child's  i t struggles  obvious  literary  Munro r e n d e r s  c h i l d ' s mind f e e d s  f a n t a s i e s as USES OF  In t h e  from r e a l i t y  between them b l u r r e d , as The  in a  perfect  vividness  tones of everyday speech.  childhood.  place  a child's  p l a u s i b l e as  flat  distinction  element  deepest  Twigg s a y s i n h i s i n t e r v i e w  illusion  experience,  a t the  movie camera i s h e l d by  the  early  C l e a r l y , each  t o a d o c u m e n t a r y movie".''  The  what r e m a i n s i s  emerges i n DANCE i s t h e  Munro, "Your w r i t i n g i s l i k e  protagonist.  numerous  until  work.  i n a Munro  consciousness.  recorded  "Images", however, t h e  will  material  a much l o n g e r  faithfully  equivalent  and  the  detail  because her  d r a f t i s bonded t o t h e  first  t i m e and  reader  smallest  nurture  Bettelheim the c h i l d ' s  to confront v i c a r i o u s l y  urgent e x i s t e n t i a l  questions  he  later:  I t i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f f a i r y t a l e s t o s t a t e an e x i s t e n t i a l dilemma b r i e f l y and p o i n t e d l y . This  14 p e r m i t s t h e c h i l d t o come t o g r i p s w i t h t h e p r o b l e m i n i t s most e s s e n t i a l f o r m , where a more complex p l o t w o u l d c o n f u s e m a t t e r s f o r him. The f a i r y t a l e s i m p l i f i e s a l l s i t u a t i o n s . 8  The  existential  q u e s t i o n the c h i l d  "Images" c o n c e r n s in and  the  form  father,  her  m o r t a l i t y , but  just  as  she  has  t h a t he  as p e o p l e  "Grandmother's h o u s e " , and What a c t u a l l y  has  then  he h i m s e l f  Only  limited  by  disappeared.  t o Mary  T h e r e f o r e , her  this  "fact  (p. 3 6 ) .  as p r e s e n c e  by h a n d l i n g t h e  lifeless  body c a n  she  legends.  mother t e l l i n g  her  are the  The  mother b e f o r e h e r  She had Princes  mother's  stories  single  t h e c l o s e n e s s w h i c h once e x i s t e d  her  already she  concrete  begin  understanding  e a r l y mention of  access  and  to  dead  than  e s t a b l i s h e s t h a t she  to s t o r i e s  The  rather  Although  i n e x p e r i e n c e , an  response  father's trap i s a  of death"  r e v e a l s death  her  instinctive  mother's s t o r y t e l l i n g  her  house  i s linked  t o a p p r e c i a t e what d y i n g means. is  his  only that his departure  to touch  absence.  First  mystery;  t h e dead m u s k r a t d i s c o v e r e d i n h e r  finally  comprehend  remains a  1  animal  mother  her  disappeared. the  itself  grandfather  McQuade s a r r i v a l .  longing  her  t o o young t o  began c a l l i n g  became o f h e r  understands  from  been c u t o f f f r o m  d i e d , she was  I t seems t o h e r  name d i s a p p e a r e d ,  she  i t presents  of f e a r of becoming s e p a r a t e d  g r a n d f a t h e r . When he death.  own  protagonist confronts i n  her has  remembers i n s t a n c e of  between h e r s e l f  and  her  illness:  f o r g o t t e n a l l h e r s t o r i e s w h i c h were a b o u t i n t h e Tower and a queen g e t t i n g h e r head  15 knows i n t h e s e n a r r a t i v e s , hearing  them.  character  i n her  same p o i n t  on  gap  her  stories  i s curious porch  i t is plain  between mother as adds t o  i s made a g a i n by  H o u s e s " , who sit  The  and  the  the  child's  narrator  her  of  life  she  enjoys  s t o r y t e l l e r and  enough a b o u t t h e  l i s t e n i n g to  that  as  interest. "The  old  The  Shining  egg  woman  to  history:  And Mary f o u n d h e r s e l f e x p l o r i n g h e r n e i g h b o u r ' s l i f e as she had once e x p l o r e d t h e l i v e s o f g r a n d m o t h e r s and a u n t s — b y p r e t e n d i n g t o know l e s s t h a n she d i d , a s k i n g f o r some s t o r y she had h e a r d b e f o r e . . . (p. 19)  Mary's s u b s e q u e n t refusal arises  to out  sign of  l o y a l t y to  the  the  establishes  her  against  wishes of  i s not  based p a r t l y  i s not  In  on  1  By  In  failure  to  this  suburbanites instance,  but  a complex  highly  narrator  the  the  story  return,  Mrs.  and one  of  her  Mrs.  tumbledown  house  to  their  enhance  a  relationship  f e e l i n g of  partly  on  kinship,  respect  short-story  more t h a n  d e v e l o p s from into  three-dimensional  w i t h hopes and  form the  nevertheless, unerring.  husband's d e p a r t u r e  eccentric  for  suggest  Fullerton;  two-dimensional neighborhood individual  her,  listener.  necessary d e t a i l i s  Fullerton  her  Fullerton  for  condensed  s u f f i c i e n t room t o do  in  the s t o r y t e l l e r - l i s t e n e r  correlative  l o y a l t y , and  the  i n s t i n c t for  confiding  the  class  p a s t , Mrs.  remain i n her  objective  bond between t h e Munro s  to  friendship  individuality. there  about her  right  property values.  which  woman, e v i d e n t  bond between s t o r y t e l l e r and  stories  bond becomes an  egg  neighborhood p e t i t i o n a g a i n s t  Through her  the  the  and  a  a dreams as  valid  16  which i s not  f r i e n d s h i p but  b a s e d p a r t l y on  class  individuality.  In  there  i s not  l o y a l t y , and  the  highly  sufficient  narrator  Munro s  f o r the  instinct  By  confiding  failure  the  and one  Mrs.  three-dimensional as  those  condensed s h o r t - s t o r y  Mrs.  Fullerton;  the  form the  nevertheless, is  unerring.  husband's d e p a r t u r e  and  a  eccentric into a  i n d i v i d u a l w i t h hopes and  s h a r e d by  for  more t h a n s u g g e s t  F u l l e r t o n develops from  two-dimensional neighborhood  kinship,  respect  necessary d e t a i l  s t o r y of her  to r e t u r n ,  p a r t l y on  room t o do  bond between t h e 1  a complex f e e l i n g o f  young c o u p l e s  dreams as  scheming to  valid  displace  her. Similarly, both the  s e t t i n g and bias  rather  Not  mother's s t o r i e s d e v e l o p  only of  do  the  than Canadian h i s t o r y , but  child's stops  theme.  of Canadian s c h o o l s  references  to the  telling  stories,  them, j u s t as  crochets.  Like  of mourning, the storytelling d e a t h by  the  the she  they a c c u r a t e l y period  and  the  afghan's purple  silenced storyteller  mother r e c a l l s  continuing  to t e l l  suggest—through queen—the  When t h e  assumes t h a t  forgets  reflect  British,  beheaded  with death.  child  for  they a l s o  murdered p r i n c e s  growing preoccupation  forgotten she  i n "Images", t h e  she  mother has  afghan squares s q u a r e s , the  implies  S c h e h e r e z a d e , who  death;  which  colour the  postponed  her  stories:  S c h e h e r e z a d e must go on t e l l i n g s t o r i e s — s t o r i e s t h a t compel t h e l i s t e n e r — o r t h a t same mad and sane l i s t e n e r , t h a t k i n g , h e r h u s b a n d , w i l l p u t her to d e a t h . She must i n v e n t life,  literally, Linking  by t e l l i n g  stories. 9  t h e mother i n "Images" t o S c h e h e r e z a d e  depend on Munro's c o n s c i o u s i n t e n t i o n .  between t h e i n d i v i d u a l  a whole;  the i m p l i c a t i o n s  relevance to l i f e , tradition:  literary  "Literary  l e a d s back  work and  shape  from r e l a t i o n  c a n n o t come f r o m  to  has  and  literature  of a s t o r y d e r i v e not  but r a t h e r  not  As N o r t h r o p F r y e  shown, t h e p r o c e s s o f r e a d i n g i n e v i t a b l y forth  need  as  from literary  life,  i t comes ,. 10  only  from  literary  Nevertheless, literature.  tradition,  and  so u l t i m a t e l y  from  t h e s e a r c h f o r meaning i s n o t c o n f i n e d By w r i t i n g  from the v i e w p o i n t o f a  myth". to  reflective  narrator  l o o k i n g back  familiar  e x p e r i e n c e o f a t t e m p t i n g t o see meaning i n one's  life.  Munro does  situations  and  on h e r p a s t , Munro c o n v e y s  n o t so much c r e a t e  p l a c e s who 11  minds o f t h e r e a d e r " , inside at  the n a r r a t i v e  Munro's t o t a l  gift  she has  association, understands  and  people,  i n t h e h e a r t s and  as she c r e a t e s a s e n s e o f b e i n g consciousness.  recall  way  invented a kind she  misunderstands reacting  Whereas c r i t i c s  of the p a s t , they o f t e n  through which  shows t h e c h i l d that  come t o l i f e  f o r evoking a c h i l d ' s  purpose  "real  the  of p e r c e i v i n g .  o v e r l o o k her For  of shorthand based s u g g e s t s how i t s world.  the  marvel  this on  word  child  R e p e a t e d l y , Munro  t o language, h e a r i n g i n i t nuances  the a d u l t misses or tunes out through f a m i l i a r i t y : She spoke o f h e r s e l f g l o o m i l y i n t h e t h i r d p e r s o n , s a y i n g , "Be c a r e f u l , d o n ' t h u r t M o t h e r , d o n ' t s i t on M o t h e r ' s l e g s . " E v e r y t i m e she  18 s a i d Mother I f e l t c h i l l e d , and a k i n d o f w r e t c h e d n e s s and shame s p r e a d t h r o u g h me as i t d i d a t t h e name o f J e s u s . T h i s Mother t h a t my own r e a l , warm-necked i r r a s c i b l e and c o m f o r t i n g human mother s e t up between us was an e v e r l a s t i n g l y wounded phantom, s o r r o w i n g l i k e Him o v e r a l l t h e w i c k e d n e s s I d i d n o t y e t know I w o u l d commit, (p. 33)  By d i s c u s s i n g  n u a n c e s o f meaning s u g g e s t e d  "Mother", Munro makes t h e c h i l d ' s and  guilt  distinct  Critics use  s u c h as H e l e n  of paradox  mysterious story  f o r the  and  and  of  Hoy  have examined A l i c e  The  texture of  expresses  s u r f a c e of Miss music  life.  M a r s a l l e s ' music  222),  the f a c e s of the Misses M a r s a l l e s are  is  "poetically  contention is  ugly"  that  not merely  The  title  by  which the r e t a r d e d Delores  produces  and  the  recital  so b e a u t i f u l l y  (p. 2 1 4 ) ,  Munro's  the e x t r a o r d i n a r y beneath  plays  grotesque"  estrangement  reader.  contradictory  o f oxymorons.  feelings  t h e word,  oxymorons i n o r d e r t o e x p r e s s  in particular  ordinary  by  "unemotional  their  (p. 2 1 3 ) .  Munro's l i n k i n g  a q u i r k of style>  Boyle  "kindly  T h e s e examples of  means  happiness"  o l d f a m i l y home i n  linguistic  but r e f l e c t s  the  (p.  and  Rosedale  s u p p o r t Hoy's incongruities  her  double 19  vision  of r e a l i t y ,  Another link  a t once o r d i n a r y and e x t r a o r d i n a r y  rhetorical  device  i s zeugma, t h e r e p e t i t i o n  following narrator afghan  of  "Images" s a y s t h a t  a l l her  meaning.  h e r mother f o r g o t  adds i n t h e n e x t  stories,  structural  o f t h e same v e r b i n a  sentence, but w i t h a d i f f e r e n t  s q u a r e s , and  forgotten  w h i c h a c t s as a  t h e two  sentence  When t h e about  that  she  meanings o f t h e v e r b  her had are  19  not  really  the  bedcovers, Not  same: t h e  while  the  squares  stories  cannot  o n l y does t h e r e p e t i t i o n  memories, b u t  also  mind a t t e m p t i n g mother, but  i t strengthens  to understand  in interpreting  distrust  h a b i t o f mind.  and  she  effect,  Office",  for similar  reasons.  w i t h w r i t e r s as  i d e a s o f how  l e w d n e s s had  (p.  67).  of a  her of  Similarly,  the  links  is itself  Mr.  Although  As  he has  died.  has  no  "Images", a s k i n g Mary t o r u b h e r  previous  "Writing  i n h i s mind"  does n o t  reason  association. used  as t h e medium o f thinking.  b a c k , t h e mother  literally,  i s t h e c h i l d ' s v i e w o f what i s h a p p e n i n g .  shows how  the  literal  anxiety i s distorting  exaggerating of  the c h i l d ' s  t h e d a n g e r she  situation  back"  response her  feels  (p. 3 3 ) .  says,  dying  on  my  In  "Mary, I'm  focusing  the  preconceived  connection  of confused  to rub  Mary's  the n a r r a t o r says,  ideas through  f o r you  cause  Malley misunderstands  i n "Images", he  a source  her  memory o f  grandfather  a vague d e l i c i o u s  L i k e the c h i l d but  child's  young t o comprehend  L a n g u a g e , t h e n , w h i c h must be thought,  illusion  t e n a n t s , he  w r i t e r s behave.  and  logically,  the  f e a r s Mary b e c a u s e o f h e r  i n "The  experience  the n a r r a t o r ' s s c a t t e r e d  language.  Too  the  t o mind.  what i s h a p p e n i n g t o  i n t h e house when h e r  Again, narrator  recalled  o f Mary McQuade i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h  associative  presence  unify  be  d r a w i n g wrong c o n c l u s i o n s as a r e s u l t  inexperience child's  l i e n e g l e c t e d among  By  to language,  perception  surrounding  i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h Bruno  This,  Munro  and her.  Her  Bettelheim's  view  20 account of  the  way  young c h i l d r e n see  their  world:  A young c h i l d ' s mind c o n t a i n s a r a p i d l y e x p a n d i n g c o l l e c t i o n o f o f t e n i l l - a s s o r t e d and o n l y p a r t i a l l y i n t e g r a t e d i m p r e s s i o n s : some c o r r e c t l y s e e n a s p e c t s o f r e a l i t y , b u t many more e l e m e n t s c o m p l e t e l y d o m i n a t e d by fantasy. F a n t a s y f i l l s t h e huge gaps i n a c h i l d ' s u n d e r s t a n d i n g w h i c h a r e due t o t h e i m m a t u r i t y o f h i s t h i n k i n g and h i s l a c k o f p e r t i n e n t i n f o r m a t i o n . 13  The  fantasy  which the  child  confusion  of  concocted  f r o m a medley o f  adhering  l a n g u a g e and  strictly  t o any  McQuade, whose p r e s e n c e its  occupants,  series happy  of  and  trials  i n "Images" i n v e n t s  direct  experience  familiar  one  plot.  i n the  a journey  fairy  out  is a fairy  tales,  I t has  of  but  tale  not  a giantess,  household casts  the  a spell  Mary over  t h r o u g h a d a r k wood, where a  s u c c e s s f u l l y undergone  leads  t o an  eventual  outcome. Mary McQuade, t h e  big  b u l l y i n g a d u l t who  the  child  her  father.  because  and  her The  size  (p. 3 1 ) ,  an  disaster, playing  large,  well  The  looming  the  she  In h e r  the  jokes  narrator  Mary's body, e n l a r g i n g  deathlike on  the  focusing  and  enlarges  child  Mary's  white uniform gloomy as  an  and  size  at  the iceberg"  death through the  Titanic  coldness  Later,  of  ice.  f a t h e r , Mary s w e l l s  accentuates  f i g u r e by  between t h e  i s " b i g and with  the  h o u s e h o l d , comes between  later,  associated as  i s power p e r s o n i f i e d :  constantly  power.  bedside,  practical  bullfrog.  narrator  object  as  enters  m o t h e r , and  implies  grandfather's  giantess,  the on  distorting  impression  separate  up of  parts  them u n t i l  her  like a  of legs,  a  21 rising  o u t o f a b a s i n o f h o t w a t e r , become "round  drainpipes"  (p. 3 2 ) , and  kitchen wall:  "My  father  as  her  head c a s t s a huge shadow on  and  Mary McQuade t h r e w  gigantic  shadows, whose heads wagged c l u m s i l y w i t h t h e i r  talk  laughing"  Mary's  spell,  (p. 3 5 ) .  the  B e c a u s e he  father's  head a p p e a r s accomplice,  next  to h e r s , the  joining  magic by  as  the  eaten  presence as  o f duped f a i r y - t a l e  whose e v i l  Snow W h i t e ' s w i c k e d  o f a w i t c h by  the  a p p l e , Mary McQuade's  The  to  the c h i l d  silly  o d o u r , and  know what i t i s a man Mary's d u p l i c i t y  fairy-tale  witches.  i s convinced  her  child  when she  the  sinister  recognizes  the  of the food, The  The  that  suppressed  nurse-confidante  mentions  telling  ought t o e a t ! "  child  (p.  familiar  doubts  Astutely, reasons  The  Mary's  she  her,  endorses "Mary,  34).  characteristic  e v e r y t h i n g Mary  t h o u g h Mary p r e t e n d s  i n t e n d s t o harm. own  diet,  to help,  realizes  that,  that  " I f she  of  says.  she  f o r adopting the r o l e  t o t h e f a m i l y , and  as  spellbound  father wholeheartedly  i s another  black  prepares, but a l s o a l l  strange taste  t h e c h a n g e s Mary makes i n t h e i r  has  works h e r  however, a r e unaware o f what i s h a p p e n i n g .  characteristic  really  stepmother  n o t o n l y t h e f o o d she  i n her presence.  mother c a l l s  She  fathers  powers a r e o b v i o u s  the s t r a n g e s m e l l i n the house.  parents,  you  When h i s enormous  f a t h e r becomes Mary's  legion  means o f a p o i s o n e d  power a l t e r s  well  under  and  daughters. Just  food  fallen  shadow e n l a r g e s t o o .  m i s l e d by w i t c h - s t e p m o t h e r s their  has  the  had  Mary of never  22  come my If  mother would n e v e r  Mary had  n o t been a v a i l a b l e  t h e mother m i g h t i n d e e d succumbing  to her  supernatural  t o work h a n d i n g obedience  and  way  and up  out  not  captured  u s i n g her w i t s  As  she  The  (p.  ploy  on,  before  through  The  f o r c e s her o f f  motif of  is familiar  attempt  puts  in fairy  tales  When t h e  the p r e v i o u s  to break f r e e  the c h i l d  sees  Mary as h e r  t h e more t h e c h i l d  witchlike.  Although  supernatural, conception  summer,  the n a r r a t o r never  of her  as a w i t c h ;  much o f t h e  however, she  i s not  retell  any  (p.  her  as  by  inhuman  i s never  t h e r e f o r e , these  p r e s e n t d u r i n g the  particular  of  From  child  and  unequivocally childish fairy-tale  characterization.  Mary i s a c e n t r a l  section  30).  every  r e p u d i a t e s the  t o Mary's  story,  which forms the middle does not  sees  she  spell.  more Mary f o r c e s t h e  Mary's b e h a v i o u r  elements remain attached For  The  adversary:  only  child  a d m i t remembering h e r .  becomes a c o n t e s t .  to submit,  the  of the  b e c a u s e Mary c o u n t e r s  t o make t h e c h i l d  her  outward  Traditionally,  i s to outwit her.  i n her  her  t h e y a r d , where she  by w i t c h e s .  seems e f f e c t i v e ,  encounter  33).  household,  e x p l a i n s , " I t seemed t h e w i s e s t t h i n g t o do"  attempting then  into  t o remember Mary f r o m  is  the  o b e y s Mary, who  clothespins.  t o overcome a w i t c h  pretends  always p r e v a i l  inner r e b e l l i o n  about c h i l d r e n  to take over  bed"  illness.  power, t h e c h i l d  m o t h e r ' s bed  to her  have s t r u g g l e d l o n g e r  Because a w i t c h can  her  have t a k e n  fairy-tale  "Images".  tale,  character;  she  uses  journey  Although elements  Munro  23  common t o many f a i r y  tales:  the s e t t i n g  sudden a p p e a r a n c e o f a t h r e a t e n i n g sinister child  dwelling.  returns  fearing  the journey's  when t h e  she has s t o p p e d  fairy-tale  elements, the  may a l s o i n t e r p r e t i t a s t h e f a t h e r d o e s , a s a w a l k  n e i g h b o u r and v i s i t The  double focus  the  pattern  an e n c o u n t e r w i t h to the c e l l a r  which enables  truth—Munro's  nearest  fuller see the remains  to bring not greater c e r t a i n t y The c h a r a c t e r s whose  I n DANCE, Munro a s s i g n s  to c h i l d r e n or the innocent  old, like  penetrating  Miss  blessing  Marsalles  s t o r y , who i s n o t s u r p r i s e d when one o f h e r  students  saintly  who g e t  simplicity  p r o v e s t o be a t a l e n t e d  musician:  But i t seems t h a t t h e g i r l ' s p l a y i n g l i k e i s s o m e t h i n g she a l w a y s e x p e c t e d , and she f i n d s i t n a t u r a l and s a t i s f y i n g , (p. 223) The  Unlike  i n A BIRD IN THE  suggest t h a t t r u t h always  i s likely  vision.  into  her to f i n a l l y  awareness o f c o m p l e x i t y .  their  the t i t l e  retarded  maturing  the t r u t h a r e f r e q u e n t l y those  clarifies insight  stories  Maturity  greater  o f h i s b u r n e d - o u t home.  t h a t M a r g a r e t L a u r e n c e employs  understanding  elusive.  an e c c e n t r i c  p e r s i s t s t o t h e end o f t h e s t o r y .  HOUSE—that of a protagonist  in  that  to a  Mary.  around h i s t r a p l i n e ,  but  f i g u r e and t h e v i s i t  A t t h e end o f t h e j o u r n e y ,  home, she d i s c o v e r s  Disregarding reader  i n a wood, t h e  Miss M a r s a l l e s  w h i c h may c r o p  accepts  this  t a l e n t as a m y s t e r i o u s  up anywhere.  I t i s the middle-class  24  m o t h e r s i n t h e a u d i e n c e who a r e d i s t u r b e d between t h e young p i a n i s t ' s musical  ability.  confounds  mental  Appropriately  enough, t h e p i a n o s o l o  o f Orpheus and E u r y d i c e .  Happy Shades o c c u r s i n t h e s e c o n d Orpheo h a s s u c c e e d e d t h e sweetness  By c h o o s i n g t h i s  Elysian  that  a c t of the opera  the sympathies  after  of the Furies  and t h e y have p e r m i t t e d him  girl's  t h e young p i a n i s t  recital  and M i s s  of the blessed  spirits  of the  Fields. classical  allusions  where t h e y a r e combined  a l s o appear  w i t h elements  t h e l a d y o f romance, t h e c h i l d  knight  based  The Dance o f t h e  f o r the retarded  share the s e r e n i t y  Other  Like  which  of the Blest:  selection  Munro i m p l i e s  Marsalles  i n winning  o f h i s music,  to enter the V a l l e y  piece,  h a n d i c a p and h e r s u p e r i o r  t h e a u d i e n c e i s f r o m G l u c k ' s o p e r a , ORPHEO,  on t h e s t o r y  by  by t h e d i s c r e p a n c y  (father).  underground  Later,  to t h e Underworld the c h i l d  by e a t i n g  candies that  Phippen h i m s e l f J o r d a n evokes the Underworld  by h e r  who bound  pomegranate s e e d s .  "had a t a s t e o f n a i l s "  heroes  romance.  t o Joe Phippen's  Persephone,  suggests Pluto,  classical  of medieval  i s protected  i n the v i s i t  home, she r e c a l l s  i n "Images",  herself  Joe gives (p. 4 1 ) . Joe  K i n g o f Hades, and Ben like  on r e s c u e m i s s i o n s .  Orpheus, Even  who d e s c e n d t o  Joe's c a t i s a  25 comic of  version  o f C e r b e r u s , t h e t h r e e - h e a d e d dog  Hades. Another  link  "Images", l i e s taking after  between c l a s s i c a l  being carried  she has  that seen  living  t i m e and by  knight's  she  s e e s now  of the t i t l e  story  "the o t h e r c o u n t r y "  j o u r n e y has  as i f i t were"  are the f a m i l i a r own  house.  i s beyond  (p. 2 2 4 ) ,  pity  the c h i l d  p l a n e from her everyday served i t s r i t u a l  trial  through adventure,  ideal  existence". ^  been c o n q u e r e d underground  "the r e a l  Accordingly,  house,  Undoubtedly,  has  claim  romance and  classical  safe return  the  the  Even  story.  along  symbolic  supports a  concluding  paragraph,  and  as i t s u p p o r t s a  aura around  f r o m Munro's u s e o f  the t i t l e ,  lines,  just  from,  rebirth.  o f "Images" a l s o  patterns  adds f u r t h e r  "our f e a r s  fairy-tale, dimensions  statement  are based  rather  both  "Images", e n c o u r a g e s  the strong  she  has  o f Mary McQuade as b o s s y s p i n s t e r  results  that  her f e a r of death  common-sense v i e w  c h a r a c t e r s which  the  to provide a  the c h i l d ' s  t o , and  the s u p e r n a t u r a l  she  been  like  o f Joe Phippen,  But  as  because  common-sense v i e w  than w i t c h .  Just  one.  purpose:  a metaphor o f d e a t h and the t e x t  ones  meaning o f t h e k n i g h t ' s  Mary i s b e l i e v a b l e ; by h e r v i s i t  wakens  i s astonished to  j o u r n e y i n m e d i e v a l romance, i t was  longer fears  the journey i n  When t h e c h i l d  f r o m t h e windows o f t h e i r  on a d i f f e r e n t  The  space.  her f a t h e r ,  t h e woods she  Miss M a r s a l l e s inhabits  myths and  i n i t s d r e a m l i k e atmosphere,  place outside  discover  no  a t the gates  to  speculation  i n the  on n o t h i n g b u t  26  the  truth"  and  realistic  not  deliberately,  motifs  (p. 4 3 ) ,  confirms  elements  the view t h a t both  are r e f l e c t i o n s  Alice  tales  to suggest  below the  s u r f a c e of o r d i n a r y l i f e .  about her  a r t , as  In  storyteller persuading  shown by  Ambivalent  a certain distrust  may  calls  attention  alter  the  h i s daughter  not  to t e l l  her  "After  'What a r e you  is  and  crucial  he  I said, to the  dangerous f i g u r e The able  them.  influence  over  of bats  t o a comic  of her  she  may  collection.  mother and  not  (p. 4 2 ) . i t out  In her  and  with going  possesses  Joe to  have t h e  i n danger.  the  l a d d e r was  him  to hide  man  shoot  Girls",  Laird her  f o r c e s him  urges  i d e a , but  an o l d h o r s e .  axe  from  a  him  he  but  up  is  also  to  the n a r r a t o r ' s  tells  him  at  by  the  bedtime.  to a c t out a r o l e the barn  of r e p o r t i n g to her  and  the  changes Joe  i s t o o young t o t e l l  i n the barn  mention  Obviously,  i s strengthened  s k e l e t o n s w h i c h she  thrill  Phippen:  c o n s i d e r a b l e power, and  younger b r o t h e r  she  Mary  one.  "Boys and  stories:  the  shows t h e f a t h e r  encounter  leaving  i s v e r y y o u n g , she  one  is  story;  axe'"  depths  of  language not o n l y t o d e s c r i b e events  influence  When he  'The  storyteller  t o use  tales  said,  the  feelings  first  t r u t h when she  of t h e i r  a while  If  t o the ease w i t h which  McQuade t h e w h o l e s t o r y  about?'  mysterious  are a l r e a d y e v i d e n t i n t h i s  "Images", she  truth.  Munro u n c o n s c i o u s l y e x p l o i t s  o f o l d myths and  storytelling,  of the  fairy-tale  l a d d e r so  parents  that  that  he  them t h a t c l i m b i n g  i s o l d e r when she  watch t h e i r  in  f a t h e r and  S i n c e the o l d e r s i s t e r  persuades the  hired  must r e l y  on  27  Laird's  p r o m i s e t o keep t h e s e c r e t ,  h e r power  diminishes  once L a i r d i s c a p a b l e o f p u t t i n g  the experience  In  to t e l l  fact, Laird's  growing p h y s i c a l he  nearly  Laird  growing a b i l i t y strength.  succeeds i n p h y s i c a l l y  when he t e l l s  allowed  the horse  and  Girls",  i s conceived  and  his sister  fall.  to escape.  estate,  i nthe  s h e opened t h e g a t e  Power, t h e theme o f "Boys  a s one r i s e s ,  the other  has c o n n o t a t i o n s o f power.  must  only  also  she t e l l s  behaviour.  escapes daring  tell  them t o h e r s e l f .  s t o r i e s to her brother, Her f a n t a s i e s  reveal  a t odds w i t h h e r b o s s y and b e l l i g e r e n t  Restless  increasing  struggle:  succeed.  does t h e n a r r a t o r  hopes and f e a r s  I t i s a name  t h e outcome o f t h e b r o t h e r - s i s t e r  male h e i r must Not  and f r u s t r a t e d by h e r m o t h e r ' s  p r e s s u r e on h e r t o h e l p  w i t h t h e housework, she  i n t o r o m a n t i c daydreams i n w h i c h she a c c o m p l i s h e s w a r t i m e r e s c u e s and f e a t s  riding.  Although these f a n t a s i e s  very banality resistance  i s poignant,  life.  read  of shooting  suggesting  the u n i v e r s a l  The daydreams a r e o b v i o u s l y  as a  girl:  and h o r s e b a c k  a r e commonplace, t h e i r  o f t h e young t o t h e c o n s t r a i n t s  American Western n o v e l s , well  his sister,  as a b a l a n c e w i t h L a i r d on one s i d e  on t h e o t h e r :  which f o r e t e l l s  adult  that  i n which  E v e n t h e b o y ' s name, L a i r d , meaning t h e p r o p r i e t o r o f  landed  but  a f t e r the f i g h t  overpowering  their father  and  the  p a r a l l e l sh i s  s u r p a s s e s h e r t o become t h e d o m i n a n t c h i l d  family  a  Shortly  i n t o words.  and r e p e t i t i o n o f  influenced  by  a g e n r e i n w h i c h Munro h e r s e l f was  28  I u s e d t o make up t h e s e s t o r i e s w h i c h were i m i t a t i o n s of things I read. I r e a d Zane G r e y and so I u s e d t o make up a l o t o f s t o r i e s i n w h i c h I was a s h o o t i n g f r o m t h e h i p w e s t e r n c o w g i r l and t h i n g s l i k e t h a t . 1 °  Just  a s Munro drew on h e r r e a d i n g , t h e n a r r a t o r o f "Boys and  Girls"  incorporates the v i c a r i o u s  books i n t o  her f a n t a s i e s ,  which p o s s i b i l i t i e s  experience  creating  lose  are l i m i t l e s s .  i n books, c o m p l e t e l y  c h a r a c t e r s . The h i s t o r i a n  he  lived  Moving from isa  the world of  difficult  f o r t h e n a r r a t o r , as i t i s f o r a l l c h i l d r e n  themselves  a prairie  from  an a l t e r n a t e w o r l d i n  i m a g i n a t i o n back t o t h e a c t u a l w o r l d adjustment  gained  youngster  i d e n t i f y i n g with the  W. L M o r t o n h a s d e s c r i b e d how, a s  who r e a d c o n s t a n t l y , he f e l t  i n two s e p a r a t e  who  as though  worlds:  Thus my a c t u a l l a n d s c a p e , t h e one my n e i g h b o u r s had made and worked i n w i t h a p p a r e n t c o n t e n t , and my l i t e r a r y l a n d s c a p e f r o m t h e banks and b r a e s o f B o n n i e Doon t o t h e l o n g b e a c h e s o f C o r a l I s l a n d , were i n c o n f l i c t . I had no s i n g l e v i s i o n f o r b o t h , b u t had t o r e f o c u s l i k e one p a s s i n g f r o m d a r k t o l i g h t . Nor was t h e c o n f l i c t t o c e a s e f o r many y e a r s . 1 ?  As  a child,  t h e n a r r a t o r o f "Boys and G i r l s "  same c o n f l i c t ;  experiences the  h e r r e a d i n g encourages h e r t o see h e r s e l f i n  roles  incompatible with  class  i n h e r time  life,  however, s h e u s e s h e r r e a d i n g t o h e l p h e r t o i n t e r p r e t  experience.  the l i m i t e d  future a g i r l  and p l a c e c a n r e a s o n a b l y  expect.  of her Later i n  She c a n compare h e r f a t h e r ' s a r r a n g e m e n t o f h i s  f o x pens t o a m e d i e v a l  town, and h i s s a t i s f a c t i o n  t h a t he  29  derives his  from  favourite  f a r m work book.  to h i s delight  i n ROBINSON CRUSOE,  To c o n v e y t h e f r u s t r a t i o n  an a d o l e s c e n t , t h e remembering n a r r a t o r connotations conflict  opposing  and s u b m i s s i v e  ponders the  thereby suggesting  the  s i d e s o f h e r n a t u r e , and t h e  f o r c e s of her s o c i e t y  agressive now  "girl",  as  between h e r vague l o n g i n g t o e x p r e s s b o t h t h e  dominating  has  o f t h e word,  she f e l t  e x p e c t i n g her to r e p r e s s her  t e n d e n c i e s and become p a s s i v e .  become a s o u r c e o f  Her d u a l  nature  guilt:  The word g i r l had f o r m e r l y seemed t o me i n n o c e n t and u n b u r d e n e d l i k e t h e word c h i l d ; now i t a p p e a r e d t h a t i t was no s u c h t h i n g . A girl was n o t , as I had s u p p o s e d , s i m p l y what I was; i t was what I had t o become, (p. 119)  The e r o s i o n o f t h e n a r r a t o r ' s  earlier  convincingly  over  by h e r u n e a s i n e s s  h e r g r a n d m o t h e r , she l e a r n s  that  sphere  i s limited  repetitive  t h e word,  a girl  g o o d - t e m p e r e d , modest and i n c u r i o u s her narrow sphere.  c o n f i d e n c e i s shown  must  "girl". be  about e v e r y t h i n g o u t s i d e  From h e r mother she l e a r n s t o t h e h o u s e , where  and u n i m p o r t a n t  she must  that her perform  work:  I t seemed t o me t h a t work i n t h e h o u s e was e n d l e s s , d r e a r y and p e c u l i a r l y d e p r e s s i n g ; work done o u t o f d o o r s , and i n my f a t h e r ' s s e r v i c e , was r i t u a l i s t i c a l l y i m p o r t a n t , (p. 117) Since  she r e s e n t s h e l p i n g h e r mother w i t h housework, she  wonders w h e t h e r she c a n c a l l  herself  From  a  girl.  The same n o t i o n o f a word a c q u i r i n g  such a heavy  30  b u r d e n o f meaning t h a t recurs  i n "The  difficult  to  the  Office".  s t a t e her  narrator  The  i s r e l u c t a n t t o use  writer-narrator  profession  simply  i t  finds i t  and  naturally:  But h e r e comes t h e d i s c l o s u r e w h i c h i s n o t e a s y f o r me: I am a w r i t e r . T h a t does n o t sound right. Too p r e s u m p t u o u s ; phony, o r a t l e a s t unconvincing. Try again. I write. Is t h a t better? I t r y to w r i t e . T h a t makes i t w o r s e . Hypocritical humility. W e l l t h e n ? (p. 59)  Like  the  word,"girl",  descriptive, be  a writer  but  writes  w e l l ; not  on  suggests  the  up  has  the  stories.  the  writes  his  i s not  the  i r o n y by  s t o r i e s are  one  but  merely  The  not  claim  only  i s published.  word, " w r i t e r " , the  By  Munro  fictionalizing  having  the  l a n d l o r d make  delusions,  t r u t h of a l l s t o r i e s ,  "Boys and  brackets  the  Girls",  a c t i o n of  the  s a l e s m a n , whose o p i n i o n r e p e a t e d by daughter's  the  the  "The  they r a i s e  O f f i c e " as  First  f a t h e r , whose o p i n i o n  self-esteem.  Repetition  r h e t o r i c a l device  unify  narrator's  "Thanks f o r t h e  story.  "only  i s unimportant,  favourite the  phrase,  a  much  l o v e l y f o r people  girl",  u s e d by i t is  o f a key  the  phrase  t o have t h i n g s " ( p .  to  the  Munro  to  theme.  "I always 50)  feed  phrase i s a  i n DANCE, e n a b l i n g  well,  the  finally  is crucial  memories t o f u r t h e r h e r  R i d e " as  to  writes  rest.  In  it's  well  nature of  extends the  doubts about the as  only  connotations of  Since  "writer",  declaration that  problematic  She  word,  become a n o r m a t i v e t e r m .  is a tacit  focusing  process.  but  the  In think  i s used  by  Lois's  mother f i r s t ,  narrator,  clothes  for  mocking had  having the  no  and  their  Lois  only-a-girl  his,  her  family  own  adventures  in  "Red  advice  fantasies  (p. 1 5 4 ) .  adjusts  her  casts  the  i s one the  the  the  childhood  brother,  full  characterized  she  the  which  loses  to  grows  of  her  power  and  heroic  central  role i s passive.  role,  Similarly,  protagonist  "Boys and  "Be  gay1  laughter Girls"  g r o w i n g up  acts  on  behaviour according  by  Let  the  boys  i n your may  be  read  as  female, i t s  from i t s c e n t r a l  r a n g e o f human p o s s i b i l i t y .  by  of  has  In c o n t r a s t  f a n t a s i e s from  extrapolations  i s characterized  who  w h i c h s u g g e s t s ways t o a t t r a c t  f r u s t r a t i o n of  restricting  however,  the  expectations  l e t them h e a r  are  Girls",  i n w h i c h she  As  slap  regrets  slaughter,  teen-age g i r l  Although  earns a  accepting  to her  male  r e a l i z e s that  h e r s e l f i n the  i n which her  implications that  later  through r i t u a l  i n w h i c h she  account of  denies  way  a d o p t i n g a s u i t a b l e manner:  feminist  is  she  your eyes s p a r k l e ,  concern  narrator  i n a magazine a r t i c l e  voice!"  who  "Boys and  awakening s e x u a l i t y .  Dress—1946",  b o y s by  narrator,  the  discussing  s t a n d a r d s , and  maturation process  her  by  vulgarity in  In  gives  again  h i s hands i s t a n g i b l e p r o o f .  self-confidence,  sexual  her  girl  She  up  pretensions,  weaker i n r e s p o n s e t o  and  to  The  h i s contempt.  label.  on  gradually  an  f o r her  manly s t r e n g t h  blood  see  cost.  s t o r y ends w i t h t h e  the  f o r her  r i g h t to b e l i t t l e  revealed  achieved  then picked  annoyed a t L o i s  her  he  and  to  gender  Whereas  a n d r o g y n o u s f r e e d o m , womanhood  l i m i t a t i o n s of being  female.  As  32  Helen remarks "without  t i m e and  therefore,  narrator  narrator  will  an  i m a g i n a r y freedom"  i s always  a fall  Girls",  expected be as  (p. 196);  from g r a c e .  to f e a r .  t o overcome h i s f e a r ,  expected  live  It is  as young c h i l d r e n ,  her b r o t h e r can admit  be  be d i s p l a y e d In  up  i n "Boys and  and  will  Peace o f U t r e c h t " , c h i l d r e n  i n perfect  growing  n o t a b l e how  Laird  i n "The  Later, just  the  last  the  to suppress her anger, which  l o n g as she was  a  paragraph  of  the  however,  as  could  child.  i n t e r v i e w p u b l i s h e d i n CHATELAINE, A l i c e  comments on  both  "Boys and  Munro  Girls":  W e l l , i t was i n t e n d e d t o c o n v e y t h e g i r l a c c e p t i n g her f e m i n i n i t y i n a l l i t s c o m p l e x i t y ; which i m p l i e s t h a t i f she's a g i r l , she's a l l o w e d t o p r o t e s t , h e r mind i s f r e e r t h a n i f she were a man. She d o e s n ' t have t o u n d e r g o t h e b r u t a l c o n d i t i o n i n g t h a t her b r o t h e r does. So t h e r e ' s a s o r t of irony t h e r e . "Oh, y o u ' r e o n l y a g i r l , " b u t maybe i t ' s b e t t e r t o be a g i r l i n t h e s e c i r c u m s t a n c e s . B u t . . . h e r p r o t e s t d o e s n ' t c o u n t , b e c a u s e she has no power. And i t ' s t h e l a c k o f power t h a t g i v e s her the freedom t o speak. I r e a l l y feel that, i n a l l c i v i l i z a t i o n s , probably the s l a v e s see t h i n g s most c l e a r l y . 