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Telling Secrets

Permanent Link: http://ncf.sobek.ufl.edu/NCFE004129/00001

Material Information

Title: Telling Secrets Alternative Paths to Truth in Alice Munro's OPEN SECRETS
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Kindervatter-Clark, Caitlin
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2009
Publication Date: 2009

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Emotions
Munro, Alice
Feminism
Short Stories
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: In this thesis, I examine narrative strategies in Open Secrets, a short story collection by Alice Munro. I focus specifically on "A Wilderness Station," "Open Secrets," and "Vandals," arguing that each story subverts a specific literary genre�the wilderness narrative, the detective story, and the romance, respectively�and that Munro uses our generic expectations to emphasize the ways in which knowledge can be obtained through emotions. With reference to Morwenna Griffiths' explanation of "consciousnessraising," I explore the way that the subjective, emotional experiences of Munro's characters point us towards larger truths with political implications. Emotions and subjectivity have traditionally been viewed as hindrances that need to be overcome in pursuit of truth, but the questions raised in Open Secrets cannot be answered using analysis alone. Rather, in order to uncover the meaning of the stories, the reader must access the emotional experiences of Munro's characters, and connect these, in some way, to his or her own emotional experience. While Munro's stories place great value on emotional intelligence, they are also highly concerned with social structures, and especially, with various manifestations of male domination. We see that the intelligence Munro's female characters possess arises directly from their subordinated position; they learn to read emotions in part because they need to be alert to male violence, and they weave together narrative connections in order to survive. The experience of reading these stories, then, becomes what philosopher Martha Nussbaum calls "exercises in compassion": artistic experiences that allow the reader to take on another's emotions in a space safe from the dangers of societal power structures.
Statement of Responsibility: by Caitlin Kindervatter-Clark
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2009
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO NCF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Reid, Amy

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2009 K5
System ID: NCFE004129:00001

Permanent Link: http://ncf.sobek.ufl.edu/NCFE004129/00001

Material Information

Title: Telling Secrets Alternative Paths to Truth in Alice Munro's OPEN SECRETS
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Kindervatter-Clark, Caitlin
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2009
Publication Date: 2009

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Emotions
Munro, Alice
Feminism
Short Stories
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: In this thesis, I examine narrative strategies in Open Secrets, a short story collection by Alice Munro. I focus specifically on "A Wilderness Station," "Open Secrets," and "Vandals," arguing that each story subverts a specific literary genre�the wilderness narrative, the detective story, and the romance, respectively�and that Munro uses our generic expectations to emphasize the ways in which knowledge can be obtained through emotions. With reference to Morwenna Griffiths' explanation of "consciousnessraising," I explore the way that the subjective, emotional experiences of Munro's characters point us towards larger truths with political implications. Emotions and subjectivity have traditionally been viewed as hindrances that need to be overcome in pursuit of truth, but the questions raised in Open Secrets cannot be answered using analysis alone. Rather, in order to uncover the meaning of the stories, the reader must access the emotional experiences of Munro's characters, and connect these, in some way, to his or her own emotional experience. While Munro's stories place great value on emotional intelligence, they are also highly concerned with social structures, and especially, with various manifestations of male domination. We see that the intelligence Munro's female characters possess arises directly from their subordinated position; they learn to read emotions in part because they need to be alert to male violence, and they weave together narrative connections in order to survive. The experience of reading these stories, then, becomes what philosopher Martha Nussbaum calls "exercises in compassion": artistic experiences that allow the reader to take on another's emotions in a space safe from the dangers of societal power structures.
Statement of Responsibility: by Caitlin Kindervatter-Clark
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2009
Electronic Access: RESTRICTED TO NCF STUDENTS, STAFF, FACULTY, AND ON-CAMPUS USE
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Reid, Amy

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2009 K5
System ID: NCFE004129:00001


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TELLING SECRETS: ALT ERNATIVE PATHS TO TR UTH IN ALICE MUNRO'S OPEN SECRETS BY CAITLIN KINDERVATTER CLARK A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Amy Reid Sarasota, Florida May, 2009

