“Forsaken Objects, Haunted Houses, Female Bodies, and ‘the squalor of tragedy in ordinary life’

Abstract : Forsaken Objects, Haunted Houses, Female Bodies, and 'the squalor of tragedy in ordinary life': Reading Dance of the Happy Shades with Later Stories _ " Forsaken Objects, Haunted Houses, Female Bodies, and 'the squalor of tragedy in ordinary life': Commonwealth Essays and Studies 37,2, special issue: Alice Munro: Writing for Dear Life (spring 2015): 16-23. Abstract: Small, disregarded or discarded objects and jumble pepper Munro's fiction and this paper aims to consider their functions, more specifically, their connection to story telling and writing, relying on Michel de Certeau's analyses in The Practice of Everyday Life. Another characteristic of Munro's fiction is the attention paid to female bodies and their flaws, such as lumps, and the paper will also look at how Munro explores semantic varitions of words such as " lump " and " pattern, " as she explores connections between body and text. Munro's interest in what is hidden, silenced, unsuspected and disregarded, is nothing new. As she describes ordinary people's ordinary houses, she foregrounds small, disregarded, if not discarded, objects. They can be found in refuse dumps, in semi empty houses, and family homes. Munro has often claimed she felt the need to mention her characters' surroundings in detail. Yet this should not be mistaken for realism. Analyses of the stories will show that she endows her objects, however unremarkable they may be, with several functions, among which, to act as (sometimes ironic) echoes and commentaries at the level of the diegesis. I will argue that they also reveal Munro's own version of what Michel de Certeau has called " l'invention du quotidien. " His study proposes we see ordinary objects and houses in connection with stories and one's past: ordinary objects, he claims, have " hollow places in which a past sleeps " (The Practice of Everyday Life 108) while ordinary places where people live are always haunted " by many different spirits hidden there in silence " (108)
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Corinne Bigot. “Forsaken Objects, Haunted Houses, Female Bodies, and ‘the squalor of tragedy in ordinary life’. Commonwealth Essays and Studies, Société d'étude des pays du Commonwealth, 2015, Alice Munro Writing for Dear Life, 37 (2). ⟨hal-01682751⟩

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