1 °  In  "Boys and  problem forces  Girls",  the p o i n t  i s not r e s t r i c t e d  of view  to the female  b o t h b o y s and  girls  to conform  upon them by  their  culture  imposed  i s female, but  and  sex.  Growing  to separate encoded  the up  roles  i n the  language. The developed tell  interrelation i n "The  Fred Powell  of r e a l i t y  and  Peace o f U t r e c h t " . stories  of t h e i r  language  i s further  When H e l e n and  p a s t , t h e y use him  Maddy as a  33  buffer, truth  and  the  of t h e i r  stories  as a means o f a v o i d i n g f a c i n g  estrangement  from  each  the  other:  Maddy s u r p r i s e d me by b r i n g i n g him home t o s u p p e r t h e f i r s t n i g h t I was h e r e and t h e n we s p e n t t h e e v e n i n g , as we have s p e n t many s i n c e , making t h i s s t r a n g e man a p r e s e n t o f our childhood . . . (p. 193)  Their  stories  are not designed  to repossess the p a s t , but  make remembering b e a r a b l e by c o n c e n t r a t i n g on amusing r e c o l l e c t i o n s . Alva  "Sunday  p l e a s a n t or  I t i s t h e same i m p u l s e  t o w r i t e so r e s o l u t e l y  cheerful  a letter  to  which  prompts  home i n  Afternoon":  Don't w o r r y a b o u t me b e i n g lonesome and d o w n t r o d d e n and a l l t h a t maid s o r t o f t h i n g . I w o u l d n ' t l e t anybody g e t away w i t h a n y t h i n g l i k e that. B e s i d e s I'm n o t a maid r e a l l y , i t ' s j u s t f o r t h e summer. I d o n ' t f e e l l o n e s o m e , why s h o u l d I? I j u s t o b s e r v e and am i n t e r e s t e d . ( p . 167) The in  gap  between A l v a ' s  the Gannett  irony  she  realizes  exploits  class her  household  of the audience  herself  letter  that  the n a r r a t i v e  of her  life  which frames i t i s not  simply  the  knowing more t h a t the Gannetts  above h e r own,  advantage.  The  purpose  partly  to convince h e r s e l f  of Alva's  h e r mother f r o m  a l l o w i n g the Gannetts similarity  that  to t r e a t  letter,  spoiling  she  has  her  her,  later  but  put  these plans,  n o t demeaned  and  to  then, i s  as a s e r v a n t .  between s t o r y t e l l i n g  Alva  t h e manners o f a  i n f o r m a t i o n w h i c h she may  to prevent  The  the c h a r a c t e r .  are e x p l o i t i n g  them t o o i n o r d e r t o l e a r n  partly  by  and  lying,  and  herself  34  approached directly  indirectly  i n "The  Fred's a t t i t u d e  in  Peace  "Sunday A f t e r n o o n " , i s d i s c u s s e d  o f U t r e c h t " , when H e l e n  to the s t o r i e s  recalls  she and h e r s i s t e r  tell  him:  "You g i r l s have g o t good memories," F r e d P o w e l l s a y s , and s i t s w a t c h i n g us w i t h an a i r o f a d m i r a t i o n and s o m e t h i n g e l s e — r e s e r v e , e m b a r r a s s m e n t , d e p r e c a t i o n — w h i c h a p p e a r s on t h e f a c e s o f t h e s e m i l d d e l i b e r a t e p e o p l e as t h e y watch the keyed-up a n t i c s of t h e i r e n t e r t a i n e r s , (p. 193)  Amused, b u t w i t h r e s e r v a t i o n s , conservatism who  of t h e i r  draw a t t e n t i o n  outward  Fred t y p i f i e s  s o c i e t y , which  suspects  form o f i n n e r  strength.  The  storytellers,  i n t h e town. H e l e n has  t w e n t y - f i v e hundred  miles f o r t h i s v i s i t ,  living  town where she grew up,  i n the s m a l l  i s her o n l y r e a l  friend.  r e l a t i o n s h i s h i p w i t h him he a l o n e s p e a k s  The  Mother used  Peace  as she  linked  whose i l l n e s s  conspicuous too. appearance  declares  later,  Similarly, who  i n "The  that  calls  of Utrecht".  so c o n s p i c u o u s t h a t  o f t h e o l d man  that  does.  The  anger  phrase, her  t h e mere m e n t i o n she u s e d  through the p o s s e s s i v e pronoun was  and  Maddy, d e s p i t e  stories,  "your m o t h e r " re-awakens t h e r e s e n t m e n t being  and  H e l e n o f t h e shame and  to cause her. Years  an  travelled  1  i n "The  "your m o t h e r " r e m i n d s  Maddy  i s e x p r e s s e d by M a d d y s s a y i n g  t h e same l a n g u a g e  to i t s e l f  as  s t r e n g t h of her  L a n g u a g e , t h e medium f o r t e l l i n g attention  individuals  t o t h e m s e l v e s , and v a l u e s r e t i c e n c e  Helen, are o u t s i d e r s  Fred  the  to f e e l  at  t o a mother  i t made h e r  daughters  Time o f D e a t h " ,  comes a r o u n d  of  to  sharpen  the  35  scissors brother linked  releases  P a t r i c i a ' s unexpressed  Benny's d e a t h . through  The  language  b e e n one  scissors  because  man  had  "The  Peace o f U t r e c h t " t o o , the n a r r a t o r  she  feels  H e a r i n g her reproached  up  life  beyond  Benny were  words Benny c o u l d s p e a k .  f o r having escaped sick  mother.  In  i s sensitive  s i s t e r speaking w i t h the  Maddy assumed f o r t h e i r a  and  her  "Bram", Benny's name f o r  him,  language.  o f t h e few  g r i e f over  to  local  accent  the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s  Maddy's l o s t hopes f o r  t h e c o n f i n e s o f t h e s m a l l town where t h e y grew  are suggested  by  the  loss  of the educated  a c c e n t she  once  cultivated. When Maddy and  t h e n a r r a t o r were y o u n g , t h e y e a s e d  pain of being m i s f i t s burden "Our  o f w a i t i n g on  G o t h i c Mother"  father  by m i m i c i n g  the  t h e i r mother by (p. 1 9 5 ) .  l o c a l accent,  i n "Walker B r o t h e r s Cowboy", t u r n s t h e  c i r c u m s t a n c e s o f h i s j o b as d o o r - t o - d o o r anecdotes  and  everything  songs:  from  "And  corns  into vaudeville  courage  reassures his family.  like  a f a i l u r e , he  former or  girlfriend.  salesman,  he  e x p e r i e n c e and family  and  salesman;  Not  Jordan  o f h i s own  own  a  sympathetic as f o x  farmer  dramatizes h i s  p r e s e n t s i t t o an a u d i e n c e  i s the hero  oils,/For  S i n c e he r e f u s e s t o a c t  manque who  Ben  the  into  renews h i s  c o n t a i n e d by h i s r o l e s  friends.  into  Transforming  f o r e s t a l l s p i t y even from  i s an a r t i s t  close he  comedy, he  the  unhappy  salesman  (p. 4 ) .  humiliation and  Ben,  have a l l l i n a m e n t s and  to b o i l s "  and  t r a n s f o r m i n g her  In t h e same way,  the  composed o f h i s  i s more t h a n  life-story.  a  36  "Walker B r o t h e r ' s Munro's f i r s t between r e a l when t h e is  narrator the  well-meaning the  collection life  s t r u c k by  dying  Cowboy" i s n o t  and  In  a dying  theatricality  teacher  child,  has  and,  celebration i s missing,  narrator one  of  as  the  i s hollow.  to the  heart"  Myra, who 110),  was  As  memory—the friend.  always  i n t o Myra's world"  She she  calls  their  calls  the  back t o  girl  who  ending of  died  the  the  "the  did  girls (p.  unusual a  nurse  cannot  ether-smelling  a t t e n t i o n to the  enter  hospital  l i m i t a t i o n s of  subjectivity. "The  Peace of  Utrecht"  too,  not  treachery  young—than  she  the  importance  popular  an  a  the  choose  senses t h a t  s t o r y , the  that  in  moment  f o r legendary uses" more as  a  of  t o h e r s e l f , she  preferred  "unknown, e x a l t e d ,  Throughout  for  s i n g l e s out  her  acknowledges  Helen's r e a l i z a t i o n  (p. 1 1 0 ) ,  party  succeeds  when she  n a r r a t o r , who  words, s i g n i f i c a n t  f o r e i g n e r , the  and  and  "set apart  Moreover, the  returning  out  ritual  sick g i r l ,  Helen admits  (p. 110);  i n other  the  i n e v i t a b l y over-emphasizes  r e t u r n Myra's a f f e c t i o n . own  play  she  A  f o r h e r s e l f ; however, e v e n t h i s  artificial  o f Myra's a c t i o n .  my  and  Myra, t h e  special friend  deathbed o c c a s i o n  occasion.  girls  spontaneous gesture  her  the B u t t e r f l y " ,  joy which i s u s u a l l y a s s o c i a t e d with  presents  seems o d d l y  the  a l t h o u g h the  birthday  only  of  resemblance  c o n t r i v e d a mock b i r t h d a y  parts,  making t h e  "Day  story i n  schoolmate i n h o s p i t a l ,  of  assigned  gift-giving  the  only  which suggests the  theatre.  visits  the  narrator  to  of  37  confronts and  the l i m i t a t i o n s  her s i s t e r  evasions  of her subjective viewpoint.  are unable  She  t o overcome t h e f a l s e h o o d s and  w h i c h t h e y have i n c o r p o r a t e d i n t o  their  s t o r i e s of  the p a s t ,  " t h a t v e r s i o n o f our c h i l d h o o d which i s s a f e l y  preserved  i n a n e c d o t e , as i n a k i n d o f m e n t a l  (p.  1 9 3 ) . The p r o p e r t i e s o f c e l l o p h a n e ,  coupled  with  extended serve over  raspberries.  The image i s  w h i c h Maddy p l a n s  t o use t o  By r e f u s i n g t o a c k n o w l e d g e h e r g u i l t  her mother's death,  after  make i t an a p t  between t h e s i s t e r s .  by t h e c u t - g l a s s bowl  as g l a s s .  transparency  s t r e n g t h and i m p e r m e a b i l i t y ,  image f o r t h e b a r r i e r  cellophane"  Finally,  Maddy h e r s e l f  h a s become a s b r i t t l e  t h e bowl s h a t t e r s on t h e k i t c h e n  s h e a d m i t s t h a t she s a c r i f i c e d  floor  h e r mother's wish t o  r e m a i n a t home t o h e r own o v e r w h e l m i n g d e s i r e t o b r e a k of (p.  her:  "'I couldn't  210). Having confessed  succeed  bowls. life"  " I ' v e g o t a whole s h e l f  are doubtful  full  of glass  I ' v e g o t enough g l a s s b o w l s t o do me t h e r e s t ( p . 210) .  One moment o f s e l f - r e v e l a t i o n ,  g l a s s b o w l s seems t o i m p l y ,  i s not s u f f i c i e n t  Nevertheless, occasion  the breaking  f o r Helen  Fragmentation, wholeness.  over  o f my  so t h e s h e l f t o overcome  lifetime.  o f t h e g l a s s bowl p r o v i d e s t h e  t o urge her s i s t e r  then,  a  life'"  Maddy may  but her prospects  a burden o f remorse accumulated  of  'I wanted my  her s e l f i s h n e s s ,  i n making a new l i f e ,  when, a s she s a y s ,  of  go o n , ' s h e s a i d .  free  to forget the past.  perhaps i m p l i e s the p o s s i b i l i t y o f  Significantly  enough, f r a g m e n t a t i o n  dismemberment i s t h e f a t e  of  i n t h e form  Orpheus i n t h e myth w h i c h  38 loosely by  the  structures  DANCE.  Orpheus i s e v e n t u a l l y  Maenads, h i s head t h r o w n i n t o t h e  the  r e s t of  the  Muses.  h i s body b u r i e d  at  the  river  torn  apart  Hebrus  f o o t o f Mt.  and  Olympus  by  T h r o u g h o u t DANCE, Munro c o n s i s t e n t l y embeds s t o r i e s within  the  text.  listen  t o and  storytelling  From i n f a n c y  tell  stories.  counters  the  s m a l l - t o w n and  stories  more e x o t i c  in  this milieu.  rather well  as  elements of  provide a  larger  protagonists.  and  of  since  the  too,  Moreover, the  medieval  with personal  her  child's fears  imagination  has  imaginary ordeals,  fed she  on  are  would  expect  European  f a i r y - s t o r y motifs,  romance and  frame f o r t h e  and  embedded  t h e i r o r i g i n s are  classical  of  temporarily  s t o r i e s , by  ultimately  child  Munro's t e c h n i q u e  experience u n t i l  as  myth,  everyday experience of  a t m o s p h e r e c h a n g e s , b e c o m i n g m y s t e r i o u s and A l t h o u g h the  narrators  drab  s u r p r i s i n g t h a n one  "Images" i s t y p i c a l  weaving f a n t a s y  surface  rural life  Frequently  than Canadian.  these  This c h a r a c t e r i s t i c  realistic  predictable are  t o o l d age,  of  the  menacing. increased  passing  because  through  becomes s t r o n g e r  and  more  self-assured. As stories  adolescents, as  models:  t h e m s e l v e s , and themselves.  the  stories influence  a l s o determine the  Unfortunately,  suggesting p o s s i b i l i t i e s fantasy,  and  female p r o t a g o n i s t s  lead  the  future  s t o r i e s may  which can  way  only  to d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t  and  of  DANCE  they  use  see  they imagine  t a n t a l i z e them be  realized in  a retreat  from  for by  39  action  into  With whatever  the p a s s i v i t y  the p a s s i n g of time, lies  protagonists  of  like  for  past l i v e s  ( p.  blind,  language.  Certain  and  197),  and  the t r u t h .  turn  and  with  emotive  as w e l l  "your  the c o n t r o l l e r  phrases  reveal  problems  In "The  "a l i t t l e  b l i n d window o f c o l o u r e d  The  Peace o f U t r e c h t " ,  the c o n t r a d i c t i o n s w i t h i n strain  sister  in pairing  the  the s t r a i n  t r y to t a l k  as d e s c r i p t i v e rather  the  adjective, Helen  together.  Words  p r o p e r t i e s make i t sometimes  words as t h e y must, b u t Helen  as i s  Language's  than the v e h i c l e of thought.  by w o r d s — a s  in  mysterious  mother" i n t h e same s t o r y .  manipulate  manipulated  These  i n t o charms w h i c h evoke s t r o n g f e e l i n g ,  t h e way  narrators  her  stories  i n DANCE a r e r e f l e c t e d  w i t h t h e noun, window, r e f l e c t s  f e e l s when she  Older  paradox.  suggests  relationship.  also  fixed;  Peace o f U t r e c h t " , a r e  w h i c h Munro r a i s e s  of ambiguity  sisters'  may  i n "The  example, t h e p h r a s e  glass"  become more  aware o f t h e d i v e r g e n c e between t h e  storytelling  depths  Helen  of t h e i r  problems of  stories  they c o n t a i n a c q u i r e a spurious t r u t h .  uncomfortably they t e l l  o f daydreams.  i s i n "The  Munro's  they are  also  Peace o f U t r e c h t " ,  when Maddy h o l d s h e r a t a d i s t a n c e by c o n f i n i n g c o n v e r s a t i o n to  anecdotes  an  outsider.  about  Storytellers  the past which are s u i t a b l e  are noteworthy  to share  with  i n DANCE, where t h e y f o r m  sub-class  o f o u t s i d e r s who  reject,  o r a r e r e j e c t e d by,  society.  G e n e r a l l y they are female,  a l t h o u g h Ben  "Walker B r o t h e r s Cowboy" i s a s i g n i f i c a n t  their  Jordan i n  exception.  a  40  Frequently,  they express  storytelling, experience between to  and  into  admit  stories.  storytelling  draw i t .  and  ambivalent  feelings  about  their  to uneasiness over t r a n s f o r m i n g They b e l i e v e a l i n e lying,  should  but they are not  exist  s u r e where  AH  Notes 1 A l i c e Munro, DANCE OF THE HAPPY SHADES ( T o r o n t o : M c G r a w - H i l l R y e r s o n , 1968) . S u b s e q u e n t r e f e r e n c e s a p p e a r i n the t e x t . 2 A l i c e Munro, "The C o l o n e l ' s Hash R e s e t t l e d , " i n THE NARRATIVE VOICE, e d . J o h n M e t c a l f e ( T o r o n t o : U n i v . o f T o r o n t o P r e s s , 1 9 7 2 ) , p. 182. 3 A n n i e D i l l a r d , L I V I N G BY FICTION (New Y o r k : H a r p e r C o l o p h o n , 1 9 8 3 ) , p. 29. 4 : Munro, "The C o l o n e l ' s Hash R e s e t t l e d , " p. 182. 5 D.H. L a w r e n c e , "The S p i r i t o f P l a c e , " i n STUDIES IN CLASSIC AMERICAN LITERATURE 1924; r p t . i n D.H. LAWRENCE: SELECTED LITERARY CRITICISM, e d . A n t h o n y B e a l ( London: Heinemann, 1 9 6 4 ) , p. 297. 6 A l i c e Munro, "What I s R e a l ? " i n MAKING IT NEW, e d . John M e t c a l f e ( T o r o n t o : Methuen, 1 9 8 2 ) , p . 226. 7 A l a n T w i g g , CONVERSATIONS WITH 24 CANADIAN WRITERS ( M a d e i r a P a r k , B.C.: H a r b o u r , 1 9 8 1 ) , p. 15. 8 B r u n o B e t t e l h e i m , THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT (New Y o r k : K n o p f , 1 9 7 6 ) , p . 8. 9 R o b e r t K r o e t s c h , "Contemporary S t a n d a r d s i n the C a n a d i a n N o v e l , " ESSAYS ON CANADIAN WRITING, No. 20 (1980), p. 17. 10 N o r t h r o p F r y e , FABLES OF IDENTITY (New Y o r k : H a r c o u r t , B r a c e & W o r l d , 1 9 6 3 ) , p . 36. 11 Hugh G a r n e r , P r e f . , DANCE OF THE HAPPY SHADES by A l i c e Munro ( T o r o n t o : R y e r s o n , 1968) n. p a g . 12 H e l e n Hoy, " D u l l , S i m p l e , Amazing and U n f a t h o n a b l e : P a r a d o x and D o u b l e V i s i o n i n A l i c e Munro's F i c t i o n , " STUDIES IN CANADIAN LITERATURE, No. 5 ( 1 9 8 0 ) , pp. 100-15. 13 B e t t e l h e i m , p. 61. 14 P a u l E n g l a n d , F I F T Y FAVOURITE OPERAS, 5 t h . e d . (New Y o r k : H a r p e r , n . d . ) , p. 23.  >2 15 E r i c A u e r b a c h , MIMESIS ( P r i n c e t o n : P r i n c e t o n U n i v . P r e s s , 1 9 7 1 ) , p. 136. 16 J o h n M e t c a l f e , "A C o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h A l i c e Munro," JOURNAL OF CANADIAN FICTION, 1, No. 4 (1972), 54. 17 W.L. M o r t o n , " S e e i n g an U n l i t e r a r y L a n d s c a p e , " MOSAIC, 3, No. 3 ( 1 9 7 0 ) , r p t . i n CONTEXTS OF CANADA'S PAST, e d . A.B. M c K i l l o p ( T o r o n t o : M a c m i l l a n , 1 9 8 0 ) , p. 19. 18 A l i c e Munro, as q u o t e d i n Kern Murch, "Name: A l i c e Munro, O c c u p a t i o n : W r i t e r , " i n CHATELAINE, Aug. 1975, p . 71.  43  Chapter  Turning  The story  opening  Life  paragraph  Two  Into  Fiction  o f "The F l a t s  Road", t h e f i r s t  i n LIVES, i n t r o d u c e s a c h a r a c t e r c a l l e d  o n l y t o add i n t h e s e c o n d p a r a g r a p h  Uncle  the following  disclaimer:  "He was n o t o u r u n c l e o r a n y b o d y ' s " . 1  the  refers  sentence  address  as " u n c l e " , i t a l s o i m p l i e s t h a t  language i s n o t t r u s t w o r t h y , with  reality.  Since  and t h a t i l l u s i o n these  i n LIVES, which i s p r i m a r i l y  feminine  experience  The  occasionally tightly  the i n d i v i d u a l  i n DANCE a r e o f t e n  already  t o d i s c o v e r them  concerned  with the  and y o u t h .  two s t o r y c y c l e s d i f f e r ,  w h i c h Munro u n i f i e s stories  of childhood  i s easily  themes have  emerged i n DANCE, i t i s n o t s u r p r i s i n g again  While  t o t h e custom o f a l l o w i n g c h i l d r e n t o  family friends  confused  Benny,  linked  however, i n t h e way i n s t o r i e s w i t h i n them. The t h e m a t i c a l l y and  g e o g r a p h i c a l l y , b u t t h e y do n o t c o h e r e  a s do t h e s t o r i e s  as  i n L I V E S . I n LIVES,, t h r o u g h t h e  i n n o v a t i o n o f a n a r r a t o r who i s an a p p r e n t i c e w r i t e r , Munro unifies  the stories within a single unfolding  Since Del Jordan bound  together  grows up a l l o w rationale  i s always t h e n a r r a t o r ,  consciousness.  t h e segments a r e  by common themes, and h e r e x p e r i e n c e s thematic  d e v e l o p m e n t and p r o v i d e t h e  f o r the country  and town  settings.  a s she  44  S i n c e LIVES i s a n a r r a t i v e roughly  chronological  geographical mistaken  their  for a novel.  "People's  lives,  found  the  protagonist.  a novel,  Forrest  L.  249).  epilogue  t o draw a t t e n t i o n  but  instead,  work p r o p e r l y  of  distorted  example,  resonant  sentence,  e v e r y w h e r e , were  top-heavy" and  a  initially  dull,  R e v i e w i n g L I V E S as  B o t h w o u l d be  2  the  i t was  u n f a t h o n a b l e — d e e p caves paved  (p.  minor c h a r a c t e r s  as  has  i s , however, a  James P o l k , f o r  in Jubilee  linoleum"  to which  term, n o v e l ,  1  kitchen  fact,  voice,  A l i c e M u n r o s theme i n t h e  a m a z i n g , and  of  The  response.  simple,  Polk  narrative  length,  observes u n i t i e s  made e a r l y r e v i e w e r s u n e a s y and  critical  identified  substantial  d e v e l o p m e n t , and  s e t t i n g and  misnomer t h a t  of  deplored  a  with  novel,  the  away f r o m  tendency  the  w e a k n e s s e s i f L I V E S were, i n they are  belongs,  Ingram's t e r m , o r  strengths the  story  "open f o r m " , as  of  the  cycle J.R.  genre  in  Struthers  3  calls  i t .  The  cycle  i s the  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c w h i c h marks L I V E S as  balanced  tension  each s t o r y  and  the  Since  the  conclusion  cycle,  the  epilogue  observations properly  general  of  belong  the  pattern i s the  of  the  a young w r i t e r .  of  Leitch  Del  town o f  i n a work w h i c h c h r o n i c l e s of  of  whole  j u s t as  o t h e r p e o p l e i n the  story  individuality  i n t e r p r e t i v e key  i s appropriate,  apprenticeship L I V E S , L.M.  between t h e  a  Analysing  to a  story  Jordan's Jubilee  the the  structure  observes:  As w i t h t h e d e l i n e a t i o n o f a community, e p i s o d i c s t r u c t u r e a l s o lends i t s e l f to  the  45 autobiographical materials organized t h e s e l e c t i v e w o r k i n g s o f memory, a f o u n d t h r o u g h o u t Munro's work.^  Loose o r g a n i z a t i o n its in  distinctive  according  flavour.  a straight line  Unlike  according  to  association,  and  Episodes are acquire  t o memory g i v e s novels  circles  grouped  M a r g a r e t L a u r e n c e ' s A BIRD IN THE structural  principle,  difference  between t h a t work and  in  their  d i r e c t i o n s of  lines  of  her  effect,  according  together  to  laws  by  arrangement.  HOUSE f o l l o w s  L a u r e n c e has  work  w h i c h move f o r w a r d  meaning t h r o u g h  and  the  laws o f c a u s e and  t h e s e s t o r i e s move i n c o n c e n t r i c of r e c o l l e c t i o n .  to i n d i c a t e preoccupation  the  expressed  novels  as  same  the  a difference  force: vertical  i n the  short  5  s t o r y c y c l e , and As both  like  interest is  an  very  embryonic w r i t e r , the other  young g i r l s  i n words, the young as  Stephen Dedalus a YOUNG MAN, as  their  sense.  end  and  novel.  protagonist, u n l i k e them.  t o o l s of her  a heightened  trade,  response to  Del  Jordon, i s  Her  pronounced  a p p e a r s when language.  i n James J o y c e ' s A PORTRAIT OF  Del  upon a d e a d cow, the  h o r i z o n t a l i n the  i s s e n s i t i v e to the When D e l Del  of a s t i c k  as  first she  and  her  traces  ARTIST  cow's eye  eye  words i n s t e a d :  I s a i d , expanding the  'DAy-ud cow,  d a y - u d cow'"  f r o m a c t i o n i n t o words i s n o t  typical  well  for  (p. 4 4 ) . of Del,  with  itself.  so,  lusciously.  settles  socket  U n a b l e t o b r i n g h e r s e l f t o do "'Day-ud cow,'  AS  Mary Agnes, come  imagines p i e r c i n g the she  Like  sound o f words as  cousin, the  THE  she  probing word  Retreating  however;  she  46 is  an e n t h u s i a s t i c p a r t i c i p a n t i n l i f e  as w e l l  as i t s  chronicler. A distinctive  feature  of her childhood  i s that  she i s  s u r r o u n d e d by s t o r y t e l l e r s .  Among them, two  models o f o p p o s i n g n a r r a t i v e  s t a n c e s emerge: U n c l e Benny and  Uncle C r a i g . life  that  U n c l e Benny i s so immersed  his tales rise  up l i k e  life  home; U n c l e C r a i g h a s  so s u c c e s s f u l l y by " p r e f e r r i n g n o t " ,  his  sisters  his  book on t h e h i s t o r y o f Wawanash C o u n t y i s a  record  proudly  i n t h e chaos o f  b u b b l e s o f gas from t h e  G r e n o c h Swamp w h i c h i s h i s n a t u r a l withdrawn from  outstanding  incorporate preference  Craig's  own d e s i r e  actions  that  lifeless  t o b e : s h e must  Despite  learns  too, seeing  her youthful  Benny's to value  Uncle  i treincarnated i n  t o document h e r p a s t . o f s t o r i e s and s t o r y t e l l e r s  the d e s i r e  t o remember one's p a s t  i n i t i s not e x c l u s i v e  to f i c t i o n  h i s own f i c t i o n s  i n LIVES d e f i n e  themselves not only  but a l s o through t h e i r  of the narrative's  subtle  who a r e i d e o l o g i c a l l y o p p o s e d  The i d e a  and i s t h e The through  s t o r i e s about t h e i r i r o n i e s i s that  i n LIVES  and f i n d  writers.  o f h i s own i d e n t i t y p e r m e a t e s t h e work.  characters  One  fordetail  each i n d i v i d u a l c r e a t e s  artist  Del aspires  she u l t i m a t e l y  proliferation  suggests that  that  of writer  manner,  approach i s broad  f o r t h e pungent v a r i e t y o f Uncle  passion  The  Neither  elements o f both u n c l e s .  junkyard-swampworld,  meaning  his self-effacing  o f f a c t s and f i g u r e s .  enough f o r t h e k i n d  her  describe  as  Del's  their  past. aunts,  to the attention-seeking  47  inherent allied  i n being a writer  w i t h her  through  their  love of the r i d i c u l o u s . strictures  of t h e i r  like  Although  shaped  artistically  they resemble process:  of t h e i r  constructed with writer for  Del w i l l  themselves  above a l l ,  a comic duet.  "each  the aunts  obey  the  s o c i e t y , which emphasizes hard and,  lives  tempermentally  i m a g i n a t i o n , p l a y f u l n e s s and  good h o u s e k e e p i n g , their  Del, are  terrible  through  s e l v e s was  care"  their  seen  (p. 5 9 ) .  become, t h e a u n t s as w e l l  conformity, they  D e l , as a r t i s t ,  two  as t h e i r  work, have  stories  until  recognises t o be  something  L i k e the  i n v e n t and  tell  the  fiction stories  audience:  Aunt E l s p e t h and A u n t i e G r a c e t o l d s t o r i e s . It d i d n o t seem as i f t h e y were t e l l i n g them t o me, t o e n t e r t a i n me, b u t as i f t h e y w o u l d have t o l d them anyway, f o r t h e i r own p l e a s u r e , e v e n i f t h e y had b e e n a l o n e , (p. 33)  The reflect  aunts  themselves  upon i t as w r i t e r s  artist's ask,  detach  urge  what i f ?  practical  t o push events They r e v e a l  joking  and  i n the p i l e s  Elspeth  shakes the b i t s  herself  to  this  just  After  o f hay  Auntie Grace's  have wanted  to imaginary  o f hay.  a t v a r i a n c e with her  difference,  moreover, they  from  public  in  their  D e l i n a game o f  this  episode,  her h a i r ,  Aunt  "with  persona  of  of  attention  come by, w o u l d n ' t While  little  dignified  comment draws f u r t h e r  (p. 5 0 ) .  the  c o n c l u s i o n s , to  (p. 5 0 ) , s h o w i n g a s i d e  " ' I f a c a r had  to d i e ? ' "  i n order  share  these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s  sounds o f p l e a s u r e "  rectitude.  experience  readiness to j o i n  jumping  snorting  do;  from  paying  you  to  48  lip-service  to the p r o p r i e t i e s ,  nevertheless, to  that  her p l e a s u r e .  reveals  the danger As  implies,  of being observed  more d e t a i l s  i t s complexity.  romp, t h e i r  A u n t i e Grace  accumulate,  Although the aunts  contributes  the  join  incident Del i n her  p l e a s u r e i s n o t t h e same as h e r s :  A u n t E l s p e t h and A u n t i e G r a c e had come and jumped i n t h e hay t o o , w i t h t h e i r a p r o n s f l y i n g , laughing at themselves. When t h e moment came t h e y w o u l d h e s i t a t e , and jump w i t h n o t q u i t e s u f f i c i e n t abandon, l a n d i n g i n a d e c o r o u s s i t t i n g p o s i t i o n , hands s p r e a d as b o u n c i n g on a c u s h i o n , o r h o l d i n g t h e i r h a i r . (p. 50)  U n l i k e D e l ' s spontaneous self-conscious. hay  coil  which  and w h o l e h e a r t e d  I t i s not the  leap into  play,  the c e n t r e of  they enjoy, but the idea of  Their  in  e x p e r i e n c e ; i t becomes t h e o c c a s i o n f o r  recollecting flout  themselves  convention.  sees a resemblance in  t h e way  inherently  i s more p l e a s i n g  that  as spunky and  L a t e r , when D e l r e a d s WAR  a l l t h r e e see t h e i r  mastery  edge t o t h e i r  and  "Is it  that was  directed  joking  particularly  f o r t h e dog!"  (p. 3 6 ) .  the r e s o r t  aunts' apparent  daring  AND  to  PEACE,  Tolstoy's  she  Natasha,  Although the  of housekeeping,  t h e h a i r b r u s h you u s e  traditionally the  mimicry  than  b r o t h e r ' s work as  more i m p o r t a n t t h a n t h e i r s .  seem c o n t e n t i n t h e i r  resentment,  i n retrospect  girlish,  between h e r a u n t s and  the  themselves  leaping. actual  action  theirs i s  the  suggests a degree  aunts  critical of  a g a i n s t D e l ' s mother:  on y o u r h a i r ? This kind  Oh,  we  thought  of s n i p i n g i s  of the powerless, s u g g e s t i n g t h a t  security  i s t h r e a t e n e d by D e l ' s m o t h e r ' s  49 differing  view  convictions attention  of the r o l e  about  their  they crave.  o f women.  proper place i n l i f e Unconscious  audience  i n D e l , and u l t i m a t e l y  relaying  their  As  stories  a child  "went a l o n g s t r a i g h t  36).  Ada J o r d a n  lines",  are  and s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d  way o f l i f e ;  and that  her to Del.  The a u n t s  mother t r i e s comfort  opposed, they o f f e r  synthesize  the opposing  and D e l ' s mother  while her  Although  the order  i s seductive, Del realizes  the s a c r i f i c e  thinking.  of personal  too, noticing the  In her w r i t i n g ,  Del can  v i e w p o i n t s o f U n c l e Benny and U n c l e  a s a woman, however, she must c h o o s e  between t h e  o p t i o n s r e p r e s e n t e d by h e r mother and t h e a u n t s . c h a r a c t e r who s y m p a t h i z e s  The o n l y  w i t h b o t h v i e w p o i n t s and m e d i a t e s  between them i s D e l ' s f a t h e r . his  Ada when  D e l a c h o i c e o f female  She i s h e r m o t h e r ' s d a u g h t e r i n their  and G r a c e a r e  feelings i n  t r y t o make h e r p r a c t i c a l ,  of the aunts' world  i n expressing  by u n d e r m i n i n g  t o make h e r i n t e l l e c t u a l .  inconsistencies  Craig;  Elspeth  Since the aunts  i t i s achieved through  ambition.  deserve.  and d i s a p p e a r i n g and c o m i n g b a c k " ( p .  i s direct  diametrically  models.  voice,  "wove i n and o u t  d i s a p p r o v i n g o f h e r , b u t show t h e i r  about  they  their  w i t h h e r m o t h e r , who  whereas t h e y  s u b t l e and d e v i o u s ways, c h i e f l y talking  audience  and A u n t i e G r a c e  her, retreating  less  them t h e  they f i n d  s h e becomes t h e i r  t o t h e wider  her d i s a p p r o v a l o f t h e i r no  artists,  cost  o b s e r v i n g t h e women o f h e r f a m i l y , D e l  compares Aunt E l s p e t h  around  The a u n t s '  He c a n r e m a i n  detached, but  d e t a c h m e n t i s n o t dynamic b u t p a s s i v e : "The F l a t s  Road  50  w o u l d do 8).  f o r him;  In h i s p r o u d  U n c l e Benny w o u l d do refusal  e q u a l , he  is closely  w i f e , who  collides  t o seek  allied  a friend  who  w i t h the aunts.  with d i f f i c u l t i e s  ignores or minimizes  for his friend"  (p.  would be h i s  Unlike his  head-on, Ben  Jordan  them:  My f a t h e r s t a r t e d t r y i n g t o p e r s u a d e U n c l e Benny t h a t i t was n o t s u c h a bad t h i n g t o be r i d o f Madeleine, a f t e r a l l . He p o i n t e d o u t t h a t she had n o t been a p a r t i c u l a r l y good h o u s e k e e p e r and t h a t she had n o t made U n c l e Benny's l i f e e x a c t l y c o m f o r t a b l e and s e r e n e . He d i d t h i s i n a d i p l o m a t i c way, n o t f o r g e t t i n g he was t a l k i n g a b o u t a man's w i f e . (p. 20)  H i s weary t a c t  has  at a distance.  her  and  action.  lack of r e s t r a i n t ,  Following  of r e c y c l i n g  asks,  "Were you  folks  a t the f u n e r a l ? "  brought  father's  the s t r a i n s  avoiding  speech  i s excess of i t .  concerning the  p a r t s o f t h e body a f t e r  t h e gap  death,  needs t o  q u e s t i o n s about  he  the be  between h e r v i e w p o i n t and  i t raises  of which  future  these ideas with  (p. 4 8 ) . A l t h o u g h Ada  h u s b a n d ' s i s so g r e a t t h a t marriage,  her  planning to discuss  down t o e a r t h ,  of  I f D e l ' s mother's b e s e t t i n g s i n  Ada's i m p a s s i o n e d  possibilities  i n f l u e n c e , b u t i t p l a c e s him  L i k e h i s humour, i t i s a way  responsibility is  a moderating  her  their  Del senses but attempts  to  overlook:  B u t a t t h i s moment, s e e i n g my mother go meek and b e w i l d e r e d . . . and my f a t h e r t o u c h i n g h e r i n such a g e n t l e , compassionate, g r i e v i n g way . . . I was a l a r m e d . . . I was a f r a i d t h a t t h e y w o u l d go on and show me s o m e t h i n g I no more wanted t o see t h a n I wanted t o see U n c l e C r a i g d e a d . (p. 49)  51  E v e n so c u r i o u s an draws b a c k f r o m I g n o r i n g her father  analysis  t h a t her  by  lives  complex m u t u a l  as  on  the farm,  a r e happy t o g e t h e r .  d i s c u s s i n g her  but  telling  Del  present stories  her  D e l wants t o Her  t o b e l i e v e i n t h e myth o f m a r r i a g e  never  father,  parents  time  Del  dependence.  m o t h e r ' s move t o t h e house i n town w h i l e  encourages her ending  of other people's  of t h e i r  r e m a i n s most o f t h e  believe  Del's  observer  feelings  mother as a happy  towards  of the p a s t i n s t e a d :  In t h e b e g i n n i n g o f h e r s t o r y was d a r k c a p t i v i t y , s u f f e r i n g , t h e n d a r i n g and d e f i a n c e and escape. Struggle d i s a p p o i n t m e n t , more s t r u g g l e , godmothers and v i l l a i n s . Now I e x p e c t e d as i n a l l momentous s a t i s f y i n g s t o r i e s — t h e b u r s t o f G l o r y , t h e Reward. M a r r i a g e t o my f a t h e r ? I hoped t h i s was i t . I w i s h e d she w o u l d l e a v e me i n no d o u b t a b o u t i t . (p. 78)  At t h i s  stage  understanding life. her  young g i r l  life.  she  As  her  is a fairytale;  appropriate Later,  fairytale  she  has  between  a p p l i e s the  difficulty life  and  into  stories  mother t e l l s  i t , her  life  c o n c l u s i o n , marriage  of her  own,  to  as  t h e r e f o r e Del a n t i c i p a t e s  a fiction  about  shape o f f i c t i o n  a  the  to her p r i n c e .  i n Del's r e l a t i o n s h i p with Garnet  retreats  mother's  life,  the d i f f e r e n c e  Unconsciously,  mother's  again  of Del's  French,  heedless  of  she her  warnings: "You've gone a d d l e d o v e r a boy. You w i t h y o u r intelligence. Do you i n t e n d t o l i v e i n J u b i l e e a l l your l i f e ? Do you want t o be t h e w i f e o f a lumberyard worker? Do you want t o j o i n t h e B a p t i s t L a d i e s A i d ? " (p. 217)  52  Del  r e f u s e s t o c o n s i d e r her p r o b a b l e  lives that  entirely she  i n the p r e s e n t .  acknowledge h i s mastery  t h e w a t e r does she is  not Garnet  own  fiction.  keep him 234),  Not  as he  as  of her  she  understands  i n h i s golden  i s r e l e a s e d from  With understanding  until  to h e r s e l f  i s , but  Once she  sewed up  she  admit  f u t u r e with Garnet, Garnet  t h e boy  that  she had  lover's  skin  comes shame a t h a v i n g deceitful  to  creation;  demands o f h e r . has  She  her  to r e j e c t  on an e n t i r e l y  (p.  and  has  235). has  committed  f o r the f u t u r e  that  when he  makes  through  him  she  her a r t i s t i c d e s t i n y s i n c e  non-verbal  my  o f an a r t i s t s u p e r i o r  i s shocked  finally realizes  his  f a n t a s y , Garnet  reality,  i s that  t h e r e f o r e , she  been a t t e m p t i n g  attracts  to Garnet  love.  . . . matching  to Del not o n l y f o r the p r e s e n t but  Del's a t t i t u d e  her  offerings  been e x p e r i e n c i n g l o v e as  been e x p e r i e n c i n g i t as e v e r y d a y  too.  "meant t o  "somehow met  play-acting with his true intent"  himself  i n her  the enchantment o f b e i n g i n  complexity  D e l has  loves  f o r e v e r " (p.  w i t h my  While  she  c r e a t e d him  good o f f e r i n g s and  insists  i n the s t r u g g l e i n  that has  and  he  level:  I c o u l d n o t have made s e n s e o f any book, p u t one word a f t e r a n o t h e r , w i t h G a r n e t i n t h e room. I t was a l l I c o u l d do t o r e a d t h e words on a b i l l b o a r d when we were d r i v i n g . I t was t h e v e r y o p p o s i t e o f g o i n g o u t w i t h J e r r y , and s e e i n g t h e w o r l d d e n s e and c o m p l i c a t e d b u t a p p a l l i n g l y u n s e c r e t i v e ; t h e w o r l d I saw w i t h G a r n e t was s o m e t h i n g n o t f a r f r o m what I t h o u g h t a n i m a l s must s e e , t h e w o r l d w i t h o u t names, (p. 218)  Garnet  t h e n , has  appealed  to her  as an a l t e r n a t i v e  t o books  53  or even speech. Del  In the j o y o f her f i r s t  i s speechless  f o r once:  "Nothing  sexual  fulfillment,  t h a t c o u l d be s a i d by  us w o u l d b r i n g us t o g e t h e r ; words were o u r e n e m i e s " (p. 217).  