Download Alice Munro’s Narrative Art by I. Duncan PDF

By I. Duncan

One of the first serious works on Alice Munro's writing, this research of her brief fiction is expert through the disciplines of narratology and literary linguistics. via analyzing Munro's narrative paintings, Isla Duncan demonstrates a wealthy realizing of the advanced, densely layered, frequently unsettling tales.

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Sample text

The nature of the discrepancy is not instantly revealed, however, but is delayed by a passage of richly figurative description: in his walk across a sparkling expanse of snow, Robert approaches “a new kind of glitter under the trees . . [a] congestion of shapes, with black holes in them, and unmatched arms or petals reaching up” (p. 130) that turns out to be a pile of car wrecks in a junkyard. The impression of Robert as a romantic idealist prone to exaggerate, to imagine what is not there instead of noting the obvious, is sustained in the story’s ending.

The deictic “now” unambiguously anchors the narrative to the present, and it makes Helen “think” and “talk” about her mother’s death. A second ellipsis further accentuates the dearth in Helen’s understanding of her sister, and it also draws attention to how incompletely she has dealt with her guilt. ” She recalls the bargain she had made with Maddy, about dividing the burden of caring, a bargain the narrator had not kept when she married and moved far away. As she reflects on why her sister remained, to shoulder the burden alone, she betrays her unease: “All I can think about that, all I have ever been able to think, to comfort me, is that she may have been able and may even have chosen to live without time and in perfect imaginary freedom as children do, the future untampered with, all choices always possible” (p.

202). The resulting impression is of homogeneity, order, and orthodoxy in the two women’s lives, lives from which the narrator senses she is “held at a distance” (p. 203). Yet this distancing, the belief that her aunts find it impossible to communicate with her and Maddy, is another misapprehension. On this visit, Helen’s Aunt Annie makes it her duty to communicate a full account of her mother’s last few weeks, an account that brings the death shockingly close to the narrator. She learns that although her sister had visited her mother regularly in hospital, she would not take her home, despite having promised her that her stay would be brief.

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