Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

Sunshine Sketches: Frame Narratives

The frame narratives in Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town provide a profound sense of meaning to the short story cycle. Leacock’s preface presents the reader with a simplified version of the story of his life, in which we can see many parallels to the lives of the Mariposans, thus making the stories seem more realistic. Similarly, the final narrative, “L’Envoi: The Train to Mariposa”, makes the small-town ways of the Mariposans seem more authentic by instilling the reader with a genuine sense of nostalgia. Without these opening and closing anecdotes, the reader could still appreciate Leacock’s clever use of irony and satire, but it would be impossible for them to walk away from the short story cycle with the same sense of identification with the small town. The use of satire in the preface and romantic nostalgia in “L’Envoi” create a tension that makes an important statement about the small town as a part of the Canadian identity; for better or for worse, the small town is a symbol of Canadian life and, for all of its follies, we still crave its familiarity and endearing qualities.

Stephen Leacock’s preface mirrors the entire short story cycle in both narrative tone and content. Throughout the telling of the story of his...

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