For a time,  Del's  sexual connection with  r e p l a c e s words and l i t e r a t u r e ,  b u t , when t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p  ends and s h e mourns i t s e n d i n g , when s h e q u o t e s it  Tennyson's  "one o f t h e s i l l i e s t  the  she r e t u r n s t o l i t e r a t u r e  "Mariana",  e v e n t h o u g h she c a l l s  poems I had e v e r  read"  ( p . 238) .  In  same way, she s i m u l t a n e o u s l y c l a i m s and d i s c l a i m s t h e  sentiment  i n Tennyson's  line,  Even as she g r i e v e s over having  "He cometh n o t , she s a i d " .  losing  returned t o the world  Garnet,  Del f e e l s  understand  time  a mild s e n s i b l e g r a t i t u d e f o r these  I felt  words, these  strange  t h a t I was r e a d i n g , and a f t e r  possibilities  t h e want a d s , t h e l i n e  t o t h e o l d way o f l i f e , Garnet.  Quoting  letters poet's  (p. 2 3 8 ) .  some  printed  L i k e t h e words  T e n n y s o n ' s poem r e s t o r e s D e l  as she l i v e d  i tbefore links  s h e met  h e r s e l f with her  t h e pen name, P r i n c e s s I d a , when  to the e d i t o r idyllic  from  T e n n y s o n , she a l s o  m o t h e r , who a d o p t s  relief at  i n w h i c h words make s e n s e : " I  made m y s e l f  in  Garnet  writing  i n which she i m i t a t e s t h e V i c t o r i a n  description  of nature.  Munro's r e f e r e n c e s t o T e n n y s o n a r e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f her  artistic  Mariana lover, as  method i n L I V E S .  f o r the daughter  The a l l u s i o n s  who w a i t s  are apt:  i n v a i n f o r the absent  P r i n c e s s I d a f o r t h e mother who b e l i e v e s i n e d u c a t i o n  t h e means o f i m p r o v i n g  particularly  womens' l i v e s .  appropriate heroine  P r i n c e s s Ida i s a  f o r D e l ' s mother t o i n v o k e .  54  In T e n n y s o n ' s poem, "The  P r i n c e s s " , she  women's c o l l e g e b a s e d on  feminist principles succinctly  described  by  the  k i n g , her  i s the  father: " . . .  knowledge so  d a u g h t e r held,/Was a l l i n a l l . " "  Ada  name i s so  Ida—gives  0  the  conveniently  c l o s e to  d i s t r a c t e d " (p. 1 7 3 ) .  a major d i s t r a c t i o n . crucial  point  i n her  By  falling  career,  just  scholarship  hoped t o w i n .  and  had  of high  o b l i q u e l y t o a p o e t and  ironic  relation  have t h e  vulnerable not  through her  learn this  t h e m s e l v e s t o be teachers structure stops  Princess  by  two  Ida,  of course,  Jordan  like  Del's  of g i r l s  and  work.  I t i s Ada's q u o t i n g  Ida  but  goals  as  rightly  on  treatment of  the  the  chain  stand  in  not  reader  allow  scholars  her  and  in  there,  a l l but  "Locksley  the  briefly  belongs  one  the Munro  occasion  anyway, makes a  women" t h a t becomes t h e  speech which completes  loses  the  b o t h women  l e c t u r e Del  from  a  mother, i s  instinct, Since  is  between them.  s p e e c h w h i c h i s memorable b e c a u s e i t c o n t a i n s "lives  at  poems t h a t  Having placed  to  brains.  final  parallels  explanations  is inclined  that  c h a r a c t e r s , Munro does  swayed f r o m t h e i r  o f Munro's s t o r y .  who  specific  maternal  marrying, Princess  her  first  your  him  a  my  advice  Having a l l u d e d  upon t h e  i n LIVES.  short of d i d a c t i c  when Ada,  before  s c h o o l , Del  theme and  narrator r e f l e c t  i s true that  will  to her  "Use  i n love with  end  she  Del  Garnet French,  examinations a t the  It  Jordan—whose  p r i n c e s s h e r s e l f w o u l d have e n d o r s e d :  Don't be  founder of  the  title  Hall"  of references  theme o f women's a s p i r a t i o n s .  in to  phrase, of  the  this Tennyson's  Here  too,  55  Munro u s e s  Tennyson  indirectly  as a r e f l e c t i v e  surface:  T h e r e i s a change coming I t h i n k i n t h e l i v e s of g i r l s and women. . . . A l l women have had up t i l l now h a s been t h e i r c o n n e c t i o n w i t h men. . . . He s h a l l h o l d t h e e , when h i s p a s s i o n s h a l l have s p e n t i t s n o v e l f o r c e , a l i t t l e c l o s e r than h i s dog, a l i t t l e d e a r e r than his horse. Tennyson wrote t h a t . It's true. Was t r u e . You w i l l want t o have c h i l d r e n t h o u g h , ( p . 173) Despite  t h e hope e x p r e s s e d a t t h e b e g i n n i n g o f t h e p a s s a g e ,  D e l ' s mother r e m i n d s in  relation  t o men h a s changed  Munro makes Ada's work, u s i n g cycle.  S i n c e Ada r e f e r s  The  of  title  s i n c e Tennyson's day.  and t i t l e  to "Locksley H a l l "  of the entire i n the passage,  a Tennysonian  a classical  word, "women" o f t h e t i t l e o f Ada J o r d a n as w e l l  frame,  frame by  underlines the  as h e r daughter, D e l .  Ada i s p r e s e n t e d t h r o u g h t h e e y e s o f a n a r r a t o r who  ambivalent f e e l i n g s Her h a b i t  teen-age mother.  effect  o f women  the thematic centre o f the  t h e e n t i r e work w i t h i n  problematic. the  the position  t o t h e myth o f O r p h e u s .  importance Because  that  little  a s s h e p l a c e s DANCE w i t h i n  referring  has  statement  i t as both s t o r y  Munro p l a c e s just  her daughter  about  of dramatizing herself  D e l , who would B u t L I V E S goes  of this  her, her character  prefer further  on h e r m o t h e r ' s s t o r i e s from  embarrasses  a less conspicuous  sort  t h a n DANCE, e x a m i n i n g t h e  mother n o t o n l y on a d a u g h t e r , b u t a l s o on a  d a u g h t e r who wants t o be a w r i t e r .  suffered  i s always  D e l h a s b e e n b r o u g h t up  o f h e r m i s e r a b l e c h i l d h o o d when she  the b u l l y i n g  of a fiendish brother.  Years  56 later,  this  brother v i s i t s  with another After  finds  of  as  the t o r t u r e r  D e l by h i s f a i l u r e  i t difficult  takes her  his  his version  He  Del  view  makes i n a  the middle-aged  b r i n g s a cocoon  as Ada into  on  figure  by remembers  does,  b u t as  the house  t h e wonder o f a b u t t e r f l y  i s given a lesson here  who  spree w i t h the wicked  fanatic,  Bill She  man  o f h i s c h i l d h o o d , i n w h i c h he  p e r s o n who  it.  Uncle  compounds h e r p r o b l e m  mother n o t as a r e l i g i o u s  shows t h e c h i l d r e n  reality.  t o behave i n c h a r a c t e r .  on a g r o c e r y - s h o p p i n g  kindhearted  provides Del  i n Ada's s t o r i e s ,  to r e c o n c i l e  her mother's s t o r i e s .  telling  and  o p p o r t u n i t y t o compare s t o r y w i t h  figuring  surprises  them i n J u b i l e e  emerging  the d i f f e r e n c e  a  and from  point  of  story:  T h a t was i n t h e same h o u s e . The same h o u s e where my mother u s e d t o f i n d t h e f i r e o u t and h e r mother a t p r a y e r and where she t o o k m i l k and cucumbers i n t h e hope o f g e t t i n g t o h e a v e n , (p.88.) Although and  at this  believe  too.  Uncle B i l l ,  Del  sinister  and  By  flaunting  demonstrates b u t has  prolonged that  and  suggests  that  he  merely  to suspect her  falls  under  dies  i s gradually  h i s young w i f e i n h e r n o t g i v e n up  refined  fox-fur  coat,  torturing his  h i s methods.  the c h a r a c t e r of Uncle B i l l the resemblance  breach  o f c a n c e r , b u t a more  of h i s motives  has  mother  suspicion  i s i n t e n d e d to h e a l the  b e f o r e he  interpretation  emerging.  sister,  Ada  is inclined  g r a d u a l l y he  O s t e n s i b l y the v i s i t  between him  he  point  The  episode i s  developed  between A l i c e  Munro's  in a  way  57 narrative  technique  and  t h a t o f magic r e a l i s t  painting:  In much t h e same way c e r t a i n C a n a d i a n magic r e a l i s t p a i n t e r s f l o o d an o b j e c t i n a c l e a r l i g h t u n t i l i t seems t o t a k e on a new and strange l i f e , f i c t i o n w r i t e r s look at t h e i r s u b j e c t u n t i l i t s t a r t s to look strange, mysterious, fascinating.7  The  longer  steadily seems. he  the  a c t i o n p a u s e s and  a t Uncle B i l l , Nothing  his sister  fox-farming,  their  increase his satisfaction the  cancer  way  and of  him,  The  sum  he  him;  and  to  success.  Like  insisted  is a  f o o l s even  f o r her  hundred d o l l a r s ,  mother r e c e i v e d and  satisfy  h i s r e s e n t m e n t o f Ada  b e l i e v e s h i s promise of a legacy  their  behaviour  i n order  material  Outwardly b e n e f i c e n t ,  mentioned, three  his  brother-in-law life  who  legacy  o f memory g a z e s  triumph w i l l  i n h i s own  which i s k i l l i n g  hidden malignancy.  eye  more s i n i s t e r  short of absolute  wants t o h u m i l i a t e  denigrate  the  the  in his  recalls on  Ada,  will.  the  small  spending  on  Bibles. Ada pities  finally  him  because  forgiveness other  her  "he  she  accepting  her  h a b i t u a l l y gives  Accordingly,  brother's  hatred  i s a dying  i s i n keeping with  people,  doubt.  overcomes h e r  she  man"  them t h e  r e j e c t s the  she  r e v e a l s her  and  the  as  c a p a c i t y o f an  darker  Her In  to change.  implied  b e n e f i t of  the  explanation  of  one.  By  reconciliation,  o p t i m i s m a b o u t human  individual  and  analysing  more h o p e f u l  a genuine attempt at  characteristic  brother,  (p. 8 9 ) .  character.  motives i n f a v o r of the  his v i s i t  f o r her  As  her  nature account  58  of her l i f e  r e v e a l s , she s e e s h e r s e l f a s a s e l f - w i l l e d  individual  who c h o s e t h e s e l f  the  o f h e r f a m i l y and s u b s t i t u t i n g new v a l u e s  on  values reason.  Her f a i t h  mother's r e l i g i o u s passion  its  The  The  society.  Del's  and A u n t i e  as m a t e r i a l  to l i f e  by s u p p r e s s i n g  and e m p h a s i z i n g  denying  Grace a r e a l l important t o  for fiction  approaches t o l i f e .  o f i t s female  D o g h e r t y , Naomi, M i s s  b u t a l s o a s examples o f  E a c h woman h a s a c c o m o d a t e d some a s p e c t s  others.  Unlike  of her them, D e l hopes  any p a r t o f h e r s e l f t o c o n f o r m t o h e r  B u t , t h e s t o r i e s t h a t o l d e r women t e l l  youth  show D e l t h a t  their  s t o r i e s r a i s e i s , why do women g i v e  Del  as D e l t h e w r i t e r .  t h e work i n t h e l i v e s  mother, F e r n  Aunt E l s p e t h  personality to avoid  and w e a k n e s s e s o f h e r p o s i t i o n a r e  to centre  not only  herself  i s supreme a n d  subordinate.  characters.  differing  To A d a , r e a s o n  L I V E S OF GIRLS AND WOMEN, r e f e r s b e y o n d  literature  Del  based  as s a l v a t i o n r e p l a c e s h e r  t o D e l t h e young woman, a s w e l l  title,  Farris,  i n education  faith.  strengths  important  she w o u l d become by r e j e c t i n g  they used  becomes o b s e s s e d w i t h  who s t u d i e d  voice  t o be l i k e  her.  about  The q u e s t i o n  up t h e i r  t h e gap between t h e F e r n  and t h e F e r n  their  dreams? Dogherty  D o g h e r t y who i s t h e i r  boarder  now: " D i d y o u p l a n t o be a n o p e r a s i n g e r ? " I a s k e d . "No, I j u s t p l a n n e d t o be t h e l a d y w o r k i n g i n the post o f f i c e . W e l l , I d i d and I d i d n ' t . The work, t h e t r a i n i n g . I just didn't have t h e a m b i t i o n f o r i t , I g u e s s t h a t was my t r o u b l e , ( p . 142)  59  This explanation i s unsatisfactory  t o D e l , who  b e l i e v e s Naomi's s t o r y  of Fern's  would p r o v i d e the k i n d  o f c o m p e l l i n g r e a s o n she hopes t o  discover.  To t e s t  into betraying  illegitimate  partly  Naomi's t h e o r y , D e l t r i e s  child,  to trap  which  Fern  herself:  I took t o n o t i c i n g p i c t u r e s o f b a b i e s i n the p a p e r , o r i n m a g a z i n e s , when F e r n was a r o u n d , s a y i n g , "Aw, i s n ' t i t c u t e ? " and t h e n w a t c h i n g her c l o s e l y f o r a f l i c k e r of remorse, maternal l o n g i n g , as i f someday she m i g h t a c t u a l l y be persuaded to b u r s t i n t o t e a r s , f l i n g out h e r empty arms, s t r u c k t o t h e h e a r t by an ad f o r t a l c u m powder o r s t r a i n e d meat. (pp. 143-4)  The  overwrought  novelette failure, about  L o o k i n g f o r Mr. C h a m b e r l a i n ' s  stories  how d i f f i c u l t  rising  is a  this  about  verses.  insight  to creating  do n o t s a t i s f y  n o v e l , which from  everything  this  her.  L i k e the  person.  character i n f i c t i o n , but discovers  she  that the  She i s d i s a p p o i n t e d i n h e r  the S h e r r i f f s ,  t h a t was n o t t o l d "  show D e l  When she  she s e e s a s , "an u n r e l i a b l e  house,  Del's  birth  Fern, these d i s c o v e r i e s  i t i s t o know a n o t h e r  than  l e t t e r s , Del  a chain l e t t e r ,  t o remove c o n t r a d i c t i o n s ,  results first  of papers:  i n f o r m a t i o n , and s m u t t y  conflicting  tries  The t e s t  i s more complex and c o n t r a d i c t o r y  three bundles  applies  to a romantic  b u t t h e s e a r c h o f F e r n ' s room t u r n s up e v i d e n c e  her which  control  belongs  o r one o f U n c l e Benny's t a b l o i d s .  imaginings. finds  tone o f the c l i c h e s  structure  a few p o o r  (p. 2 4 7 ) .  f a c t s , and  Del's eventual  60 meeting with artistic  Bobby S h e r r i f f  c r e a t i o n with  she  i s more i n t e r e s t e d  she  has  made  f o r c e s her  reality,  t o compare  whereupon she  i n what r e a l l y  her  discovers that  happened t h a n  i n what  up:  And what h a p p e n e d , I a s k e d m y s e l f , t o M a r i a n ? Not t o C a r o l i n e . What happened t o M a r i a n ? What happened t o Bobby S h e r r i f f when he had t o s t o p b a k i n g c a k e s and go b a c k t o t h e a s y l u m ? Such q u e s t i o n s p e r s i s t , i n s p i t e o f n o v e l s , (p. 209)  D e l wants h e r she  novel  t o be  wants i t t o c o n n e c t  mediator  with  between e x p e r i e n c e  magnitude of the entire  more t h a n  task.  She  life. and  the  invented  In a d o p t i n g  a r t , she  but  melodrama; the r o l e  i s conscious  i s attempting  town f r o m memory i n a f u t i l e  transcend  an  of  the  up  an  glorious effort  to  s e l e c t i v i t y which i s b u i l t  to conjure  of  into art:  And no l i s t c o u l d h o l d what I wanted, f o r what I wanted was e v e r y l a s t t h i n g , e v e r y l a y e r o f s p e e c h and t h o u g h t , s t r o k e o f l i g h t on b a r k o r w a l l s , every s m e l l , pothole, p a i n , crack, d e l u s i o n , h e l d s t i l l and h e l d t o g e t h e r — r a d i a n t , e v e r l a s t i n g , (p. 249)  The  all-inclusive  impossibility the  details  but  fiction  D e l wants t o w r i t e i s a  a worthy g o a l ; out  o f t h e p a s t comes f i c t i o n  authenticity  o f Munro's own.  relationship  to her  author,  but  relationship  In t h e  of c l o s e a t t e n t i o n to with  the  documentary  epilogue,  Del's  memories p o i n t s o u t s i d e t h e  also inside  the  t e x t to Uncle  to h i s possessions  h o a r d s memories i n t h e  same way  i n "The as he  practical  t e x t to  the  Benny's  Flats  Road".  hoards m a t e r i a l  Del  61  things:  "He v a l u e d  pretended, get of  to himself  some p r a c t i c a l  f o r i t s own sake and only-  as w e l l as t o o t h e r s ,  u s e o u t o f i t " (p. 4 ) .  two g e n e r a t i o n s  material  debris  t h a t he meant t o The  accumulation  i n U n c l e Benny's house r e s e m b l e s  of f i c t i o n  t h e raw  w h i c h D e l f i n d s r a d i a n t and e v e r l a s t i n g .  It  contrasts with  Uncle C r a i g ' s  to  s t o r e i n t h e same room w i t h  m a n u s c r i p t w h i c h she r e f u s e s h e r own w r i t i n g :  I d i d n ' t want U n c l e C r a i g ' s m a n u s c r i p t p u t b a c k w i t h t h e t h i n g s I had w r i t t e n . I t seemed so dead t o me, so h e a v y and d u l l and u s e l e s s , t h a t I t h o u g h t i t m i g h t d e a d e n my t h i n g s t o o , and b r i n g me b a d l u c k . ( p . 62)  The  t e n d e n c y o f p r o s e t o d e a d e n what i s l i v e l y and  interesting one to  i n i t s pre-written  of the f i r s t write  f o r m i n t h e w r i t e r ' s mind i s  p r o b l e m s c o n f r o n t i n g D e l when she a t t e m p t s  a novel: Nobody knew a b o u t t h i s n o v e l . I had no need to t e l l anybody. I w r o t e o u t a few b i t s o f i t and p u t them away, b u t soon I saw t h a t i t was a m i s t a k e t o w r i t e a n y t h i n g down; what I w r o t e down m i g h t f l a w t h e b e a u t y and w h o l e n e s s o f t h e n o v e l i n my m i n d . ( p . 241)  In t r a n s p o s i n g on  the novel  f r o m an i d e a  t h e page, D e l i s f a c e d w i t h  gives  form t o l i f e ,  inclusiveness.  i n h e r mind t o words  the a r t i s t ' s  b u t i n so d o i n g ,  robs  i t of i t s  How c a n t h e w r i t e r i n t e r p r e t  forced  t o d i s c a r d so much and u s e so l i t t l e ?  claims  t o have r e s o l v e d  the  final  this  question,  dilemma: a r t  experience  when  Del never  w h i c h she r a i s e s i n  segment o f t h e work, " E p i l o g u e :  The P h o t o g r a p h e r " .  62  L I V E S ends a m b i g u o u s l y , parting can  Sherriffs  g e s t u r e p r o v i d i n g a metaphor w h i c h i m p l i e s t h a t  succeed  this  y e t h o p e f u l l y , w i t h Bobby  i n communicating  "plump b a l l e r i n a "  her  artistic  vision  just  Del  as  does:  . . . he r o s e on h i s t o e s l i k e a d a n c e r , l i k e a plump b a l l e r i n a . T h i s a c t i o n , a c c o m p a n i e d by h i s d e l i c a t e s m i l e , a p p e a r e d t o be a j o k e n o t s h a r e d w i t h me so much as d i s p l a y e d f o r me, and i t seemed a l s o t o have a c o n c i s e m e a n i n g , a s t y l i z e d m e a n i n g — t o be a l e t t e r , o r a w h o l e word, i n an a l p h a b e t I d i d n o t know. (pp. 249-50)  Del  does n o t u n d e r s t a n d  b u t h i s good w i l l  e x a c t l y what Bobby i s t e l l i n g  toward  her  encourages  her  tiptoe  become a w r i t e r .  and  leaves her  writing,  thereby  the  first  to  suggest  holding  and  t o make t h e e q u i v a l e n t e f f o r t  the t e x t  to  comes t h r o u g h ,  By  ending  implying a c i r c u l a r  segment.  the mystery  conflicting  and  ambiguity  possibilities  to r i s e  opening  up  to  story  of a c t u a l  manages  experience  i n suspension  n a r r a t o r , or i s the whole f a b r i c  Mystery Benny's t a l l by  the  tale  ambiguity  first  e n t e r the  o f Sandy S t e v e n s o n ,  on h i s f r o n t  porch.  and  Together,  which i s not o n l y d i a m e t r i c a l l y  mother's k i n d of w o r l d  child?  Is of  imagination? story are  s e n s a t i o n a l h e a d l i n e s i n the t a b l o i d  keeps p i l e d world  and  of h i s  but  also  through  strengthened  newspapers they  opposed t o  by  raising  Uncle  a figment  b e a t i n g her  and  Is Madeleine  the t a l e  begin  l e a d i n g back  unanswered q u e s t i o n s . Benny a r e l i a b l e  on  saying, yes,  i s about  structure  Moreover, t h i s  h i s example  with Del  a t t h e p o i n t where she  her,  suggest  he a  Del's  i s a w o r l d whose e x i s t e n c e  63  she  denies:  "But y o u d o n ' t b e l i e v e t h a t , do y o u ? " s a i d mother w i t h c h e e r f u l e n e r g y . She began e x p l a i n i n g how i t was a l l c o i n c i d e n c e , imagination, s e l f s u g g e s t i o n , (pp. 9-10)  my  A l t h o u g h D e l ' s mother h a s an a l t e r n a t i v e v i s i o n o f t h e world, she  its reliability  belatedly  conclusion she  i s also c a l l e d into question.  r e a l i z e s that  Madeleine i s beating  i s b a s e d on t h e c i r c u m s t a n t i a l  "You  the conclusion  o f Benny's s t o r y  go and a s k Sandy S t e v e n s o n .  s e e n them m y s e l f " corroborate  (p. 1 0 ) .  e v i d e n c e o f marks  a ghost  story,  is  reinforced  by Ada's b e i n g  that  p o l i c e would  institute  the character  She b e l i e v e s ,  f o r every  i n the context  who reaches, t h e Ada i s n a i v e i n  questioned  by t h e  f o r instance,  that  a s e a r c h f o r M a d e l e i n e and D i a n e  " n a t i o n - w i d e " , and bias a r a t i o n a l i s t ' s exists  I  have b e e n u s e d t o  Madeleine beats her c h i l d .  and h e r f a t h e r .  Stevenson:  an e l e m e n t o f d o u b t , w h i c h  many ways; h e r judgement i s r e p e a t e d l y narrator  bruises  I seen t h e b r u i s e s .  t h e i r recurrence  M a d e l e i n e and D i a n e i n t r o d u c e s  conclusion  o f Sandy  Since bruises  of  the  Diane, her  remembers n o t i c i n g on t h e c h i l d ' s l e g s . T h e s e  recall  When  faith  that  a solution  problem:  "I d o n ' t know what t h e h e s i t a t i o n i s a b o u t . It's c r y s t a l c l e a r t o me." But what was c r y s t a l c l e a r t o my mother was o b v i o u s l y h a z y and t e r r i f y i n g t o U n c l e Benny, (p. 21) The  ironic  r e p e t i t i o n of her phrase  "crystal clear"  64 emphasizes  the  gap  Benny r e p r e s e n t .  between t h e  In LIVES t h e r e  d i s t a n c e between us one  p o l e , and  Uncle  By "The  sharing  i f he  beyond  is likely  other  and  Madeleine a t the  " I d o n ' t w a l k nowhere on  (p. 1 6 ) .  that  she  community.  is  doing  she  By her  g i v e s the the  as  an  truth,  literary on  experience rather  than of  individuals  t r a g i c o m i c as  the  store. with  g r a v e l roads  this  unless  I have  matter-of-fact reply  fields.  isolation  g r a n t i n g her  the  neighbours  to her  suspects  intervene  to v i s i t  self-imposed  T h e r e i s more  from the  p r i v a c y she  become a c c o m p l i c e s  than  plot  Flats  demands  turns Road  so  i n whatever  she  child.  D e m o n s t r a b l y , Ada ignorance  Ada  grocery  a  i r o n y i n their- c o n v e r s a t i o n s i n c e the  Madeleine's  fiercely,  this,  c o u l d come a c r o s s  incidental on  To  other.  Because  c o m m u n i c a t i o n between  M a d e l e i n e r e f u s e s Ada's i n v i t a t i o n  to"  to  people.  sometimes i n ways t h a t a r e as  m e e t i n g o f Ada  family at  t o comment  a p r i v a t e world,  i n common w i t h  of  , particularly  as  itself  Uncle  sense  q u e s t i o n o f i t s own  Each i n d i v i d u a l  were i n h a b i t i n g  a world  fails,  excuse:  Road  Road" draws a t t e n t i o n t o i t s e l f  sense of i s o l a t i o n ,  often  Flats  f a m i l y , a t the  the  however, i t a l s o r e f e r s  as  this  of the  his mail-order  human l o n e l i n e s s . life  i s a persistent  and  them: t h e members o f D e l ' s  repeatedly raising  Flats  text;  and  the denizens  Benny and  e x t r e m e s w h i c h she  i s not  the k i n d of person  who  uses  excuse t o evade moral r e s p o n s i b i l i t y .  Madeleine of c h i l d  to p r o t e c t the c h i l d ,  b a t t e r i n g , she and  she  wants  i s distressed  Once to to  65  think  that  didn't  she  I think  have r e p o r t e d realize  d i d not  act  sooner, asking  of  i t myself?  her"  (p. 2 0 ) .  No  what i s h a p p e n i n g .  belonging  I f I'd  known t h e  wonder she  Since  She  approach Madeleine a t the  only  recalling her  legs  her like  scissors"  itself  madwoman!"  (p.  "So  narrator  (p.  M a d e l e i n e and  of a grotesque t a l e  alongside  our  w o r l d was  (p. 2 6 ) .  Del  (p. 2 6 ) .  powerlessness pervades  he  leaves  area  the  approaches the  a  jacket,  that  "The  true;  but  i t m i g h t be  same b u t by  the  closeness  i s extremely  small.  sphere,  frustrates  h i s attempt  supply  a  the  Although  t o him a city  as  map,  the  Once  Del's  heavy  t o f o l l o w d i r e c t i o n s , and  the  and  w e l l , nothing  s t a t i o n cannot  of  that  encounters  occur  like  of  F l a t s Road", i m p l y i n g  Benny i s h e l p l e s s .  city  true:  never at a l l  A nightmare sense  country, which i s h i s proper  i n the  "The  w i c k e d n e s s were g i g a n t i c  of e f f e c t i v e n e s s  city,  child  U n c l e Benny's w o r l d  the  and  abuse o f h e r  difficulties  gas  with  That  m o t h e r ' s common-sense s o l u t i o n s t o t h e  the  story,  violence  c a n n o t be  i s troubled  U n c l e Benny w o r l d where " l u c k unpredictable"  her  asserts  the  individual's  quite  defeat.  of  "Madeleine!  that  distorted reflection,  and  creature  same  red  Even her  joke,  troubling same"  i n her  to  never  distance  could  27)  Road" s i m u l t a n e o u s l y  lying  admits the  road  27).  i n t o a wry  In r e t r o s p e c t , seem p a r t  the  " g o i n g down t h e  transforms  Flats  i s slow  t o U n c l e Benny's t a b l o i d w o r l d , Ada Finally  "Why  truth I  Madeleine i s a  grasps her. can  herself,  his  he works: traffic  66  determination rescue  ebbs away.  Diane suggests  individuals childhood  is lost,  can  G r o w i n g up  futility  t h a t once the i t cannot  D e l move f r e e l y  i s a process  once p r o v i d e d a c c e s s Living  The  Body", D e l  be  o f Benny's a t t e m p t  t e n u o u s c o n t a c t between  regained.  Only  between a l t e r n a t e  of s e a l i n g  to d i f f e r e n t  to  in  worlds.  o f f the passages spheres.  gradually v i s i t s  her  In  aunts  that  "Heirs of  the  less often:  What c o u l d I e v e r s a y ? T h e i r h o u s e became l i k e a t i n y s e a l e d - o f f c o u n t r y , w i t h i t s own o r n a t e c u s t o m s and e l e g a n t l y , r i d i c u l o u s l y c o m p l i c a t e d l a n g u a g e , where t r u e news o f t h e o u t s i d e w o r l d was n o t e x a c t l y f o r b i d d e n , b u t became more and more i m p o s s i b l e t o d e l i v e r , (p. 59)  But  news o f t h e w o r l d  of the  individual  messengers.  later  enter except  the r o l e  i n "The  becomes a Flats  letter  crucial  p r e l i m i n a r y s t e p on  letter  f o r him,  t h a t he  a woman whom U n c l e account  of the  of Del's  brings  Uncle  intermediary,  o f messenger i s one  dictates Benny has  t h e way and  a role  one  Del's  w h i c h she  takes  Uncle  never can  met.  By  its  writer. a home t o  exaggerated  p r o v i d e f o r the  itself  as much a f i c t i o n  By w r i t i n g  Madeleine  she  to becoming a  Del w r i t e s o f f e r s  t h a t he  stories.  Benny and  and  of  D e l becomes h i s a m a n u e n s i s , a  comforts  later  means o f  writer.  mail-order bride, i t proclaims any  by  consciousness  Road", when she w r i t e s  Benny's  The  imprisoned  f u n c t i o n s as a c h i l d ,  when she  Early  cannot  In f a c t ,  most i m p o r t a n t on  o u t s i d e the  the  letter  together, Del a c t s  i s w e l l equipped  as  which as  to p l a y because  of  67  her youth  and a d a p t a b i l i t y .  She h a p p i l y d i v i d e s  her time  between U n c l e Benny's home and h e r own i n "The F l a t s  Road",  between h e r home and J e n k i n s Bend i n " H e i r s t o t h e L i v i n g Body", and between h e r home and Naomi's i n "Changes and Ceremonies".  D e l sees h e r s e l f  as o c c u p y i n g a  p o s i t i o n with access t o p r i v i l e g e d seemed t h e n t h a t  nobody e l s e  what a p e r s o n was, b u t me" occupied  special  information: " I t often  knew what r e a l l y went on o r  (p. 4 5 ) . B e c a u s e s h e h a s  more t h a n one w o r l d ,  and p e o p l e w i t h  differing  v i e w p o i n t s have c o n f i d e d i n h e r , s h e i s u n i q u e l y t o be a w r i t e r In  and s p e a k f o r t h e p e o p l e  " E p i l o g u e : The P h o t o g r a p h e r " ,  concept  of writing  imagining  discovering. youthful  from  t o an a p p r e c i a t i o n  Summarizing h e r f i r s t  tendency  o f h e r community.  she e x p l a i n s how h e r  g r a d u a l l y expanded  and i n v e n t i n g  qualified  an e m p h a s i s on o f o b s e r v i n g and  n o v e l , she r i d i c u l e s h e r  to exaggerate:  For t h i s n o v e l I had changed J u b i l e e , t o o , o r p i c k e d o u t some f e a t u r e s o f i t and i g n o r e d o t h e r s . . . . P e o p l e i n i t were v e r y t h i n , l i k e C a r o l i n e , o r f a t as b u b b l e s . T h e i r speech was s u b t l e and e v a s i v e and b i z a r r e l y s t u p i d ; t h e i r p l a t i t u d e s c r a c k l e d w i t h madness. The s e a s o n was a l w a y s t h e h e i g h t o f s u m m e r — w h i t e b r u t a l h e a t , dogs l y i n g a s i f dead on t h e s i d e w a l k s , waves o f a i r s h u d d e r i n g , j e l l y l i k e o v e r t h e empty h i g h w a y , (p. 243) Although from  Del i s discussing  h e r own n o v e l , s h e a l l u d e s  t h e d i s t a n c e o f memory f u r t h e r  Unlike her l e t t e r does n o t a p p e a r  removed by i r o n y .  on U n c l e Benny's b e h a l f , t h e n o v e l  i n t h e frame,  except  to i t  itself  f o r an o c c a s i o n a l  68 phrase, belly"  " h e r womb s w o l l e n l i k e (p. 2 4 3 ) ,  recalls itself  to display  her p l o t , t o be  writers,  a hard y e l l o w gourd  i t s h y p e r b o l i c tone.  c h a r a c t e r s and  style,  w i t h the r e s u l t  only are there f a u l t s  that  i t never  in style,  the S h e r r i f f  i s the o r i g i n a l  does n o t know them w e l l .  because tell for  of t h e i r  t h i n g s happening  explain"  (p. 2 4 4 ) .  removed f r o m  has  is  also  embodies  senses  on  it.^  life.  the  level  The  The  is far  a r t , a process  as i m a g i n a t i o n .  of the i d e a l  SEVEN GABLES.  novel Her  artist.  suggests  that  imaginary c h a r a c t e r s , but vagueness of  M o r e o v e r , he b e a r s  literary  about  He  and  not o n l y r e c o r d experience  photographer  the u l t i m a t e t r u t h  to  reasons  of metaphor.  Del even  but can he  portraits  a c l o s e resemblance  H a w t h o r n e ' s d a g u e r r e o t y p i s t whose p i c t u r e  THE  into  o f t h e word, o b s e r v e r  His photographs  shows t h e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c  reveals  tries  fantasizing  as w e l l  the q u a l i t i e s  create powerful  drawn f r o m  she  t o them  t o know, b u t c o u l d n o t  Such s e l f - i n d u l g e n t  thinking  i n the  f o r her n o v e l ,  i t s e x c e s s e s , however, D e l ' s a t t e m p t e d  interpret  already  the s t o r y  Not  Although  i s only attracted  the t r a n s f o r m i n g of r e a l i t y  a seer i n both  visionary.  other  subject.  impetus  I seemed v a g u e l y  a dreamlike coherence  photographer  from  them: " A l l p i c t u r e s .  w h i c h demands a n a l y t i c a l Despite  She  s t r a n g e n e s s , and  i s a daydream a b o u t  shows  but a l s o d e f i c i e n c i e s  understanding of her  Del  Del  compels b e l i e f .  would-be n o v e l i s t ' s family  As  her novel  p a s t e d t o g e t h e r from borrowings  i n her  of the  not to  judge  i t s s u b j e c t i n THE  HOUSE OF  69  Del  sees her  implausible  death  C a r o l i n e . Now fact",  as  to her,  Del  Wawanash R i v e r  her  bathtub" her  the  effect  i f she  243-4).  The  C l e a r l y , she  the  plot  water  have on  was  begin  level  of  of  to  occur  the  Caroline's suicide:  marked s h i f t  and  this  or  sexual  initiation and  she  a t t i t u d e to  In a c c e p t i n g takes  first  progress  her  important  herself  to t e s t  she  s e e n h e r s e l f as  fantasy the  Bobby S h e r r i f f  c o m m o n a l i t y , he  she  as  at judges  failing,  this  with  her final,  Whereas she  must see  can  Mr.  approach to w r i t i n g  invitation  artistic  against  step:  her  on  to a r t . onto  she  reality.  outsider, with hails  that  the  beyond f a n t a s y  Bobby S h e r r i f f s an  than  rarely  process  in  Garnet, always i n s i s t i n g  unrepentant,  can  the  epilogue,  attempt  note i s a s i g n of change.  before  audience; but  i n her  of the  s i n c e she  fundamental wrongness o f her  she  drowning h e r s e l f i n  i n terms of p a s s i n g  i s undamaged and  has  to her  low  considers  a failure,  through her  porch,  heroine,  i r o n y a g a i n s t h e r s e l f more s h a r p l y  behaviour  fiction  the  "niggling considerations  passage i s t y p i c a l  Chamberlain, J e r r y Storey, she  by  i n summer w i l l  uses  self-critical pass  f o r her  f a c e as  novel-writing past  arranged  has  i s beset  in this  she  before.  she  in  i n t o i t s d e p t h s , C a r o l i n e w o u l d have t o l i e  (pp.  novel  which  most c l e a r l y  o f m o v i n g , head bowed, m o o n l i g h t - n a k e d ,  acquiescent, down on  failings  common-sense o b j e c t i o n s  s u c h as  "Instead  novel's  the  forces  Until  the  the  then,  community b a s i s of  a former u n i v e r s i t y student,  and  she  as  their as  a  70 prospective  one.  He  college  must  look  you  important.  . . . You  to  brain"  use  the  n o u r i s h m e n t and c a k e he  has  herself; her  gives after  247-8).  ordinary  i s enabled  unembellished  p h o t o g r a p h e r s and  suicidal  by  h i s t i p t o e s , he  me,  me  in fiction.  use  therefore, find  her  a crucial  artistic  p e o p l e i n her d e p t h and  one  him  melodrama o f  as  two  artist.  into  implies  cloaked When  Before  notice  and  t h a t comes o f b e i n g  recognize  experience.  Whereas t h e  heavy-handed  symbol  rooted  in  p h o t o g r a p h e r i s an artist,  she  a t t i t u d e to  f r o m w h i c h t o make f i c t i o n  the  the  things:  must change h e r  immediate v i c i n i t y ,  p a r a d o x i c a l , much l i k e  eating  closing incident i s ,  f o r Del  of the  on  Bobby's c a k e  i s saying  authenticity  and  takes  want  to express h i s t r u t h i n  the  The  v o i c e , she  vitality  very  nymphomaniac h e r o i n e s .  on  to  b r a i n i f you  i n Del's  icing,  Bobby r i s e s and  is  go  Bobby's d i a t r i b e  t h a t she  Offered without  life  That  the  b r a i n culminates  t h e r e f o r e , she  "When you  your d i e t .  baked, s u g g e s t i n g  fiction.  advice:  have t o n o u r i s h  (pp.  the  her  can the  i n them  the  w h i c h has  the  personal obvious  Bobby S h e r r i f f  and  i s subtle  p e o p l e Munro d e s c r i b e s  in  "Open L e t t e r " : One o f t h e t h i n g s f a s c i n a t i n g t o a f i c t i o n w r i t e r a b o u t s u c h towns i s t h e way p e o p l e l i v e i n the eyes of o t h e r s . E v e r y l i f e i s a drama, e v e r y b o d y i s on s t a g e . People are c a s t , they are d e f i n e d , p l a c e d i n r o l e s w h i c h t h e y tamper w i t h at t h e i r p e r i l . I t i s not t r u e t h a t such a p l a c e w i l l not a l l o w e c c e n t r i c i t y . Oddity i s n e c e s s a r y , j u s t as much as s i n i s ; i t i s j u s t t h a t b o t h t h i n g s must be c l a s s i f i e d , declared and a p p r e c i a t e d , and t h a t t h e r e i s no way b a c k  71  when t h i s r o a d i s t a k e n . Within these f i r m d e f i n i t i o n s — a n d t o u c h i n g them, p e r h a p s a t h a r d l y any p o i n t s — l i v e b e w i l d e r e d and c o m p l i c a t e d people. They a r e d r i v e n t o c u r i o u s e s c a p e h a t c h e s , sometimes, o r e x a g g e r a t e d performances. Which i s s o m e t h i n g f i c t i o n c a n be made f r o m . 9  Bobby S h e r r i f f the r o l e  i s a p r i m e example o f a man who h a s t a k e n on  o f town madman, and i s now t r a p p e d w i t h i n i t .  work p r e o c c u p i e d storyteller. explanation life,  with  storytelling,  He o f f e r s  a peculiarly  In a  Bobby i s t h e l a s t unsatisfactory  f o r h i s madness and w i s h e s D e l l u c k w i t h h e r  a final  b e n e d i c t i o n which completes  the l i t e r a r y  a p p r e n t i c e s h i p begun t h e summer when she was a c h i l d  about  t o e n t e r g r a d e f o u r , and U n c l e  Benny demanded an answer t o  the q u e s t i o n ,  (p.  "Can y o u w r i t e ? "  10).  72 Notes  1 A l i c e Munro, LIVES OF GIRLS AND WOMEN ( T o r o n t o : M c G r a w - H i l l R y e r s o n , 1 9 7 1 ) , p . 1. S u b s e q u e n t r e f e r e n c e s appear i n t h e t e x t . 2 . James P o l k , "Deep Caves a n d K i t c h e n L i n o l e u m , " r e v . o f L I V E S OF GIRLS AND WOMEN, by A l i c e Munro, CANADIAN LITERATURE, No. 54 ( 1 9 7 2 ) , p . 103. 3 J.R. (Tim) S t r u t h e r s , " A l i c e Munro a n d t h e A m e r i c a n S o u t h , " THE CANADIAN REVIEW OF AMERICAN STUDIES, 6 No. 2 ( 1 9 7 5 ) , p . 