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Munro’s “Differently”

Georgia once took a creative-writing course, and what the instructor told her was: Too many things. Too many things going on at the same time; also too many people. Think, he told her. What is the important thing? What do you want us to pay attention to? Think. (p. 498) I certainly understand where the […]

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Vandals – 5/6 Blog

In Alice Munro’s Vandals, women needing to hold on to the men emotionally seem to be a huge aspect of this story. Bea creeped me out with her honesty, as well as her willful denial of what was going on. “…what she did think that some women, women like herself, might always be on the […]

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“Differently”

When I began “Differently” I wasn’t too engaged. I thought that it was going to be choppy and for nothing. I was wrong, but more on that in a moment. First, I would like to mention how much I enjoyed Munro’s well developed sense of place in this story. She does this well with the only […]

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River

First, I tried to come up with some witty title for this post that somehow related to the content of this post, but in the end I decided that “River” was about as fitting as I could get. Second, I want to call this a happily ever after story, and for two reasons. The first […]

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River

You know when you read something and you say to yourself, “Hey, that’s really good. How come I’ve never noticed that before?”  That is how I feel about Strout’s writing. I noticed when Strout writes from Olive’s perspective the voice is harsh and to the point. Strout is writing Olive’s character from a third person […]

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“Friend of My Youth”

Alice Munro uses characterization in a very unique way with this story. The point of view is first person and the reader sees the narrator tell a story about her now deceased mother and her time she spent as a teacher. The narrator spirals into a story about Flora Grieves, a girl that her mother met […]

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Alice Munro’s short story “The Progress of Love” is based around the themes of the  complicated relationships of family ties, the generational progress of love and grudges, and the nature of perspective. Munro depicts the importance of perception and memory in shaping individuals lives by using two writing techniques. The first technique is her choice […]

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River

River is told through Olive’s eyes (third person, present, limited). The literal river where the lives of both characters lives intersect is important because it shows a signaling of the end of two separate lives and the beginning of another newly unified one. To me, Olive was being her typical self, with her denial about […]

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Friend of My Youth

When reading Munro’s “Friend of My Youth,” I often found myself forgetting that this was a story told in first person. The narrator begins with, “I used to dream about my mother, and though the details in the dream varied, the surprise in it was always the same. . . .” (455). Right away, then, […]

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Olive’s Mind

In “Security” Strout gives her readers, I feel, more insight into Olive emotionally. Up until this story we only receive glimpses of Olive’s humanity, empathy, and sensitivity. As with many women, Olive’s greatest emotional response occurs when it comes to her son Christopher. Through Christopher’s explanation we are given even further insight into not only […]

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The Spreading Tumour

Throughout Okparanta’s story collection Happiness, Like Water, we are presented with a few reoccurring themes, one of which is the abusive father. “Tumours and Butterflies” shows readers  how the daughter has actually developed as a person after enduring childhood with a haunted father whose disruptive nature inevitably scarred his family. The tumor is a karmic punishment. […]

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A Generation of Women

Munro’s story “White Dump” is told in third-person omniscient point-of-view, and Munro cleverly creates transitions that transport the reader into three different characters’ minds. Each narrative is told with delicate care in that the events presented, or rather the main event, is told in different experiences holding in it complex character development. There is also something […]

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Strout ~ Criminal

Rebbeca is facing a problem that many people have when they have left or moved on from a confining or controlling relationship; she is trying new things to break away or free herself from the constraints she has experienced in her life. The tendency to ask questions such as Who am I? is very common. […]

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The Ones we Love to Hate

I’ve officially come to the conclusion that Strout doesn’t have any likeable characters. Olive is obnoxious, blunt, and selfish. Henry, though by no choice of his own, abandons Olive. Christopher’s actions don’t make sense, and he doesn’t seem happy, and perhaps this is because the story is through Olive’s perspective and not his, but he […]

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Something New in “Security”

In Strout’s “Security” we see Olive in a new way than in the rest of the stories in the collection. While it has always been evident that Olive is not the nicest of people, we finally see her from the point of view of Christopher and we also discover why he has been so distant from her all of these years. Strout understood […]

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Security, Strout – LLeech

Security This chapter of OK is significant in the life of the main character in that the scenes of her life thus far have changed radically with her visit to NY to see her son and new wife. Her changing status, with her husband’s stroke and residence now in a nursing home, has made her […]

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“Fits”

 The two people who died were in their early sixties. . . . (p. 429) We talked last class about beginning with the most unbelievable detail of a story. That way, the reader has to believe it. In “Fits,” Alice Munro does this by leading with the death of the Weebles. Then she goes back […]

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Strout, “Security”

“The house she and Henry had built for Chris back home in Maine had been beautiful—filled with light, the windows large to show the lawns, and lilies, and fir trees.” I remember the first time I had heard of the “Butterfly Effect,” the example demonstrated the effects of a butterfly flapping its wings and how […]

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Tumors and Butterflies tells the story of Uchenna Okoli, a young woman who has grown up in a household rife with domestic violence. It is told through a first person limited perspective. Her mother, like some domestic violence victims, rationalizes her decision to stay with her husband, partly because he was sick with thyroid cancer […]

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Tumours and Butterflies

Tumours and Butterflies The sense of place in this story is not in Boston or New Jersey, but is behind closed doors where no one can see the father’s abusive, crude behavior toward mother and child. The narrator of the story is a young girl that grows to womanhood in an abusive relationship where her […]

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Lichen Designs

Yeah, I know this is late, but here it is now….. Lichen Designs I “wonder” at these two stories coming out on the syllabus together, as they are equally disgusting. Munro uses Lichen to “liken” her husband’s most recent paramour’s nude photo to that of a fungus. Her husband is stricken with an intemperate desire […]

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“Designs”

As with Munro’s “Moons of Jupiter,” I loved the way Okparanta structured “Designs” so as to reveal key information to the reader at just the right moment. Before Okparanta even addresses Nonso’s affair with Celeste, she brings to the reader’s attention the thought of something going on. Ifeinwa enters the room, beaming. Her smile reminds […]

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There is so much emotional terrain in Okparanta, “Tumours and Butterflies.” Okparanta uses stories like this to share a message… I can’t say if it is a moral or not, but it is close to it. This particular story really focuses on escaping abuse, and the many ways people deal with domestic abuse. Reading it, […]

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Basket of Trips – 04/01

“Who,who, does not have their basket of trips?” It isn’t right. Molly Collins said that today, standing out by the church. It isn’t right. Well. It isnt.” (pg. 180). There are different aspects of pain and regret present in the different journeys of the characters in “Basket of Trips”. Literally,the basket of trips literally was […]

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Basket of trips

Olive thinks, “Who does not have their basket of trips?” Strout takes on a different tone in this story, it’s more thoughtful, more introspective. Olive is observing instead of judging, she watches the scene with the boy skipping stones and takes pride in what she sees, she notices the drunk girl, but for once she […]

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