Alice Munro: Short Stories

Alice Munro and the Social Roles of Women 12th Grade

Most of Alice Munro’s major characters are women, whose social and interior lives are portrayed in great detail by their author. All of these women tend to give the reader an overview of what being a woman signifies in a society mostly ruled by men. They seem significant in society because of the domestic role they seem to undertake in their lives. However, Munro is inclined to portray women who are not essential regarding their work, and who are in some ways enabled to discover themselves and express meaningful love.

Munro depicts in her stories women who seem mainly important because they are necessary to men. They are "made" to be housewives. In "The Love of a Good Woman," Munro describes Bud’s mother as a typical housewife, who achieves "serene severity." She seems to have experience in ruling her house, becoming the only one controlling her children as if she was essential in maintaining order. Yet women also seem to be evolving around what society expects from them: raising their children. This shift is shown by the behavior of Iona in "My Mother’s Dream" when she takes care of Jill’s baby. The woman who was at first plain and dull in the house becomes very important: "Iona had gone from being the most negligible to being...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1039 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8021 literature essays, 2252 sample college application essays, 348 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in