19 7; r p t . i n THE CANADIAN NOVEL HERE AND NOW, e d . J o h n Moss ( T o r o n t o : N.C. P r e s s , 1 9 7 8 ) , p . 122. 4 L i n d a M a r g a r e t L e i t c h , " A l i c e Munro's F i c t i o n : E x p l o r a t i o n s i n Open Forms," M.A. t h e s i s U n i v . o f G u e l p h 1980, p . 45. 5 M a r g a r e t L a u r e n c e , "Time a n d t h e N a r r a t i v e V o i c e , " i n THE NARRATIVE VOICE, e d . J o h n M e t c a l f e ( T o r o n t o : M c G r a w - H i l l R y e r s o n , 1 9 7 2 ) , p . 128. 6 A l f r e d T e n n y s o n , THE PRINCESS I . 134-5 i n THE POETRY OF TENNYSON, e d . C h r i s t o p h e r R i c k s (London: Longmans, 1 9 6 9 ) , p . 755. 7 G e o f f Hancock, e d . , MAGIC REALISM: AN ANTHOLOGY ( T o r o n t o : A y a P r e s s , 1 9 8 0 ) , p . 10. 8 See a l s o , B r a n d o n C o n r o n , "Munro's W o n d e r l a n d , " CANADIAN LITERATURE No. 78 ( 1 9 7 8 ) , p . 110 . 9 A l i c e Munro, "An Open L e t t e r , " J U B I L E E No. 1 ( 1 9 7 4 ) , p . 6.  73  Chapter  Three  Relinquishing Authority  SOMETHING, p u b l i s h e d between L I V E S and WHO, story  collection  whose o r g a n i z i n g p r i n c i p l e  i s a short  i s not  1  immediately as D e l ' s recount  apparent.  story  and WHO  the s t o r i e s  separate  stories  uncertain  Whereas a s i n g l e v o i c e u n i f i e s as Rose's, a v a r i e t y  i n SOMETHING.  are linked  relations  through  the recurring  Janus,  i n two d i r e c t i o n s :  the Jordans  a r e more l i k e "Winter the  looks  of r e g r e t or bafflement.  Rose, t h e c e n t r a l  Wind" and "The Ottawa V a l l e y " ,  Lady", t h e  more d i s i l l u s i o n e d suffer  back t o a f a m i l y  c h a r a c t e r o f WHO. the r u r a l  Del Jordan.  disappointment  lovers,  thereby  learning  pattern  w h i c h Munro l a t e r  s e t t i n g and from  Me Yes o r No" and "The  new p r o t a g o n i s t s who b e g i n than  In  members a r e f a m i l i a r  Munro's p r e v i o u s w o r k s , b u t i n " T e l l  Del,they  Like  o f DANCE and L I V E S , and a h e a d t o women who  f a m i l y d o m i n a t e d by i t s f e m a l e  Spanish  theme o f  between t h e g e n e r a t i o n s and t h e s e x e s , tone  like  of voices  Nevertheless, the  as w e l l a s a p e r v a d i n g SOMETHING  LIVES  t o emerge a r e  Unlike the i r r e p r e s s i b l e  a t t h e hands o f h u s b a n d s and  painful  lessons i n s e l f - r e l i a n c e ,  brings to i t s f u l l  development i n  WHO. Not  only the s e n s i b i l i t y  c h a n g e s i n SOMETHING, b u t a l s o  of the c e n t r a l t h e tone  In h i s 1982 i n t e r v i e w w i t h A l i c e  a  character  of the n a r r a t i v e .  Munro, T i m S t r u t h e r s  74  comments:  "SOMETHING I'VE BEEN MEANING TO T E L L YOU  establishes  a relatively  y o u r work."*' reflected talks is  new and more m y s t e r i o u s  The m y s t e r y t h a t  Struthers  i n t h e form o f t h e s t o r i e s .  about h e r sense o f l i f e  tone f o r  discerns i s  A l t h o u g h i n LIVES D e l  as a m y s t e r i o u s p r o c e s s ,  LIVES  n o t a m y s t e r i o u s book b e c a u s e D e l e s t a b l i s h e s h e r s e l f a s  a reliable truth  narrator,  of her past.  with her point which remains superior  a young w r i t e r Therefore,  o f view. separate  to i t since  b e n t on g e t t i n g a t t h e  the reader  She t e l l s  f r o m t h e n a r r a t i v e and s l i g h t l y  this  i s her older  and w i s e r  period  however, t h e n a r r a t o r s  are less r e l i a b l e  happened become b l u r r e d .  express  i n her l i f e .  self  I n SOMETHING, guideposts;  between what d i d happen and what m i g h t  optimistically  believes  himself  what happened i n a v o i c e  remembering an e a r l i e r  distinctions  can o r i e n t  Compared t o t h e y o u t h f u l that  she w i l l  the t r u t h , these narrators  eventually  a r e jaded  have Del,  who  learn to  and c o n f u s e d ,  more aware o f t h e l i m i t a t i o n s o f s t o r y t e l l i n g  than i t s  possibilities. One the  reason  earlier  creative  f o r t h e d i f f e r e n c e s between SOMETHING and  books i s t h a t  title  evolved  during  e x p e r i m e n t a t i o n when Munro a t t e m p t e d  form from t h e s h o r t the  i t was w r i t t e n  story  story to the novel.  intending  into a short  a period of  t o change h e r  A l t h o u g h s h e began  i t t o be a n o v e l ,  i t gradually  story:  You know I r e a l l y wanted t o w r i t e a n o v e l o f t h a t story. Then i t j u s t s o r t o f b o i l e d down l i k e  75  maple s y r u p . A l l I had l e f t was t h a t s t o r y . F o r me, i t w o u l d have been d a r i n g t o s t r e t c h t h a t material out i n t o a f u l l novel. I w o u l d n ' t be s u r e i t had t h e s t r e n g t h . So I d o n ' t t a k e t h a t c h a n c e .3  A l t h o u g h Munro's d e s c r i p t i o n o f h e r s e l f a s a t i m i d lacking is  writer  t h e n o v e l i s t ' s c o u r a g e i s t o o s e l f - d e p r e c a t i n g , she  probably r i g h t i n choosing  the short  s t o r y as t h e b e t t e r  vehicle  f o r t h e e f f e c t s she wants t o a c h i e v e .  writing  i n chapters  proved  For her,  disappointing:  But t h e r e a l w a y s comes a p o i n t where e v e r y t h i n g seems t o be g e t t i n g r e a l l y f l a t . You d o n ' t f e e l the t e n s i o n . I c a n go on w r i t i n g i t so many words a d a y , and I p r e t t y w e l l know where i t h a s t o go, b u t I d o n ' t f e e l t h i s p u l l i n g on t h e r o p e t o g e t t o t h e o t h e r s i d e t h a t I have t o f e e l . And so I a l w a y s do t h e same t h i n g . I go b a c k . I chop i t up. I make i t i n t o t h e s e t h i n g s t h a t I can . . . . ^ Her  dissatisfaction  the  tension  story. only  p r o d u c e d by t h e g r e a t e r  stems f r o m  the w r i t e r ' s  f e e l i n g s b u t a l s o t h e e f f e c t on t h e  the abrupt  switch  from e x p e r i e n c e  s t o r y r e c a l l e d from t h e p a s t .  juxtaposing fit  together  The  greater  expressed  describe not  The c h o p p i n g Munro m e n t i o n s i s e v i d e n t  time s h i f t s ,  She b u i l d s  memory and t h e p r e s e n t ,  complexity  i n her increased  experiments with voice  i n sudden t o a dream o r  t e n s i o n by  nudging the reader t o  t h e f r a g m e n t s and so d i s c o v e r formal  losing  compression o f the short  The a n a l o g y o f p u l l i n g on a r o p e h e l p s  reader.  a  with chapter w r i t i n g  their  o f Munro's l a t e r  meaning.  writing,  u s e o f embedded s t o r i e s , and  and s e l f - c o n s c i o u s  narrators,  76  introduce ambiguity into disguised  by a c a r e f u l  reassures  and  factual  Explaining  of " T e l l  indirectly  structure  Me  Yes  confiding  how  which  i s being  told  h e r i m a g i n a t i o n works,  o r No"  h e r own  nature i s  of everyday d e t a i l  c o n v i n c e s t h e r e a d e r t h a t he  truth.  narrator  s t o r i e s whose f i c t i o n a l  sounds  artistic  remarkably  the  like  Munro  method:  Would you l i k e t o know how I was i n f o r m e d o f y o u r death? I go i n t o t h e f a c u l t y k i t c h e n , t o make m y s e l f a cup o f c o f f e e b e f o r e my t e n o ' c l o c k class. D o d i e C h a r l e s who i s a l w a y s b a k i n g s o m e t h i n g has b r o u g h t a c h e r r y pound c a k e . (The t h i n g we o l d p r o s know a b o u t , i n t h e s e f a n t a s i e s , i s the importance of d e t a i l , s o l i d i t y ; y e s , a c h e r r y pound cake.) (p. 109)  Undoubtedly, cherries  t h e r o u n d n e s s , r e d n e s s , and  compel  cake, but a l s o article  not only  i n the d i s c o v e r y of the l o v e r ' s  revelation,  homely d e t a i l , the t i t l e  an  a millionaire's  mansion.  These  an e l e m e n t  factual  of doubt.  of r e a l i t y ,  Contrary  t o Munro's a s s e s s m e n t  willing  Blaikie  Noble's  The  bus  details  but i s reminded  to take a chance,  to take r i s k s  The  Hill,  reader i s p e r m i t t e d the that  of h e r s e l f  i t i s an  illusion.  as a w r i t e r  i n SOMETHING she shows  t o push  and  promote  town, b u t t h e town's name, Mock  illusion  hesitates  the cake.  Indian graveyard, limestone gardens,  i n an a c t u a l  introduces  d e a t h i n an  o f Munro's n a r r a t i v e t e c h n i q u e .  f o r example,  passengers tour  belief  of the  made c o n v i n c i n g by means o f t h e  i s typical  story,  of  i n the a u t h e n t i c i t y  f r o m t h e newspaper wrapped a r o u n d  surprising  In  belief  sweetness  a t the l i m i t s  of  who  herself  storytelling.  77  As with as  the t i t l e  suggests,  meaning and t e l l i n g ,  the c o l l e c t i o n  e x p l o r i n g the paradox o f t e l l i n g  t h e means o f h i d i n g m e a n i n g , and s i l e n c e  revelation.  Accordingly,  disclosures  are less  omits: guilt  over  similarly  infer  significant  Char's death.  more t h a n  t h e statements she  her j e a l o u s y o f Char, her " S o m e t h i n g " i s much  a woman j i l t e d .  E t discovers r a t poison  narrative  s t o r y f r o m DANCE Possibilities  i n a kitchen  The r e a d e r  of "Postcard", town, i s k e p t  The  which a l s o concerns a love  a small  to  f o r g e t t h a t he i s engaged  transparent  Been M e a n i n g t o T e l l issue of f i c t i o n  cupboard;  i s invited to  one p o s s i b l e n a r r a t i v e s e q u e n c e .  in  I've  than  an e a r l i e r  i s i l l ; Char i s unhappy.  a s t h e means o f  s t o r y , E t ' s major  Structurally  "Postcard",  concerned with  multiply: Arthur  i n the t i t l e  o f her love f o r Arthur,  more complex t h a n  the  i s preoccupied  t o encourage the reader  i n reading  a story;  "Something  You", however, d e l i b e r a t e l y  versus  f a c t when Char i s f o u n d  " T h e r e was no f u s s a b o u t t h e c a u s e o f d e a t h a s t h e r e stories" committed  affair  (p. 2 3 ) .  Blaikie  Noble, over  suicide,  attends  h e r f u n e r a l and k e e p s h i s  raises  dead: is in  whom Char may have  remorse, i f any, t o h i m s e l f : He had come b a c k t o Mock H i l l on t h e d a y Char was found. A few h o u r s t o o l a t e , l i k e some s t o r y . E t i n . h e r n a t u r a l c o n f u s i o n c o u l d n o t remember what i t was. Romeo and J u l i e t , she t h o u g h t later. B u t B l a i k i e o f c o u r s e d i d n o t do away w i t h h i m s e l f a f t e r w a r d s , he went b a c k t o T o r o n t o " (p. 2 3 ) .  Comparing  illusion  and r e a l i t y  i n this  f a s h i o n demonstrates  78 how d i f f i c u l t experience the  as w e l l as i n s t o r i e s .  illusion The  i t i s t o know what i s t r u e i n a c t u a l Separating the t r u t h  becomes t h e p r o t a g o n i s t ' s c o m p e l l i n g  and w r i t i n g  writer,  Hugo, t h r o u g h  married  t o him.  fiction.  "Material"  of a former biography  She r i d i c u l e s  w i f e , the legend  the capsule biography  of l i t e r a r y  the h a l f - l i e s ,  c h i d e s him f o r l e a v i n g  he-man, w h i c h t h e o f Hugo:  he i s a t p a i n s  o u t h i s former  to l i s t .  j o b as  One a f t e r  self-portrait his  ex-wife,  he h a s p r o d u c e d he i s s e l f i s h ,  irresponsible, admits  having  a "filthy  participated  transforming Dotty, into as  a fiction.  who  29).  masculine  another, the w i t h him i n  the f l a t t e r i n g  for publication.  unsympathetic,  moral  (p.  examination  n a r r a t o r ' s memories o f t h e p e r i o d when she l i v e d a Vancouver apartment c o n t r a d i c t  "But  the a b s u r d i t i e s "  marker e v e n t h o u g h he p r e f e r r e d i t t o t h e r o b u s t l y occupations  which  To t h e j a u n d i c e d e y e  promotes, i s n o t a t r u e p i c t u r e  t o the l i e s ,  examines a  t h e e y e s o f a n a r r a t o r who was once  a c c o m p a n i e s one o f h i s s h o r t s t o r i e s .  She  task.  n a r r a t o r s i n SOMETHING c o n s i d e r t h e e t h i c s o f  storytelling  listen  from  idiot"  According to  exploitive,  (p. 4 1 ) ;  yet,  she  w i t h him i n t h e game o f  lived  i n t h e basement  apartment,  L i k e Hugo, t h e n a r r a t o r r e f e r r e d  to Dottie  " t h e - h a r l o t - i n - r e s i d e n c e " and h e r mother a s " t h e G r e e n  Hornet".  B u t a s she came t o know D o t t y  reluctant  t o make t h e s e  Hugo: " I g o t f o n d e r  b e t t e r , s h e grew  jokes or r e p o r t Dotty's  of Dotty,  used  s t o r e up and r e p e a t what s h e s a i d "  to her, less  remarks t o l i k e l y to  (p. 3 7 ) . B e c a u s e she was  79  kinder  to D o t t y , the  superior; relative story  now,  narrator  however, she  merits  Hugo has  in light written  r e g a r d e d h e r s e l f as  i s forced  of  an  about  Hugo's  to re-examine  astonishingly  their  perceptive  Dotty:  T h e r e i s D o t t y l i f t e d o u t o f l i f e and h e l d i n l i g h t , suspended i n the m a r v e l l o u s c l e a r j e l l y t h a t Hugo has s p e n t a l l h i s l i f e l e a r n i n g how t o make. I t i s an a c t o f m a g i c , t h e r e i s no g e t t i n g a r o u n d i t ; i t i s an a c t you m i g h t s a y , of a s p e c i a l , unsparing, unsentimental l o v e " (p. 43) .  The  r e v e l a t i o n i n Hugo's s t o r y  of  for  love  surprise.  writing  takes  the  a manifestation  t h a t what she  he  has  as  l u m i n o u s as  position  as  narrator's  but  she  one  of  f o r D o t t y was  making h e r  "clear j e l l y " .  a concluding earlier  This  love",  narrator  several  to the  references  Magic a l s o o c c u r s Lougheed r e a c t s  process  therefore,  to  the  books on  lapses  are  spring  i t is a  explain  the  perceptions,  phrase,  t o magic i n t h i s  its  the  enabling  does n o t  i n " W a l k i n g on  of  e m p h a s i z e d by  i s the  i n the  Dotty,  defense  statement which r e v e r s e s  The  implies  i n t o a s t o r y which i s  ways i n w h i c h Hugo's a r t c h a n g e s h e r alludes  she  crimes against  is  unexpected ending;  Hugo's  mere  d e c l a r a t i o n t h a t Hugo's m o r a l  necessity.  capacity  calling  convincing  Hugo's s t o r y o f D o t t y  launches the  subtle  by  By  "unsentimental  r i g h t to s p e c i a l status  indefensible.  structural  by  unsuspected  Whatever Hugo's p a s t  redeemed h i m s e l f  artist's  which  of  herself felt  sentimentality.  the  narrator  an  " a c t of  magic"  volume.  Water", when  Mr.  h i s young f r i e n d Eugene's  80 shelves: Mr. L o u g h e e d ' s e y e s h a d s t r a y e d t o a s h e l f o f a n o t h e r k i n d o f books Eugene r e a d , w h i c h d i d n o t seem t o him t o t i e i n t o o r e a d i l y w i t h t h e f i r s t kind. These books were by and a b o u t p e o p l e who made p r o p h e c i e s , t h e y were a b o u t a s t r a l b o d i e s and p s y c h i c e x p e r i e n c e s and s u p e r n a t u r a l powers and e v e r y k i n d o f hoax o r m a g i c , i f t h a t was what you wanted t o c a l l i t . ( p . 74)  By  cataloguing  t h e books' c o n t e n t s ,  suggests the p a r t i c u l a r ideas reasoned response intellectual  to l i f e ,  the narrator  which t h r e a t e n  Mr. L o u g h e e d ' s  b u t a l s o i n v o k e s t h e changed  a t m o s p h e r e o f t h e d e c a d e , summed up by t h e k i n d  o f books w h i c h many young p e o p l e were r e a d i n g . hippie place  trio,  Calla,  the story  sixties.  Since  help  Eugene's  and r e l a t e d m a t t e r s s h a r e h i s s h e l v e s  with the philosophical writings  reflect  Like the  Rex and R o v e r , books on t h e o c c u l t  i n the nineteen  books on m y s t i c i s m  Teilhard  not only  de C h a r d i n , t h i n k e r s the c o n t r a d i c t i o n s  o f H e i d e g g e r , K a n t , and  Mr. Lougheed a d m i r e s ,  i n Eugene's p e r s o n a l i t y  Mr. L o u g h e e d .  dialectic  between r e a s o n and u n r e a s o n , b u t t o Eugene t h e two  are not necessarily exclusive.  replying  t o Mr. L o u g h e e d ' s s u g g e s t i o n  on  water  i s some k i n d  of  joke"  (p.  of joke:  in  life  He embraces  isa  paradox,  that h i s plan  " I t could  t o walk  be, a s e r i o u s  kind  74).  Eugene seems t o be a d v o c a t i n g negative  druggist,  which  discomfit  states  To t h e r e t i r e d  they  capability:  "that  something  like  Keats'  i s when man i s c a p a b l e o f b e i n g  uncertainties, Mysteries,  d o u b t s , w i t h o u t any i r r i t a b l e  81 reaching aptly  after  Keats'  t h e detachment o f those  traditional  course  the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y friendship. advocated tries  epithet " i r r i t a b l e "  The s t a t e  a r o u n d h i m a s he  o f a man o f good w i l l ,  pursues  and assumes with  o f mind e n v i s i o n e d by K e a t s and  by Eugene i s b e y o n d Mr. L o u g h e e d , a l t h o u g h he because o f h i s i n s t i n c t i v e  f o r Eugene.  m a g i c , he c a n n o t "Using  attempts t o  f o r Eugene's w e l l - b e i n g t h a t goes  t o understand  respect  this  & reason".5  d e s c r i b e s Mr. L o u g h e e d ' s e x a s p e r a t e d  penetrate the  fact  Attempting  t o r e a d Eugene's books on  make o u t what t h e young man s e e s  a word o u t o f h i s own y o u t h ,  had h i m stumped"  outworn r u r a l  he t o l d  ( p . 7 4 ) . The word  man a t odds w i t h  now  lives.  i n them:  Eugene t h a t a l l  "stumped" w i t h i t s  connotations, mirrors the outdated  old  Again  l i k i n g and  t h e u r b a n young p e o p l e  v i e w s o f an  among whom he  i n " T e l l Me Yes o r No", t h e n a r r a t o r d e s c r i b e s  books on magic i n B a r b a r a ' s  Book M a r t :  O t h e r books d e a l w i t h m a g i c , t h e r e a r e r e a l l y h u n d r e d s o f books a b o u t w i t c h e s , s p e l l s , c l a i r v o y a n c e , r i t u a l s , a l l k i n d s o f t r i c k s and w o n d e r s , (p. 119) The  list  reader  of subjects contained  against comfortable  reality The  t o what i s r e a d i l y  assumptions t h a t would  limit  explainable.  same s t r a t e g y o p e r a t e s  Families",  i n t h e s e books warns t h e  i n "Forgiveness i n  i n w h i c h a d y i n g woman m i r a c u l o u s l y r e c o v e r s  a heart attack.  T o l d from  from  the b i a s e d p o i n t o f view o f her  82 daughter, grave  the  story relates  t h a t d o c t o r s and  the n i g h t .  As  how  nurses  t h e woman's c o n d i t i o n i s so  do  not  expect  the n a r r a t o r keeps v i g i l  her  i n the h o s p i t a l ,  ne'er-do-well  b r o t h e r , a member o f an unnamed  cult,  with h i s "brother p r i e s t s "  arrives  conducting  insists  upon  m o t h e r . N e x t m o r n i n g , t h e m o t h e r ' s c o n d i t i o n has  improved  relief  and  w h i c h he  religious  heal h i s  and  ritual  and  her  claims w i l l  greatly,  a prayer  to survive  the n a r r a t o r i s l e f t  disappointment.  w i t h mixed f e e l i n g s  Although  she  p r e s e n t s her  as a s e l f i s h  dilettante  whose e n t h u s i a s m s a r e  short-lived,  she  be  cannot  sure  n o t worked magic upon t h e i r narrator's  exasperated to a t t r a c t  tone  she  fails  her  p r i d e which r e s u l t s  Instead,the interested  s t o r y has  brother-sister differences  the  Along  suffers  t h e blow t o  brother's magical  success.  Munro i s l e s s  i n e x p l o r i n g the dynamics o f  this  Calling and  attention actual  the n a r r a t o r d i r e c t s  convention  i n t o bad  narrator's  her  at a distance,  took  and  sister  attention  toward  good s i s t e r  and  her the  the  Reduced  to  bad  good b r o t h e r , u s i n g p r i d e , t h e  b e s e t t i n g s i n , to j u s t i f y  the  switch.  similar  and  "Winter  lines,  the  s i m u l t a n e o u s l y , employs  transforms and  to  place  outcome o f  of r e v e r s i n g s t e r e o t y p e s .  story  and  the  t h a t events  of f i c t i o n ,  essence,  brother  keeps the r e a d e r  between t h e e x p e c t e d  conventions  shallow  Since  a i r of a r t i f a c e .  relationship.  mother's i l l n e s s ,  its  s i c k mother.  i n c o n v i n c i n g the reader  as d e s c r i b e d , t h a n  narrative  an  brother  t h a t h i s i n c a n t a t i o n s have  sympathy when she from  of  "Memorial"  Wind"  also  83  examine p r o u d than  individuals  submitting  periodic  to i t .  feelings  b e n t on c o n t r o l l i n g  The n a r r a t o r  life  rather  o f "Memorial" admits t o  of helplessness:  Compared t o J u n e , she d i d l i v e i r r e s p o n s i b l y . E i l e e n had t o s e e t h i s , she had t o a d m i t i t . Her l a z y g a r b a g e a l l thrown t o g e t h e r , h e r cupboards under t h e i r s u r f a c e t i d i n e s s b u r s t i n g w i t h c h a o s , (pp. 209-10)  Although  she c a s t i g a t e s  everyday r o u t i n e , way o f l i f e  herself  Eileen  i s superior  f o r her f a i l u r e s  i n managing  i s not convinced that her s i s t e r ' s to hers:  H e r e was a s y s t e m o f d i g e s t i o n w h i c h f o u n d everything to i t s purposes. I t stuck a t nothing. Japanese gardens, p o r n o g r a p h i c movies, accidental death. A l l o f them a c c e p t e d , chewed and a l t e r e d , a s s i m i l a t e d , d e s t r o y e d , (p. 216)  June's  consumer-like determination t o savor a l l a v a i l a b l e  experiences Eileen's  i s a p p a l l i n g when i t e x t e n d s t o h e r s o n ' s  contrasting  helplessness  necessary accomodation mortality  and g r i e f .  Life  as f i c t i o n  life,  f o r instance,  haphazard  quality  grandmother  the r e s t  consequences her  first  a p p e a r s a humane and  to the inescapable conditions of  pervades  these s t o r i e s .  i s carefully  of existence.  constructed In t h i s  J u n e ' s way o f t o deny t h e  she r e s e m b l e s t h e  i n " W i n t e r Wind", who m a r r i e d " w h i l e s t i l l i n  l o v e w i t h , though For  death.  v e r y a n g r y a t , a n o t h e r man"  o f her l i f e ,  t h e grandmother  of her e a r l y d e c i s i o n ,  love,  "that  200).  bears the  and n e v e r  self-glorifying  (p.  relinquishes  dangerous  self-denying  84  passion,  never  (p. 200) . achieves  satisfied,  By m a r r y i n g  marriages.  t o have p e r s i s t e d d e s p i t e  o f " W i n t e r Wind", l i k e  "Memorial", questions  the v a l i d i t y  am I t o know what I c l a i m The  narrator  story  from  scraps  story  like  "Tell  love  the narrator of of her i n t e r p r e t a t i o n : as I p u t t h i s  together  of transforming  lover stop  with  distance  the experience  The s u p p o s i t i o n  arriving.  s u b s e q u e n t l y happens, t h e n a r r a t o r  Instead  of  "Tell  attempting  i s that of  letters  recounting  and d e s c r i b i n g what  proposes v a r i o u s  i n which t h e p l o t might u n f o l d .  protagonist  speculation to  o f b o t h t i m e and  r e a c t i o n to the cessation of l e t t e r s  passion,  but a  The n e c e s s a r y e l e m e n t s a r e memory,  space a c t i n g as a c a t a l y s t .  obsessive  down, how  her grandmother's  Me Yes o r No" goes beyond  and i m a g i n a t i o n ,  directions  self-consciousness,  o f evidence accumulated over years,  the mental process  f r o m an a b s e n t  h i s several  t o know?" (p. 201)  has p i e c e d  into fiction.  letters  her  and  how i s anybody t o know, I t h i n k  observe  lifetime"  t h e wrong man, t h e g r a n d m o t h e r  W i t h a new t e n t a t i v e n e s s  narrator  "And  a  c o n t r o l o v e r h e r r e j e c t e d s u i t o r , whose c o u r t s h i p  of her i s b e l i e v e d  the  never r i s k e d , t o l a s t  possible  A study o f  Me Yes o r No" c o n c e r n s a  to cure  h e r s e l f of a love  which  c a u s e s h e r more s u f f e r i n g t h a n i t i s w o r t h :  Love i s n o t i n t h e l e a s t u n a v o i d a b l e , t h e r e i s a c h o i c e made. I t i s j u s t t h a t i t i s h a r d t o know when t h e c h o i c e was made, o r when, i n s p i t e o f s e e m i n g f r i v o l o u s , i t became i r r e v e r s i b l e , (p. H I )  85 As  b e f o r e , drawing the  absolute  i s the  difference  line  difficulty.  between h e r s e l f  between t h e  provisional  In LIVES, Del and  Garnet  identified  French:  committed  herself  t o him  only p r o v i s i o n a l l y ,  committed  himself  to her  absolutely.  surrender  of s e l f  to the  l o v e d one  mysterious, irrational of  "Tell  but and  having o r No"  some t i m e  before  this  subplots"  (p. I l l ) .  is  the  of  given By  up  on  equating  n a r r a t o r shows how,  A c c o r d i n g l y , an  She  had  this remains  being The  i t i f possible: intrigues,  falling  this  whereas he  E x a c t l y how  i s suspected  the  had  i s accomplished  would a v o i d  narrative-consciousness:  unfolding.  she  dangerous consequences.  Yes  subplot,  Me  the process  and  on  narrator "I  had  anxious  i n love  with  f o r her,  self-consciousness  sees  life  her  exchange of s t o r i e s  l o v e m a k i n g e v e n when i t i s a c a s u a l  as a s t o r y precedes  indulgence:  B u t a f t e r a w h i l e I do t e l l somebody, a man I work w i t h , Gus M a r k s . He has r e c e n t l y s e p a r a t e d from h i s w i f e . He t a k e s me o u t t o d i n n e r and we d r i n k and t e l l e a c h o t h e r o u r s t o r i e s , t h e n m o s t l y on my i n i t i a t i v e go t o bed (p. 110) Sharing and  woman a r e  creates their by  stories  the  an  at  least  together,  illusion  liaison.  extends the and  the r e c i t a t i o n  of c l o s e n e s s which  In t h e  case  n a r r a t o r , a shared  The  narrator speculates  for  having  known h e r  l e n g t h of time  of the  past  lover addressed  especially  before:  man  histories  lends humanity  i s a powerful  t h a t she  years  of past  the  as  to "you"  aphrodisiac. loved t h i s  man  86  I l o v e d you f o r l i n k i n g me w i t h my p a s t , w i t h my young s e l f p u s h i n g t h e s t r o l l e r a l o n g t h e campus p a t h s , i n n o c e n t t h r o u g h no f a u l t o f my own. If I c o u l d k i n d l e l o v e t h e n and t a k e i t now t h e r e was l e s s w a s t e t h a n I had t h o u g h t , (p. 113) The  i d e a o f a l o v e re-awakened  her  by  i t s power t o u n i f y p a s t and  storylike seem t o By  the  end  are  of  "Tell  Me  so i n t e r w o v e n  feelings,  i n her  own  The  her  and of  attracts  provide  a  experience  account  journey the  o f what  the  The confused  love i s a  a fact verifiable  t o t h e dead  lover's  l o v e r ' s widow a r e  withdrawn i n the h y p n o t i c  has  two.  the n a r r a t o r ' s  t o which her  mind, r a t h e r t h a n  dreamlike  the n a r r a t o r ' s  to separate  reflecting  confrontation with  t o be  o r No",  with  t h e unknowable e x t e n t  experience.  only  Yes  that i t i s impossible  confusion i s intentional,  the  present,  time  preclude.  happened  fiction  earlier  c o h e r e n c e w h i c h t h e random e v e n t s  fantasies  and  f r o m an  in city  profered  conclusion:  Nevermind. I invented her. I i n v e n t e d y o u , as f a r as my p u r p o s e s go. I i n v e n t e d l o v i n g you and I i n v e n t e d y o u r d e a t h . I have my t r i c k s and my t r a p d o o r s , t o o . I don't understand their w o r k i n g s a t t h e p r e s e n t moment, b u t I have t o be c a r e f u l , I won't s p e a k a g a i n s t them. (p. 124) Not  only  also  she  i s the  n a r r a t o r unable  w o u l d r e f u s e t o do  to e x p l a i n her  so e v e n i f she  c o n c l u s i o n draws a t t e n t i o n t o t h e s o m e t h i n g u n f a t h o m a b l e , and it  too d e e p l y .  necessary  i f she  The  fictions,  could.  fictionalizing  The process  warns o f t h e d a n g e r s o f  n a r r a t o r knows t h a t h e r  i s to r e t a i n  her  identity;  but  as  plumbing  illusions  are  nevertheless,  87  she  i n v i t e s the reader  t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n the process of  making t h e s t o r y by a d m i t t i n g interpretations, Throughout  some o f them c o n t r a d i c t i n g "SOMETHING",  magicians r e v e a l i n g Instead  in  twist  of realism  behave  to the audience.  story,  s t r a i n s the  a s does t h e c l e v e r  I Met My Husband".  who v o i c e  control  alludes  t h e i r own n a r r a t i v e s  totality  of experience,  puncture the i l l u s i o n Edward S a i d ' s  of capturing  she n e v e r a l l o w s h e r d o u b t s t o  she i s c r e a t i n g .  indispensable  analysis  of authority i n  fiction  d e p e n d s : one i s a s e n s e o f d o u b t f e l t  upon w h i c h  and e s p e c i a l l y t h e c h a r a c t e r s of a single voice  unto i t s e l f ; approached  another  truer". ^ conclusion  i s sufficient  t r u t h can only  "by means o f a m e d i a t i o n  Said  i s equally  by a u t h o r ,  i n t h e work t h a t t h e  because o f i t s f a l s e n e s s  Although  narrative  o r group o f v o i c e s  i s a b e l i e f that  indirectly,  paradoxically,  t o be  i n f i c t i o n the  isolates special conditions  authority  is felt  occasionally  fiction  reader  by  are c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of  o f LIVES. Although D e l Jordan  to the d i f f i c u l t y  Puzzled,  their uncertainty  SOMETHING, w h e r e a s an a u t h o r i t a t i v e n a r r a t o r in  like  Me Yes o r No", o r l e t t e r s , a s  i n the t i t l e  tentative narrators undermining  often  Coincidence further  a t t h e e n d o f "How  others.  of the t r u t h , they o f f e r  p l o t s , as i n " T e l l  "The S p a n i s h L a d y " .  illusion  narrators  t h e i r magic t r i c k s  of a single version  alternative  a range o f p o s s i b l e  be  that  makes t h e t r u t h  i s r e f e r r i n g to novels, h i s  true  of t h i s short  story cycle.  As he  88 points  out, "the p r i n c i p l e of authority  always attempting  to steer  p r o v i d e s a motion  clear of obstacles  that  emerge t o  7 inhibit,  maim o r d e s t r o y  between a u t h o r i t y  and m o l e s t a t i o n ,  engages t h e r e a d e r truth  i tutterly."  The u n e a s y  t o use Said's  i n the process of discovery:  balance  terms, "a t r u e r  i s one a r r i v e d a t by a p r o c e s s o f e l i m i n a t i o n :  Q alternatives  s i m i l a r t o t r u t h a r e shed one b y o n e " .  model o f a l t e r n a t i v e s b e i n g  shed as t h e s t o r y  many s t o r i e s i n SOMETHING: t h e p o i s o n  The  proceeds  fits  i n "Something I've  Been M e a n i n g t o T e l l  You" t h a t  seems a t f i r s t  for  suspected  i n Char's death; Margaret, i n  Arthur,  "The  i s later  t o be i n t e n d e d  S p a n i s h L a d y " , who seems t o be t h e o u t s i d e r  befriended  by t h e n a r r a t o r ,  threatening  to destroy  alternatives  In  the narrator's  to the deliberate  authority,  another  SOMETHING i s t h e i m p l i e d narratives  are addressed.  marriage.  and r e f u t e d ,  compels t h e r e a d e r ' s  addition  narrator's  emerges a s t h e o t h e r woman,  have been p r o p o s e d  more s t r o n g l y  graciously  the conclusion  belief. undermining o f the  successful  listener  Since  innovation i n  t o whom t h e f i r s t - p e r s o n  Munro h a s p r e v i o u s l y  used t h e  memoir f o r m w i t h . g r e a t  s k i l l , b u t i n SOMETHING s h e  introduces  voice.  a confiding  Munro's f i r s t - p e r s o n f i c t i o n , three  distinct  According reveals  In her a n a l y s i s M.G. O s a c h o f f  t o n e s : memoir, c o n f e s s i o n  t o Osachoff,  the confiding  t h e m o r a l qualms o f a n a r r a t o r  behaviour, while  the confiding  voice  distinguishes  and  voice  of voice i n  meditation.  of the confession  over her past  of the meditation  89  reveals  similar  and i n c i d e n t s f r o m h e r p a s t . 9  people Munro's  readiness  materials for  qualms o v e r making f i c t i o n  to explore  marks h e r m a t u r i t y  the v a r i e t y of voice  self-consciousness herself  i n this  more p a i n f u l  of actual  collection,  autobiographical  a s a w r i t e r , and h e l p s  and g r e a t e r  of the stories  has e x p r e s s e d  out  account  narrative  i n SOMETHING.  dissatisfaction  with  Munro  "Executioners",  " W a l k i n g on W a t e r " and " S o m e t h i n g  I ' v e Been M e a n i n g t o T e l l  You";  them i m p o r t a n t  her  nevertheless, artistic  she c o n s i d e r s  steps i n  development:  Then I w r o t e a s t o r y i n h e r e t h a t I d o n ' t t h i n k works a t a l l . I t ' s a very embarrassing s t o r y , I t h i n k , c a l l e d " E x e c u t i o n e r s , " where, a g a i n , I was t r y i n g t o f i n d o u t how t o do a c e r t a i n k i n d o f t h i n g , and i t d i d n ' t q u i t e do i t . 1 0  Admittedly,  Munro f a i l e d  more complex succeeds the  form  she d e c i d e d  i n producing  result  t o use;  n e v e r t h e l e s s , she  o f c r e a t i v e energy escaping  virtuosity,  into  a l l the problems o f t h e  a medley o f s t r o n g  conventions of realism.  finding  to solve  voices,  from t h e r i g i d  No mere d e m o n s t r a t i o n s o f  Munro s experiments with 1  new ways t o t e l l  competing  stories,  f o r m a r e aimed a t  b a s e d upon h e r i n s i g h t  t h e d i f f e r e n c e s between h a b i t u a l ways o f t h i n k i n g i n  men and women. similarity intuitively different  When t h e n a r r a t o r  between h e r f i r s t understands from t h e i r s  i n " M a t e r i a l " sees t h e  a n d s e c o n d h u s b a n d s , she a l s o  t h a t her view o f the world i s  because  she i s a woman:  90  A t t h e same t i m e , a t d i n n e r , l o o k i n g a t my husband G a b r i e l , I d e c i d e d t h a t he and Hugo a r e n o t r e a l l y so u n a l i k e . B o t h o f them have managed something. B o t h o f them have d e c i d e d what t o do about e v e r y t h i n g they r u n across i n t h i s world, what a t t i t u d e t o t a k e , how t o i g n o r e o r u s e things. I n t h e i r l i m i t e d and p r e c a r i o u s ways t h e y b o t h have a u t h o r i t y . They a r e n o t a t t h e mercy. Or t h i n k t h e y a r e n o t . ( p p . 43-4)  The  male a b i l i t y  not  accord  writer's  with  to f i l t e r  out aspects of experience  a pragmatic view o f the world p a r a l l e l s the  authority,  or a b i l i t y  to select d e t a i l s that  d e v e l o p a s t o r y , and r e j e c t t h o s e t h a t Munro's f e m a l e n a r r a t o r s disorder can  subvert  and c o n t r a d i c t i o n a s p a r t  t o master  submitting jealousy  life,  to strong  of l i f e .  t h e a l t e r n a t i v e o f a c k n o w l e d g i n g and  chaotic  passions  like  love,  and s o do t h e new  f o r m s i n w h i c h Munro i n c o r p o r a t e s  admission  of uncertainty  them.  by t h e n a r r a t o r  her  story  end  o f "The S p a n i s h L a d y " , when t h e n a r r a t o r  final her no  t h e communication  own t r o u b l e s longer  true,  i t i s slightly  of a l i f e note:  "This  station,  "What we s a y and f e e l beside  ending, the narrator i s a message;  At the  witnesses the  t h e p o i n t " (p.  H a v i n g r e g i s t e r e d t h e gap between e m o t i o n a l  pain  puzzled  rings  seem i n s i g n i f i c a n t :  i n telling  process.  c r y and d e a t h o f an o l d man i n t h e r a i l w a y  190). the  sometimes a i d s  g r i e f and  Under s t r e s s , t h e  women i n SOMETHING bend w i t h o u t b r e a k i n g ,  An  A l t h o u g h women  June i n " M e m o r i a l " ,  i s n o t n e c e s s a r i l y a weakness.  narrative  i t . But  c o n t i n u a l l y a f f i r m the r e a l i t y of  l e a r n t h e male a p p r o a c h , a n d , l i k e  attempt  t h a t do  p a i n and  c o n c l u d e s on a  I really  believe  i t is;  91  but  I don't  attempting  s e e how I c a n d e l i v e r to analyse  the e f f e c t  upon h e r , t h e n a r r a t o r e q u a t e s  i t " (p. 191).  Rather  than  of the s t r a n g e r ' s death  i t w i t h a message t h a t she  d o e s n o t know how t o send  and communicates h e r s t a t e o f mind  by  P a r a d o x i c a l l y , by r e l i n q u i s h i n g  means o f t h e a n a l o g y .  authority,  she c a n b e t t e r  the r e a d e r  t o imagine  One  o f t h e n a r r a t o r s who h a s r e l i n q u i s h e d  method, b u t i n s i s t e d  successful  smoke c i g a r e t t e s she  i n the past.  grandmother  authority i n i n "Marakesh".  