By I. Duncan
One of the first severe works on Alice Munro's writing, this learn of her brief fiction is knowledgeable by way of the disciplines of narratology and literary linguistics. via analyzing Munro's narrative paintings, Isla Duncan demonstrates a wealthy knowing of the complicated, densely layered, usually unsettling tales.
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Extra resources for Alice Munro’s Narrative Art
23 This evaluation of her fate seems severe. Munro refers twice to the “test papers” and describes her narrator as “burdened” with them, “preoccupied” with toil that is, in contrast with Hugo’s rewarding, beneficent creativity, deadly dull (p. 49). The “short, jabbing sentences” with which the narrator begins her letter are given up: they were, as she acknowledges, “never planned” and do not make up “an argument to send through the mail” (p. 48). They read like emotional outbursts. Unlike Helen in “The Peace of Utrecht,” this narrator has lavishly expressed her emotions, expunging them in various ways: in her satire of posturing writers and academics; in her attack on the hypocrisy of biography; in her analysis of her own deficient reasoning.
116) is as much as she tells her workmate about the deaths; other extracted details relate to how she tidily leaves the crime scene. Most of the information that the reader gleans about this act of murderous violence is mediated or imagined by the subject of the focalization, Robert, whose knowledge and skills of observation are suspect. Both protagonists in “Fits” are weakened by distance: in Robert’s case it is a distance resulting from his outsider status, his inadvertence, and his shallowness—those “errors of avoidance” that are emphasized by a double repetition.
Robert’s reliability is undermined, first, because he is an incomer and does not fully know Gilmore, and second, because it is implied that his capacity for alert observation is lacking. Unlike her husband, Peg is depicted as watchful, someone who would be more attentive to detail, for she is variously described as self-contained, unobtrusive, earnest, and conscientious (p. 108–9), keen to augment her knowledge of the world in evening courses at the local high school. As a witness and observer, Peg would seem to be the epitome of reliability, and so it is interesting that her discovery of the bodies is not directly reported, but filtered through Robert’s perspective.
Alice Munro’s Narrative Art by I. Duncan