Alice Munro (Bloom's Modern Critical Views) - download pdf or read online

By Harold Bloom (Editor)

ISBN-10: 1604135875

ISBN-13: 9781604135879

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Example text

About this” (186). Julie’s words have little to do with the past that they would seem to represent; they mark instead a virtual severance of past and pres- 32 Katherine J. Mayberry ent, experience and language. Her narrative cuts her off from the experience it is ostensibly representing. We see evidence of this in the quality of her confession about bulimia quoted above, in the yawning gap between the bulimia itself—this powerful but speechless register of miserable protest— and the spare, businesslike language with which Julie renders it.

Uncle Benny could have made up the beatings, my mother said at last, and took that for comfort; how was he to be trusted? Madeleine herself was like something he might have made up. We remembered her like a story. (23) In “The Flats Road,” this conversion process, this bleeding of life from experience through repeated tellings, is juxtaposed with another brand of narrative—that told by the first storyteller of the volume, Uncle Benny, whose rendering of his nightmarish visit to Toronto realizes his experience for Del: He remembered everything.

The narrative of these characters exploits the inevitable discontinuity between language and experience; for them, narrative functions as a virtual false counter, standing for something, surely, but not for the lived experience their narratives pretend to render. Though variously motivated, the narrative modes of these characters are strikingly similar, marked by flat, sparse, spare language and linear chronology. For these characters, language behaves, protecting its users from the vitality and pain that might be uncaged by a less provident use of the medium.

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

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