refused to a l t e r her  upon r e p e a t i n g what she had S t u b b o r n l y , she c o n t i n u e d t o  despite a petition  u r g i n g h e r t o s t o p . Once  had made up h e r mind on any s u b j e c t , she n e v e r  Now t h a t  she i s r e t i r e d ,  her years and  the e l d e r l y  she was a t e a c h e r , D o r o t h y  teaching found  of persuading  her f e e l i n g s .  SOMETHING i s D o r o t h y , While  a c h i e v e her purpose  however, she r a r e l y  i n the classroom,  becomes f a s c i n a t e d  granddaughter,  sloughs  w i t h change.  beauty, beauty  she r e a l i z e s  that  houses  she s e e s  replaced  by a s h o p p i n g  the elm t r e e s  Dorothy  she s t i l l  accepts the  appreciates  s h e no l o n g e r r e s e n t s t h e l o s s o f  i n her surroundings  familiar  unduly  Although  rigidity,  Whereas h e r young  Jeanette, i s grieved to find  o f change.  l o o k s b a c k on  o f f her former  c u t down when s h e r e t u r n s f o r a v i s i t , inevitability  altered.  a s she once w o u l d h a v e .  from  I fthe  h e r window were t o r n down and  c e n t r e p a r k i n g l o t , s h e w o u l d n o t be  upset:  A n y t h i n g w o u l d do f o r h e r t o l o o k a t ; b e a u t i f u l o r u g l y had c e a s e d t o m a t t e r , b e c a u s e t h e r e was i n  92 e v e r y t h i n g s o m e t h i n g t o be d i s c o v e r e d . This was a f e e l i n g t h a t had come on h e r as she g o t o l d e r , and i t was n o t a t a l l a p e a c e f u l , l e t t i n g - g o s o r t o f f e e l i n g , s u c h as o l d p e o p l e were s u p p o s e d t o g e t ; i t was t h e v e r y o p p o s i t e , p i n n i n g h e r where she was i n i r r i t a b l e , b a f f l e d c o n c e n t r a t i o n , (pp. 162-3)  It  i s D o r o t h y ' s a t t e n t i o n t o what i s h a p p e n i n g i n  present Viola,  moment t h a t d i s t i n g u i s h e s h e r who  more e f f e c t i v e l y  change, m a i n t a i n i n g (p. 1 6 3 ) .  What V i o l a  o f y o u t h may denial  that,  not  be  fails  accept  the  pain  retired,  interested  she  whose w i f e  t h a t goes w i t h  occurred.  has  her  i s dying  Later  curiosity  Blair  King's  Jeanette  are  by  is  on  the  respect  young"  illusion  Rather than keep l i f e  her  love.  and  During  of her her  Although the  her. she  her a  neighbour drink, have indulges  garden to  look  into  granddaughter sight disturbs  to tremble v i o l e n t l y  and  fear that  verge of a s t r o k e , u l t i m a t e l y i t confirms  for herself:  to  a b o u t them, more  t o come o v e r f o r a  end  a  that  o f e v e n t s t h a t need n e v e r  to the  at  t o change  same n i g h t , D o r o t h y f u r t h e r  going  making  life  impulsively invites  of cancer  a chain the  allowing  t o them t a l k . she  the  Dorothy i s prepared  become more c u r i o u s  s u n p o r c h where he  Dorothy, causing  i s t h a t the  power o v e r y o u n g e r p e o p l e now  in listening  causing  against  t h o u g h t s keep you  to r e a l i z e  painful.  granddaughter's v i s i t ,  thereby  "pleasant  through forced cheerfulness,  Having r e l i n q u i s h e d is  insulates herself  sister,  w o r t h p r e s e r v i n g when i t s p r i c e i s  of e v e r y t h i n g  distance  from her  the  her  she  93  What i f V i o l a had s e e n any o f t h a t ? More t h a n she could stand. S t r e n g t h i s n e c e s s a r y , as w e l l as s o m e t h i n g l i k e g r a t i t u d e , i f you a r e g o i n g t o t u r n i n t o a l a d y p e e p i n g Tom a t t h e end o f y o u r l i f e . (p. 174)  Dorothy  can admit  voyeur.  Unlike Viola,  discovery. self,  Her  including A similar  speech you be  thing  may  blow Robina Robina's  the  she  i s something  i s committed  of a  t o the process of  i s i n her a c c e p t a n c e o f her  her  curiosity.  lewd  tolerance  bad  that  strength  thing  a l o t of t r o u b l e  Instead  she  to the n a r r a t o r  l e t one  bad  to  to h e r s e l f  refer  for imperfection  near like  t h e end this  f o r you to the  gave t h e c h i l d  of  motivates  b o t h e r you  of l i f e  there's going to (p. 1 5 3 ) .  The  i n the f i r e , or  f o r m e n t i o n i n g Jimmy and  b r o t h e r s , as t h o u g h  Robina's  "Executioners": "If  i n this world" loss  entire  implicating  them i n t h e  Duval, fire.  o f e n d i n g w i t h t h e n a r r a t o r w i s e r t h a n she was  b e g i n n i n g , " E x e c u t i o n e r s " ends w i t h t h e n a r r a t o r distinguish  happened. o n l y pass  The  between c o n f l i c t i n g mystery  at  unable  memories o f what  o f t h e f i r e c a n n o t be  out of l i v i n g  the  solved;  i t can  memory:  When e v e r y b o d y i s dead who c o u l d have remembered i t , t h e n I suppose t h e f i r e w i l l be f i n i s h e d w i t h , i t w i l l be j u s t as i f nobody had e v e r r u n t h r o u g h t h a t d o o r . (p. 155) Even  though  obliterated the  the n a r r a t o r by  t h e end  c o n t e x t of her  declares  of the  statement  that  lifetimes within  the f i r e can  be  of i t s witnesses,  a written  narrative  94  widens the As  circle  well  discovers  word.  evocative  recalls  readers.  Del  possibilities  on the  adjective  level  J o r d a n would pause t o r e l i s h  narrators  of  SOMETHING a r e  c o n n o t a t i o n s of words.  they  Munro  a t the  Struck  interrupt their  connotation.  The  y e a r s when she  was  of  "Tell  the  a word's to  the  a  period  r e c o l l e c t i o n s to  narrator  of  more a p t by  power o f a p a r t i c u l a r word t o r e c a l l  lives,  directly  all its  i m p l i c a t i o n s of n a r r a t i v e ,  i n LIVES; the  pause over the  their  new  i n SOMETHING new  individual sound  as  to i n c l u d e  me  a young mother by  in  comment Yes  or  No"  the  "mature": A word we o f t e n u s e d was "mature." We w o u l d meet somebody we had known a few y e a r s ago and we w o u l d r e p o r t t h a t t h i s p e r s o n had g r e a t l y m a t u r e d , (p. 107)  The  e f f e c t of  that  s i n g l i n g out  "mature" was  former n o t i o n s Elsewhere, for  used o f t e n ,  about m a t u r i t y  ironic  purposes of  narrator  the  word i s i r o n i c . the  narrator  c o m p a r i s o n , as  compares t h e  words  stating  implies  were f a s h i o n a b l e  e f f e c t i s d o u b l e d by  By  her  nonsense.  isolating  two  i n "Executioners",  " a l c o h o l i c " and  that  words  when  the  "drunk":  A l c o h o l i c was n o t a word s p o k e n i n our h o u s e ; I d o n ' t b e l i e v e i t was s p o k e n much anywhere, a t t h a t time. Drunk was t h e word u s e d , b u t t h a t was i n t h e town. (p. 139)  From t h e s e comments on infer of  not  only  the  his drinking.  word c h o i c e ,  the  reader  f a t h e r ' s weakness, but As  a child,  the  narrator  also had  i s led the only  to  secrecy a  hazy  95  understanding efforts  of the f a m i l y s i t u a t i o n .  to reconcile  wronged man, w i t h  She r e c a l l s  h e r mother's v e r s i o n o f h e r f a t h e r  the taunts  she h e a r d  about  direct  rather  t o make i n f e r e n c e s .  to allow the reader  statements  commented u n f a v o u r a b l y on h e r e a r l i e r  summing up i n t h e c o n c l u d i n g p a r a g r a p h s  as a  him a t s c h o o l .  I n SOMETHING Munro r e j e c t s  has  her  and  chooses  R e c e n t l y she  penchant f o r  of her s t o r i e s :  And now, I w o u l d go b a c k , i f I c o u l d r e w r i t e most o f t h o s e s t o r i e s , and I w o u l d c h o p o u t a l o t o f t h o s e words and f i n a l s e n t e n c e s . And I w o u l d j u s t l e t each s t o r y stand w i t h o u t b o t h e r i n g t o do t h e summing up, b e c a u s e t h a t ' s r e a l l y what i t amounts t o . H  Munro's i n c r e a s i n g narrative well  subtlety  understood  early  r e a s o n i n g t o c o n v e y m e a n i n g . Munro  i n her a r t i s t i c  i s natural  o f dreams s u g g e s t  career that  t o t h e mind.  that  ritual,  metaphorical  Her f i c t i o n a l  she h a s a r r i v e d  same c o n c l u s i o n s a s Suzanne L a n g e r reason,  progression of her  t e c h n i q u e w h i c h h a s a l w a y s made u s e o f metaphor a s  as d i s c u r s i v e  thinking  i s a logical  portrayals  intuitively  a t the  advances i n h e r study o f  and a r t :  M e t a p h o r i s t h e law o f g r o w t h o f e v e r y s e m a n t i c . I t i s n o t a development, b u t a p r i n c i p l e . This i s s t r i k i n g l y a t t e s t e d by t h e f a c t t h a t t h e lowest, completely u n i n t e n t i o n a l products o f t h e human b r a i n a r e madly m e t a p h o r i c a l f a n t a s i e s , t h a t o f t e n make no l i t e r a l s e n s e w h a t e v e r ; I mean t h e r i o t o u s s y m b o l i s m o f dreams. 1 2  Munro u s e s  dreams t o augment o r m o d i f y  of her c h a r a c t e r s .  Think  t h e waking  o f Mr. Lougheed  thoughts  i n "Walking  on  96  Water", p i e c i n g the  long-ago  is  after  farm.  Clearly  t o t h e o l d man's u n e a s i n e s s  Eugene's mental  search f o r a  the d i s c o v e r y o f t h e boy's  on a n e i g h b o r i n g  related  f r a g m e n t s o f dream and memory o f  n i g h t when h i s f a t h e r h e l p e d  demented y o u t h parents  together  murdered  the r e c u r r i n g over  h i s young  dream friend  state:  T h e s e were t h e f a c t s . The dream, a s f a r a s he c o u l d t e l l , c o n t a i n e d b u t d i d n o t r e v e a l them. Awake he had a l l t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t t h e murder, d o u b l e murder, i n h i s memory, t h o u g h he c o u l d n o t t h i n k when o r how i t was g i v e n t o him. I n t h e dream he n e v e r u n d e r s t o o d c l e a r l y what a l l t h e u r g e n c y and commotion were a b o u t , he knew o n l y t h a t he had t o f i n d h i s b o o t s and h u r r y o u t w i t h h i s f a t h e r and b r o t h e r ( i f he h u r r i e d , i n t h e dream, he w o u l d n o t be l e f t b e h i n d ) . (p. 82)  Suggesting disaster,  death,  to prevent  some unnamed  t h e dream p r o v i d e s o b l i q u e commentary on t h e s t o r y  o f Eugene. statement  d a n g e r , t h e need t o h u r r y  I t i s an a l t e r n a t i v e  to the kind of d i r e c t  E t makes a b o u t h e r own t h o u g h t s  when she r e c a l l s  how s h e l i e d  after  Char's  t o Char a b o u t  Blaikie  Noble:  The q u e s t i o n o f t e n c r o s s e d E t ' s mind i n l a t e r y e a r s — w h a t d i d she mean t o do a b o u t t h i s s t o r y when B l a i k i e g o t b a c k ? F o r s h e had no r e a s o n t o b e l i e v e he w o u l d n o t come b a c k . The answer was t h a t she had n o t made any p l a n s a t a l l . (p. 21) Having Mr.  E t review  her thoughts  Lougheed r e v i e w  probably  h i s dream.  not w i l l i n g l y  communicating  forego  i s no l e s s  helpful  Munro's r e a d e r s  than  having  would  any o f h e r t e c h n i q u e s f o r  her c h a r a c t e r s ' mental  lives.  Although  she  97 u s e s them l e s s "hesitant reader  13  f r e q u e n t l y i n her  summaries", as  directly  Through these  audience  i n t h e way  e x c i s e these  still pauses  be  i n the  helpful but  her  stories.  course  explanatory they  the  of  trained  No  the  her  d o u b t she  paragraphs today  have a d d i t i o n a l  value  a c t i o n which a l l o w the n a r r a t o r time  reflect.  Such moments make e a c h s t o r y n o t  of  but  events  them, l e a d  summaries, Munro has  to read  understood,  i n the  Solecki calls  to t r u t h s discovered  story.  now  Sam  l a t e r work, Munro's  a vehicle for expressing  "the  and  as to  merely a felt  could  sequence  quality  of  Ik an and  individual  response  takes  p l a c e because the  memories f r o m t h e these the  final  By  life".  This bonding of  p r o t a g o n i s t , which i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c  story,  of  to  memories any  b e t t e r than  s t o r y , then,  i s one  o f a Munro s h o r t  n a r r a t o r , although  p a s t , does n o t  start  out  does t h e  reader  understanding  reader.  o f d i s c o v e r y , as  relating  The  process  t h e much q u o t e d  p a r a g r a p h o f t h e f i n a l s t o r y makes c l e a r : The p r o b l e m , t h e o n l y p r o b l e m , i s my m o t h e r . And she i s t h e one o f c o u r s e t h a t I am t r y i n g t o g e t ; i t i s t o r e a c h h e r t h a t t h i s w h o l e j o u r n e y has been u n d e r t a k e n . W i t h what p u r p o s e ? To mark her o f f , to d e s c r i b e , to i l l u m i n e , to c e l e b r a t e , t o g e t r i d , o f h e r ; and i t d i d n o t work, f o r she looms t o o c l o s e , j u s t as she a l w a y s d i d . She i s h e a v y as a l w a y s , she w e i g h s e v e r y t h i n g down, and y e t she i s i n d i s t i n c t , h e r edges m e l t and f l o w . Which means she has s t u c k t o me as c l o s e as e v e r and r e f u s e d t o f a l l away, and I c o u l d go on, and on, a p p l y i n g what s k i l l s I h a v e , u s i n g what t r i c k s I know, and i t w o u l d a l w a y s be t h e same. (p. 246)  t a k i n g the  reader  i n t o her  confidence  to a greater  extent  98  than b e f o r e ,  and  understand her reminding  the  confessing  past,  the  reader  o f h i s own  more complex t h a n t h o s e delineated  self-conscious the  left  revelation  Reid  linger  of  earlier  and  By  admitting  endings r i n g stories  i s the  true  i n an  to the  and  appear o v e r l y  are  cannot  existence of  the  of  short  reader  extent has  be  Munro's  mind b e c a u s e t h e  of  is  the  apparently  speaks of the e f f e c t i v e n e s s  s t r u g g l i n g with  reader".^^ age  of  this,  i n h i s study  i n the  to  i n a d e q u a c y when  denouement i n w h i c h , a t t h e  so  a way  works; t h e y  p r e c i s e nature  "is still  failed  i n s i g h t s o f SOMETHING  notes  In a d d i t i o n , R e i d  character  feelings,  short  Ian  about the  incomplete  central  feeling  o r peak o f a w a r e n e s s a c h a r a c t e r  experienced. o f an  of the  h i t on  n a r r a t o r s bear witness  some s t o r i e s  uncertain  The  i n language.  i n e f f a b l e . As  story,  sense of having  n a r r a t o r has  c o n f r o n t i n g h i s memories.  fully  her  end, the  the  knot of  her  Such i n c o n c l u s i v e  when t h e  certainties  of  earlier  contrived:  U n t i l 1950 o r s o , t h e s t o r y i n Canada a p p e a r e d t o be machine-made, w i t h t w o - d i m e n s i o n a l c h a r a c t e r s s o l v i n g a r t i f i c i a l dilemmas . . . . Soon t h e s t o r y was n o t one t o l d by a c a r e f u l l y e n g i n e e r e d p l o t , b u t by t h e s u b t l e i m p l i c a t i o n of s e l e c t e d i s o l a t e d i n c i d e n t s . A r r a n g e m e n t began t o p l a y a g r e a t e r p a r t , and s i g n i f i c a n c e l a y i n what a p p e a r e d , a t t h e o u t s e t , t o be c a s u a l e p i s o d i c moments, 1 ° In M u n r o s work c e r t a i n l y , 1  not  only  f o r the  understanding. attempt  reader's,  The  narrator  to sharpen her  but  arrangement i s  a l s o f o r the  r e s h u f f l e s her  perception.  In  "The  crucial,  narrator's memories i n  an  Ottawa V a l l e y " ,  99  the  declared  goal  i s t o r e k i n d l e t h e image o f t h e dead  m o t h e r , b u t h e r image c o n t i n u e s  t o elude  finally  memory, c a n n o t r e c a p t u r e t h e  past  realizes  that a r t , like  e x a c t l y a s i t was.  The m o t h e r ' s  t h e n a r r a t o r , who  likeness w i l l  over time because i t i s c o n t i n u a l l y being artist's a final  experiences. perception.  Neither Since  the narrator discovers  like  reader  i s drawn b a c k t o t h e b e g i n n i n g . of the c y c l i n g  Precisely this  q u a l i t y o f memory i s t h e l i k e l i e s t  p o s e d by t h e t i t l e  of the c o l l e c t i o n ,  SOMETHING I'VE BEEN MEANING TO T E L L YOU. linear  stories.  i n a novel,  In the course  a heightened point  consciousness  i n their  presupposition Munro's  later  separates  appears c i r c u l a r  fiction,  i n Munro's  o f t h e m s e l v e s as s t a n d i n g of a c i r c l e  memories, and t h e i r  shared  Time, w h i c h  o f SOMETHING, h e r n a r r a t o r s  on t h e c i r c u m f e r e n c e  retrace  that her  h e r memories, c a n be r e v i s e d e n d l e s s l y , t h e  answer t o t h e r i d d l e  appears  by t h e  memory n o r a r t , c a n a r r i v e a t  story,  discovery  modified  change  which they  discovery  by t h e n a r r a t o r s o f WHO possession  of this  t h e women f r o m t h e g i r l s .  short  acquire at a  endlessly  becomes a and MOONS.  insight  i s what  In  100  Notes  1 A l i c e Munro, SOMETHING I'VE BEEN MEANING TO T E L L YOU (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1974). A l l subsequent r e f e r e n c e s appear i n the t e x t . 2 J.R. (Tim) S t r u t h e r s , "The R e a l M a t e r i a l : An I n t e r v i e w w i t h A l i c e Munro," i n PROBABLE FICTIONS: A L I C E MUNRO'S NARRATIVE ACTS, e d . L o u i s K. M a c K e n d r i c k (Downsview, Ont.: ECW P r e s s , 1 9 8 3 ) , p . 28. 3 A l i c e Munro, q u o t e d i n an i n t e r v i e w w i t h A l a n T w i g g , "What I s : A l i c e Munro," i n FOR OPENERS: CONVERSATIONS WITH 24 CANADIAN WRITERS ( M a d e i r a P a r k , B.C.: H a r b o u r , 1 9 8 1 ) , p. 16. 4 S t r u t h e r s , p . 15. 5 J o h n K e a t s , l e t t e r t o George and Tom K e a t s , December 21-27, 1817, L e t t e r 45, THE LETTERS OF JOHN KEATS 1814-1821, e d . Hyder Edward R o l l i n s ( C a m b r i d g e : Cambridge U n i v . P r e s s , 1 9 5 8 ) , I , p. 193. 6 Edward S a i d , BEGINNINGS: INTENTION AND METHOD (New Y o r k : B a s i c B o o k s , 1 9 7 5 ) , p . 90. 7 S a i d , p. 95. 8 S a i d , p . 90. 9 Margaret G a i l Osachoff, " ' T r e a c h e r i e s of the Heart': Memoir, C o n f e s s i o n , and M e d i t a t i o n i n t h e S t o r i e s o f A l i c e Munro," i n PROBABLE FICTIONS, e d . L o u i s K. M a c K e n d r i c k (Downsview, O n t . : ECW P r e s s , 1 9 8 3 ) , p. 64. 10 S t r u t h e r s , p. 27. 11 S t r u t h e r s , p . 15. 12 Suzanne K. L a n g e r , PHILOSOPHY IN A NEW KEY: A STUDY IN THE SYMBOLISM OF REASON, RITE AND ART (Cambridge, Mass.: H a r v a r d U n i v . P r e s s , 1 9 6 9 ) , p. 147. 13 Sam S o l e c k i , " L i v e s o f G i r l s and Women," r e v . o f THE MOONS OF JUPITER, by A l i c e Munro, CANADIAN FORUM, 62, No.  101 722  58.  ( 1 9 8 2 ) , 25. 14 S o l e c k i , p . 25. 15 Ian R e i d , THE SHORT STORY  (London:  Methuen, 1 9 7 7 ) , p . *  i  i  v  16 D o n a l d S t e p h e n s , "The S h o r t S t o r y i n E n g l i s h , " LITERATURE, No. 41 ( 1 9 6 9 ) , p . 126.  CANADIAN  102  Chapter The  Four  Temptation to T e l l  F l o t e l l i n g a s t o r y — a n d t h i s was n o t t h e o n l y one, o r e v e n t h e most l u r i d one she k n e w — w o u l d i n c l i n e h e r head and l e t h e r f a c e go s o f t and t h o u g h t f u l , t a n t a l i z i n g , warning. "I s h o u l d n ' t e v e n be t e l l i n g y o u t h i s s t u f f . " 1  The  irresistable  appeal  of stories  listener  i s t h e p r e m i s e o f WHO.  activity  often reported  organizing  principle  obsessed with the  previous darkest  i n Munro's f i c t i o n ,  storytelling,  contains people  using  shocking  embedded  1  WHO' i s Munro's  the d e p r a v i t y o f which  as w e l l as t h e t i t i l l a t i n g  which p r o v i d e  i n Munro s  accordingly, the s t o r i e s i t  are f a b l e s which i l l u s t r a t e  stories  is  M o r e o v e r , t h e g o t h i c and  i n stories  o f human n a t u r e ;  i s an  i t not only to recapture  works become more p r o n o u n c e d .  are capable,  and  and an  o f L I V E S , t h e p r o t a g o n i s t o f WHO  elements f a m i l i a r  vision  teller  Whereas s t o r y t e l l i n g  past but a l s o to exorcise i t .  grotesque  t o both  counterpoint  effect  to  of  restricted  lives. In t h e f o r m o f g o s s i p o r r e m i n i s c e n c e , t h e main i n d u l g e n c e before the  television  of a r u r a l  sets.  former h i r e d g i r l  Ontario  As a p o t h e o s i s  and w a i t r e s s  widowed  f a t h e r and r u n n i n g  a small  herself  and h e r a u d i e n c e w i t h  storytelling i s  housewife i n the days of t h i s  group, F l o ,  , now m a r r i e d grocery  t o Rose's  store, entertains  salacious stories  about her  103  customers.  Her  stepdaughter, to  be  usual  i s the  a storyteller  actress,  a type  the  husband, At Flo  the  knew t h e  hear" care  jokers."  storytelling  s t e p up  by  her  an  index  and  of t h e i r  set aside  from F l o ' s ,  career  separate  her  socially  home on  to t a l e s  and  the of  centred as  power, shared  antagonism. her  education,  physically,  from her  stepmother,  become t h e i r  a visit  s t o r e and  relative  mutual  one  to  known t o F l o  diverges  and  the  waiting  school,  life  about mutual a c q u a i n t a n c e s "When Rose was  was  Rose, a  their  after  storyteller:  forward  high  child,  social  d u t i e s i n the  group a t the  i n which they  intellectually,  her  high  home, F l o was  i s a bond between F l o and  and  an  but,  however,  to attend  the  c h a r a c t e r s and  named H o r s e N i c h o l s o n ,  Rose's a d u l t  up  the  Rose i s a  listener;  husband, F l o looks  w e l l as b e i n g  marriage,  Rose t h e  bringing stories  student  "those  As  Within  c o n s i d e r a b l e power o v e r  obvious  one  invalid  a boy  grows  or economic p r e s t i g e ,  f r o m West H a n r a t t y  Confined  around  activity  and  names o f t h e  notorious  As  social  who  e v e n t u a l l y becomes  of F l o ' s i n f l u e n c e while  bridge  the  (p. 4 0 ) . o f an  a girl  g r a d u a l l y u s u r p s F l o ' s p l a c e as  Rose was  who  t u r n , and  young  stepdaughter.  in Hanratty—an  ladder—she  the  and  storyteller  Rose c r o s s e s  "Now  i n her  little  the h e i g h t  i s the  school  p r o t a g o n i s t o f WHO,  f a m i l y , F l o enjoys  son,  Rose, h e r  of p r o f e s s i o n a l s t o r y t e l l e r .  community, F l o has within  listener,  stories  l a s t common  c o n v e r s a t i o n was  ground:  difficult,  104  so  she w o u l d a s k F l o a b o u t  Legion"(p.201). belligerance, circumvented did a  Flo's  the people  i n c r e a s i n g b i t t e r n e s s and  w h i c h mar Rose's i n f r e q u e n t v i s i t s , by e n c o u r a g i n g  Flo to t e l l  b e f o r e Rose went t o s c h o o l . long truce,  her  stories,  In those days,  c a n be just  they  as she enjoyed  and Rose has happy memories o f t h e t i m e  b r o t h e r was s t i l l  telling  she saw a t t h e  stories  from  a baby i n h i s c a r r i a g e , her high s t o o l  Rose h e r s e l f was on t h e f l o o r  behind  when  F l o was  t h e c o u n t e r , and  w i t h h e r brown p a p e r and  crayons. Although  storytelling  Munro's f i c t i o n ,  WHO  dangerous r e s u l t s . such  i s unusually preoccupied with i t s  By d w e l l i n g i n h e r s t o r i e s  a s murder and i n c e s t ,  v i e w o f human n a t u r e violence  that  and d e p r a v i t y .  with unpleasant  occurs f r e q u e n t l y throughout  Flo instills accentuates  Primed  surprises,  i n Rose a d i s t o r t e d  i t s potential f o r  t o expect  life  Rose e x p e r i e n c e s  t o be  with Flo's  exploiters  and v i c t i m s engage i n p e r p e t u a l c o n f l i c t .  tells  storyteller  R o s e , who f e e l s  guilty  turning  stories  i t into  intellectual aloud  friends.  a letter  bare-breasted WOMEN:  as a b a t t l e g r o u n d where  who, a g a i n s t h e r b e t t e r  unsuitable tales  filled  i t in  accordance  as g u i l t y  accounts,  on s u b j e c t s  to a c h i l d ,  Flo,  judgement,  becomes t h e p a r a d i g m f o r  f o r h a v i n g b e t r a y e d h e r p a s t by t o shock her m i d d l e - c l a s s On one o c c a s i o n , Rose b e g i n s  reading  i n which F l o denounces h e r f o r a p p e a r i n g i n a television  p r o d u c t i o n o f THE TROJAN  105  H a l f w a y t h r o u g h , she had t o s t o p r e a d i n g . It w a s n ' t t h a t she t h o u g h t how shabby i t was t o be e x p o s i n g and making f u n o f F l o t h i s way. She had done i t o f t e n enough b e f o r e ; i t was no news t o h e r t h a t i t was s h a b b y . What s t o p p e d h e r was, i n f a c t , t h a t g u l f ; she had a f r e s h and o v e r w h e l m i n g r e a l i z a t i o n o f i t , and i t was n o t h i n g t o l a u g h a b o u t , (p. 186)  Since F l o represents  the past which  Rose has  Rose c a n n o t manage t o see h e r as a c o m i c escape  from F l o ' s  influence  her to take F l o l i g h t l y . is  a moot p o i n t .  she now  has been  figure.  too p a i n f u l  Whether o r n o t she has  At b e s t ,  Rose's  ties  Rose's to allow escaped F l o  to the group  i n which  moves a r e t e n u o u s , as shown by h e r e a g e r n e s s t o  ingratiate  herself.  An o u t s i d e r  remember, she has n e v e r had "Rose t h o u g h t o f h e r own belonging child,  repudiated,  leaving  it,  felt  family  about her p a s t , paradoxically, middle-class  superior  she f e e l s  l o n g as she  a secure p o s i t i o n  nowhere, b u t t h a t was  she had  f o r as  as s t r a d d l i n g not t r u e "  liberals  who  the  By  herself  river,  (p. 4 ) .  telling  she seems t o humble h e r s e l f , she e x a l t s  in society:  t o her environment;  inferior.  can  As  a  after  sordid  stories  but,  i n the eyes o f these  envy her the e x p e r i e n c e o f  poverty:  Rose knew a l o t o f p e o p l e who w i s h e d - t h e y had p o o r and h a d n ' t b e e n . So she c o u l d queen i t o v e r them, o f f e r i n g v a r i o u s s c a n d a l s and b i t s s q u a l o r f r o m h e r c h i l d h o o d , (p. 23)  Unable  to r e s i s t  rationalizes  the t e m p t a t i o n t o shock her f r i e n d s ,  her s t o r y t e l l i n g  on t h e g r o u n d s  that  been of  Rose  she i s  106  telling  true  s t o r i e s w h i c h e x p l o d e r o m a n t i c myths o f  perpetuated  in literature  reference  to  Mansfield  was  her  "The  never o b l i g e d  agreeable"  Unlike of poverty; ugliness, voices.  as  to  look  at  stained  f r i v o l o u s but  Mansfield,  exemplified  Rose has  that  by  These d e t a i l s a r e a girl  disparaging "Katherine  underwear; their  accents  48).  understands  which t r a n s f o r m s  In a  Rose c o m p l a i n s ,  c r u e l and  (p.  Katherine she  film.  Garden P a r t y " ,  r e l a t i v e s m i g h t be  w o u l d be  and  poverty  i t s salient  stained often  like  d i r e c t experience feature  underwear and  omitted  in  is  harsh  literature,  Franny M c G i l l u n t i l  she  is  unrecognizable: L a t e r on Rose w o u l d t h i n k o f F r a n n y when she came upon t h e f i g u r e o f an i d i o t i c , s a i n t l y whore i n a book o r a m o v i e . Men who made books and m o v i e s seemed t o have a f o n d n e s s f o r t h i s f i g u r e , t h o u g h Rose n o t i c e d t h e y w o u l d c l e a n h e r up. They c h e a t e d , she t h o u g h t , when t h e y l e f t o u t t h e b r e a t h i n g and t h e s p i t and t h e t e e t h : t h e y were r e f u s i n g t o t a k e i n t o a c c o u n t t h e a p h r o d i s i a c p r i c k l e s of d i s g u s t , i n t h e i r hurry to reward themselves w i t h the n o t i o n of a s o o t h i n g b l a n k n e s s , u n d i f f e r e n t i a t e d welcome, (p. 26)  A l t h o u g h L a w r e n c e Mathews r e a d s Robertson Davies any  one  novel  to  1  the  p a s s a g e as  an  attack  F I F T H BUSINESS, i t s i m p l i c a t i o n s go indict  writers  for sentimentalizing  on  beyond their  2 characters. Alice of  WHO  Munro's f i c t i o n ;  the  side  Concern f o r t r u t h - t e l l i n g  dark s i d e  to equal  i s more p r o n o u n c e d is  however, t h e or g r e a t e r  i n WHO  i s nothing  i n s i s t e n c e on time than the  than elsewhere  r u t h l e s s l y anti-romantic,  new the  right  bright  i n the  especially in  in  canon.  depicting  107  poverty. her  Rose h a s s c a n t  husband, C l i f f o r d ,  deserves  patience  with  Jocelyn's  notion  that  h a s been damaged by p o v e r t y and  special consideration  as a r e s u l t :  What J o c e l y n c a l l e d bitterness seemed t o Rose s o m e t h i n g more complex and more ordinary; just the weariness, suppleness, d e v i o u s n e s s , meanness, common t o a c l a s s . Common t o C l i f f o r d ' s c l a s s , and R o s e ' s . Jocelyn had been i n s u l a t e d i n some ways, l e f t s t e r n and innocent, (p. I l l )  Poverty  has a c o a r s e n i n g  effect  on t h o s e who e x p e r i e n c e  rendering  them l e s s v u l n e r a b l e  to psychic  protected  middle-class  Clifford,  p r o j e c t i n g h e r own f i c t i o n  children.  pain  i t ,  than a r e  Jocelyn i d e a l i z e s upon t h e a c t u a l man  much a s P a t r i c k i d e a l i z e s R o s e , p r o j e c t i n g upon h e r h i s fiction roles  of the Pre-Raphaelite  of knight-rescuer  hateful  Once Rose m a r r i e s restrictions  impose upon h e r . Patrick's  resistance to Patrick's  t h a t P a t r i c k ' s seemingly benign  skepticism yielding,  Instead,  but slowly, overlapping but, like  self-protective against  view  fiction  Rose i s u n a b l e t o s u s t a i n h e r r o l e a s Even a s a c h i l d ,  a p e r s o n a l i t y which c o n t r a d i c t s the sweetly  pinapple,  enough  P a t r i c k , she d i s c o v e r s t h e  damsel-in-distress.  stereotype.  The r o m a n t i c  and l a d y - v i c t i m a r e s e d u c t i v e  t o overcome Rose's i n s t i n c t i v e of her.  Beggar Maid.  her nature  . . . " (p. 5 ) .  the pineapple,  rind.  The f i e r c e  h e r stepmother r e a s s e r t s  submissive  "was g r o w i n g  and s e c r e t l y , h a r d  she p o s s e s s e d  like  a prickly  p r i d e and She i s n o t sweet and  has a tough resistance  itself  she m u s t e r s  against  h e r husband  108  as  he  attempts  to dominate  her.  In c o n t r a s t t o t h e b a r e Maid's s t a t u s indirectly  i n the  refers,  f e e t which r e v e a l the  Beggar  Burne-Jones p a i n t i n g to which P a t r i c k  Rose's emblem f o r h e r  own  origins is  the  3  outhouse behind d a r k and  her  first  frightening Girls'  seemed, d e c l i n e d t o use she  can  get  dares not call  the  home, r i s k i n g  confide  a pail  and  hole"  wet  important  the  (p. 2 3 ) ,  shovel,  p a n t s and  by  situation  (p. 2 4 ) .  i n the  and Rose  Girls'  's  revealed  suppressed.  to which p r e v i o u s l y  aspects their  of  Rose's c h i l d h o o d  great  s e c r e t her  extent  i n f l u e n c e upon h e r f e a r of  the  school  the  first  The  l i n k between t o i l e t s  s t o r e of t h i n g s  throughout  t h e work.  of t o i l e t s  and  Mr.  and  she  outhouse, could  her  brother,  i s glimpsed  concealed  narrative  "She  forged has  building (p.  here  noted  the  toilet  crush,  up  24).  holds  the  In a d d i t i o n t o has  suggests  Keeping  was  prevalence linking  been r a p e d  in  the  image r e l a t e s t o  i n h i s o u t h o u s e , and  whom Rose d e v e l o p s a s c h o o l g i r l  being  never t e l l "  telling  Struthers  i n which  grows up.  t o F r a n n y M c G i l l , who  o u t h o u s e by  B u r n s who  Tim  she  as  e x c r e m e n t i n WHO.  Rose t o F l o and school  from F l o i s  power by  dominate t h i s  school,  determination  Toilet  s e c r e t s w h i c h c a n n o t be The  will  lambasting  b e c a u s e i t draws a t t e n t i o n t o t h e way gain  She  stepmother a t the  i t until  Flo's scorn.  arriving  c l e a n i n g up,  bargain"  the  Rose w a i t s  i n F l o f o r f e a r t h a t her  everyone i n t o the conceal  Rather than v i s i t  T o i l e t where "Many p e o p l e ,  unwanted a t t e n t i o n t o h e r  "with  to  school.  i n that  to Cora, her  on  109  grandfather interprets  i s known as t h e honey-dumper. the t o i l e t  as an  image i n w h i c h Munro  t h e c h a n g e s i n H a n r a t t y , when, i n t h e of  "Privilege",  disappearance plumbing.  this  t o a change i n A l i c e  in  three  and  introduction  of  paragraphs  r e f e r e n c e s i n WHO.  the  indoor  explanation alone s c a r c e l y  t h e numerous s c a t o l o g i c a l  narrative,  last  expresses  p r o g r e s s i s d i s c u s s e d i n terms o f  of outhouses  But  Struthers  accounts f o r  They p o i n t  Munro's n o t i o n o f what b e l o n g s  contradicting  the o p i n i o n expressed  also  in  by Ada  Jordan  LIVES:  N e x t day t h e y w i l l be t e l l i n g a b o u t how t h e y go t o t h e t o i l e t , why do t h e y l e a v e t h a t o u t ? T h e r e i s n ' t any o f t h a t i n S i l a s M a r n e r . There i s n ' t any i n t h e c l a s s i c w r i t e r s . They were good w r i t e r s , t h e y d i d n ' t need i t . " 5  Ada  believes  belong  that  neither  in literature,  private  physical  reflect  life  installed,  sex  b u t WHO  scenes insists  acts are v i t a l  accurately.  the n a r r a t o r  change t h a n a symbol  of  nor bathroom  reflects lost  the o p p o s i t e , t h a t  to l i t e r a t u r e  When F l o has on  scenes  i f i t i s to  the indoor  i t less  toilet  as a symbol  of  privacy:  They were a l l f a m i l i a r w i t h e a c h o t h e r ' s n e t h e r v o i c e s , n o t o n l y i n t h e i r more e x p l o s i v e moments b u t i n t h e i r i n t i m a t e s i g h s and g r o w l s and p l e a s and s t a t e m e n t s . And t h e y were a l l most p r u d i s h p e o p l e . So no one e v e r seemed t o h e a r , o r be l i s t e n i n g and no r e f e r e n c e was made. The p e r s o n c r e a t i n g t h e n o i s e s i n t h e b a t h r o o m was n o t c o n n e c t e d w i t h t h e p e r s o n who w a l k e d o u t . (p. 4) The  phrase,  nether v o i c e s ,  directly  associates  the  image  110  with narrative. father  talking  In a p a r a l l e l  passage,  Rose o v e r h e a r s  her  t o h i m s e l f i n h i s workshop:  From t h e shed came n o t o n l y c o u g h i n g , b u t s p e e c h , a c o n t i n u a l muttering, r e p r o a c h f u l or e n c o u r a g i n g , u s u a l l y j u s t below the l e v e l a t w h i c h s e p a r a t e words c o u l d be made o u t . . . . Now and t h e n some words w o u l d b r e a k t h r o u g h and hang c l e a r and n o n s e n s i c a l on t h e a i r . When he r e a l i z e d t h e y were o u t , t h e r e w o u l d be a q u i c k b i t o f c o v e r - u p c o u g h i n g , a s w a l l o w i n g , an a l e r t u n u s u a l s i l e n c e . . . . The p e r s o n who spoke t h e s e words and t h e p e r s o n who spoke t o h e r as h e r f a t h e r were n o t t h e same, t h o u g h t h e y seemed t o o c c u p y t h e same s p a c e . I t w o u l d be t h e w o r s t p o s s i b l e t a s t e t o a c k n o w l e d g e t h e p e r s o n who was s u p p o s e d t o be t h e r e . . . (pp. 3-4)  Words a r e i m p o r t a n t h e r e n o t as c o m m u n i c a t i o n utterance,  perhaps  meaningful  t o t h e s p e a k e r h i m s e l f , and  depths  of h i s being.  individual powerful The  narrator  from  the  t h e s e i n v o l u n t a r y words, i s , and  o f WHO  feels  h i s need  a compulsion  i s as s t r o n g as t h a t  after  t o do  an  so i s a  too, a drive  (p. 2 6 ) . Her  Go  a n o t h e r , as h a r d t o s t o p as  away o r I ' l l punch y o u .  Difficult  name s u g g e s t s  flow which  cannot  be  reticence:  "she was  as F r a n n y  they  Franny  I_ w i l l .  the s o r t  She  "Go  I_ r e a l l y  i s to suppress, Flo i s  i t s homophone, f l o w ; h e r t a l k  staunched.  to  of C o l e r i d g e ' s a n c i e n t  unwelcome o v e r t u r e s t o Rose i n t h e s c h o o l y a r d :  away, F r a n n y .  worse.  arising  but  Once t h e s e h i d d e n memories a r e u n s t o p p e r e d ,  o u t one  wil1"  to a l i s t e n e r ,  as  compulsion.  mariner.  McGill's  Through  e x p r e s s e s what he  c o n f e s s which  pour  unintelligible  but  has  o f woman who  no  is a  decent  will  make p u b l i c  Ill  what  she f i n d s i n t h e l a u n d r y  childhood, for  Rose h a t e s  the s a d i s t i c  bag" (p. 2 4 ) . Throughout h e r  F l of o r t e l l i n g  pleasure  F l o takes  everything,  especially  i n d e s t r o y i n g Rose's  illusions.  