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Articles

Volume 32, Number 1 (2007)

Playing the Parts: The ‘corps morcelé’ in Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women

Submitted
March 26, 2008
Published
January 1, 2007

Abstract

Some feminist readings of Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women have underestimated the formative influence of various uncle figures on protagonist Del Jordan’s growth as both individual and author. Marjorie Garson’s reading of the construction and subversion of various textual “wholes” (including the body as text) in the novel is useful but does not go far enough in explicating how Del reads various male figures as partial texts through which she can come to understand the body politic and abstract concepts such as death, wisdom and the power of textuality itself. Male figures contribute to Del’s active construction of an identity of unemasculated freedom, the attributes of which she selects from various people in her life, irrespective of gender. Through this unorthodox selectivity, Del escapes and subverts the binaries enforced by patriarchy.