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ii F OR L YLA E. C LARK

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iii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I am both grateful and honored to have completed this project under the sponsorship of Dr. Amy Reid, who has i nspired me as both an intellectual and a human being. She is, in addition to Alice Munro, one of the inspirations for the "connective" nature of this thesis; her ability to connect my inchoate ideas to larger movements and texts has been life changing. I would like to thank Jan Wheeler, for starting the utopia known as the Writing Resource Center, and for her wit, kindness, and indefatigable support and loyalty. Her compassion and wisdom have set a standard for which I hope, always, to continue to strive I am also grateful to have had Dr. Nova Myhill as an advisor for my first few years at New College. Dr. Myhill challenged me to the heights of my abilities, and the intellectual confidence I now possess is largely indebted to her intelligence, high sta ndards, and support. Thanks also to all the other members of the Literature faculty with whom I have worked during my time at New College, all of whom have influenced me in lasting and meaningful ways. This was a thesis about women and relationships, a category that would have existed purely in the abstract if it weren't for four brilliant, strong, and inspiring women who came into my life during this time. Bottomless thanks to Jessica Cardott, Alexis Cartland, Kate DeBolt and Erica Schoon. I am ind ebted, as well, to Alex Hacker, without whom I may very well never have been urged to write this thesis, and not just because he introduced me to Alice Munro. I want also to thank my brother, Adam, who has made me prouder than anyone in the world. And mo st of all, I need to thank my parents, Ted and Suzi, for whom I know I have not made things easy, but who have stood by me the whole way. Their support, curiosity, and love have been my major sources of strength, and I am confident now that I have the abi lity to make them proud. They also both read this entire thesis, which is a feat whose equivalent I'm not sure I'll ever be able to accomplish, even for a child of my own. Finally, thanks to my dog, Gus, for making sure I got out of the house on three da ily walks, and for doing something adorable or disgusting every time I began to take myself too seriously.

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iv TABLE OF CONTENTS Dedication ii Acknowledgments iii Table of Contents iv Abstract v Intro duction 1 "A Wilderness Station:" Whose Story, Whose Guilt? 13 Emotional Detective Work in "Open Secrets" 40 "Vandals" and the De romanticized Romantic Hero 66 Conclusion 88 Bibliography 95

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v T ELLING S ECRETS : A LTERNATIVE P ATHS TO T RUTH IN A LICE M UNRO S O PEN S ECRETS Caitlin Kindervatter Clark New College of Florida, 2009 ABSTRACT In this thesis, I examine narrative strategies in Open Secrets a short story co llection by Alice Munro. I focus specifically on "A Wilderness Station," "Open Secrets," and "Vandals," arguing that each story subverts a specific literary genre the wilderness narrative, the detective story, and the romance, respectively and that Munro u ses our generic expectations to emphasize the ways in which knowledge can be obtained through emotions. With reference to Morwenna Griffiths' explanation of "consciousness raising," I explore the way that the subjective, emotional experiences of Munro's characters point us towards larger truths with political implications. Emotions and subjectivity have traditionally been viewed as hindrances that need to be overcome in pursuit of truth, but the questions raised in Open Secrets cannot be answered using analysis alone. Rather, in order to uncover the meaning of the stories, the reader must access the emotional experiences of Munro's characters, and connect these, in some way, to his or her own emotional experience. While Munro's stories place great value on emotional intelligence, they are also

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vi highly concerned with social structures, and especially, with various manifestations of male domination. We see that the intelligence Munro's female characters possess arises directly from their subordinated posit ion; they learn to read emotions in part because they need to be alert to male violence, and they weave together narrative connections in order to survive. The experience of reading these stories, then, becomes what philosopher Martha Nussbaum calls "exer cises in compassion": artistic experiences that allow the reader to take on another's emotions in a space safe from the dangers societal power structures. Dr. Amy Reid Literature

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1 Introduction Insofar as we are taught to read, what we engage are not texts, but paradigms. [] Insofar as literature is itself a social institution, so, too, reading is a highly socialized or learned activity. [] We read well, and with pleasure, what w e already know how to read; and what we already know how to read is to a large extent dependent on what we have already read. Annette Kolodny, "Dancing Through the Minefield: Some Observations on the Theory, Practice, and Politics of a Feminist Literary C riticism" (qtd. Schweickart 45) While the stories in Open Secrets have elements of mystery and romance, themes which have always attracted readers, they do not satisfy in the same way as a traditional mystery or romance would. [] The stories in Open Sec rets aren't about what they seem to be about. Clearly, some people find this quite disconcerting. Alice Munro, Boyce and Smith interview (qtd. Howells 120) Alice Munro writes short stories that we, as readers, initially think we "know how to read." The y are stories lined with generic signposts that we recognize, and so we wander into them thinking we are not far from the familiar. But somewhere in the midst of this first reading, somewhere around the third temporal loop, unexplained jump, or blank spac e on the page, we realize that we have actually strayed far from home. We realize that we are in the midst of a wilderness unlike any we have seen before, one that is not meant to be conquered, and more oppressive than free. Or we realize that we are on the edge of our seats over a mystery that will not be "solved" in any traditional sense of the word: the detective will stay silent; rationality will not prevail. Or we realize that we are watching a woman fall for a tortured, romantic hero, a veritable Heathcliff," as it were, while feeling nothing ourselves aside from concern and a vague repulsion. In this thesis, I look at three stories from Alice Munro's collection, Open Secrets (1994). I argue that each of these stories directly subverts a spec ific literary genre the wilderness narrative, the detective story, and the romance, respectively and that