Y e t she i s f a s c i n a t e d t o o by t h e s t o r i e s F l o  tells  The i m p l i e d c o m p l i c i t y between t e l l e r and  her.  listener  parallels  Rose d u r i n g their  t h e c o m p l i c i t y between R o s e ' s f a t h e r and  the beatings,  violent  o r between Rose and P a t r i c k d u r i n g  m a r i t a l q u a r r e l s . I n WHO,  between p e o p l e  i s thoroughly  words o b s e r v e d  i n Munro's  the  strange  case  fiction  the f a s c i n a t i o n  takes  a different  o f t h e o l d woman Rose e n c o u n t e r s  C o u n t y Home who no l o n g e r words  explored:  s p e e c h a s t h e bond  i f she i s g i v e n  speaks b u t w i l l  with  form i n  i n the  obediently  spell  them:  " I s n ' t she a wonder," t h e n u r s e s a i d . "She c a n ' t see and t h a t ' s t h e o n l y way we c a n t e l l she c a n hear. L i k e i f y o u s a y , 'Here's y o u r d i n n e r , ' she won't p a y any a t t e n t i o n t o i t , b u t she m i g h t s t a r t s p e l l i n g d i n n e r . " ( p . 183) When t h e n u r s e spelled,  a word w h i c h r e c a l l s  a word  t o be  the c o r r e c t s p e l l i n g of  Hagar's i n s i g h t  near t h e  o f M a r g a r e t L a u r e n c e ' s THE STONE ANGEL: " I must  a l w a y s have wanted this  t h a t Rose s u p p l y  t h e o l d woman o b l i g e s w i t h  "celebrate", end  suggests  sentiment,  rejoicing  that—simply  WHO r e c o g n i z e s  to r e j o i c e . "  0  always,  Endorsing  words a s t h e means o f  i n t h e human c o n d i t i o n i n a l l i t s a s p e c t s .  simulataneously  acknowledges t h e s q u a l o r  b a c k g r o u n d and r e j o i c e s  o f Rose's  i n i t s r i c h n e s s as e x p e r i e n c e :  WHO  112  She knew she w o u l d n e v e r f l o u r i s h , n e v e r g e t t o any v e r y s e c u r e p o s i t i o n — i f i n d e e d t h e r e was such a t h i n g — i n t h e w o r l d o f s c h o o l . B u t she was not m i s e r a b l e , except i n the matter of not b e i n g a b l e t o go t o t h e t o i l e t . L e a r n i n g t o s u r v i v e , no m a t t e r w i t h what c r a v e n n e s s and c a u t i o n , what s h o c k s and f o r e b o d i n g s , i s n o t t h e same as b e i n g m i s e r a b l e . I t i s t o o i n t e r e s t i n g , (p. 27)  Learning  to s u r v i v e i n the harsh world  develops  early  related has in  the  to a c t i n g ,  technique her  a h a b i t of walking the  inside  lighted as  actress; for  she  can  Rose, her  ambivalent imitation  the  streets  f i t i n anywhere"  this  a sense  the  of  imagining  She  can  she  looking  herself  picture  herself  "Rose i s an  (p. 1 5 2 ) .  to her  suggests.  to i l l u m i n e  Rose  places,  i n the evening,  o r modest h o u s e s :  usual attitude  than  overcome by  d e s t i n e d c a r e e r . In new  or a guest.  equally well in lavish  youth,  of adapting, which i s c l o s e l y  windows o f h o u s e s and  the h o s t e s s  of her  acting  Unfortunately i s more  O b s e s s e d by  the  t r u t h s of experience,  failure she  of  i s often  shame:  The t h i n g she was ashamed o f , i n a c t i n g , was t h a t she m i g h t have b e e n p a y i n g a t t e n t i o n t o t h e wrong t h i n g s , r e p o r t i n g a n t i c s , when t h e r e was a l w a y s s o m e t h i n g f u r t h e r , a t o n e , a d e p t h , a l i g h t , t h a t she c o u l d n ' t g e t and w o u l d n ' t g e t . And i t wasn't j u s t a b o u t a c t i n g t h a t she suspected t h i s . E v e r y t h i n g she had done c o u l d sometimes be s e e n as a m i s t a k e , (p. 205) These t h o u g h t s meeting with  occur  Ralph  Ralph  i s almost  actor  by  t o Rose i n t h e c o n t e x t o f h e r  Gillespie  Rose's a l t e r  instinct.  i n the Hanratty ego  i n WHO.  Legion  L i k e her  Famous f o r h i s i m i t a t i o n  final  of a  Hall. he  i s an  local  113  c h a r a c t e r whose name, M i l t o n Homer, i s a r e m i n d e r esteem has  i n which Hanratty h o l d s poets, Ralph  been a c q u a i n t e d w i t h s i n c e  occupied  a d e s k ahead o f h e r s .  affinity  for  their  of the  i s someone  school days,  she  when  E v e n t h e n , Rose f e l t  low  he  an  him:  B o t h o f them l o s t o r m i s l a i d o r n e v e r a d e q u a t e l y provided themselves with a l l the p e n c i l s , r u l e r s , e r a s e r s , pen n i b s , r u l e d p a p e r , g r a p h p a p e r , t h e compass, d i v i d e r s , p r o t a c t o r , n e c e s s a r y f o r a s u c c e s s f u l s c h o o l l i f e ; b o t h o f them were s l o p p y w i t h i n k , s u b j e c t t o s p i l l i n g and b l o t t i n g m i s h a p s ; b o t h o f them were n e g l i g e n t a b o u t d o i n g homework b u t p a n i c k y a b o u t n o t h a v i n g done i t . (p. 199)  As  shy as t h e y were i m p r a c t i c a l ,  c o n v e r s a t i o n , b u t communicated  t h e y c o u l d n o t manage a  on  another  level:  T h a t wasn't q u i t e a l l . T h e i r s h o e s and b o o t s became w e l l a c q u a i n t e d , s c u f f l i n g and p u s h i n g i n f r i e n d l y and p r i v a t e e n c o u n t e r , sometimes r e s t i n g t o g e t h e r a moment i n t e n t a t i v e encouragement; t h e i r mutual k i n d n e s s p a r t i c u l a r l y h e l p e d them t h r o u g h t h o s e moments when p e o p l e were b e i n g s e l e c t e d t o do m a t h e m a t i c s p r o b l e m s on t h e b l a c k b o a r d , (p. 199)  Ralph's  nearness^comforted  comfort  h e r when he  Like  h e r , he h i d e s b e h i n d  she was  because  continues to  comes t o s i t b e s i d e h e r a t t h e  s c h o o l d a y s when R a l p h desk,  Rose t h e n , and  manner.  In  their  shook snow o u t o f h i s h a i r  charmed; she  i t so c l o s e l y  a joking  the c o n c l u d i n g sentence  onto  appreciates his oblique  resembles o f WHO,  have been h e r s : "What c o u l d she  h e r own. Ralph's  As life  say a b o u t  Legion.  she  her  approach  realizes  in  could nearly  herself  and  Ralph  114  Gillespie, the  lives  own?"  except that of  the  (p 2 0 6 ) .  returned  men She  herself,  she  escaped  Ralph's appealing  Had  of h i s .  Simon e n t e r t a i n s  as  Rose by  one  close, closer  slot  over from  she  stayed,  Renouncing t h a t drawn t o men  falls  qualities,  his acting. Just  life,  f r o m H a n r a t t y whereas  war.  later  his  loved,  i s nevertheless  Simon, w i t h whom she  by  felt  she'd  home a f t e r t h e  have been a v e r s i o n  her  she  i n c l u d i n g the  Ralph would  playing  would  for  Ralph. many o f  ability  "do"  various  life  life  i n l o v e , has  her  Ralph  her  like  than  Milton  to  amuse  Homer,  parts:  She a l r e a d y knew a few o f h i s c h a r a c t e r s . This was The Humble Workman. Some o t h e r s were The O l d Philosopher . . . and, where a p p r o p r i a t e , The Mad S a t y r , n u z z l i n g and l e a p i n g , making triumphant s u c k i n g n o i s e s a g a i n s t her n a v e l . (P. 161)  Rose d r e a d s t h e falling allow  i n love.  her  to play  h u m o u r l e s s man feelings love  l o s s of  accompanies  A p l a y f u l l o v e r who  mimics  a  f r e e of  like  to h i s .  independence which  l o v e r ' s r o l e too, P a t r i c k makes t h a t  This  i s s u g g e s t e d by  strong  Flo's  she  love the  match  seems  to  demand a her  dramatic element i n e r o t i c  euphemism f o r t h e  sex  act:  T h a t was F l o ' s word f o r i t : p e r f o r m . Back i n t h e c o u n t r y , b a c k on t h e h i l l f a r m s she came f r o m , F l o s a i d t h a t p e o p l e had gone d o t t y , been known t o e a t b o i l e d hay, and p e r f o r m e d w i t h t h e i r t o o c l o s e r e l a t i o n s , (p. 25) As  usual,  that  there  Flo's  s t o r i e s are  warnings f o r Rose.  i s something r i d i c u l o u s i n s e x u a l i t y .  They The  imply idea  115  of performance i m p l i e s the p o s s i b i l i t y oneself Flo's of  from  a ritual  h a r p i n g on  with  perverse  attempts  sexuality  throwing  window, e v e n s l a s h i n g g a r d e n and unhealthy  tearing cycle  been  she  light To  responds  the  into  T h e i r marriage  the  repeats  reconciliation,  been done, u n t i l  time,  t h e d i n i n g room  her w r i s t s or r u s h i n g out  o f q u a r r e l i n g and  enough damage had  her,  head a g a i n s t  through  a t the g r a s s .  same  Patrick develop.  possess  b e a t i n g her  a gravy-boat  At the  i s suggestive i n  Rose and  t o d o m i n a t e and  overwhelming rage,  bedpost,  n e a r l y mortal  the  "until damage  had  done"(p.95). The  scenes  make i t t h e  moves f r o m  of v i o l e n c e t a i n t  most d i s t u r b i n g  v i o l e n c e has  has  which i s acted out.  the d e s t r u c t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p  Patrick's  of withholding  who  i s suspected  i s the beaten  as  instigator,  i s an  of b e a t i n g her  Her  i n WHO  insistent  her  anger a g a i n s t her  by  blood  i s the  final  necessary  detail:  blood  came l e a p i n g o u t  which erupts  the phrase,  banners"  as of  a  stepmother.  "Royal  Blood  i n F l o ' s s t o r y of her  i n the h o s p i t a l  when she  As  she  Beating",  "Someone k n e l t (p.l).  Rose  the  i n Rose's f a n t a s i e s .  suggested  o f human p a i n i s r e p e a t e d  Jordan  only  c o u r t s v i o l e n c e out  scene  like  of  who  motif  i t  child,  recollection  the  nosebleed  fiction,  i n the b e a t i n g s , not  need t o r i t u a l i z e  Blood pictures  child.  i m p l i c a t e s her  but  perverse  i n her  and  Although  t h e p e r i p h e r y t o t h e c e n t r e . Whereas D e l  experience victim,  o f Munro's w o r k s .  a l w a y s been p r e s e n t  a neighbour  herself  t h e a t m o s p h e r e o f WHO,  and  as  the  emblem  severe visits  the  116 woman f o r whom she u s e d of  Flo's  stories,  Becky T y d e ' s f a t h e r  snow he was l y i n g assailants window:  steps  i n turned  finally  leave,  "She w a t c h e d  make h i s d e l a y e d  stories  blood  Becky  bloody progress (p.  which flows  i s not released  In another  i s beaten u n t i l "the  r e d " ( p . 8 ) , and a f t e r h i s isstill  t h e men l e a v e  o f the verandah" The  t o work a s h i r e d g i r l .  watching  at last  from t h e  and h e r f a t h e r  t h r o u g h t h e snow and up t h e  8). from t h e b e a t i n g s  when Rose's f a t h e r  i n these  a c t u a l l y beats  her:  He h a s n e v e r managed t o r e a l l y i n j u r e h e r , t h o u g h t h e r e a r e t i m e s , o f c o u r s e , when s h e p r a y s t h a t he will. He h i t s h e r w i t h an open hand, t h e r e i s some r e s t r a i n t i n h i s k i c k s , ( p . 17)  Paradoxically, deliver  the ultimate  rebellion  c e n t r a l t o WHO.  f o r daring  identity,  self-critical, led  she p r o v o k e s a g a i n s t  also  herself superior  critical  of  to others.  s u g g e s t s Rose's q u e s t f o r  i s t h e main i s s u e .  She b e l i e v e s  Habitually pride  h e r f a t h e r was t r a p p e d  when she and F l o p u s h e d h i m t o o f a r :  comes a t i m e when y o u c a n ' t  herself  WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?  Rose wonders w h e t h e r h e r own s t u b b o r n  to the beatings.  into violence  R o s e ' s own  a s k e d Rose by a t e a c h e r  to consider  her pride  the c y c l e of  The d e g r e e o f  The t i t l e ,  Although the question  t o l o s e a l l c o n t r o l and  perpetuates  f o r the violence  comes f r o m a q u e s t i o n her  failure  beating  and p u n i s h m e n t .  responsibility is  her father's  draw b a c k " ( p . 1 6 ) .  "there  Later,  117  reflecting  upon h e r v i o l e n t  f i g h t s with  them a s symptoms o f i l l n e s s , each o t h e r ,  P a t r i c k , she sees  and r e c a l l s  "What do y o u t h i n k  how t h e y  would ask  t r i g g e r s t h e r e a c t i o n ? " (p.  95) Blood WHO,  and v i o l e n c e a r e n o t mere b a c k g r o u n d d e t a i l i n  b u t a r e p a r t o f an image p a t t e r n  when he f i r s t  falls  i n love with  s u g g e s t e d by P a t r i c k  Rose: "You d o n ' t know how I  love you.  T h e r e ' s a book I have c a l l e d  Every  time  I look  78).  Whereas P a t r i c k r e f e r s t o t h e c o n n o t a t i o n s  and  spirituality  a t the t i t l e  THE WHITE  GODDESS.  i t r e m i n d s me o f y o u " ( p .  s u g g e s t e d by t h e t i t l e  of purity  o f t h i s work by  Robert G r a v e s , Graves' a n a l y s i s o f t h e White Goddess her  as more p e r v e r s e  Rose—than  P a t r i c k guesses.  muse o f p o e t r y , achieve,  and c o n t r a d i c t o r y — h e n c e According  and by i n v o k i n g  "the experience  more  reveals  like  t o G r a v e s , she i s t h e  her the true poet  may  o f mixed e x a l t a t i o n and h o r r o r  that  7 her  presence e x c i t e s " .  symbolized special  White i s t h e f i r s t  of her c o l o u r s ,  by t h e new moon; however, h e r s e c o n d c o l o u r  s i g n i f i c a n c e f o r the protagonist  of  i s of  WHO:  When S u i d a s t h e B y z a n t i n e r e c o r d s t h a t Io was a cow t h a t c h a n g e d h e r c o l o u r f r o m w h i t e t o r o s e and t h e n t o b l a c k , he means t h a t t h e New Moon i s t h e w h i t e g o d d e s s o f b i r t h and g r o w t h ; t h e F u l l Moon, t h e r e d g o d d e s s o f l o v e and b a t t l e ; t h e O l d Moon, t h e b l a c k g o d d e s s o f d e a t h and d i v i n a t i o n " (p. 6 9 ) .  I n WHO,  the protagonist's  suggesting triumvirate  name comes f r o m t h e c o l o u r ,  rose,  t h e r e d of the second goddess o f Graves's and t h e c o l o u r  of blood;  m o r e o v e r , t h e Rose  118  Goddess her  i s the d e i t y  i s to invoke  fright  and  embrace  o f l o v e and s e x u a l w a r f a r e .  what G r a v e s c a l l s ,  lust—the  i s death"  " t h e a n c i e n t power o f  f e m a l e s p i d e r , o r t h e queen-bee whose  (p. 24) .  G r a v e s blames h i s c e n t u r y ' s inimical  To summon  e m p h a s i s on m a r r i a g e ,  a state  t o the goddess, f o r the d e c l i n e of p o e t r y : The W h i t e Goddess i s a n t i - d o m e s t i c ; she i s t h e p e r p e t u a l " o t h e r woman" and h e r p a r t i s d i f f i c u l t i n d e e d f o r a woman o f s e n s i b i l i t y t o p l a y f o r more t h a n a few y e a r s . . . (p. 447)  This description except  t o note  admiration never  fits  Rose s o e x a c t l y i t r e q u i r e s no comment  t h a t G r a v e s ' argument, d e s p i t e i t s i m p l i c i t  f o r the female p r i n c i p l e ,  admits  the p o s s i b i l i t y  however, Rose assumes therefore  the sexual  muse p r e s u p p o s e d complicated. Clifford  of a female poet.  the r o l e s liason  of a r t i s t  and  context,  to s a t i s f y  disbelieving, she was  s a d " (p. 1 3 2 ) .  drives  Since  female  t h e s c e n e when Rose  her dual nature:  slightly  too s l u g g i s h to reach  The a f t e r t a s t e  their  "Rose  of g u i l t  allows  suggests  t o w h i c h she w i l l  hardly w i l l i n g ,  Rose f r o m C l i f f o r d  morning.  and  t o make l o v e t o h e r a l o n g w i t h J o c e l y n  some l e v e l  WHO,  i n THE WHITE GODDESS becomes f u r t h e r  In t h i s  doomed a t t e m p t  at  In  and g o d d e s s ;  between male p o e t  Rose's d e s p e r a t i o n , the l e n g t h s  curious,  t h e g o d d e s s as muse,  go i n a felt  aroused  f o r , appalled and d i s g u s t  and J o c e l y n ' s h o u s e e a r l y  lovemaking  o f R o s e ' s l o v e f o r them b o t h ,  is a ritual  and,  the next  acknowledgement  Rose m i g h t have t a k e n  comfort  119  from  i t , but  i n s t e a d she  t h e p a s t , and  vindicated Clifford's  b e f o r e when he affair: thing.  b e l i e v e s t h a t they  decided  I t ' s not  It's ordinary mischief"(p. events  a c k n o w l e d g e t h a t she never  rejection  trivialized  of her  a g a i n s t consummating t h e i r  "What we're d o i n g .  Once a g a i n ,  have  forcing  is a solitary  people  last.  Alice  Munro c o r r o b o r a t e s  In an this  love  necessary  122).  seem t o be  other  some b i g  years  Rose  to  whose c o n n e c t i o n s  interview with  Alan  with Twigg,  view:  Twigg: My w i f e ' s comment on WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? was t h a t y o u r c h a r a c t e r , Rose, i s never allowed to get anything. She's always u n f u l f i l l e d . May be s h e ' s j u s t wary of emotion. Munro: She g e t s s o m e t h i n g . She g e t s h e r s e l f . She d o e s n ' t g e t t h e o b v i o u s t h i n g s , t h e t h i n g s she t h i n k s she w a n t s . Like i n "Mischief," Rose d o e s n ' t r e a l l y want t h a t l o v e a f f a i r . What she does g e t i s a way o u t o f h e r m a r r i a g e . She g e t s a knowledge o f h e r s e l f . 8 Despite  the  author's  empty-handed, t h i s and  destroyer  literary  c o n t e n t i o n t h a t Rose does n o t  vision  o f a woman i n h e r  i s somewhat b l e a k .  themes i n r e l a t i o n  emerge  p r i m e as  lover  D i s c u s s i n g Canadian  to Graves' t h e s i s  GODDESS, M a r g a r e t Atwood r e m a r k s on  "the  i n THE  notable  WHITE  absence  of  9 Venuses" WHO  (Rose G o d d e s s e s ) i n t h e  f o l l o w e d Atwood's  distinguished  SURVIVAL, and  filled  between D i a n a - M a i d e n s and  Rose s u f f e r s  i n a way  Del Jordan,  does n o t .  her  d e s t i n y enables  her  P u b l i c a t i o n of the  gap  Atwood  Hecate-Crones.  t h a t the e a r l i e r  protagonist, artistic  literature.  and  younger  Perhaps Del's  to detach  herself  sense from  of her  120  experiences, regarding A l t h o u g h Rose a l s o ill-defined to  them as m a t e r i a l  has a r t i s t i c  Incapable of deciding  state  of i n e r t i a ,  her f u t u r e ,  dreaming o f p l a y i n g  correspondent.  she i s a s c h o l a r ,  gifts  have won h e r a s c h o l a r s h i i p ,  she i s .  than D e l .  i n p u b l i c " (p.  Rose d r i f t s  in a  t h e harp o r becoming a  A l t h o u g h Rose's  i n impulses  Patrick  rouses  sensed  she i s more a t t h e mercy  Her r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h  against  t o murder and s u i c i d e .  i n Rose i s a f u l l e r  i n characters  Patrick  like  Lois  The a n g e r  development o f the f u r y  i n DANCE, who  contains a dramatic  Rose's c h o i c e o f a c t i n g believable  lashes out  that  she w o u l d d i s c o v e r  s u i t s Rose's d r a m a t i c s u i t s her a u t h o r i t y ,  herself  and h e r l i f e ,  w h i c h Rose s u f f e r s . searches  been f o r c e d  element which accords  as h e r p r o f e s s i o n ,  writing  similar  their  the l i m i t a t i o n s of her c l a s s .  Hysteria  Acting  tells  intellectual  makes h e r h y s t e r i c a l a t t i m e s , and c u l m i n a t e s b e f o r e divorce  need  Rose f e e l s u n e a s y b e c a u s e she h a s no  s e n s e o f who  her f e e l i n g s  a shameful  When D r . Henshawe r e p e a t e d l y  clear  of  fiction.  they are  "She wanted t o p e r f o r m  69).  her  ambitions,  and e m b a r r a s s h e r by r e v e a l i n g  attract attention:  foreign  f o r future  accidentally.  j u s t as D e l ' s  her a i r of being  detached  from the g u i l t  Both a r t i s t - h e r o i n e s  for artistic  and makes i t  i t almost  temperment  with  i n control of and r e m o r s e  a r e engaged i n  t r u t h , b u t D e l has n o t y e t  t o a c k n o w l e d g e h e r own m e d i o c r i t y  a s Rose h a s :  I t ' w a s p a r t o f h e r j o b t o go on l o c a l t e l e v i s i o n c h a t t i n g about these p r o d u c t i o n s , t r y i n g  121  t o drum up i n t e r e s t , t e l l i n g amusing s t o r i e s a b o u t t h i n g s t h a t had happened d u r i n g t h e tour. T h e r e was n o t h i n g s h a m e f u l a b o u t any o f t h i s , b u t sometimes Rose was deeply, u n a c c o u n t a b l y ashamed, (p. 177)  R o s e ' s shame d e r i v e s  from u n r e c o n c i l e d  between F l o ' s  s t a n d a r d s and  which  moves.  she  now  enmeshed i n t h e  The  a t t r i b u t a b l e to the  in  two  As novel,  A.A. the  with  interposed  the  between t h e  e v e n t s have a l r e a d y i n the  first  history,  suffering  of  of experience  the  Struthers  i t — i s view  I of  on  the  and  the  Del  the  is  reader  is felt reader's  to  to  be  I." that  L I V E S , f o r example, i s Jordan, apparently  reviewing  kunstlerroman form, i n  i s a young w r i t e r , i m p l i e s has  the  reader  f i r s t - p e r s o n narration implies  taken p l a c e .  past  the  of a l l o w i n g  novel  time i n  been p u r g e d  i n the  that  the  transformation  into art.  contrast,  narrator's  from  "Another person  Moreover, the  narrator  focus  i s detached  i n h i s study of  Instead  p e r s o n by  which the  the  out  protagonist,  M e n d i l o w a l s o n o t e s how  By  group i n  s e n s e t h a t Rose i s  first-person narrative's effect  identify  past  artistic  d i f f e r e n c e between p o i n t o f  Mendilow p o i n t s  to expectations.  her  Del  the  conflict  works.  contrary  told  reader's  story—whereas  partly the  those of  inner  the  third-person  c l o s e r to the c o n t r o l over comments on  n a r r a t i o n o f WHO  events d e s c r i b e d , the  tale.  In a 1983  his impression  n a r r a t o r s : Rose h e r s e l f a t t e n  or  and  that  sacrifices interview,  there  thirty-two,  brings  are  and  a  the Tim  several narrator  122  who " a d o p t s a s u p e r i o r  ironic  sees t h i s  a s an i n c o n s i s t e n c y  resulting  from  tone towards Rose". of narrative point  t h e r e v i s i o n s Munro made t o WHO,  author emphatically  denies  Struthers o f view  butthe  this:  No, I d o n ' t t h i n k s o . No, I d o n ' t t h i n k s o . I d o n ' t t h i n k t h a t h a s a n y t h i n g t o do w i t h , i t . T h e r e may w e l l be an u n c e r t a i n t y , a problem t h a t I had, but I don't t h i n k t h a t h a s t y r e w r i t e i s t h e r e a s o n . I t h i n k t h e r e were j u s t t i m e s when I f e l t t h a t t h e s t o r y had t o work t h a t way, and I r e a l l y c a n ' t t e l l y o u why. 1 1  Munro's r e p l y artistic  to Struthers  process,  reflects  i n which she d i s c o v e r s  work a s i t p r o g r e s s e s a n d w i l l  allow  change h e r mind a b o u t what b e l o n g s originally the  first  third  intended  as a t w o - p a r t  person devoted  person devoted  creation. galleys  complication similar  her d i s c o v e r i e s t o  in i t .  WHO  o f t h e form  was  s t r u c t u r e w i t h one p a r t i n  t o Rose, who was J a n e t ' s  Munro b e l a t e d l y  epilogue,  t h e form o f t h e  t o J a n e t , and t h e o t h e r  I t was n o t u n t i l  that  h e r commitment t o h e r  fictional  t h e work had b e e n p r i n t e d i n realized  she had u s e d  that  t h e form, a  i n L I V E S and w i t h a  was n o t t h e most s u i t a b l e o n e .  e x p e n s e , she made t h e c h a n g e s s h e c o n s i d e r e d  the  first  contained included  with  the f i n a l  v e r s i o n WHO three  According  (the f i r s t  to Leitch, i n  had a t w o - p a r t s t r u c t u r e , and  stories  i n MOONS.  version.  A t h e r own  necessary.  L.M. L e i t c h h a s compared a r e v i e w e r ' s c o p y version)  i n the  that  Munro e x c i s e d  and l a t e r  The s t o r i e s w h i c h she removed a r e "The  Moons o f J u p i t e r " , " C o n n e c t i o n " , and "The S t o n e i n t h e  123 12  Field".  Leitch also  individual  the o r i g i n a l  references first  ,  a l t e r a t i o n s Munro made i n  stories after their  magazines t o prepare that  traces  first  publication i n  them f o r i n c l u s i o n i n WHO.  version  of "Half  a Grapefruit"  t o Rose a s c h r o n i c l e r , and " W i l d  published  version  does n o t c o n t a i n  u n d e r t a k e r who r e g u l a r l y buys c a n d y ? ^ s u p p o r t s t h e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f WHO self-reflexive  more p r o m i n e n t .  suggest that  the reference  Rose, and t h e m o t i f  blurring explain is she  of blood  but also  i m p o s e d by t h e a u t h o r  discovered  Flo's  of narrative  as d e l i b e r a t e l y  These r e v i s i o n s  to the structure  but considers  compelled  Whatever  an a c t r e s s ,  i n this  work,  i t aptly  t o which  life for  Rose i s a t o n c e  and t h e c h a r a c t e r .  she i s a l w a y s on s t a g e t o t h e  s h e i s aware o f c r e a t i n g  an i m p r e s s i o n , o f  s t o r i e s t o engage t h e a t t e n t i o n or p u b l i c .  which i s  S i m i l a r l y , the  i t s source,  " I " and t h e " s h e " , t h e s e l f  private  within  t o make, n o t one w h i c h  the  it  o f WHO,  necessary  i s a s e r i e s o f r o l e s which she p l a y s .  telling  to the  and t h e c o n t r a d i c t i o n s  Rose's c o n c e r n o v e r t h e e x t e n t  that  further  are linked not only  her  extent  work  v i e w p o i n t , w h i c h Munro was u n a b l e t o  d e l i b e r a t e l y chose.  befits  of the  (the m a s c u l i n e paradigm) b u t  an a c c o m o d a t i o n she f e l t  As  story  Leitch's  by h e r ( t h e f e m i n i n e p a r a d i g m ) .  to Struthers,  reflects  Swans" i n i t s  t o t h e WHITE GODDESS, t h e name,  and v i o l e n c e  Rose's c h a r a c t e r , not  has no  by s h o w i n g how t h e a u t h o r ' s r e v i s i o n s made-  storytelling  themes o f l o v e  She n o t e s  In the f i n a l  o f an a u d i e n c e , be  paragraph of the  124  concluding story glad  segment, Rose m a s t e r s  of Ralph G i l l e s p i e : that  telling,  there though  was  "Rose d i d n ' t  thing at least  she knew i t was  honorable r e s t r a i n t renunciation  one  the temptation to t e l l tell  t o anybody,  she w o u l d n ' t  lack of material  t h a t kept her q u i e t "  of a r t i f a c e  this  recalls  the  spoil  by  as much as  (p. 206) .  Prospero's epilogue  Her in  THE  TEMPEST:  Now my charms a r e a l l o ' e r t h r o w n And what s t r e n g t h I h a v e ' s mine o w n , — Which i s most f a i n t : (V. Ep. 1-3) THE  TEMPEST, i t w i l l  be r e c a l l e d , i s t h e p l a y  the  opening  " R o y a l B e a t i n g s " , Rose o v e r h e a r s h e r  father  reciting  towers,  and  reach  palaces"  encompassing  or h i n t e d  herself.  f o r t h e m s e l v e s , showing  they a c t out or r e t e l l  circle  is  how,  the p a t t e r n s  be  artist  Through  identity  in  cloud-capped  embedded  a t i n t h e t e x t , Munro e x t e n d s  f u r t h e r below the s u r f a c e  construct  The  i s a l s o a female  f o r t h e muse w i t h i n  told  (p. 4 ) .  "The  s u p p r e s s e d memories demanding t o  a Rose Goddess who  searching stories  as he works i n h i s s h e d :  the gorgeous  complete, told  segment,  from which  her  that individuals  against  o f myth.  their  will,  125  Notes  1 A l i c e Munro, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? (Toronto: M a c m i l l a n , 1 9 7 8 ) , p . 7. Subsequent r e f e r e n c e s appear i n t h e text. 2 L a w r e n c e Mathews, "Who Do You T h i n k You A r e ? : A l i c e Munro's A r t o f D i s a r r a n g e m e n t , " i n PROBABLE FICTIONS, e d . L o u i s K. M a c K e n d r i c k (Downsview, O n t : ECW P r e s s , 1 9 8 3 ) , p . 181. 3 A L y s B a l d r y , BURNE-JONES: MASTERPIECES IN COLOUR (London: T.C. & E . C . J a c k , n . d . ) , p . 50. 4 J.R. (Tim) S t r u t h e r s , " I n t e r s e c t i n g O r b i t s : A S t u d y o f S e l e c t e d S t o r y C y c l e s by Hugh Hood, C l a r k B l a i s e and A l i c e Munro, i n t h e i r L i t e r a r y C o n t e x t s , " D i s s . W e s t e r n O n t a r i o 1981, p . 222. 5 A l i c e Munro, L I V E S OF GIRLS AND WOMEN ( T o r o n t o : M c G r a w - H i l l R y e r s o n , 1 9 7 1 ) , pp. 171-2. 6 M a r g a r e t L a u r e n c e , THE STONE ANGEL ( T o r o n t o : M c C l e l l a n d and S t e w a r t , 1 9 6 4 ) , p . 292. 7 R o b e r t G r a v e s , THE WHITE GODDESS (London: F a b e r and F a b e r , 1 9 5 2 ) , p . 14. S u b s e q u e n t r e f e r e n c e s a p p e a r i n t h e text. 8 A l a n T w i g g , "What I s : A l i c e Munro," i n CONVERSATIONS WITH 24 CANADIAN WRITERS ( M a d e i r a P a r k , B.C.: H a r b o u r P u b l i s h i n g , 1 9 8 1 ) , p . 19. 9 M a r g a r e t Atwood, SURVIVAL: A THEMATIC GUIDE TO CANADIAN LITERATURE ( T o r o n t o : A n a n s i , 1 9 7 2 ) , p . 199. 10 A.A. M e n d i l o w , TIME AND THE NOVEL (New Y o r k : H u m a n i t i e s P r e s s , 1 9 7 2 ) , p . 107. 11 J.R. (Tim) S t r u t h e r s , "The R e a l M a t e r i a l : An I n t e r v i e w w i t h A l i c e Munro," i n PROBABLE FICTIONS, e d . L o u i s K. M a c K e n d r i c k (Downsview, O n t . : ECW P r e s s , 1 9 8 3 ) , p . 32. 12 L i n d a M a r g a r e t L e i t c h , " A l i c e Munro's F i c t i o n : E x p l o r a t i o n s i n Open Forms," M.A. T h e s i s G u e l p h 1980, p . 150. 13 L e i t c h , p p . 113, 130.  Chapter Life  MOONS i s A l i c e characters  Five  as a R e c u r r i n g  M u n r o s most b o o k i s h 1  a r e engaged i n a s p e c t s  as w r i t e r s , e d i t o r s , a r c h i v i s t s , Despite the in  their  a workaday w o r l d  their with these  intellectual share  men s e l f i s h ,  their  an  when a y e a r  intellectual,  Scrabble  history.  points  have r e p l a c e d  A l t h o u g h Mrs. Kidd  once knew, she s t i l l schoolgirl,  has r i s e n  fall  confined  find  since the previous made Ada J o r d a n  i n Jubilee. represented  to a nursing  home  o f t h e d a y , and p a s t i m e s  her former i n t e r e s t  i n natural  has f o r g o t t e n much t h a t she  t o i t as a  she r e c i t e d  as a  talisman:  She wanted t o f l o a t h e r s e l f c l e a r . she c o u l d do i t by l y i n g on h e r b e d i n h e r head a l l t h e poems she knew, w h i c h g o t h a r d e r and h a r d e r t o h o l d (p. 175)  i n love  On t h e w h o l e ,  h a s grown o l d ,  r e t a i n s the poetry  and c l i n g s  they  a t Teacher's College  where m e a l s a r e t h e h i g h  The f e m a l e  p r e f e r men who a r e  or p r i g g i s h .  Mrs. Kidd,  feel  and d r e a m e r s  i n LIVES.  and t h e r e f o r e a m i s f i t ,  now by a woman l i k e  books, they  love o f books, f r e q u e n t l y  level  working  or booksellers.  readers  but should  I n MOONS, Ada's g e n e r a t i o n  like  felt  instinctively  faithless  however, t h e e d u c a t i o n a l generation,  about b e i n g  inferiors,  Many o f i t s  o f t h e book t r a d e , librarians  as D e l J o r d a n  i n MOONS o f t e n  men who  work.  p r o f e s s i o n a l a s s o c i a t i o n with  same s e l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s  narrators  Story  Sometimes and s a y i n g or the f a c t s , i n place.  127  The  remembrance o f poems and  despite  the  gradual  something of her for  reassurance  characters  Not  essential helps  characterization,  possesses carry  a  powers as  self  still  poems t h e y she  but  Mrs.  she  recall  has  used  from  poems he  eyes of a c e r t a i n  that  This  need  having  their  i n each  i t i s p a r t of the  Kidd  grows o l d e r ,  remains.  embedded q u o t a t i o n r e l a t e  o f h i m s e l f . The like  reassures  e x p l a i n Munro's h a b i t o f  a technique  o n l y does t h e  definition  l o s s of her  quote the  schooldays,  facts  collection. t o theme  quoting  knows by  character's  heart  shade o r t h e  and  he  ability  to  tune.  E v e n more s e l f - d e f i n i t i v e stories,  anecdotes from the  tell  another.  one  Cousin  though u n w i l l i n g ,  the u b i q u i t o u s  family  p a s t w h i c h Munro's c h a r a c t e r s  Iris  example o f t h e u r g e t o t e l l  are  i n "Connection"  o n e ' s s t o r y t o an  i s an  extreme  available,  audience:  We d r a n k ; we a t e ; t h e c h i l d r e n came i n and were praised. R i c h a r d came and went. Nothing fazed h e r ; she was r i g h t . Nothing d e f l e c t e d her from h e r s t o r i e s o f h e r s e l f ; t h e amount o f t i m e she c o u l d spend n o t t a l k i n g was l i m i t e d . She t o l d a b o u t t h e c a r p e t bag and t h e m i l l i o n a i r e ' s son a l l over again. She t o l d a b o u t t h e d i s s o l u t e a c t o r . How many c o n v e r s a t i o n s she must have r i d d e n through l i k e t h i s — l a u g h i n g , i n s i s t i n g , rambling, r e c o l l e c t i n g , (p. 16)  Cousin  Iris's  determination  stories  b e t r a y her  to e s t a b l i s h  longing for approval,  a connection  with  I n MOONS t h e r e a r e many g a r r u l o u s c h a r a c t e r s  other like  her  people. her,  but  128  they  are  accept  balanced  by  restricted  them m e a n i n g .  their  l i v e s unredeemed by  Descended from t a l k e r s  and  non-talkers  and  Flemings"  i s the  her  heritages  have n o t  talker,  but  on  they  alternately  her  prototype blended  r e v e a l and she  criticism  of  characters  on  mother's  her  narrators  separate,  a  as  casts  d o u b t on  aunts  f a s c i n a t e the  because t h e i r  side  i n MOONS:  making h e r  her  to  uneasy  no  chooses. e v e n more i n f l u e n t i a l t h a n  a frivolous  n a r r a t o r of  of  give  moderate  implies  life  "The  is entirely  Her  Stone i n the different  the  a  e s c a p e f r o m work, and  the whole n a r r a t i v e e n t e r p r i s e .  way  to  "Chaddleys  causing  Chaddleys because speechlessness of t a l k  mutely  of t a l k  n a r r a t o r of  the  and  who  a flow  t o make h e r  conceal,  s i l e n t Flemings are  loquacious  she  f a t h e r ' s , the  have r e m a i n e d  matter which o p t i o n The  opposites,  so  father's  Field"  from the  one  knows: Work w o u l d be what f i l l e d t h e i r l i v e s , n o t c o n v e r s a t i o n ; work w o u l d be what gave t h e i r d a y s shape.... What was f e l t i n t h a t room was t h e p a i n o f human c o n t a c t , (pp. 26-7)  There i s something s p l e n d i d about the  aunts'  A l t h o u g h the  them, t h e  suspects  that  n a r r a t o r ' s mother p i t i e s they  possess  strengths  isolation.  unknown t o  narrator talkative  people:  My mother l o o k e d a t t h e i r l i v e s and t h o u g h t o f how t h e y c o u l d be b r i g h t e n e d , opened up. . . . n o t ? my mother w o u l d a s k , s e e i n g l i f e a l l i n t e r m s o f change and p o s s i b i l i t y . She  Why  129  imagined they would y e a r n f o r t h i n g s , not o n l y m a t e r i a l t h i n g s but c o n d i t i o n s , a b i l i t i e s , which they d i d not even bother t o d e p l o r e , d i d not t h i n k t o r e j e c t , b e i n g so p e r f e c t l y e n c a s e d i n what t h e y had and were, so f a r b e y o n d i m a g i n i n g t h e m s e l v e s o t h e r w i s e , (p. 29)  The  aunts  routine their  seem t o have a c h i e v e d a r a r e c o n t e n t m e n t  of never-ending  way  of  acceptance people  and  like  In  life  has  work.  Despite i t s l i m i t a t i o n s ,  enabled  them t o r e a c h a l e v e l  e n d u r a n c e i m p o s s i b l e f o r more  the n a r r a t o r  addition  of  the p a r t  language  not  crucial.  o n l y uses  characteristic  pauses  c o n n o t a t i o n s of words, but requirements  relationships Field",  t o be  talking  to  paralysing  In MOONS, Munro  t o c o n s i d e r t h e sound  she  tests  f o r communication  established.  not exchange s t o r i e s their  also  to the aunts  is difficult  shyness,  they can  stroke victim  Instead t h e i r  Cross's attempts who  Stone  has  lost  because  way  which  t h e power t o s p e a k .  In  story,  Turkey  do.  do  Owing t o themselves  somewhat  t o communicate w i t h J a c k ,  r e p l y by means o f a g i g g l e r a t h e r "The  they  b r o t h e r manages t o  they o f t e n another  and  i n the  scarcely bring  communicate w i t h them i n a s i m p l i f i e d Mrs.  to take place  In "The  Season",  languages  a t work i s e x p l o r e d .  The  narrator,  a s t r a n g e r t o the working  or  t h e minimum  as f a m i l y members u s u a l l y  answer q u e s t i o n s .  resembles  i n developing human  i s shown t o be  language  ambitious  i t plays i n establishing  relationships her  of  to reach.  to the r o l e  self-consciousness,  in their  Like  Jack,  t h a n a word.  the r o l e  of  special  highschool-girl w o r l d , must  learn i t s  a  130  vocabulary turkey  and  gutter  idioms i n order and  to perform her  f i t into this  co-workers t e l e g r a p h  new  job  as  s o c i e t y where  messages c o n c e r n i n g  sex  whose s p e c i a l meanings a r i s e f r o m t h e i r  a  her  through  phrases  context:  L i l y s a i d she n e v e r l e t h e r husband come n e a r h e r i f he had been d r i n k i n g . Marjorie said since t h e t i m e she n e a r l y d i e d w i t h a hemorrhage she n e v e r l e t h e r h u s b a n d come n e a r h e r , period. . . . I c o u l d see t h a t i t was a m a t t e r o f p r i d e n o t t o l e t y o u r h u s b a n d come n e a r you, b u t I c o u l d n ' t q u i t e b e l i e v e t h a t "come n e a r " meant "have s e x . " (p. 68, e m p h a s i s added)  As  an  outsider  Jamesian  a t the  innocent  In t h i s  more c o n s c i o u s l y has  become h e r  s t r a i n i n g to understand a  close  a n a l y t i c a l than before.  