Alice Munro Isolation

482 Words2 Pages

The use of characters that experience extreme isolation in the novel Open Secrets allows for Munro to explore larger themes such as gender roles throughout her stories while still keeping the characters relatable to the average reader. Many different characters in Munro’s stories experience isolation, but all are caused by the pressures of society upon the women in the stories. In the story “A Real Life”, Dorie Beck is pressured to conform to society and abandon her simple way of life. Society’s views on marriage and gender roles are represented by Millicent’s words, “a wife is a wife. It's all well and good to have friends, but a marriage is a marriage” (59). Dorie eventually conforms to this view and marries at the end of the story to avoid …show more content…

By doing this she isolates herself from the rest of society due to her unwillingness to be married off by the tribe. With this action Lottar takes on the role of a man and does not conform to the basic gender roles.
Another instance of a character being isolated from society due to her choices is Louisa in “Carried Away”. Louisa is very promiscuous early in her life and is unable to settle down with a man and start a family, an expectation of all people in the story. Louisa felt love for few of her lovers, but continued harbor feelings for the ones she did love as evidenced by her belief that “Love never dies” (52). Louisa felt love for Jack Agnew even though the pair never met in real life. The story of Gail in “Jack Randa Hotel” showcases another instance of isolation in the novel. Gail’s husband leaves her for another woman almost directly after their marriage ended. Gail still has feelings for Will and even follows him to Australia but still is isolated because of the divorce initiated by her ex-husband who, according to Gail, “[thinks] of family ties” (181). These family ties do not keep her and her husband together and due to the greater advantage given to men to break off marriages, a role which leads to an isolated

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