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2 Munro uses our generic expectations to emphasize the way in which knowledge can be obtained through emotions. Munro uses generic conventions, these t rademarks of literature "we already know how to read," in order to draw us into stories that "aren't about what they seem to be about." But what, then, are these stories about? Subverting conventions is not an end, but a means to an end, and thus while t his thesis will explore, to some degree, the ways in which Munro subverts specific conventions, I am more concerned with the meaning produced by her subversion. By subverting our generic expectations, Munro also subverts dominant cultural paradigms. Her stories make the case for a mode of knowing that has been traditionally associated with feminized, inferior realms, a mode of knowing bound to subjectivity, emotions, and relational connections. In our culture, this type of feminine intelligence is often viewed as inferior to a more authoritative, masculine intelligence associated with realms of objectivity, rationality, and analysis. 1 While feminine knowledge has always been valued in certain circumscribed arenas, such as those involving nurturing and motherhood, Western thought has less frequently considered it as an adequate means to uncovering truth. Emotions in our society are generally viewed as purely individual and subjective as hindrances that need to be overcome in the pursuit of a larger, ob jective truth. 1 By associating emotions and subjectivity with a realm of knowledge regarded as feminine, m y intention is not to reinforce an essentialist dichotomy that defines emotional intelligence as inherently female. I argue, instead, that this kind of intelligence is available to all of us. I do wish, however, to acknowledge the existence of this dicho tomy in our culture, and to emphasize the way in which one side of it (the authoritative, objective side) has been valued over the other as a means for seeking knowledge and truth. I attempt, where possible, to use the terms "feminine" and "masculine," ra ther than "female" and male," in order to emphasize the socially constructed nature of this division.

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3 Second wave feminism responds to this view of emotions as inherently fallible with an alternative idea called "consciousness raising." Consciousness raising, in the words of feminist philosopher Morwenna Griffiths, is a process where "f eelings are the subject matter," and where "their expression is a means of arriving at the truth, a truth about public, political life rather than just individual personalities" (135). 2 Griffiths criticizes the division of human nature into two categorie s (the mind: rational, reasonable, God like; and the body: sensual, instinctive, animal like) for its over simplification, and emphasizes "feelings [and] emotions as a separate category" that does "not fit comfortably into [this] twofold division" (139; 14 1). She, along with other feminist philosophers like Martha Nussbaum, views emotions as neither fully rational, i.e., of the mind, nor "pure, physical promptings of the body" over which it is best that the mind rule hierarchically (Griffiths 140). Yet, a lthough they exist separately from reason, emotions are still viewed as a means to truth: The production of feminist knowledge is grounded in feeling. So far from feelings being seen as mere subjectivity, something to be overcome in the search for objecti vity, they are seen to be a source of knowledge. (Griffiths 135) 2 Such an idea is not unique to feminist theory, as we see in the following quotation from In Search of Lost Time: People foolishly imagine that the br oad generalities of social phenomena afford an excellent opportunity to penetrate further into the human soul; they ought, on the contrary, to realise that it is by plumbing the depths of a single personality that they might have a chance of understanding those phenomena" (Proust 450). Proust, here, may as well be writing about the entire enterprise of fiction. The idea of the personal as a path to understanding the public and political is one that has been understood by writers since Homer, yet it is an idea to which we do not do justice when we deny the importance of subjectivity (of both character and reader) in literature.

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4 The three Alice Munro stories I look at each contain some manifestation of this idea of "consciousness raising." Through feeling, characters arrive at truths relevant not just to themselves but also to other individuals, and to political and literary institutions. In "A Wilderness Station," protagonist Annie Herron takes on a male character's feelings of guilt and victimization, and in the process, raises our awareness about the way patria rchal, colonial societies repress feelings of guilt and fear by projecting them onto subordinated populations. In "Open Secrets," a woman named Maureen Stephens solves a murder by connecting her own feelings of victimization at the hands of her husband wi th a crime committed against an adolescent girl. Maureen's discovery has political implications: by emotionally connecting two disparate instances of sexual violence, she raises questions about how rape is legally defined. And finally, in "Vandals," the reader's own feelings of repulsion towards a "romantic hero" who molests a young girl end up exposing the implausibility of romances like Wuthering Heights, where a young woman falls for a violent and emotionally detached lover. As you may have noticed, these stories are all centered on protagonists who are women. Morwenna Griffiths writes that second wave feminism "agrees with the statement that women are more emotional than men, but [] reconceptualises [it] so that it is now women rather than men who are better able to understand the world and live in it successfully" (136). While Munro's stories perhaps prove Griffiths' statement to be true, they also reveal it to be highly problematic. More recent feminist movements have been resistant to place suc h a high value on women's "different" ways