subject  observation  differences  as w e l l  as  especially  and  so  the  similarities  among women  In h e r reluctant  of  her  earlier  rather  to s t r e t c h her  their  situations.  often  enough t h a t h e r  v e h i c l e of w h i c h has  itself  expression.  always  relied  the  generalized,  than d i f f e r e n c e s ,  characters.  work, she  compromise t h e  Language  become more  in a  language i s  p a r t i c u l a r to reveal  between p e o p l e , has  concerned with  is a  foreign  v o l u m e , Munro's a p p r o a c h t o  M o r e o v e r , Munro's c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n , on  narrator  abroad, r e g i s t e r i n g f r e s h impressions  f o r e i g n m i l i e u and language.  Turkey Barn, the  tended  t o use  symbols  metaphors beyond the  individuality  Munro has  denied  critics  word; however, MOONS i s t h e  of her being  have t e n d e d  first  of her  warily,  single  characters a writer  of  to take her works t o  be  story, and ideas at  her  131  structured it  around  by a c o h e r e n t p s y c h o l o g i c a l  t h e metaphor o f J u p i t e r ' s moons.  these  s t o r i e s r e l a t e women's b e h a v i o u r  force  of their  the  argument t h a t u n i f i e s  a t t r a c t i o n toward  Repeatedly,  to the i r r e s i s t a b l e  t h e men t h e y  love.  moons, t h e y t r a v e l i n f i x e d o r b i t s beyond  control. often  This  ironic  unwritten The already  and w r i t t e n growing  t h e i r own  message i s r e p e a t e d w i t h  a wry humour, i n n a r r a t i v e s  layered  s u b t l e t y , and  with references t o  s t o r i e s which f u r t h e r e l a b o r a t e i t .  s e l f - r e f l e x i v e n e s s o f Munro's  discussed  Like  i n t h e two p r e v i o u s  fiction  chapters culminates i n  MOONS, where t h e l i n k between w r i t i n g and l i f e i s insistently  called  t o the reader's a t t e n t i o n , perhaps  most  memorably b y means o f t h e c a r d i o g r a m r e f e r r e d t o t w i c e i n the  title  s t o r y . The n a r r a t o r ' s  a t t e n t i o n i s drawn t o t h e  screen  above h e r f a t h e r ' s  jagged  l i n e was c o n t i n u a l l y b e i n g  Naturally  the daughter's worried  b e c a u s e s h e knows t h a t father's  h o s p i t a l bed,  beating  on w h i c h ,  written"  (p.  gaze f o c u s e s  "a b r i g h t  217). on t h e l i n e  i t s c o n t i n u i t y represents her  heart.  So l o n g  a s t h e l i n e w r i t e s , he  lives. Whereas WHO was p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h obsessed with connection. the  first  and l a s t  separation,  The f a m i l y h i s t o r i a n who n a r r a t e s  s t o r i e s i n MOONS r e p l a c e s  Rose, t h e  iconoclast  o f WHO, h e l l b e n t  on escape,' f i r s t  and  c l a s s , and l a t e r  from h e r husband's  social  Pygmalian-like himself.  attempts  In order  MOONS i s  from h e r f a m i l y  t o mold h e r i n t o a f e m a l e r e p l i c a o f  to discover  h e r own i n d i v i d u a l i t y ,  Rose  132  must b r e a k f r e e o f t h e s e conclusion, villainess  c o n s t r a i n t s ; but,  s h e h a s become c l o s e r  by t h e  t o her stepmother, the  o f h e r c h i l d h o o d , now s t r i p p e d o f h e r f o r m e r  power t h r o u g h destruction  senility.  I n MOONS, t h e p r o g r e s s i o n  to rebuilding  continues:  a r e r e - j o i n e d , and c o n n e c t i o n s desirable.  with  shattered family  Several n a r r a t o r s undertake  l a n d t o mark where t h e i r  survive,  preserving the past  w h i c h marked t h e g r a v e  people into  sentimental  the present.  of a reclusive  hired  i n "The S t o n e i n t h e F i e l d " ,  "Visitors",  t h e f a m i l y farm  journeys  r e m a i n s on  once were; y e t  disappeared  Conservation  ties  t h e p a s t have become  to a n c e s t r a l farms, o n l y t o d i s c o v e r t h a t nothing the  from  memories  The s t o n e  man h a s  while i n  h a s been t u r n e d  into a  Area:  A l b e r t w a l k e d up a n d down i n t h e g r a s s . He made a t u r n , he s t o p p e d a n d l o o k e d a r o u n d and s t a r t e d again. He was t r y i n g t o g e t t h e o u t l i n e o f t h e house. W i l f r e d f r o w n e d a t t h e g r a s s and s a i d , "They d o n ' t l e a v e y o u much." (pp. 211-12) Inexorably,  time  great extent,  changes t h e landscape  MOONS i s p r e o c c u p i e d  with  of childhood.  To a  time:  F o r i n s t a n c e l a s t s p r i n g , l a s t autumn i n A u s t r a l i a , when I was happy, t h e l i n e t h a t w o u l d go t h r o u g h my h e a d , a t a m e r r y c l i p , was t h i s : "Even s u c h i s t i m e , t h a t t a k e s i n t r u s t — " I c o u l d n o t go o n , t h o u g h I knew t r u s t rhymed w i t h d u s t and t h a t t h e r e was s o m e t h i n g f u r t h e r a l o n g a b o u t "and i n t h e d a r k a n d s i l e n t g r a v e , s h u t s up t h e s t o r y o f o u r d a y s . " I knew t h e poem was w r i t t e n by S i r W a l t e r R a l e i g h on the eve o f h i s e x e c u t i o n . My mood d i d n o t a c c o r d w i t h s u c h a poem a n d I s a i d i t , i n my h e a d , a s i f i t was s o m e t h i n g p r e t t y and l i g h t h e a r t e d .  133 I d i d n o t s t o p t o wonder what i t was d o i n g i n my head i n t h e f i r s t p l a c e , ( p . 122)  The  metaphorical  experience  l i n k between t h e poem and t h e n a r r a t o r ' s  was p r e s e n t  i n h e r mind  long b e f o r e she  2  understood time  i t .  Even i n h e r h a p p i n e s s ,  s h e was aware o f  and c h a n g e , and knew t h a t h e r j o y w o u l d e n d . In  t h e mind, p r e s e n t e x p e r i e n c e  modified with Elizabethan  i s continually  reference to recollections  poem o r a s p i n s t e r  being  a s d i v e r s e a s an  relation:  I t h i n k o f b e i n g an o l d maid i n a n o t h e r generation. T h e r e were p l e n t y o f o l d maids i n my f a m i l y . I come o f s t r a i g h t e n e d p e o p l e , madly s e c r e t i v e , t e n a c i o u s , e c o n o m i c a l . Like them, I c o u l d make a l i t t l e go a l o n g way. (p. HO) The  n a r r a t o r r e c o g n i z e s t h a t i t i s n o t outward, b u t i n n e r ,  experience  that matters;  about i t .  The f r e e - w h e e l i n g n a r r a t o r s o f MOONS, w i t h  temporary  lovers,  n o t what happens b u t how women  seem a t f i r s t  glance  e n d up f i n g e r i n g  their  t h e one l e t t e r , needing heart,  hidden  their  keepsakes while  moves o n : "A p i e c e o f C h i n e s e  silk  folded  under maidenly  their  f a r removed f r o m t h e  l o n e l y o l d maids o f t h e p a s t ; b u t , l i k e they  feel  forerunners,  t h e b e l o v e d man  i n a drawer.  garments,  . . .  never  t o be opened o r r e a d b e c a u s e e v e r y word i s known by and a t o u c h  communicates  women who t r e a s u r e t h e r e l i c s  t h e whole"  of their  (p. 110).  lost  the d i s c a r d e d m i s t r e s s i n "Prue",  who s t e a l s  lover's  Prue's  amber c u f f l i n k .  Although  loves  These  resemble  h e r former  friends  b e l i e v e she  134  is  "somebody who  so u n i n t e n s e , demands  doesn't take  and c i v i l i z e d ,  or complaints"  questionable. generations, disturbed  I n common w i t h Prue behaves w i t h  inner  life  the of  Similarly,  narrator  man.  his  different  as women i n h e r p o s i t i o n  to i r r a d i a t e  life  someone who  compares X's s u c c e s s i o n at Sian  women.  Row  i n Australia  i s an  s t u d i e s human b e i n g s ;  malicious  His friend,  of mistresses  i n China:  whom t h e  "He s a i d  with  the  (p. 1 1 9 ) .  Although  therefore,  i s consistent Dennis, excavated  i t r e m i n d e d him o f X's  on row and a l w a y s a new one a p p e a r i n g  the l i n e "  always  and temper t h e l o s s  A p p r o p r i a t e l y , the lover with  his professional curiosity.  figures  but her  from her  h a b i t o f moving f r o m one woman t o t h e n e x t  with  of  fortitude,  She i s s u s t a i n i n g h e r s e l f by  o f "Bardon B u s " l i v e d  anthropologist,  stoical  t h e n a r r a t o r o f "Bardon Bus" e x e m p l i f i e s  power o f f a n t a s y a beloved  assumptions are  t h e o l d maids o f p a s t  i s radically  of f a n t a s i e s , just  have.  and n e v e r makes any r e a l  (p. 1 2 9 ) , t h e i r  outwardly calm appearance. means  h e r s e l f t o o s e r i o u s l y , who i s  a t t h e end  the n a r r a t o r r e j e c t s  c o m p a r i s o n , h e r p r o t e s t has a h o l l o w  this  ring:  I t h i n k t h e c o m p a r i s o n ' s a b i t o f f . Nobody has t o d i g t h e women o u t and s t a n d them on t h e i r feet. Nobody p u t s them t h e r e . They came a l o n g and j o i n e d up o f t h e i r own f r e e w i l l . T h e y ' r e n o t a s t a n d i n g army. Most o f them a r e p r o b a b l y on t h e i r way t o s o m e p l a c e e l s e anyway, (p. 120) X replies, allows  " B r a v o " , as w e l l he m i g h t , s i n c e h e r a t t i t u d e  him t o p u r s u e h i s p r e d a t o r y  course  undeterred  by  135  tearful  recriminations.  Yet the tears w i l l  e v e n t u a l l y when t h e n a r r a t o r g r i e v e s compulsively  recalling  though she r e c o g n i z e s self-torture:  lurid  the f o l l y  monotonous  leading to despair"  of their  of this  passion  even  kind of  but  by t r a n s f o r m i n g  she  can achieve  and m e c h a n i c a l l y  (p. 1 2 3 ) .  f a n t a s i e s , the narrator  into  makes h e r s e l f more unhappy;  h e r memories  the lover  seductive,  By e s c a p i n g  i n t o a decadent  some c o n t r o l o v e r them.  e n h a n c e d by c a l l i n g recalling  i n private,  "The i m a g e s , t h e l a n g u a g e , o f p o r n o g r a p h y and  romance a r e a l i k e : quickly  the d e t a i l s  be s h e d  Artificiality is  "X", t h e c h o i c e  the s e n s a t i o n a l c o n f e s s i o n a l novel  HOOKER, w r i t t e n by a p r o s t i t u t e w i t h  fiction,  of l e t t e r THE HAPPY  a conspicuous  "X" i n  3 her  name, X a v i e r a  directly  T h i s book i s r e f e r r e d t o  i n " L a b o r Day D i n n e r " ,  teen-age g i r l ' s oblique  Hollander.  summer r e a d i n g  reference  prostitute,  i n w h i c h i t a p p e a r s on a list.  to p r o s t i t u t i o n  I n "Bardon B u s " , t h e  s u g g e s t s how,  t h e n a r r a t o r o f "Bardon B u s " a l l o w s  l i k e the herself to  be a c o n v e n i e n c e a man may u s e and t h e n d i s c a r d , being  obliged to l i s t e n Another  without  to her protests or face her g r i e f .  s t o r y o f l o v e and l o s s i s t o l d  point  o f v i e w by L y d i a  sight  o f h e r l o v e r , Duncan, when he came t o t h e b o o k s t o r e  where  she worked t o a s k f o r a c o p y o f THE PERSIAN  The M o n t e s q u i e u work  i n "Dulse".  f r o m t h e woman's  serves  She r e c a l l s  as a p r e t e x t  h i s b i b l i o g r a p h i c knowledge f o r t h e s t o r e Overhearing  their  conversation,  Lydia  her f i r s t  LETTERS.  f o r Duncan t o a i r clerk.  forms a  first  136  0  impression  o f Duncan a s a s h o w - o f f ,  t h e r e a d e r ' s a s s e s s m e n t o f him f r o m this  o v e r t use o f a l i t e r a r y  the unstated p a r a l l e l s much  then  on.  In a d d i t i o n t o  reference to reveal character,  between Duncan and h i s book c h o i c e go  deeper.  In THE PERSIAN Usbek, and R h e d i , and  a judgement t h a t c o l o u r s  institutions.  LETTERS, t h r e e P e r s i a n g e n t l e m e n , R i c a ,  travel  t o Europe,  Particularly  where  they  study  r e l e v a n t t o Duncan  letter  w r i t t e n t o Usbek by Fatme, one o f h i s w i v e s  behind  i n t h e s e r a g l i o , who d e s c r i b e s f e e l i n g s  L y d i a ' s when s h e i s r e j e c t e d  manners  i s the left  similar to  by Duncan:  How h a p l e s s i s t h e l o t o f a woman who has s u c h v i o l e n t d e s i r e s and y e t i s d e p r i v e d o f t h e s o c i e t y o f t h e o n l y p e r s o n who c a n s a t i s f y them. Left to h e r s e l f , with nothing to p r e o c c u p y h e r mind, h e r whole l i f e i s s p e n t i n ^ s i g h s and i n t h e d e l i r i u m o f e x a s p e r a t e d p a s s i o n . Fatme's d e l i r i u m existence Duncan. through buying  i s recalled  i n Toronto Living  such a loaf  alone  after  i n Lydia's  her f i n a l  trance-like  attempt  to telephone  a g a i n , she has d i f f i c u l t y  elementary  getting  r o u t i n e s a s t a k i n g t h e subway o r  of bread:  She t h o u g h t a f t e r w a r d s t h a t s h e had b e e n s e i z e d up, as m a c h i n e s a r e s a i d t o b e . E v e n a t t h e t i m e she had an image o f h e r s e l f . She saw h e r s e l f a s s o m e t h i n g l i k e an egg c a r t o n , h o l l o w e d o u t i n b a c k . ( p . 41)  F o r Fatme and L y d i a , l o s i n g  the beloved  i s like  losing a  137  part  of themselves.  their  everyday  retain  private  In c o n t r a s t ,  l i v e s when a l o v e a f f a i r areas of s e l f  E v e n w h i l e L y d i a was l i v i n g retained only  men more e a s i l y  because  they  where women a r e n e v e r a l l o w e d . w i t h Duncan, h i s a p a r t m e n t  i t s bachelor character,  a temporary  ends  resume  reminding her that  s h e was  resident:  She t h o u g h t a b o u t Duncan's a p a r t m e n t . . . . A l l d i s o r d e r was a c t u a l l y o r d e r , c a r e f u l l y t h o u g h t o u t and n o t t o be i n t e r f e r e d w i t h . T h e r e was a b e a u t i f u l l i t t l e r u g a t t h e end o f t h e h a l l , where he s a t and l i s t e n e d t o m u s i c . T h e r e was one great, ugly armchair, a masterpiece of e n g i n e e r i n g , with a l l i t s attachments f o r the head and l i m b s . „(pp. 53-4)  Into t h i s  selfish  sybarite's  f l o w e r s and g i f t s , arrangements, reminiscences  privacy  adapting herself  fitting  h e r needs  tiptoes  Lydia,  to her lover's  bringing household  t o h i s , even e n d u r i n g h i s  a b o u t o t h e r women:  Duncan spoke a b o u t h i s f o r m e r g i r l f r i e n d s . E f f i c i e n t Ruth, p e r t Judy, v i v a c i o u s Diane, e l e g a n t D e l o r e s , w i f e l y Maxine, L o r r a i n e t h e g o l d e n - h a i r e d , f u l l - b r e a s t e d beauty; Marian t h e m u l t i l i n g u a l ; C a r o l i n e t h e n e u r o t i c ; R o s a l i e who was w i l d and g y p s y - l i k e ; g i f t e d , m e l a n c h o l y L o u i s e ; s e r e n e s o c i a l i t e J a n e . ( p . 52)  T h i s harem r e c a l l ' s  Usbek's,  o f women a s amusing  playthings.  THE  and p r e s u p p o s e s a s i m i l a r A significant  PERSIAN LETTERS i s a n a n s w e r i n g  Fatme, whereas t h e c o l l e c t i o n communications administrator  letter  contains  f r o m Usbek t o h i s c h i e f of the s e r a g l i o .  view  omission i n  f r o m Usbek t o  several eunuch, t h e  138  Like life;  Usbek, Duncan c o n s i d e r s  h i sa t t i t u d e i s best  "Man's l o v e  friend  or men,  C e r t a i n l y Kay, t h e n a r r a t o r ' s  exemplifies  t a k e n o v e r by l o v e :  story wholeheartedly. literally"  By f a l l i n g  extreme case o f female f o l l y , she  i s typical:  She  does what women d o .  fervently" desperation  An  with  and more  i s t h a t women t e n d t o  but t a n t a l i z i n g  By way o f  reference  to Willa  literary  i n "Dulse".  e l d e r l y man s t a y i n g a t t h e same g u e s t h o u s e as L y d i a  engages h e r i n c o n v e r s a t i o n  a b o u t W i l l a C a t h e r , once a  summer r e s i d e n t o f t h e i s l a n d , the  that  she does i t more o f t e n ,  A LOST LADY, a f f o r d s a c l o s e  Lydia  insists  i s she so e x c e p t i o n a l .  need f o r men's l o v e .  a brief  Cather's novel, parallel  The p o i n t  a s e r i e s of  e a c h o n e , Kay seems an  a b i t more i l l - a d v i s e d l y  i n their  reinforcement,  Perhaps  figuratively  i n love with  but the narrator  " I n none o f t h i s  (p. 116).  o f woman who i s  She l e a r n s h i s l a n g u a g e ,  (p. 116).  just  the kind  "She t a k e s up a man and h i s  and r e m a k i n g h e r s e l f t o s u i t  more o p e n l y ,  i n B y r o n ' s Don J u a n :  a t h i n g a p a r t , / ' T i s woman's  (I c x c i v ) .  i n "Bardon Bus",  completely  expressed  i s o f man's l i f e  whole e x i s t e n c e "  women i n c i d e n t a l i n h i s  and a r e s e a r c h  interest of  o l d man, who names A LOST LADY a s h i s f a v o u r i t e o f h e r  works. The  lost  l a d y o f C a t h e r ' s romance i s M a r i a n  a b e a u t i f u l a d v e n t u r e s s who, a s t h e young w i f e powerful  older  man, commands t h e a d m i r a t i o n  o f male a c g u a i n t a n c e s .  Forrester,  t o a r i c h and  o f a wide  As h e r h u s b a n d ' s f o r t u n e  circle  and h e a l t h  139  decline,  Mrs. F o r r e s t e r ' s s t a t u s  intensifies, men,  slips  and h e r need f o r  f i n d i n g i t s o u t l e t i n younger,  t o t h e dismay o f t h e a d o r i n g  imagined h e r as a lady c h a s t e  love  less suitable  young N i e l , w h o h a s  and f a i r :  Mrs. F o r r e s t e r ' s hand t i g h t e n e d on h i s arm. She began s p e a k i n g a b r u p t l y . 'You s e e , two y e a r s , t h r e e y e a r s , more o f t h i s , and I c o u l d s t i l l go back t o C a l i f o r n i a — a n d l i v e a g a i n . But a f t e r t h a t . . . P e r h a p s p e o p l e t h i n k I ' v e s e t t l e d down t o grow o l d g r a c e f u l l y , b u t I ' v e n o t . I f e e l such a power t o l i v e i n jne, N i e l . ' Her s l e n d e r f i n g e r s gripped his wrist.5  Niel  i shorrified  longings, morally  when h i s f o r m e r i d o l  and d i s g u s t e d  and s o c i a l l y  savage d i s r e s p e c t . narrative sexual sexual: looked  s u c h human  when she forms a l i a i s o n w i t h a  inferior Although  young man who t r e a t s h e r w i t h there  are hints i n the  t h a t Mrs. F o r r e s t e r responds t o Ivy P e t e r s '  treatment,  Ivy's  m o t i v e s a r e more v e n g e f u l  he i t c h e s t o p u n i s h  the l o c a l  rough  than  a r i s t o c r a c y which  F o r r e s t e r ' s example i l l u m i n a t e s L y d i a ' s  situation.  t o o i s a woman who l o s e s t h e p r o t e c t i o n o f a man, and  whose s t a t u s  i n t h e eyes o f o t h e r  men d e c l i n e s  accordingly.  In t h e new m i l i e u o f t h e i s l a n d ,  h e r former p o s i t i o n as  Duncan's m i s t r e s s  Like her f i c t i o n a l  predecessor, To  once  down on h i m .  Mrs. She  confesses  i s irrelevant.  Lydia  s e e k s male c o m p a n i o n s h i p and a d m i r a t i o n .  t h e t e l e p h o n e work crew w i t h  guesthouse k i t c h e n ,  she i s j u s t  sexual  as they  speculations  whom she p l a y s  cards  i n the  a woman, t h e o b j e c t o f t h e i r  are objects  of hers.  From h e r  140 d e t a c h e d vantage p o i n t beyond p h y s i c a l d e s i r e , L y d i a that Vincent impelled  would have b e e n h e r  choice,  t o a c t upon i t ; i n s t e a d , she  m i g h t have been  like  had  she  settled  but  she  is  decides not  m e r e l y wonders what i t down w i t h  someone  like  him:  T h a t i s , s h o u l d she have s t a y e d i n t h e p l a c e where l o v e i s managed f o r y o u , n o t gone where you have t o i n v e n t i t , and r e - i n v e n t i t , and n e v e r know i f t h e s e e f f o r t s w i l l be enough? (p. 52)  The  emotional  loving hard  strain  outside  on  Lydia.  psychiatrist, conversation how  the  little  traditional  She and  of attempting  has  a remembered  respect  fragment of  vulnerable she  new  has  the  most o f  i n accordance with  man  loves.  their  men,  and  mother i n t h e mollifying  been a  their  affair  has  made  "What  do  her,  retained:  t h e women i n MOONS, L y d i a p e r s i s t s i n v a l u i n g  herself she  of  f e e l i n g s with  "What a b o u t y o u ? " s a i d t h e d o c t o r . you want?" " F o r him t o l o v e me?" "Not f o r you t o l o v e h i m ? " (p. 53)  Like  forms  f o r m o f m a r r i a g e has  been d i s c u s s i n g h e r  r e v e a l s how  self  to invent  the  Such women a r e take title  touch  on  pains  arm  arouses  naturally afraid  to p l a c a t e  s t o r y as the  f e e l i n g s she  she  them.  the  annqy  Think of  observes her  o f a young  to  in  the  daughter's  man:  J u d i t h moved ahead and t o u c h e d Don's arm. I knew t h a t t o u c h — a n a p o l o g y , an a n x i o u s r e a s s u r a n c e . You t o u c h a man t h a t way t o r e m i n d him t h a t you  141  a r e g r a t e f u l , t h a t you r e a l i z e he i s d o i n g f o r y o u r sake s o m e t h i n g t h a t b o r e s him o r s l i g h t l y endangers h i s d i g n i t y . I t made me f e e l o l d e r t h a n g r a n d c h i l d r e n w o u l d t o see my d a u g h t e r t o u c h a m a n — a b o y — t h i s way. (p. 223) What moves t h e mother i s t h e s i g h t daughter's lives  independent  d e p e n d e n c e on a man's a p p r o v a l .  w i t h her b o y f r i e n d i n s t e a d  r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Don traditional apologetic  of her  i s no  of marrying  different  w i f e ' s t o her husband. attitude  parallels  from  him,  that  "Chaddleys  There,  t h e m o t h e r - n a r r a t o r was  of a  In f a c t , J u d i t h ' s linked  F l e m i n g s " , w h i c h opens t h i s unable  to d r i v e her aunt  Judith  her  her mother's i n the  story,  ask her husband  and  Although  volume.  to b r i n g h e r s e l f  from  her h o t e l  to  to  their  house:  I had n o t wanted t o ask R i c h a r d t o go t o t h e h o t e l for her. I w o u l d n o t s a y I was a f r a i d t o a s k him; I s i m p l y wanted t o k e e p t h i n g s f r o m s t a r t i n g o f f on t h e wrong f o o t , by making him do what he h a d n ' t o f f e r e d t o do. (p. 13)  Despite  these r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s ,  the n a r r a t o r b e t r a y s her  fear  o f making demands o f h e r h u s b a n d .  that  she  name, and  has  relinquished  the duty  her r i g h t s  to adapt  movement i n MOONS i s c i r c u l a r , cycles t o by  o f t h e moons a r o u n d the n a r r a t o r  t o become d o m i n a t e d  i n "Chaddleys by a man  just  and  The  line,  hers. the  like  the  girl  child  F l e m i n g s " has  believe maiden  is entirely  straight  revolving  Jupiter.  seems t o  along w i t h her  to marriage  R a c i i e r t h a n b e i n g an a d v a n c i n g  She  heavenly alluded grown  as h e r mother was.  up  Life  142  is  seen,  then, as a r e c u r r i n g  story,  most i r o n i c a l l y  i n the  c a s e o f M r s . K i d d and M r s . C r o s s , two o l d women who re-establish  i n t h e n u r s i n g home t h e m o t h e r - c h i l d  relationships  t h e y had y e a r s b e f o r e : M r s . C r o s s a d o p t s  a stroke victim,  and M r s . K i d d r e c i p r o c a t e s by b e f r i e n d i n g  C h a r l o t t e , who h a s m u l t i p l e Mrs.  sclerosis.  K i d d and M r s . C r o s s e s t a b l i s h e d  reawakened o v e r pattern  of children  as l i t t l e  growing  girls i s  and t h e f a m i l i a r  up and l e a v i n g pair  which  their  mothers i s  o f f , leaving  t h e two  women a l o n e t o g e t h e r o n c e a g a i n . Inured  has As  The r i v a l r y  these surrogate c h i l d r e n ,  r e p e a t e d when J a c k and C h a r l o t t e old  Jack,  to loss,  they r e t a i n  happened, t h e r e b y p a r t l y  the a b i l i t y  restoring  o l d a c q u a i n t a n c e s who u n d e r s t a n d  unspoken t h o u g h t s , and  storytelling  their perspective.  each  o t h e r ' s s p o k e n and  they exemplify the importance  as a b a s i s  for friendship.  Jack, h i s speech  b l o c k e d by t h e e f f e c t s  struggles  t o communicate:  vainly  t o d i s c u s s what  o f speech  By c o n t r a s t ,  of a stroke,  He opened h i s mouth and s a i d , "Anh-anh-anh," "Yes," s a i d M r s . C r o s s e n c o u r a g i n g l y . "Yes?" "Anh-anh-anh," s a i d J a c k . He f l a p p e d h i s r i g h t hand. T e a r s came i n t o h i s e y e s . ( p . 167) Jack  i s desperate  Without his  Mrs. Cross about  being able to o f f e r  background  about  to t e l l  i n f o r m a t i o n about  i n e x c h a n g e f o r t h e i n f o r m a t i o n she g i v e s h i m  h e r s , he c a n n o t  education,  her e s s e n t i a l  h i s past.  be h e r f r i e n d .  Despite her limited  M r s . C r o s s h a s t h e good s e n s e  to treat  J a c k as  143  she  treated  questions  h e r c h i l d r e n when t h e y were young; s h e makes up  requiring  y e s o r no a n s w e r s f r o m h i m :  J a c k was p o i n t i n g a t one o f t h e p i c t u r e s . . . . "What a b o u t i t ? T h i s i s l i k e one o f t h o s e t h i n g s on t e l e v i s i o n . T r e e s ? Green? Pine t r e e s ? Is i t t h e deer? Three deer? No? Y e s ? Three r e d deer?" He f l a p p e d h i s arm up and down and s h e s a i d , " I d o n ' t know, r e a l l y . Three-red-deer. Wait a minute. That's a p l a c e . . . . Red D e e r . " ( p . 170) Mrs.  Cross  patient  i s intelligent  enough t o i n v e n t t h e game and  enough t o p l a y i t b e c a u s e  S e e i n g M r s . K i d d and C h a r l o t t e immediately  and  playing  thinks of using the l e t t e r  communicate. Scrabble  of her l i k i n g  Instead of pleasing  letters  Charlotte  provoke  join  throw o f f t h e i r  forces  f o r Jack.  S c r a b b l e , she tiles  to help Jack to  J a c k , however, t h e  the c l i m a c t i c  scene  i n which  Jack  a g a i n s t M r s . C r o s s and M r s . K i d d ,  power and l e a v e them f e e l i n g weak and  ridiculous:  He made a sound o f d i s g u s t and p u s h e d t h e S c r a b b l e b o a r d and a l l t h e l e t t e r s t o t h e f l o o r , a l l t h e t i m e l o o k i n g a t M r s . C r o s s so t h a t t h e r e c o u l d be no d o u b t t h a t t h i s d i s g u s t and f u r y had been a r o u s e d by h e r . She knew t h a t i t was i m p o r t a n t a t t h i s moment t o s p e a k c o l d l y and f i r m l y . . . . B u t she was n o t a b l e t o s a y a word, s u c h a f e e l i n g o f g r i e f , and s h o c k , and h e l p l e s s n e s s r o s e i n h e r h e a r t , ( p . 177)  Weakened by o l d age and a b a d h e a r t , M r s . C r o s s by  the emotional  As  comfort,  describes  i s drained  expenditure of the confrontation with  her f r i e n d  Mrs. Kidd's  Mrs. Kidd o f f e r s  her a s t o r y  own weakness f o l l o w i n g  Jack.  which  a b l a c k - o u t she  144  s u f f e r e d , b u t ends r e a s s u r i n g l y w i t h h e r b e i n g  restored  to  strength:  As a m a t t e r o f f a c t , M r s . C r o s s had h e a r d Mrs. K i d d t e l l t h i s s t o r y b e f o r e , b u t i t was a l o n g t i m e ago and she l a u g h e d now n o t j u s t t o be o b l i g i n g ; she l a u g h e d w i t h r e l i e f . Mrs. K i d d ' s f i r m v o i c e had s p r e a d a numbing o i n t m e n t o v e r h e r m i s e r y , (p. 179)  The s t o r y has a c h i e v e d Mrs.  the d e s i r e d  e f f e c t of encouraging  C r o s s n o t t o l o s e hope d e s p i t e  relationship  she had b u i l t  manner, M r s . K i d d  than the regard  help.  M r s . C r o s s may a t her s i d e .  with Jack.  o f a young man have l o s t  Moreover, although  M r s . C r o s s knew i n s t i n c t i v e l y  and  h e r s e l f was  not  t o a n g e r him, and was  fragile.  matter-of-fact  there  a r e worse  whom she was  trying to  Jack, but her o l d f r i e n d i s  it,  to tease  By h e r  reminds her f r i e n d t h a t  losses  still  the c o l l a p s e of the  that  she t r i e d  to  ignore  t h e t i e between  She a l w a y s t o o k e x a g g e r a t e d amazed  t h a t he p e r m i t t e d  Jack care  Charlotte  him:  "Anh-an-anh?" s a i d C h a r l o t t e , t e a s i n g h i m . What k i n d o f a word i s t h a t , anh-anh-anh?" Mrs. C r o s s w a i t e d f o r t h e s k i e s t o f a l l , b u t t h e o n l y t h i n g J a c k d i d was g i g g l e , and C h a r l o t t e g i g g l e d , so t h a t t h e r e was a s o r t o f g i g g l i n g match s e t up between t h e two o f them. (p. 177) Charlotte's  appreciative  giggle  draws h e r c l o s e r t o J a c k  t h a n M r s . C r o s s has managed t o g e t d e s p i t e k i n d n e s s . By g o i n g o f f w i t h C h a r l o t t e , superior  force of sexual  communication.  Jack r e v e a l s  communication over  I t i s another  a l l her p a t i e n t  illustration  verbal of the  the  145  gravitational Mrs.  f o r c e between J u p i t e r  Cross has proven h e r s e l f  Charlotte  a better  i s , he abandons t h e o l d e r  who a t t r a c t s This  and t h e moons. friend  t o Jack  him s e x u a l l y .  pattern  i s repeated  describes  i n "Hard L u c k S t o r i e s " ,  narrator  man  she was i n l o v e w i t h  but  t o t h e woman a t whose h o u s e t h e y were s t a y i n g :  b r o u g h t me t h e r e  the  was p a s s i o n a t e l y  t o counter her with.  stand  i t " (p. 195).  same s e n t i m e n t  paying  h e r dismay a t t h e d i s c o v e r y  1 was t h e woman he l i k e d .  I couldn't  lip-service  rational, irrational  than  f o r t h e y o u n g e r woman  the  choice.  Although  to the notion  "He'd  I was h i s s e n s i b l e couldn't  earlier:  that  that the  drawn n o t t o h e r ,  stand  Here t h e n a r r a t o r  she h a s d e c l a r e d  she i n s t i n c t i v e l y sexual  I  when  that  the best  that.  repeats despite  love i s  u n d e r s t a n d s t h a t what m a t t e r s i s  attraction:  T h e r e ' s t h e i n t e l l i g e n t s o r t o f l o v e t h a t makes an i n t e l l i g e n t c h o i c e . That's the kind y o u ' r e s u p p o s e d t o g e t m a r r i e d o n . Then there's the kind that's anything but i n t e l l i g e n t , that's like a possession. And t h a t ' s t h e one, t h a t ' s t h e one, everybody values. T h a t ' s t h e one nobody wants t o have m i s s e d o u t o n . ( p . 195)  Since of  past  in  i s n o t commanded by r e a s o n ,  luck, with  being  two  love  obsessed  t h e odds a g a i n s t by e a c h o t h e r .  love are properly women t e l l  Julie's  case.  She  b o t h members o f t h e c o u p l e Therefore,  designated  about t h e i r  i t becomes a m a t t e r  as hard  previous  the s t o r i e s of luck  affairs,  speaks d e p r e c a t i n g l y  stories.  The  unconsummated of her  146  revelations (p.  191),  a s , " l a y i n g - b a r e my r i d i c u l o u s a l m o s t - a f f a i r s "  prompting  D o u g l a s t o m i s q u o t e t h e song f r o m  GAMMER  GURTON'S NEEDLE: Back and s i d e B o t h f o o t and But b e l l y God Whether i t be  go b a r e , go b a r e , hand go c o l d : send t h e e good a l e enough, new o r o l d . 6  i  Douglas a l t e r s lay  bare",  the f i r s t  line  and t h i s u n u s u a l  t o "Back and s i d e l a y  i n s t a n c e o f Munro's c h a n g i n g  word i n an embedded q u o t a t i o n assumes added because o f i t s r a r i t y . strengthen reader one  who r e c o g n i z e s  another  ragged  importance  o f t h e change i s t o  between b e i n g  the l i n e s ,  a  and t e l l i n g .  For a  t h e two v e r s i o n s p l a y o f f  so t h a t t h e image o f t h e h a l f - n a k e d  body o f t h e  a l e d r i n k e r complements t h e image o f t h e women  attempting  to t e l l  experiences who t e l l  with  stories  the truth  men.  stories,  private business  about t h e i r  Significantly,  about t h e i r  whose male p r e s e n c e their  The e f f e c t  the connection  bare,  past  i s probably  unhappy  i t i s t h e two women  loves.  Douglas  instrumental  rivals.  youthful-looking  Reider,  i n provoking  c o n f i n e s h i s anecdotes t o t a l e s  dealers i n old diaries  past  of the  and l e t t e r s who a r e h i s  The n a r r a t o r d e s c r i b e s h i m a s i n a special  sense o f t h e term:  I am t h i n k i n g o f t h e h a r d y o u t h f u l n e s s , t h e j a u n t y grim looks you o f t e n see i n photographs o f s e r v i c e m e n i n t h e S e c o n d W o r l d War. D o u g l a s was one o f t h o s e , and i s p r e s e r v e d , n o t ripened. Oh, t h e modesty and s a t i s f a c t i o n o f t h o s e f a c e s , c l a m p e d down on t h e i r s e c r e t s 1 With s u c h men t h e d e s c e n t i n t o l o v e i s s w i f t and  147  p r i v a t e and a m a z i n g — s o (p. 184) Unlike his  Julie  past  less  and t h e n a r r a t o r ,  loves,  scarred  so t h e r e a d e r  by l o v e  as  really"  D o u g l a s does n o t " l a y b a r e " i s f r e e t o assume t h a t he i s  the narrator  says,  ( p . 1 8 4 ) , and c e r t a i n l y  Describing  "He's a s o r t o f  t h e metaphor o f men  p i r a t e s o f women's l o v e p e r v a d e s t h e s t o r i e s i n MOONS.  I t c a n be a p p r o p r i a t e l y a p p l i e d Alex Day  recovery,  t h a n a r e t h e two women.  h i s work t o h e r f r i e n d , pirate,  i s their  t o Duncan i n " D u l s e " , t o  i n "Bardon B u s " , G o r d o n i n " P r u e " and G e o r g e i n " L a b o r Dinner". A significant  "Visitors", rejected  exception,  a man who e p i t o m i z e s  by t h e n a r r a t o r  who r e s c u e s  however, i s W i l f r e d i n  Mildred  with  the sensible marital  o f "Hard L u c k S t o r i e s " . h i s marriage proposal  d e a t h o f h e r f o r m e r p r o t e c t o r , Mr. T o l l , alter-ego similarity tastes  f o rMildred, i n their  i n leisure  a conclusion  names.  activities  darts  and d r i n k  beer),  story  as a c o n s t r u c t  value  as h i s t o r y :  isa  choice  Wilfred,  a f t e r the friendly  r e i n f o r c e d by t h e  In a d d i t i o n t o t h e i r  shared  (evenings a t the Legion  t h e y s h a r e a common c o n c e p t i o n  w h i c h has meaning b e y o n d  to play of a  i t s factual  I f W i l f r e d had been t e l l i n g t h a t s t o r y , M i l d r e d t h o u g h t , t h e r e w o u l d have been some k i n d o f ending t o i t . . . . I n W i l f r e d ' s s t o r i e s you c o u l d a l w a y s be s u r e t h a t t h e gloomy p a r t s w o u l d g i v e way t o s o m e t h i n g b e t t e r , and i f somebody b e h a v e d i n a p e c u l i a r way t h e r e was an explanation f o r i t . I f Wilfred figured i n h i s own s t o r i e s , a s he u s u a l l y d i d , t h e r e  148 was a l w a y s a s t r o k e o f l u c k f o r him somewhere, a good meal o r a b o t t l e o f w h i s k y o r some money. N e i t h e r l u c k n o r money p l a y e d a p a r t i n t h i s story. She wondered why A l b e r t had t o l d i t , what i t had meant t o him. (p. 215) As she  s o o n as  Mildred  realizes  that  brother-in-law up not  "Visitors", appetite  she  has  by  nothing  a character's and  him  thin,  Unlike  Mildred  b e c a u s e he  place  Pentecostal  church.  they  and  are  picked  said, 'It's  and  rigidity.  h i s wife  who  and  reveals  her  trying  faithful  s t o r y comes o u t ,  struggling  like  central characters  meaning o f  their  girlfriend  Kimberly  Albert i s like  they  to  cannot  except  the  i n Munro's  i s frequently a sign  Because the  i n " L a b o r Day  has  almost  sister  i n t e r e s t e d i n seeing  the  lives.  Albert  his  his enthusiastic brother,  know i n a d v a n c e how the  teetotal  becomes e x h a u s t e d  faith  In  parallels  They c o n f o r m t o a p a t t e r n  i n which r e l i g i o u s  blindness  The  ability  is a colourless individual  s u g g e s t any  fiction  "Albert  i t down and  storytelling  drink.  about h i m s e l f .  entertain  Her  curiosity: put  story,  I t ' s something t h a t happened'"(p. 215).  meagre p h y s i c a l a p p e t i t e s . he  her  o f hamburger and  f o r food  Wilfred,  meaning o f t h e  made a m i s t a k e .  i s offended  a cold piece a story.  i n q u i r e s about the  think are  they  not  to understand David's  of  the  beatific  Dinner":  K i m b e r l e y i s e n d a n g e r e d on two s i d e s , R o b e r t a thinks. But she w i l l manage. She i s s t r o n g enough t o h o l d o n t o D a v i d t h r o u g h any number o f A n g e l a s , and s t r o n g enough t o h o l d h e r s m i l e i n t h e f a c e o f G e o r g e ' s a t t a c k on h e r f a i t h . Does h e r s m i l e f o r e s e e how he w i l l b u r n ? Not likely. She f o r e s e e s , i n s t e a d , how a l l o f them  149  w i l l s t u m b l e and wander a r o u n d and t i e t h e m s e l v e s i n k n o t s ; what does i t m a t t e r who w i n s t h e argument; F o r K i m b e r l y a l l t h e a r g u m e n t s have a l r e a d y been won. (p. 156)  There i s a s t r e a k of malice Kimberley, orthodox  similar  of her  principal  d i s c h a r g e s her  put  unfaithful  his  sister-in-law's In from  the  and  remain events. deliver  sister's highschool  As  a result,  the  h i m s e l f by  divorcing  his wife  the  overturning his  p a s t , and the  lives  but  story,  second sees  her  of o t h e r s .  