Alice Munro (Bloom's Modern Critical Views) by Harold Bloom (Editor)

By Harold Bloom (Editor)

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That does not sound right. Too presumptuous; phoney, or at least unconvincing. Try again. I write. Is that better? I try to write. That makes it worse. Hypocritical humility” (59). 13 Despite their attendant uneasiness about doing so, Munro’s protagonists are driven to listen and watch, record, and reshape what they see around them. Mary in “The Shining Hours” (DHS) draws Mrs. Fullerton’s story out of her by pretending to know less than she really does; Dorothy in “Marrakesh” is a retired schoolteacher driven to observe whatever is before her: “Beautiful or ugly had ceased to matter, because there was in everything something to be discovered” (SIBMTY, 163).

Martin fills the pink bowl up with raspberries. He claims that “Maddy drops and breaks the cut-glass bowl of raspberries” and concludes that “the symbolism is rather heavy and obvious” (Martin, 1987, 44). Perhaps Martin has in mind Henry James or Ecclesiastes and is forgetting that Munro asks us to colour this bowl pink, not gold. Martin’s reproduction of Munro’s story turns a blind eye to the implications of that shelf full of reproduced bowls. He is ignoring the challenge thus issued to our assumption that an original pink bowl might reproduce some essential metaphor of maternity.

The historical “Peace” goes against the idea of a final peacemaking. It was not so much peace as a complicated narrative of temporary arrangements and realignments. The historical complexity points towards a meaning left blank in this story. There are two conflicting threads of referentiality in this story. One leads to Munro’s mother, the other to military history. The very title, then, “The Peace of Utrecht,” is like a blind spot, like a deliberately failed clue. Like “The Moons of Jupiter,” which forms a kind of companion story to this one, the title is a careful mistitle.

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