Alice Munro's Australian mirror stories

Source document: Brno studies in English. 2015, vol. 41, iss. 2, pp. [109]-119
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
License: Not specified license
Although Alice Munro is proverbially known to mythologize her home region of Southwestern Ontario, there are a handful of short stories that are set elsewhere – where this elsewhere is not Vancouver, Canada. Two of these, though published twelve years apart, significantly take place in Brisbane, Australia, where Munro spent some time in the early 1980s. By carefully reading the two stories' plots, characters, and figuration, I argue two points: (1) The two stories are in fact each other's mirror images and that (2) although both shun the convention of the happy ending, the later text represents a more thoughtfully considered, mature critique of the female gothic romance rather than an excursion into comedy or a challenge to female fantasy as critical accounts suggested earlier. Reading the two narratives together and juxtaposing them with the Brontëesque tradition of the romance will eventually contribute to shifting the critical consensus about the unchanging concerns of Munro's fiction.
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