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Alice Munro

For Alice Munro in her probably at least semi-autobiographical work, Lives of Girls and Women, the craft and act of writing is like having a beacon, a path before one. It is the way in which one can define oneself beyond the limited measure of one's birth and the place in which one was born and what one's parents have accomplished and even what they dream for you. Being a writer is the way in which a girl - and then a women - can transcend the circumstances of what is supposed to be her life and become something larger and more interesting and more fulfilling. It is thus also a tool that one can use to escape from the ways in which girls and women are supposed to act, for being female (and especially being female in a small town in which double standards still exist by the dozen) is often to face a limited life. Munro rejects those limitations on the grounds that writers cannot be limited in their experiences or their expectations - and then uses the fact that she is a writer to break down even more limitations.

Reading Lives of Girls and Women is an exhilarating act, and this would probably be true whether one were male or female, because it is a book that is about the possibility that we can control our own fate. This assertion is probably more important for girls and women than for men because women have historically and cross-culturally had far fewer choices about what they wanted to be and who they wanted to be, but it is an important message for each one of us that it is possible to use our intelligence, our ability to observe, and our able to tell stories fundamentally to improve our own lives and our own chances at happiness.

One of the most important points that Munro makes throughout the book is that one of the essential tools of the writer is the ability to observe closely - an ability that is also essential if one wishes to live deeply and completely. Her protagonist, Del Jordan, is tinglingly alive at every moment an...

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Alice Munro. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:03, March 19, 2019, from