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5 of knowing out of fear that the over valuing of "feminine" intelligence will justify and reinforce the power dynamics that have brought that intelligence into being. bell hooks is one recent example of a feminist who advises that we take "the trend [of attaching] value to women's supposedly different ways of knowing" with caution (hooks 80). hooks emphasizes that women are not innately more emotional or relationship focused than men, and recommends that we focus on the social structures that result in feminine intelligence, rather than just saying such intelligence is good and proceeding "as if patriarchy [does] not exist and as if male domination [is] not a reality" (80). Munro's stories exist in a space somewher e between these two feminist positions. While her stories place great value on emotional, relationship based intelligence, in so far as they actually require the reader to fulfill his or her generic expectations using emotions and metonymic connections, t hey are also highly concerned with social structures, and especially, with various manifestations of "male domination." We see that the intelligence Munro's female characters possess arises directly from their subordinated position; they learn to read emo tions in part because they need to be alert to male violence, and they weave together narrative connections in order to survive, in the manner of Scheherazade or The Odyssey 's Penelope. So how can these two ideas be reconciled? Munro's stories demon strate that societal institutions of knowledge and power would benefit, without a doubt, from a better integration of emotional and relational intelligence. But how do we value, and more importantly, teach emotional intelligence when we have seen that it arises from a person's subordinated status?

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6 I believe that the answer to this question lies within Munro's stories themselves. For there is one way that the stories of Open Secrets do not meet Griffiths' definition of "consciousness raising," and this is that, within the stories themselves, emotional subject matter is not "expressed." The emotional expression that Griffiths sees as a necessary step to arriving at truth thus falls to the reader, who must find the language with which to express the emotions of a character in order to uncover the meaning of the story, and also the larger truth to which the story points. This kind of reader involvement which calls for the reader to bridge narrative gaps using her own emotions is one that I have come to associa te with the modern short story. Munro scholar Janet Beer remarks that the short story "points in the direction of both more condensed and more extended narrative methods" more condensed for obvious reasons, and more extended because narrative gaps that ca ll upon the reader's subjective experience increase, rather than decrease, the possibilities for meaning (Beer 131). Anton Chekhov, who is often regarded as a "master" and "innovator" of the short story form (May 208), addresses this idea directly in one of his letters: If I introduce subjectivity [into one of my stories], the image becomes blurred and the story will not be as compact as all short stories ought to be. When I write, I reckon entirely upon the reader to add for himself the subjective elemen ts that are lacking in the story. (195) On the jacket cover of Munro's Open Secrets Cynthia Ozick calls her "our Chekhov." Indeed, Munro's conception of the short story form seems to adhere to

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7 Chekhov's assertion that "in short stories it is better to s ay not enough than to say too much" (Chekhov 198). Although Munro writes short stories exclusively, 3 she initially attempted a few never completed novels. In the following passage, she describes an epiphany of sorts that caused her to become disenchanted with the novel and increasingly interested in more condensed literary forms: [Munro is] staring out a library window into "snow falling straight down." She is watching a farmer, with horses, with grain piled on a sleigh, having the grain weighed. He lo oks like a picture, she says, "the snow conferring dignity and peace." But "I didn't see it framed and removed in that way. I saw it alive and potent, and it gave me something like a blow to the chest. What does it mean, what can be discovered about it what is the rest of the story? The man and the horses are not symbolic or picturesque, they are moving through a story which is hidden, and now, for a moment, carelessly revealed. How can you get your finger on it, feel that life beating? It was more a torment than a comfort to think about this, because I couldn't get a hold of it at all. I went back to 3 This statement is not entirely accurate; Munro has written two books classified as novels: The Lives of Girls and Women (2001) and Who Do You Think You Are? (1979; the U.S. printed version of this book is called The Beggar Maid for a somewhat ironic reason: the U.S. publisher didn't think American readers would understand the implications of the expression, which is unfortunate b ecause of the way it connects to Flannery O'Connor, etc.) However, both of these books are actually collections of stand alone short stories, although there is novelistic cohesion in the fact that they each follow the same characters throughout, and The Lives of Girls and Women has a fairly (for Munro) linear, Bildungsroman type narrative. I discuss it more in my Conclusion.

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8 stringing out my secret and gradually less satisfying novel." (Miller "On Looking" 1) The encounter Munro describes here is one between her self and h er narrative abilities, between an author and her own imagination. It is precisely the kind of encounter she sets up for her readers in Open Secrets, "by intentionally leaving gaps and omissions, [and thus relying upon the] reader to participate actively in co creating' the text" (Elliot 78). We can think of each story in Open Secrets as a series of glimpses out the window, as a chain of moments in which an otherwise hidden story is, "for a moment, carelessly revealed." The reader must piece together the rest of the story" occurring on the other side of the windowless walls. This process of emotional, narrative creation is valuable to a woman reader in that it emphasizes the importance of a kind of intelligence commonly associated with her objectifica tion and secondary status. In Munro's stories, emotional, relational intelligence is viewed not only as not inferior to rational, factual intelligence; it is actually the only type of intelligence through which the truth can be understood. For a class o f people subjugated by a master narrative that has denied them a voice, the short story may seem an anti tyrannical literary form, which engages, rather than denies, the experience of its reader. Janet Beer writes that "it is often the case that short sto ries treat the lives of those who are, for some reason, marginal or marginalized by society" (128). Perhaps this is because short stories, by nature of their brief form, are less likely than novels to attempt to impose truth or emotion. Munro's stories e ngage reader experience by asking the reader to identify connections, not only

