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Book Review On Dance Of Happy Shades

731 words - 3 pages

Dance of the Happy Shades
Wiser or Sadder?
Alice Munro has stated that her characters do not learn as much from happiness as they do from conflict or sorrow. After reading Dance of the Happy Shades, with her depressing narrations, it is difficult to agree that her characters became wiser by the end of the stories. The protagonists simply became self-aware of their insignificance and their inability to change their lives and those of others. This type of “knowledge” seems more like a resignation to each character’s circumstances rather than learning a life lesson they could use to improve themselves.
Through the combination of selfish people and teamwork, bad ideas can become socially ...view middle of the document...

In a society where women were perceived inferior than men, the protagonist tried to become more than “only a girl”. Her resistance to the social norm took on the form of being useful to her father - “Nevertheless I worked willingly under his eyes, and with a feeling of pride.” However, unlike in “The Shining Houses” where Mary silently resisted the group decision and stood her ground, the protagonist in “Boys and Girls” gradually stopped her attempt. As she grew older, not only did the young narrator become more feminine, but she also began to accept her role as a female and any attachment that came with it. “I didn’t protest that, even in my heart. Maybe it was true.” As the protagonist began to accept her social status and play her role in the world, this last sentence sent out the message maybe it was true that girls should be treated the way they were being treated.
Worse than “The Shining Houses” and “Boys and Girls” where the protagonists attempted to make changes for the better, in “Day of the Butterfly”, the young narrator Helen simply submitted to the condemnable parts of life. “So I was released, set free by the barriers which now closed about...

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