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Alice Munro (Bloom's Modern Critical Views) by Harold Bloom (Editor)

By Harold Bloom (Editor)

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The audience of mothers, in fact, exposes an almost total absence of the compassion we associate with maternity. That compassion, instead, is grotesquely exaggerated and projected into the figure of the piano teacher, Miss Marsalles. “The deceits which her spinster’s sentimentality had practised on her original good judgment” are viewed as “legendary and colossal” and she speaks of “children’s hearts as if they were something holy” (DHS, 213). Our participation in the “embarrassment the mothers felt” (DHS, 216) is gradually reversed until the unheard music of the “Dance of the Happy Shades” becomes a place from which we ourselves are judged.

1993 by the University Press of Mississippi. 41 42 Georgeann Murphy Lake Huron. A. at the University of Western Ontario in 1952 and moved with her husband to British Columbia, where he opened a successful bookstore in Victoria. They had three daughters. Her mother, Ann Laidlaw, died after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease in 1959. Following her divorce in 1976, Munro remarried and moved back to Ontario, where she now lives. The chronological and geographical settings of Munro’s stories roughly reiterate this life pattern of departure and return.

He told me which one. There was something about the way he said “her daddy” that made me see the money on her, the way he saw it, like long lashes or a bosom—like a luxuriant physical thing. (192) This somaticizing of language is necessary to any narrator who seeks to resuscitate experience through language, through stories about the past. Unlike Julie, Prue, and Wilfred, the narrator’s use of language invigorates rather than vitiates her narrative. 3 We can’t know, of course, how close the narrator’s story comes to the events it narrates.

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