As the best writer of short stories in Canada, Alice Munro has consistently produced work in which precise social observation and penetrating psychological insight are expressed exactly with remarkable narrative strategies. Though my thesis is informed by my reading of Munro’s published books, this study does not attempt to analyze the whole stock of her literary work. I concentrate on my discussion on one of her stylistic narrative techniques— metaphor in Lives of Girls and Women, which is considered her most representative. With the understanding metaphor in the novel, readers know well the character’s complex patterns of existence and the suppression endured by the female characters in a patriarchal society.
Keywords: Alice Munro, Lives of Girls and Women, Metaphor
All of the areas of Canadian writing were stimulated by a renaissance of interest in literature and culture in the 1970s, but probably the greatest amount of attention in the 70s was focused on Canadian women writers, such accomplished writers as Margaret Laurence, Margaret Atwood, and Jane Rule. But among many successful women writers, Alice Munro has emerged as the most accomplished one of that decade. Her stories have subsequently been widely anthologized in Canada, the United States, and Britain, and she is internationally recognized as one of the great short story writers in English. Alice Munro is known for stories focusing on the emotional lives of the inhabitants of rural Canada. Her accessible and moving stories set in small and provincial towns like the one where she spent her childhood, are mostly written from the point of view of a young or adolescent girl and address themes of particular interest to women. Among Alice Munro’s collections of stories,Lives of Girls and Women is her most popular fiction, which places her in the top rank in short story writing. It is a set of eight first-person narratives recounting the life of Del Jordan in Jubilee, a fictional small town in southwestern Ontario that bears a strong resemblance to Munro’s own hometown of Wingham. Told retrospectively by an older Del, who has moved away and become a fiction writer, it traces her childhood crises and initiation into adulthood. In this paper, metaphor will be examined to show how this rhetoric means helps readers impressively to understand the social environment and conventional ideas of the small town Jubilee and their impacts on the townspeople.
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