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9 between elements within the stories themselves, but also between the stories and other texts, between the stories and her own life. These are metonymic connections, bridging na rrative gaps and augmenting context. Context, in Munro, is everything, and the more the reader is able to expand a story's relatable context, the more that story's meaning will expand. In contrast, separating a story's elements into their constituent par ts will detract from that story's meaning, because "meaning [in Munro] cannot be derived from any single story segment," but "emerges, instead, from the shifting contexts in which the (multiple) stories are told" (Elliott 77). For the reader less accust omed to thinking in emotional or relational terms, however, Munro's stories have a different kind of value. By setting up generic "problems" that can only be solved through the employment of an alternative way of knowing, Munro's stories actually have the potential to teach emotional and relational intelligence. Due to their condensed and fragmented forms, Munro's short stories often replicate the kinds of perceptions we experience in life, which are rarely whole or continuous. As Munro realized as she g azed out the library window, in life, we are never granted all of the story; we receive only brief glimpses into it. Elsewhere, Munro states that this is precisely why she does not write novels. When asked why she writes only short stories, she responds, I can't work in continuity stories because I don't actually feel it in life. I feel funny jumps (qtd. Rasporich 175). The short story is, for this reason, an ideal form for what Martha Nussbaum refers to as "exercises" in compassion (430), artistic e xperiences that cultivate "narrative habits" (427) that we can apply to encounters with people in everyday life. Because we

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10 have only the slightest glimpses into one another's lives, we cannot afford to view emotional understanding as inherently deceptive and demand, always, more information. There is never enough information, never as much as there is in a novel such as In Search of Lost Time, where every character gets both a voice and an observer. Because we do not get to read the "novels" of the liv es of everyone we meet, we must rely on our emotional understanding our sense of compassion to fill in the parts of the story that we do not know. Because relational connections are such an important aspect of Munro's work, analysis and deconstruction ar e not sufficient tools with which to understand her stories, which is a challenge I have had to face while writing about her work within a theoretical tradition typically centered around these processes. I address this problem, in part, by making a consci ous effort to respect the narrative integrity of each of the stories I examine. Rather than separating narrative elements from their syntactic contexts (which, I feel, would be akin to doing violence to Munro's meaning), I try to offer guided readings tha t adhere to the stories' underlying narrative structures. This, unsurprisingly, has resulted in my arguments being less linear than they might have been otherwise. But because I want this thesis to raise questions about mainstream paradigms, especially l iterary and critical paradigms, I believe that the spiralings of my chapters will raise more important questions than they will cause rhetorical harm. Another way I have attempted to break away from a critical tradition in which I do not feel I can adequa tely discuss Munro's work is through my use of the personal

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11 voice. I use the first person throughout the thesis (although I would have liked to be more consistent in doing so; habits instilled by academia are hard to break), and in both my final chapter, "Vandals and the De romanticized Romantic Hero," and my Conclusion, relate personal anecdotes about my reading experience. By doing this, I am hoping, as Patrocinio Schweickart puts it, to dispel [in the context of this thesis] the objectivist illusion t hat buttresses the authority of the dominant critical tradition (38) and to emphasize reading as an "inter subjective encounter" between reader and text (48). I have tried to preserve, within my critical writing, my own "process of discovery," rather tha n just conducting "a retrospective analysis of the [text as] finished product" (Kennard 141). 4 Because this thesis is concerned with connections, I have chosen, for my readings, three stories from the same collection, Open Secrets (1994) The short storie s in each of Munro's collections inform one another, corresponding metonymically in the same way as the elements within each of her stories. The common thread to the stories in Open Secrets is an open endedness that asks the reader to use his or her emoti ons and subjectivity as a mode of understanding. Munro has stated that the open endedness that unites these stories was intentional: "I wanted these stories to be open. I wanted to challenge what people want to know. Or expect to know. Or 4 In my research, I have discovered that the use of the personal voice is a stylistic device common to feminist criticism, whic h is unsurprising in light of what I have said about the goal of feminism being paradigm change. In "Reading Ourselves: Towards a Feminist Theory of Reading," Patrocinio Schweikart offers an illuminating reading of the personal voice in Adrienne Rich's es say, "Vesuvius at Home: The Power of Emily Dickinson." Other theorists I have read who make free use of the personal voice and narrative are Judith MacLean Miller, Pam Houston (both in writing about Munro), bell hooks, and Rosemary Sullivan.

