Structure and Detail in Lives of Girls and Women

Rae McCarthy Macdonald


In Alice Munro's Lives of Girls and Women, the central dynamic tension consists of a perceived split between the characters living within the socially acceptable "garrison" mentality and characters from "the other country," the latter a place made up variously of idiots, seniles, animals, the fatally ill, and those of faith and passion. Del, the protagonist, struggles to commit herself neither to one side of the dialectic nor to the other. Major themes include the parallel "garrison/other country" crises that arise from chapter to chapter, and the function of the mass of surrounding detail, including geography, faith, death, sex, knowledge, and art.

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