Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
H. J. Ferns
Alice Munro's fiction has a distinctive style that grows, in part, out of the close relationship between her themes and images. The main concern of this thesis will be to explore the way in which Alice Munro uses certain key images to dramatize the central themes of her fiction. Munro's fiction examines the trials and occasional triumphs which the individual experiences in developing from chilhood and youth to maturity and offers the reader insight into the complex processes of life through her subtle rendering of human experience.
It is Alice Munro's perceptive dramatizations of life that mkae each of her short stories and novels memorable to the reader. She possesses the ability to present 'real life' vividly and convincingly as well as the talent to develop each story through her use of significant, and often recurring, images. These images are sometimes introduced
obliquely at first, yet the reader is made aware of their significance because of Munro's skillful attention to dramatic and sensuous detail. When each story reaches a climax or epiphanal moment it is because its images have been cumulatively built up and dramatically emphasized as essential to our grasp of the climactic moment and most important aspects of each novel or story's theme.
The themes in each of her four works of fiction are similar and are often repeated in greater depth from earlier to later works. As a writer of fiction, Munro has created collections of short stories and novels which are basically concerned with the maturation process and the recognition of moral and social pressures which can influence the
individual. Munro's images are often sensuous and uncomplicated to begin with, mirroring the attitudes of her predominantly youthful narrators. As the individuals in her
stories grow to understand some of the pitfalls of society, Munro's images sometimes become unnatural and almost threatening. In becoming so they reflect the corruption and pressures of society which produce the madmen, suicides and cripples of her world who are the deprived manifestations of society's spiritual deformation.
Boynton, Danelle, "Theme and Image in Alice Munro's Fiction" (1979). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4666.
McMaster University Library