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12 anticipate kn owing" (qtd. Howells 120). Munro does not mention challenging how we know, but this, I believe, is the major accomplishment of the stories in Open Secrets. The stories discussed in the following three chapters share a distrust of continuity and authority of narratives that seem too detailed and full, of old and familiar literary models. They share an emphasis on the value of compassion and emotional connection, often revealing the stories of characters who continually fail to make a connection with anot her human being. It is only through the reader's involvement and active participation that the emotional connections missing from Munro's stories can be made. In reading Munro, the reader finds, contrary to popular belief, that feeling can be knowing.

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13 "A Wilderness Station:" Whose Story, Whose Guilt? What Second Paradise was lost when White women entered the American woods. Leslie Fielder in The Return of the Vanishing American, 1969 (qtd. Lander 208) In "A Wilderness Stat ion," Munro pokes fun at frontier era wilderness narratives that project white male guilt onto latter day "Eves." The history of this projection is explored by Dawn Lander in "Eve Among the Indians," where she argues that literary tradition "has treated t he drama of the New World as the reenactment of the Fall of Eden," with the "invasion of feminine sentiments" into the wilderness viewed as "the cause of racism, of the destruction of the wilderness, and of the psychic crippling of the American male" (197; 203). 5 By "feminine sentiments," Lander means emotion, especially guilt and fear. Guilt and fear interfere with man's feelings of harmony with, and supremacy over, nature, which are the main emphases of the male wilderness narrative. These emotions are thus projected onto women and other subordinated populations who serve to relieve white male explorers of their "feminine" feelings. 5 Although La nder's essay is written in the context of United States history, I believe it is relevant here, where my intention is not to identify characteristics inherent to the Canadian wilderness narrative, but to identify characteristics of the wilderness narrative as a genre and to discuss the way in which that genre's conventions have been shaped by patriarchal assumptions. While there have, of course, been many American wilderness narratives, the genre is, if anything, more immediately pertinent to Canada, where most land is still undeveloped and the wilderness is still, very much, a reality, rather than a historical construct. The encounters and confrontations Canadian and U.S. American settlers had with native tribes are comparable, although according to Marga ret Atwood, Canada has "a slightly better track record" when it comes to its historical treatment of native peoples (92). A brief idea of that record from a modern perspective: In June, 2008, Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, issued a public apolog y to 15,000 students who were forced into assimilation schools and campaigns in the early 20 th century. Prime Minister Jean ChrŽtien issued a public apology to native Canadian peoples in 1998. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/12/canada.usa)

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14 Munro's protagonist, Annie Herron, does not, however, passively accept male guilt, but instead consciously assumes it. An d rather than resulting in further oppression, Annie's assumption of guilt actually allows her to escape, in some degree, the constraints of a patriarchal existence. Annie's path to freedom is in this way the opposite of the path followed by the tradition al wilderness hero: she finds freedom by leaving, rather than conquering, the wilderness; by feeling rather than rejecting, guilt and fear. "A Wilderness Station" is a story about the reality of emotions. The guilt and fear that fill the air of the newl y occupied wilderness need to be felt by someone; they will not, Munro shows us, simply evaporate. If emotions are feminine domain, Annie benefits from what her existence inside that domain has taught her. Her receptiveness to emotions grants her a voice and control over her narrative, while male characters without the capacity to feel wind up voiceless and reliant upon the narratives of others. In reading "A Wilderness Station," the reader takes on the role of historian. The story is not related by a narrator, but through a series of (fictional) primary historical documents (i.e., letters and newspaper articles) from nineteenth century Ontario. The central event with which these documents are concerned is a death that took place in the wilderness fro ntier, a death that may or may not have been a murder. Munro gradually presents us with three conflicting versions of the events surrounding this death, and it is the reader's job to evaluate their veracity, to decide which of them constitutes the most ac curate version of "history."

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15 The "historian" reader of "A Wilderness Station" has the benefit of being presented with a first person account from someone who was historically silenced. We get to read a letter from Annie Herron that may very well have rema ined unopened and unread throughout her lifetime (we do know that it was never delivered to its intended recipient). Annie's letter helps prevent the reader from making the same mistake as literary critic Leslie Fielder (please see epigraph) whom Dawn Lan der criticizes for his assumption that "American white male literature expresses the [actual] sensibility of the American white female" (210). In his attempt to make claims about the experience of settler women in the wilderness, Fielder mistakes "the mal e view of the female view" as "identical to the female view" (Lander 210). By providing us with Annie's letter, Munro asks the reader of "A Wilderness Station" not to make the same mistake. Although Annie may have been silenced while she was living, it i s her contribution to the documents composing "A Wilderness Station" that ends up being the key to the story's truth. The reader, however, faces several potential traps along the way to uncovering truth in "A Wilderness Station." These are places where M unro presents the reader with the chance to perpetuate the repression of Annie's voice, to become complicit with the male voices that have silenced her, to accept a male authored historical account as the "true" version of events, and Annie's as just a cas e of feminine histrionics. To fall into this trap, however, is to deny the value derived from the unique narrative structure of "A Wilderness Station," a story that succeeds in being both a multi vocal history, emphasizing the fallibility of single perspe ctive historical