of a s t o r y with  i t was  altered  I f F r e d B e e c h e r had  not  the tense  w i f e , now  how  t h a t the p a t t e r n of her  single,  the  child,  to r e v e a l her  segment o f t h i s  memories r e m i n d h e r believes  As  she  middle-aged, has  had  been  looks back,  alternate  life by  life  endings.  t o use  of  Ted  w o u l d n o t have m a r r i e d  her She  been f o r h e r  a combination  decided  changes  to chance  h i s car  a baby c a r r i a g e a c r o s s town, Ted's son would  have d i e d , and  so  intentions.  her  with  of  the  over  e v e n demands t h a t t h e  justifies  p a s t t o p r e s e n t as  interwoven  duty  takes  dead  mistress, completely  final  contemplates  sister's  of  i n "Accident",  t h a t she  a s t o p t o the a f f a i r .  husband  marrying  i n the p o r t r a i t  righteousness  husband's i n f i d e l i t y ,  mother's a p p r a i s a l  sister-in-law  arrangements f o r her  confidently  and  malice  F i n n i s h Lutheran  convinced funeral  and  i n David's  to  not  her:  She's had h e r l o v e , h e r s c a n d a l , h e r man, her children. But i n s i d e s h e ' s t i c k i n g away, a l l by h e r s e l f , t h e same F r a n c e s who was t h e r e b e f o r e any o f i t . (p. 109)  150  D e s p i t e her a l t e r e d inner  core of s e l f  her.  She  Shared  by  t h i n k s she has  an  w h i c h i s u n a f f e c t e d by what happens t o  knows she several  circumstances, Frances  i s more t h a n  t h e sum  of her e x p e r i e n c e s .  p r o t a g o n i s t s i n MOONS, t h i s  affects  their  attitude  to s t o r y t e l l i n g ,  them up  s h o r t i n the middle  realize  how  storytelling  new  suddenly  o f a n a r r a t i v e , when  tends  to t r i v i a l i z e  insight bringing they  people's  lives:  I f I had b e e n y o u n g e r , I would have f i g u r e d o u t a story. I w o u l d have i n s i s t e d on Mr. B l a c k ' s b e i n g i n l o v e w i t h one o f my a u n t s , and on one o f t h e m — n o t n e c e s s a r i l y t h e one he was i n l o v e w i t h — b e i n g i n l o v e w i t h him. I w o u l d have w i s h e d him t o c o n f i d e i n them, i n one o f them, h i s s e c r e t , h i s r e a s o n f o r l i v i n g i n .a s h a c k i n Huron C o u n t y , f a r f r o m home. L a t e r , I m i g h t have b e l i e v e d t h a t he wanted t o , b u t h a d n ' t c o n f i d e d t h i s , o r h i s love e i t h e r . I w o u l d have made a h o r r i b l e , p l a u s i b l e c o n n e c t i o n between t h a t s i l e n c e o f h i s , and t h e manner o f h i s d e a t h . Now I no l o n g e r b e l i e v e t h a t p e o p l e ' s s e c r e t s a r e d e f i n a b l e and communicable, or t h e i r f e e l i n g s f u l l - b l o w n and e a s y t o r e c o g n i z e , (p. 35)  There  i s a new  awareness here  as more complex  them e v e r  show.  mysterious  than  stories  inevitably  fall  short of conveying  lives, she  as t h e n a r r a t o r  hears  herself  about  of people  of  the t r u t h  "Hard-Luck S t o r i e s "  and  Words of  people's  realizes  d e p r e c a t i n g a word i n a v e r s e on  when  a  tombstone:  "Waft," I s a i d . " T h a t sounds n i c e . " Then I f e l t s o m e t h i n g go o v e r m e — a shadow, a c h a s t e n i n g . I h e a r d t h e s i l l y sound o f my own v o i c e a g a i n s t t h e t r u t h o f t h e l i v e s l a i d down h e r e . (p. 196)  151  The  s e l f - c o n s c i o u s tone o c c a s i o n a l l y p r e s e n t  b o o k s becomes s e l f - c r i t i c a l the  failure  of l i f e .  narrators  barriers  The knowledge p a i n f u l l y  i s knowledge o f t h e i r  which the s t o r y t e l l e r  Season", the n a r r a t o r  was f i r e d ,  to  confront  ordered  a c q u i r e d by  limitations, of  cannot c r o s s .  speculates  h o m o s e x u a l , and a t t e m p t s  but  i n MOONS, a s n a r r a t o r s  o f n a r r a t i v e s t o encompass t h e m u l t i p l i c i t y and  contradiction these  i n a l l Munro's  t h a t Herb was  I n "The T u r k e y probably  t o i m a g i n e h i s f e e l i n g s when  Brian  o u t o f town and d e n o u n c e d a s a p e r v e r t ;  u l t i m a t e l y she a c k n o w l e d g e s t h e f u t i l i t y o f h e r a t t e m p t e x p l a i n what  happened:  L a t e r s t i l l , I backed o f f from t h i s e x p l a n a t i o n . I g o t t o a stage o f b a c k i n g o f f from t h i n g s I c o u l d n ' t r e a l l y know. I t ' s enough f o r me now j u s t to t h i n k o f Herb's f a c e w i t h t h a t p e c u l i a r , s t r i c k e n l o o k ; t o t h i n k o f B r i a n monkeying i n t h e shade o f H e r b ' s d i g n i t y ; t o t h i n k o f my own m y s t i f i e d c o n c e n t r a t i o n on H e r b , my need t o c a t c h him o u t , i f I c o u l d e v e r g e t t h e c h a n c e , and t h e n move i n and s t a y c l o s e t o h i m . ( p . 74) An  explanation  since, it  o f f e r e d and l a t e r  u n l i k e the other  arts,  r e j e c t e d does n o t d i s a p p e a r  literature  i s able  t o s a y what  has c h o s e n n o t t o s a y , a s Suzanne L a n g e r e x p l a i n s i n  FEELING AND FORM: Where t h e r e i s no e x c l u s i o n o f o p p o s i t e s , t h e r e i s a l s o , s t r i c t l y s p e a k i n g , no n e g a t i v e . In n o n - v e r b a l a r t s t h i s i s o b v i o u s ; o m i s s i o n s may be s i g n i f i c a n t , b u t n e v e r a s n e g a t i v e s . In l i t e r a t u r e , t h e w o r d s , "no," " n o t , " " n e v e r , " e t c . , o c c u r f r e e l y , b u t what t h e y deny i s t h e r e b y created. 7 Therefore,  when t h e n a r r a t o r  claims  t o no l o n g e r  believe  152  something, neither to  the o r i g i n a l  erased  forget  it.  possibilities without  i t from By  belief  the n a r r a t i v e  illusion  and  i n succeeding  b a c k f o r them t o opinions  how  and  the  that  memories a r e  confident that  their  her  her  changes of  continually reflection.  but not  memories e x t e n d  t h e y have a l t e r e d  of time.  reader  ambiguity  reporting  a discernible,  realize  i t has  the n a r r a t o r i s  By  books, t h e i r  i n the course  grown l e s s  caused  m o d i f i e d i n the process of  Munro's n a r r a t o r s age,  trend  that  experiences.  mind, t h e n a r r a t o r s u g g e s t s  As  nor  f o r suggesting complexity  b r e a k i n g the  extended  stands; denying  means o f n e g a t i o n , Munro w i d e n s  remembering a c t u a l  being  still  invariable, f a r enough their  A c c o r d i n g l y , they  have  p o i n t of view r e p r e s e n t s  the  truth. Growing o l d e r , detached. men  The  M u n r o s n a r r a t o r s have a l s o grown more  sadness  1  they  diminishes i s balanced  reached  a vantage  feel by  as t h e i r  a calm  power t o  attract  pleasure i n having  p o i n t above t h e h u r l y - b u r l y  of the  sexual  arena:  She had n o t i c e d s o m e t h i n g a b o u t h e r s e l f , on t h i s t r i p to the M a r i t i m e s . I t was t h a t p e o p l e were no l o n g e r i n t e r e s t e d i n g e t t i n g t o know h e r . It w a s n ' t t h a t she had c r e a t e d s u c h a s t i r b e f o r e , b u t s o m e t h i n g had been t h e r e t h a t she c o u l d r e l y o n . . . She was n o t s u r p r i s e d b e c a u s e she was i n a new, s t r a n g e c o n d i t i o n a t t h e t i m e . She made e f f o r t s one a f t e r t h e o t h e r . She s e t l i t t l e b l o c k s on t o p o f one a n o t h e r and she had a day. Sometimes she a l m o s t c o u l d n o t do t h i s . At o t h e r t i m e s t h e v e r y d e l i b e r a t e n e s s , t h e seeming a r b i t r a r i n e s s , o f what she was d o i n g , t h e way she was l i v i n g , e x h i l e r a t e d h e r . (pp. 36-7)  153  Since  erotic  l o v e i n MOONS i s a l m o s t  possession, has  life  demonic  b e y o n d menopause, a l t h o u g h  i t s compensations  " L a b o r Day  like  f o r L y d i a , as  i t has  somewhat  arid,  f o r Roberta  in  Dinner":  B u t R o b e r t a has t h e i d e a t h a t , much as she l i k e s them b o t h and w i s h e s them w e l l , l o v e i s r e a l l y s o m e t h i n g V a l e r i e c o u l d do w i t h o u t b e i n g reminded o f . In V a l e r i e ' s company you do wonder sometimes what a l l t h e f u s s i s a b o u t . Valerie wonders. Her l i f e and h e r p r e s e n c e , more t h a n any o p i n i o n she e x p r e s s e s , r e m i n d you t h a t l o v e i s n o t k i n d o r h o n e s t and does n o t c o n t r i b u t e t o h a p p i n e s s i n any r e l i a b l e way. (p. 140)  According with  her  t o t h i s v i e w , a woman's p a s s i o n has affection,  In l o v e , Roberta  t u r n her  resources  (p. 141) .  i s ended by  than  Valerie,  that  there  h i s death;  are  left  is still  with  other  to  whereas w i t h o u t energy,  a  lover,  enabling the  speak l o n g i n g l y o f  setting  "a house i n  i s fortunate i n having  f o r h e r s e l f when h e r  life  o t h e r women, o l d e r and damaged p r i d e and  some p o i n t t o t h e i r  do  achievements.  summer home i n t o  Valerie  to create a l i f e  to  d i s c o v e r s new  have i n mind when t h e y  the country"  man  Valerie  to singlehandedly  people  is a barrier  becomes e n e r v a t e d ;  h e r widowed f r i e n d her  and  little  the  the  with  a  frailer pretense  lives:  Mrs. C r o s s and Mrs. K i d d u s e d t o p l a y c a r d s i n t h e R e c r e a t i o n Room e v e r y a f t e r n o o n . They p u t on e a r r i n g s , s t o c k i n g s , a f t e r n o o n d r e s s e s . They t o o k t u r n s t r e a t i n g f o r t e a . On t h e whole t h e s e a f t e r n o o n s were p l e a s a n t , (p. 165)  The  two  o l d women c l i n g  the  afternoons  to t h e i r  b e c a u s e i t i s one  c u s t o m o f d r e s s i n g up of the  few  comforting  in  154  rituals  still  p o s s i b l e i n t h e n u r s i n g home.  other  women c h a r a c t e r s  their  pride or d i s t r a c t  In  "Connection"  i n MOONS, t h e y  use c l o t h e s t o b o l s t e r  themselves from a n x i e t y  and g r i e f .  t o o , t h e n a r r a t o r remembers h e r mother  w e a r i n g a secondhand from a r e l a t i v e ,  silk  jersey afternoon  and r e c a l l s  o f women o f t h a t g e n e r a t i o n powers.  Like several  dress  acquired  how t h e ample c o r s e t t e d f i g u r e s proclaimed  their  I n "Bardon B u s " , however, b u y i n g  r i g h t s and  c l o t h e s becomes an  obsession:  I've become f e v e r i s h l y p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h c l o t h e s . . . . I'm h a l f c o n v i n c e d t h a t a more a r t f u l g e t u p w o u l d have made a more p o w e r f u l i m p r e s s i o n , more d r a m a t i c c l o t h e s m i g h t have made me l e s s d i s c a r d a b l e . I have f a n c i e s o f m e e t i n g X u n e x p e c t e d l y a t a p a r t y o r on a T o r o n t o s t r e e t , d e v a s t a t i n g him w i t h my a l t e r e d l o o k s and l a t e - b l o o m i n g s p l e n d o r , ( p p . 124-5)  Clothes her  shopping  i s an i r r a t i o n a l  l o v e r , a u s e l e s s attempt  response t o the loss of  to present  h e r s e l f i n a new and  irresistable  f o r m , e v e n t h o u g h t h e man f o r whom t h i s  is  t o see t h e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n .  not there  shopping a f f o r d s temporary r e l i e f does i n t h e t i t l e trying  leukemia t e s t s for  self  on h e r l i t t l e  i t t o be t i m e t o v i s i t  surgery.  Simultaneously,  from s u f f e r i n g ,  s t o r y , i n which t h e n a r r a t o r  on c l o t h e s once w h i l e  The f u t i l i t y  she a w a i t e d girl,  as i t  recalls  while  her father i n h o s p i t a l  she w a i t s awaiting  t o e s c a p e i n t o a new  by d o n n i n g a new costume i s s u g g e s t e d  dressing  just  the r e s u l t s of  and a g a i n  o f such attempts  i s done  by t h e boy  up i n women's c l o t h e s i n "Bardon B u s " :  155  F i n a l l y e v e r y b o d y i s s a t i s f i e d and a b e a u t i f u l young l a d y , who i s n o t a young l a d y a t a l l , b u t a p r e t t y boy d r e s s e d up as a l a d y , emerges f r o m t h e shadow o f t h e m i r r o r . His smiling face i s t e n s e and t r e m u l o u s . I remember how when I was t e n o r e l e v e n y e a r s o l d I u s e d t o d r e s s up as a b r i d e i n o l d c u r t a i n s , o r as a l a d y i n rouge and a f e a t h e r e d h a t . A f t e r a l l t h e e f f o r t and c o n t r i v i n g and my own e n c h a n t m e n t w i t h t h e f i n i s h e d p r o d u c t t h e r e was a c o n s i d e r a b l e l e t d o w n . What a r e you s u p p o s e d t o do now? (p. 126)  The  illusion  c a n n o t be hidden  sustained.  Typically,  a s p e c t s of the wearer,  instance, Angela  o f change f l e e t i n g l y  produced  t h e costume c h o s e n  enabling  the d e v e l o p i n g s e x u a l i t y  i n " L a b o r Day  by d r e s s i n g  up  reveals  Munro t o show, f o r  of  the adolescent  Dinner":  As f o r A n g e l a and E v e , t h e y a r e d r a m a t i c a l l y a r r a y e d i n o u t f i t s c o n t r i v e d f r o m a box o f o l d c u r t a i n s found i n the u p s t a i r s o f George's house. A n g e l a wears e m e r a l d - g r e e n damask w i t h l o n g , s u n - f a d e d s t r i p e s , d r a p e d so as t o l e a v e one g o l d e n s h o u l d e r b a r e . . . . A n g e l a i s t a l l and f a i r - h a i r e d , and e m b a r r a s s e d by h e r r e c e n t l y acquired beauty. She w i l l go t o g r e a t t r o u b l e t o f l a u n t i t , as she does now, and t h e n w i l l r e d d e n and f r o w n and l o o k s t u b b o r n l y a f f r o n t e d when somebody t e l l s h e r she l o o k s l i k e a g o d d e s s , (p. 135)  Clearly, appears  Angela i s t r y i n g at dinner i n this  on t h e g o d d e s s costume, j u s t  charms on D a v i d :  "Angela  try  on a c o u s i n  them o u t e v e n  child"  (p. 1 5 6 ) .  sexual  relationship,  practising  She  on D a v i d ,  i s trying  r o l e when  she  a s she t r i e s  out her  o u t h e r powers; she  she has known s i n c e  will  she was  i s t o o young t o be r e a d y t o e n t e r a but prepares f o r t h i s who  i s s a f e l y beyond  coming  phase  her r e a c h .  by  a  156  In h e r she  journal  is still  behaviour  too, Angela  too young, t h a t  since  living  with  tries  on a r o l e  of c r i t i c  of her  f o r which  mother's  George:  "I have s e e n h e r c h a n g e , " A n g e l a has w r i t t e n i n h e r j o u r n a l , "from a p e r s o n I d e e p l y r e s p e c t e d i n t o a p e r s o n on t h e v e r g e o f b e i n g a n e r v o u s wreck. I f t h i s i s l o v e I want no p a r t o f i t . He wants t o e n s l a v e h e r and us a l l and she w a l k s a t i g h t r o p e t r y i n g t o keep him f r o m g e t t i n g mad." (p. 147)  Subtly,  Angela's  of Roberta's  journal  declining  reinforces  the n a r r a t o r ' s account  self-confidence  and  growing  desperation. "Labor reflect  Day  Dinner" uses  c h a r a c t e r and  weakness and daughter  d e p e n d e n c e upon men.  lace curtains,  she  i s d r e s s e d up  (p. 1 3 8 ) .  BRIDE OF  feminine  i n a costume made o f  Eva  is.  T h u s , she  c o n t e x t of S i r Walter o f THE  r e f e r e n c e s to  When t h e h o s t e s s ' s  s a y s , " I know who  B r i d e o f Lammermoor"  heroine  literary  t o e l a b o r a t e t h e theme o f  g r e e t s E v a , who  romantic  brief  Scott.  She's  the  p l a c e s Eva  The  i n the  unfortunate  LAMMERMOOR i s t h e pawn i n a  family  o  struggle  f o r power.  the s i m i l a r  The  c i r c u m s t a n c e s o f t h e mother and  daughters  i n "Labor  good w i l l  o f t h e man  book t i t l e s  listed  her confused childhood realism,  S c o t t r e f e r e n c e a c t s as a g l o s s  and  state  Day  D i n n e r " because  chosen  Her  adult  she  reflect  i s between  r e a d i n g m i x e s romance  literature.  the  Furthermore,  summer r e a d i n g l i s t  o f mind, p o i s e d as  and  two  t h e y depend upon  the mother.  i n Angela's  adolescence.  children's  by  her  on  and  Its contrasts  157  reveal  t h e wide e x t e n t o f h e r s e a r c h f o r f e m i n i n e  models t o  emulate:  D u r i n g t h e summer A n g e l a h a s s p e n t a l o t o f t i m e reading. She h a s r e a d ANNA KARENINA, THE SECOND SEX, EMILY OF NEW MOON, THE NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF POETRY, THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF W.B. YEATS, THE HAPPY HOOKER, THE ACT OF CREATION, SEVEN GOTHIC TALES. Some o f t h e s e , t o be a c c u r a t e , s h e h a s n o t r e a d a l l t h e way t h r o u g h , (p. 148) T h i s book l i s t  could belong  Angela's  Against their  age.  t o many o f t h e women i n MOONS a t b e t t e r judgement, t h e y a r e  attracted  t o romantic  tradition  o f THE NORTON ANTHOLOGY'and Y e a t s ' s  his beloved reflect  v i e w s o f women s u g g e s t e d  by t h e p o e t i c devotion to  Maud Gonne. ANNA KARENINA a n d SEVEN GOTHIC TALES  a E u r o p e a n p a s t t h a t i s remote f r o m  o f a young C a n a d i a n g i r l ,  the  b u t exerts a powerful  experience attraction,  nevertheless. The  inclusion  o f L.M. Montgomery's EMILY OF NEW MOON i s  a r a r e i n s t a n c e o f Munro's r e f e r r i n g han in  an E n g l i s h , 1923,  t o a Canadian,  A m e r i c a n o r E u r o p e a n work.  EMILY OF NEW MOON i s an e n d u r i n g  about an orphan r a i s e d  b y maiden a u n t s  First  rather  published  c h i l d r e n ' s novel  on a P r i n c e Edward  9  Island  farm.  Its heroine  a forerunner o f Del Jordan therefore recent own  Munro's  i s an a s p i r i n g i n ambition  poet,  i n some ways  and i n c l i n a t i o n ;  comments on EMILY OF NEW MOON i n h e r  interview with  T i m S t r u t h e r s shed  conception of therole  of the a r t i s t  new l i g h t  on h e r  i n Canadian  s o c i e t y . Munro a c k n o w l e d g e s Montgomery's n o v e l  as an e a r l y  158 f a v o r i t e which s t i l l would  someday l i k e  interests  h e r , and a b o u t  which she  to write:  I f e e l i n t h a t book s h e was g e t t i n g v e r y c l o s e t o t h e book s h e s h o u l d have w r i t t e n and n e v e r d i d write. T h e r e ' s a r e a l s e n s e o f b r o o d i n g and menace a n d e v e n h o r r o r i n t h a t book w h i c h s h e j u s t does n o t p e r m i t h e r s e l f i n a book l i k e ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. T h e y ' r e a b i t l i k e TOM SAWYER and HUCKLEBERRY FINN. You know how i n TOM SAWYER everything i s sort of popular-entertainment l e v e l , a n d i n HUCKLEBERRY FINN we g e t down t o some r e a l s t u f f . W e l l , EMILY OF NEW MOON i s a b i t l i k e that.10  Munro r e v e a l s h e r f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h t h e d a r k  side of  e x i s t e n c e w h i c h s h e c o n s i d e r s i n d i s p e n s a b l e i n a work o f art.  She b e l i e v e s  distinguishes she  willingness  t h e s e r i o u s from  sympathizes  polite  that  k e p t h e r from  of J u p i t e r ' s  insinuates  she i s c o n v i n c e d t h a t h e r novelist.  t o EMILY OF NEW MOON, Munro p a y s  speeding  presence  influencing  her daughters  being driven without  a drinking  moon i n t o h e r own i m a g e r y EMILY OF NEW MOON.  Day D i n n e r " t h e moon h a s become a  c a r which narrowly  which Roberta,  (p. 1 5 8 ) .  another  moons by means o f t h e t i t l e ,  t h e e n d o f "Labor  dominating  is  Although  t o L.M. Montgomery's i n f l u e n c e on h e r , a n d  simultaneously  By  thepopular a r t i s t .  becoming a f i r s t - r a t e  N e v e r t h e l e s s , by r e f e r r i n g tribute  darkness  w i t h Montgomery's r e l u c t a n c e t o b r e a k t h e  conventions o f her time,  timidity  to face this  a l l their  escapes  lives.  crashing into  thecar i n  and h e r l o v e r a r e t r a v e l l i n g ,  lights.  The d r i v e r ,  p a r t y , "sees t h e r o a d by t h e l i g h t Before t h e i r  The  narrow escape,  returning  from  o f t h e moon"  Roberta  points out  159  the gibbous  moon and  recalls  how  meaning o f t h e word, g i b b o u s , more t h a n h a l f appropriate as a  later  full.  figure  The  she  a term  gibbous  rather  i s never  to persuade  on new,  but  principle.  structures  The  scaffolding  functions without without  her audience  she  calling  verse quoted r e a d e r can  by  grasp  a l o n e : "'Behind  Gates  o f H e r c u l e s ; / B e f o r e him  facing  cast  to i t s e l f .  For  Moons o f J u p i t e r "  the ghost  only shoreless seas'"  (p. 2 2 5 ) .  likely  with  uncertainty.  The  p a s t accomplishment  poem a f f o r d s  several  u n s t a t e d i n the s t o r y ,  d i s c o v e r y , both  t h e poem's r e f r a i n ,  familiar "On,  on!"  man  and  other p a r a l l e l s  World  and  metaphors of d e a t h .  sail  A  future  i s "Columbus",  i t w i t h t h e i d e a o f t h e New  the  t o have h i s  contrast  of  the  of  " b e f o r e " , and  connects  of the  from  "behind"  title,  example,  l a y the gray Azores,/Behind not  light  this  l i n e s w h i c h r e p e a t t h e words  Its  on  not  i n p l a c e , but  a d a n g e r o u s o p e r a t i o n would be  mind f i x e d  a u t h o r does  i t s general significance him  the  the source of the fragment i n "The  even  suggested  old stories  i s firmly  lines  s h o r e s , / B e f o r e him  that  attention  the f a t h e r  still  The  are  h e r work a c c o r d i n g t o  bothering to trace  also,  Thus,  duty, yet  Correspondences  upon t h e r e a d e r .  attempt  but  Montgomery.  does d o u b l e  strained.  than f o r c e d  Roberta,  moon, i s a c o n t i n u a t i o n and  i t e m i n a book l i s t  symbolism  f o r t h e moon when i t i s  f o r the middle-aged  p h a s e o f t h e new  the  moon n o t o n l y i s an  e x t e n s i o n o f t h e r e f e r e n c e t o L . M. a single  t a u g h t George  m i r r o r s the  too.  which  o f a voyage Moreover, father's  160 11  fortitude.  With her usual  fragment o f verse leaves  restraint,  to reflect  explanations  Munro p r o v i d e s t h e  the father's  s i t u a t i o n and  to the c r i t i c .  W i t h t h e same s u b t l e t y , t h e work's c o n t r o l l i n g metaphor of  J u p i t e r and t h e moons i s i n t r o d u c e d  desultory during the  conversation  their  last  through a seemingly  between t h e n a r r a t o r  visit  and h e r f a t h e r  i n the h o s p i t a l . After  she d e s c r i b e s  show she h a s j u s t w a t c h e d a t t h e p l a n e t a r i u m ,  they  try  t o remember t h e names o f t h e moons o f J u p i t e r , and between them r e c a l l The  that  that  male) i n o r b i t sexual  holds  four  moons  a t t r a c t i o n i s implied  (p. 2 3 3 ) .  Munro p r o v i d e s  colloquial  term  relationship, list  "girlfriend",  as  their  Duncan o r A l e x  i n t o one modern  they?"  epithet. sexual  i n "Dulse", through the "Duncan spoke a b o u t h i s  Ruth, p e r t  Judy,  vivacious  . . ." ( p . 5 2 ) . Men  i n "Bardon B u s " r e s e m b l e J u p i t e r i n  commitment t o t h e c h a s e , t h e i r  Lydia  " I o and  two s t o r i e s  has o v e r t o n e s o f a  w i f e l y Maxine  woman once t h e y have c a p t u r e d like  than s t a t e d :  thereby condensing  lovers:  Efficient  Delores,  and t h e power  o f J u p i t e r ' s , weren't  shown p r e v i o u s l y  former g i r l f r i e n d s .  like  rather  usage, g i r l f r i e n d  o f Duncan's d i s c a r d e d  Diane, elegant  f e m a l e s and one  t h e l i n k by means o f t h e f a t h e r ' s  t h e god's amorous p u r s u i t s In r e c e n t  (three  a r o u n d a c e n t r a l male p l a n e t ,  E u r o p a , t h e y were g i r l f r i e n d s  of  E u r o p a and Ganymede.  c o r r e s p o n d e n c e between t h e power o f g r a v i t a t i o n a l  attraction  of  they a r e Io, C a l l i s t o ,  her.  loss of interest i na For t h e i r  i n "Dulse", Prue, o r the n a r r a t o r  p a r t , women o f "Bardon B u s "  161  cling  to their  rekindle  l o v e r s a s Juno c l u n g  t o J u p i t e r , hoping t o  t h e dead embers o f p a s s i o n  i n men who have  abandoned  them, and j e a l o u s o f t h e women who have  displaced  them.  Y e t none o f t h e s e  parallels  between t h e  G r e e k myths and M u n r o s men and women a r e s p e l l e d 1  this  r e s p e c t , Munro's method i s more l i k e  than  a prose  allows  fiction  into  account  o f memory w h i c h  i t s p e c u l i a r power t o make r e c o l l e c t e d  resemble r e c o l l e c t e d  experience.  transforming  o f remembering b r i n g s  together. as  Having d i s c o v e r e d  literature  process  Munro i s a b l e  recollections  combines e v e n t s and  f a m i l y anecdotes o f e a r l i e r characters, writers As  most o f whom a r e r e a d e r s ,  The e m p h a s i s on  suits  t h i s group o f  and some o f whom a r e  as w e l l . M u n r o s p r o t a g o n i s t s change f r o m a p r e - w a r 1  with  a high-school  generation  with  a university  but  literate,  volume, i n c o n t r a s t t o t h e  collections,  generation  against  experience,  t h e semblance o f a  of this  c a n be  and t h a t t h e  m i d d l e - a g e d n a r r a t o r ' s remembering v o i c e . literary  t h e two c l o s e  f o r meaning i n p a s t  t o reproduce  stories  t h a t memories o f s t o r i e s  of r e c o l l e c t i o n  i n i t s search  takes  The o r g a n i z i n g ,  i n t e n s e as memories o f e x p e r i e n c e s ,  associative  poet's  itself.  MOONS i s a c o n c e p t i o n  process  In  w r i t e r ' s : s h e c r e a t e s h e r image a n d  i t t o speak f o r  Underlying  a lyric  out.  education education,  a background d e r i v e d n o t o n l y  a l s o from  literary  tradition.  rural  t o a post-war they  see t h e i r  from f a m i l y  The l i t e r a r y  urban lives  tradition,  influence i s  162  strongest values  on t h o s e  and f o r g e  parents.  who a r e a t t e m p t i n g  new, l e s s  restricted  Not s u r p r i s i n g l y  then,  to cast off inherited lives  given  than  her f a i t h  i n progress i n LIVES i s  and  her longing  f o r s e l f - i m p r o v e m e n t , Ada J o r d a n  the  outstanding  instance  work f o r whom l i t e r a r y  of a character  references  T e n n y s o n i a n p e n name, P r i n c e s s element  to her c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n .  mother's dogmatic r e l i g i o u s writing the  i n search  writing  as d e t e r m i n e d l y gospel.  Munro s recent 1  Having r e j e c t e d her Ada h a s t u r n e d  to secular  question  the t r u t h of secular  as Ada o n c e q u e s t i o n e d references  faith i n  the truth of  add a n o t h e r  layer to  w r i t i n g , b u t i t i s a l a y e r w h i c h does n o t by s h o w i n g a mind s e t i n c e r t a i n  On t h e c o n t r a r y ,  ambiguity,  raising  characters  understand  about t h e e x t e n t truth.  important  i n MOONS i s t h a t t h e i r  Literary  to f i x character  lines.  adds an  Ada's  The d i f f e r e n c e between Ada and  h a s d e c l i n e d and t h e y  religious  tend  of ideals.  women Munro d e s c r i b e s  progress  faith,  i n Munro's e a r l y  are provided.  Ida,  their  literary  references  doubts about t h e extent their  own b e h a v i o u r ,  add a l a y e r o f  t o which as w e l l  as d o u b t s  t o w h i c h t h e w r i t t e n word c a n embody t h e  163  Notes  1 A l i c e Munro, THE MOONS OF JUPITER: STORIES BY A L I C E MUNRO ( T o r o n t o : M a c m i l l a n , 1 9 8 2 ) . A l l subsequent r e f e r e n c e s appear i n t h e t e x t . 2 S i r Walter Raleigh, "Written thenight before h i s death. Found i n h i s B i b l e i n t h e G a t e - h o u s e a t W e s t m i n s t e r , " (1618; r p t . L o n d o n : B l a c k i e , n.d.) p . 370. 3 X a v i e r a H o l l a n d e r , THE HAPPY HOOKER (New Y o r k : D e l , 1972). 4 C h a r l e s L o u i s I I M o n t e s q u i e u , THE PERSIAN LETTERS: WITH INTRODUCTION AND NOTES, NOW COMPLETELY DONE INTO ENGLISH FROM THE ORIGINAL BY MONTESQUIEU (London: Athenaeum, 1 8 9 7 ) , p . 15. 5 W i l l a C a t h e r , A LOST LADY (1923; r p t . B o s t o n : Houghton M i f f l i n , 1 9 3 8 ) , p . 120. 6 W i l l i a m S t e v e n s o n , GAMMER GURTON'S NEEDLE, A c t I I , Song. ( c . 1562; r p t . L o n d o n : G i b b i n g s , 1 9 0 6 ) , p . 14. 7 Suzanne L a n g e r , FEELING AND FORM (New Y o r k : C h a r l e s S c r i b n e r ' s S o n s , 1 9 5 3 ) , p . 242. 8 S i r W a l t e r S c o t t , THE BRIDE OF LAMERMOOR, (1819; r p t . London: Dent, 1906). 9 L.M. Montgomery, EMILY OF NEW MOON, ( T o r o n t o : McClelland & Stewart,1923). 10 J . R. (Tim) S t r u t h e r s , "The R e a l M a t e r i a l : An I n t e r v i e w w i t h A l i c e Munro," i n PROBABLE FICTIONS, e d . L o u i s K. M a c K e n d r i c k ( T o r o n t o : ECW P r e s s , 1983) , p . 18. 11 J o a c h i n M i l l e r , "Columbus," i n BEST LOVED STORY POEMS (Garden C i t y , N.Y.: H a l c y o n House, 1 9 4 9 ) , p . 310.  164 Conclusion  In A l i c e told  provide  Munro's f i c t i o n , ironic  experiences. narrators, in  daily  settle  they  life  adding  the  form tends unlike  strong  in  v e r s i o n of the  LIVES are the  every  anecdote,  i d e n t i f y with  tale  t h e h e r o e s and  the  limitations  world.  They r e j e c t  a  community, b u t  small  Their  first  identity  not  stories  with  and  i n books meals.  their  legend  who  and  s t e p toward d e p a r t u r e  are  of  personalities.  they  significance are  told.  of s t o r i e s , reality.  and  and  geographical intellectual  to They often  Frequently,  are determined  upbringing  also their  but  understanding  them, s t o r i e s  only t h e i r  w h i c h i s as d i f f e r e n t  t h a t i s so  teenagers  between s t o r i e s  of a p r o v i n c i a l  short story  the c h i l d r e n  heroines  Munro's p r o t a g o n i s t s a r e g i r l s  they  as work and  allegorical  and  to  life,  around  attribute  having  Thus,  and  found  e x e r t throughout  preoccupied  i n molding  fairy  cannot d i s t i n g u i s h  truth.  stories  Since  people  paramount i m p o r t a n c e children  or  her  ambiguity  rounding-off  influence stories  t h e m s e l v e s and  and  characters' lives  i n childhood.  DANCE and  to t h a t of  sense of c l o s u r e t h a t the  Munro makes o r a l  shows t h e  Typically,  complexity  t o impose, t h e n e a t  life.  especially  the  viewpoints  a l l o w Munro t o a v o i d f i n a l l y  commonplace i n h e r  She  rival  reflect  and  t h a t are mentioned  commentary o n ' h e r c h a r a c t e r s '  f o r o n l y one  counter  as  By  stories  to  escape  enter a wider isolation isolation.  i s to c o n s t r u c t  an  as p o s s i b l e f r o m t h a t  of  in  165 their  mothers.  emulate, they  Searching rely  f o r models o f a d u l t women t o  on o r a l  stories  reading  t o supplement t h e i r  stories  abound  and  distort  encouraging  limited  i n the l i t e r a t u r e  their  or stories  experience.  their  Romantic  t o w h i c h t h e y have  t h i n k i n g by r a i s i n g  them t o w a i t  from  passively  false  access,  expectations or  t o be r e s c u e d  by a male  hero. In  two o f Munro's works  artist-protagonist  (LIVES  widens t h e scope o f s t o r y r e f e r e n c e s .  Not  o n l y does t h e young a r t i s t — D e l  but  also  they One  she r e f l e c t s  distort  dwell  on p o v e r t y  human l i f e soiled  by l e a v i n g  i s preoccupied  existence usually  left  out s i g n i f i c a n t  with  stories  out of l i t e r a t u r e ,  toilets  and p h y s i c a l  t o women b e c a u s e t h e y  clean-up  t a s k s and e n d u r e b e a t i n g s .  women a r e s t o r i e s  MOONS l o o k s a t a s p e c t s  little  from  stories  which  world,  Also significant to  t h e n a t u r a l c y c l e s o f female  o f women's l i v e s w h i c h examining  of  their  d e p e n d e n c e upon men, and s h o w i n g how t h e y  to  need men d e s p i t e g r e a t e r p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r  independence than  existed  many s t o r i e s  i n their  change  the extent continue  female  mothers' day.  t h a t Munro's c h a r a c t e r s t e l l  of a Chinese  one o f  violence, i s especially  one g e n e r a t i o n t o t h e n e x t ,  units  details.  a r e o f t e n f o r c e d t o perform  which r e f l e c t  life.  smallest  extent  about a s p e c t s o f  Munro i m p l i e s t h a t t h i s  familiar  The  stories,  as a c o n d i t i o n i n which t h e s q u a l o r o f  dominates.  laundry,  or R o s e — t e l l  upon them, w o n d e r i n g t o what  the truth  work, WHO,  and WHO) an  Box s t r u c t u r e .  are the  They a r e  166  enclosed inside can  by Munro's s h o r t  stories,  which a r e themselves  a l a r g e r box, t h e s t o r y c y c l e .  Beyond i t , t h e  d i s c e r n the o u t l i n e s of y e t another enclosure,  which i s i m p l i e d but not r e t o l d followed. story,  I t serves  rather  in detail  as a c o n t e x t  Triple  by t h e t i t l e  story.  Jordan,  thus a l t e r i n g  the c l a s s i c a l  common i n Munro's f i c t i o n .  highwire  is  a c t without  omission  questioning strictly  i t s own  contained  Munro's o t h e r  LIVES uses  f o r D e l and Ada  reference  pattern  departure,  myth.  s i n c e t h e s u b j e c t o f SOMETHING  with  point-of-view  narrative strategies. within  cycles.  more  T h i s work t e s t s t h e b o u n d a r i e s o f  n a r r a t i v e by e x p e r i m e n t i n g  those  and  Y e t , i t i s more  b o u n d a r i e s t h a n any o f  I t does n o t r e a c h  outside  itself  to  t h e s t r i n g s o f myth. The  fiction as  i t i s the  t h e s a f e t y n e t o f an i n f o r m i n g  itself.  own  I n t h i s work, Munro p e r f o r m s h e r  i s appropriate  storytelling  catch  I n WHO,  The most r a d i c a l  however, i s i n SOMETHING.  closely  f i g u r e of  G o d d e s s , and i n MOONS, t h e g o d , J u p i t e r .  T e n n y s o n ' s poems as a f r a m e o f r e f e r e n c e  a myth  f o r Munro's  o r a g l o s s on i t . I n DANCE, t h e m y t h i c a l  Orpheus i s i n v o k e d  The  o r even  reader  structural  s i g n i f i c a n c e of stories  i s far-reaching.  The n a r r a t o r s  i n Munro's  claim  storytelling  a mode o f t h o u g h t n a t u r a l t o women and s t r i v e  a feminine  way  of w r i t i n g f i c t i o n  contrivance  i n favor of submission  discovery.  Finally,  Munro d e c l a r e s  which r e j e c t s a u t h o r i a l to a process  by h e r c o n s t a n t  her b e l i e f  t h a t man  to develop  references  of to s t o r i e s ,  i s a storytelling  animal.  167  Of  a l l the t o o l s  important. another them  t h a t he has y e t d e v i s e d , words a r e t h e most  They a r e t h e l i n k s  and t h e p a s t .  into  By t e l l i n g  words, her c h a r a c t e r s  their  lives.  their  hopes f r u s t r a t e d .  and  life  failures, their  explain,  that  lives  t o one  stories,  putting  attempt lives  to gain control  are often  inner  events  l i v e s , t h e memories  by making up t h e i r their  own  their  seem mere a p p e a r a n c e and  reality.  Munro's  fictions  limitations  over  unhappy,  t h e y have c o n s t r u c t e d , redeem  the true  and f o r g i v e  characters  their  But t h e i r  making a c t u a l  inner  survive  Outwardly, t h e i r  stories  joining  that and  characters excuse,  failures.  168  Bibliography  Primary  Sources  A l i c e Munro, DANCE OF THE HAPPY M c G r a w - H i l l R y e r s o n , 1968.  SHADES.  Toronto:  . L I V E S Of GIRLS AND WOMEN. T o r o n t o : R y e r s o n , 1971.  McGraw-Hill  . THE MOONS OF JUPITER: STORIES BY A L I C E MUNRO. T o r o n t o : M a c m i l l a n , 1982. Toronto:  . SOMETHING.I'VE BEEN MEANING TO T E L L YOU. M c G r a w - H i l l R y e r s o n , 1974. . WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? T o r o n t o :  Macmillan,  1978.  Secondary A l l e n , Walter. THE SHORT STORY C l a r e n d o n , 1981.  Sources IN ENGLISH.  Oxford:  Atwood, M a r g a r e t . SURVIVAL: A THEMATIC GUIDE TO CANADIAN LITERATURE. T o r o n t o : A n a n s i , 1972. A u e r b a c h , E r i c . 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