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16 narrative, and a history that has, in fact, been written by a woman. After all, the impression that the story's documents come to us "unmediated" is an illusion (Howells 125); they have, of course, been carefully mediated by Munro herself who has not just arranged and selected, but also invented, them. To deny the one female voice found in this story authored by a female writer is to do a great disservice to Munro's work; it is, in fact, to blatantly misinterpret it. The "feminist reader must "[take] the part of the woman writer against patriarchal misreadings that trivialize or distort her work" (Schweickart 46) in the same way that the feminist historian must account for the voices silenced by history. Annie first appears in "A Wilderness Station" as a silent object of exchange. The story's first document is a letter dated January 1852, a response from the matron of a Toronto orphanage to a Mr. Simon Herron. The letter concerns an inquiry made by the latter regarding marriageab le girls. The matron mentions a Miss Sadie Johnstone and a Miss Annie McKillop, both of whom are eighteen and have recently been apprenticed to a milliner. The second document jumps forward in time to a February 1907 newspaper article from the Carstairs Argus entitled "Recollections of Mr. George Herron." This article contains our first account of the events surrounding the death of George Herron's brother, Simon. In this first version, two orphan brothers, nineteen year old Simon and fourteen year o ld George, leave Halton County, Ontario to take up "Crown Land north of the Huron Tract" (193). George's account contains many conventions

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17 of the wilderness survival narrative, including the construction of shelter in a wild, inhospitable environment and an emphasis on freedom and self reliance (Howells 126). The older Herron brother is so insistent on maintaining a sense of independence that he rejects all kinds of favors offered to him and his brother by fellow pioneers: Henry Treece sent us a very larg e and comfortable bear skin for our cover in bed but my brother would not take the favor and sent it back saying no need. Then after several weeks we got our box and had to ask for the ox to bring it on from Clinton, but my brother said that this is the l ast we will need to ask of any person's help. (194) In the next paragraph, however, Simon, with an endorsement from the North Huron missionary minister, writes to an orphanage requesting a wife, a woman capable of cooking meals for himself and his brother and of cleaning their house. (In a classic instance of Munrovian humor, both the Simon of 1852 and George, writing the article in 1907, seem oblivious to how Simon's request doubly contradicts his adamant conviction not to ask anyone else for help.) Si mon goes to Toronto and "gets" Annie, who comes and makes the brothers' shanty "more comfortable" (195). At this point, Annie is well aligned with the frontier woman found in traditional wilderness narratives; her new situation is one that she has not "f reely chosen," but it is assumed that she will "submit to the wilderness just as [] she [will submit] to sex" with her new husband (Lander 196). Two months after Annie's arrival, Simon is killed by a falling tree branch while clearing brush with George. George drags his body home, where Annie washes him

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18 off, and then they bury him together. George goes on to marry a pioneer girl, and Annie moves to Walley. This is where George's account ends. Following it, however, we go back in time to a series of le tters written in 1852, which offer a more complicated version of events surrounding Simon's death and the role that George and Annie played in it. In a letter from the North Huron minister who knows the Herrons, we learn that after Simon's death, Annie de velops "an aversion to everyone who would help her," particularly her brother in law, and takes essentially to living in the wilderness, leaving the door to the shanty open to animals and sleeping out of doors (198 9). Annie hereby begins to deviate from the traditional notion of the civilized white woman in the wilderness. Lander points out that in historical wilderness narratives, a white woman's "separation from the male, and solitary wandering in the wilderness are considered equivalent to the fall." The wilderness is "a natural habitat for forbidden sexuality," and according to the traditional narrative, the only single women we find there are "promiscuous savages, black or Indian, or white prostitutes" (Lander 199). Annie, however, as we come to di scover, seems to have fled into the wilderness not to seek a "forbidden sexuality," but in order to escape one. One day, the minister, who has been periodically checking up on Annie, discovers that she has disappeared, and that the words "Walley, Gaol" hav e been written on the shanty floor with a burnt stick (199). He thus writes to the Clerk of the Peace in Walley to alert him of Annie's possible arrival in that town and to ask him to take care of her. The Clerk of the Peace responds to the minister's le tter with baffling

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19 news: Annie has arrived at the Wally Gaol and confessed to the murder of her husband. She claims that on the day of Simon's death, she brought him and his brother lunch in the bush. Simon became mad because fish oil had soaked into his oat cakes, and promised to beat her later. When he turned away, she picked up a rock and threw it at his head (201). The clerk and minister are mystified by this version of events, as is the reader. Not only does Annie's account contradict that of Ge orge, who would presumably have told someone if he saw Annie kill his brother, but it also contains many holes, such as how she found a rock when the ground was covered in snow. Additionally, Annie changes her story, going from saying that she threw the r ock to saying that she "picked it up in both hands and smashed it down" on her husband's head (201). While neither the minister nor the clerk believe Annie's version of events, the clerk allows her to stay in the jail as she has no place else to go, and a s she makes herself handy mending the prison linen (204). The third and final account of the events surrounding Simon's death is the only one that comes to us from Annie herself. She has been attempting to post letters from the jail to her friend, Sadie, but believes these are being intercepted. (She's right; the clerk opens and reads them, but then attempts to send them on, yet they are returned to him because Sadie is no longer at the address to which they are sent. Instead of telling Annie this, howe ver, the clerk sends her letters onto the minister, so that together they can continue to analyze them for clues.) So Annie tucks a letter into a set of curtains she has made for the opera house, with a note on the envelope

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20 requesting that the finder plea se post. However, we know Sadie will not receive this letter either, as the address Annie has for her is not right. Thus, it is possible that the reader of "A Wilderness Station" is the only person who actually reads the version of events found in this l etter. This adds further layers to Howells' idea of an unmediated history. Not only is the history of "A Wilderness Station" unmediated by a secondary source imposing an overriding interpretation on its multiple voices, it is perhaps also unmediated by t he forces that attempt to suppress voice (here, the patriarchal authority embodied in the clerk and the minister who appropriate Annie's letters for themselves). If the reader of "A Wilderness Station" is the only person to read Annie's letter, then she i s literally reading the history of the voiceless, a story that was never told. The version of events that Annie sends to Sadie is the only one in "A Wilderness Station" that is related in a private, intimate space. George's account is related in a new spaper article, the most public written outlet available, while Annie's "confession" to Simon's murder is related to a male figure of authority who has great power over her. Annie's letter to Sadie, however, is a story shared between friends, equals, fema les. For this reason, I believe it is the only version of events found in "A Wilderness Station" in which the teller has no reason to lie. In her letter, Annie writes that George killed his brother by chopping the back of his head open with an ax. Geor ge, of course, has obvious reason for not wanting to confess to murdering his brother, neither back in 1852 nor in 1907. Annie, frightened of the consequences of accusing a man of murder in a world in which she is entirely at the mercy of men and their de sires (she must "submit" not only to the wilderness, but

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21 to Simon), has reason to want to escape this system of exchange and take refuge in a place that is safe and stable, and where she can exist independently of men, such as the jail. Howells emphasiz es that the "real threats to [Annie] come not from nature but from men" (128), and it is important to note that she means white men, Simon and George Herron, not the native men whom traditional frontier women are supposed to fear so deeply (Lander 200). A Wilderness Station" thus adds another twist to the traditional wilderness narrative, contrasting Annie with both the civilized white woman who fears the wilderness, and also with the white male hero who enters the wild seeking freedom and self discovery: "Annie Herron not only seems to feel quite at home in the wilderness, but ironically lives a long life of freedom and safety by choosing to go to the gaol" ( Howells 126). In her letter to Sadie, Annie reveals that she indeed sees the jail as a sort of s afe house: "I am safe from George here is the main thing" (215). In this light, it is important to recognize that the account Annie writes for Sadie is the only version of events that comes to us in a purely female space; it is not narrated by a male char acter or constructed for a male audience. Considering that the threats from which Annie feels she must protect herself come from men, it is only in a space protected from men that she feels safe enough to tell the truth. Both the minister and the clerk offer interpretations regarding Annie's motivations for claiming that she is responsible for Simon's death. The minister views her motives in a patriarchal Christian sense, stating that he believes Annie's "submission to her husband was not complete," an d that after his death, her guilt

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22 "must have taken hold of her mind so strongly that she made herself out to be actually responsible for his death" (203). The Clerk of the Peace calls in a doctor, who views Annie's hidden reasoning through the lens of the popular psychology of the time: [The doctor's] belief is that she is subject to a sort of delusion particular to females, for which the motive is a desire for self importance, also a wish to escape the monotony of life and the drudgery they may have been born to. They may imagine themselves possessed by the forces of evil, to have committed various and hideous crimes, and so forth. (205) Howells points out that these theories are "the voices of patriarchal authority, both spiritual and secular" (127). Bo th interpretations are stereotypical generalizations about women, and their outdated, clichŽ riddled reductions should cue the reader into the fact that they are not meant to be taken seriously. Additionally, Munro places them within close proximity to ea ch other in the narrative, which gives them both a negating effect and a joke like quality. ("In stepped the doctor, in stepped the priest, etc.") Jokes, however, usually contain three elements, and here there are only two. This is because the third ele ment of the joke comes not from a nineteenth century male professional in "A Wilderness Station," but from the contemporary reader or critic who attempts to impose his or her own patriarchal misinterpretation on Annie's motives. One example of a critic wh o does this is Ildiko de Papp Carrington in "Double Talking Devils: Alice Munro's A Wilderness Station.'" Although I believe Carrington arrives at exactly the type of patriarchal misinterpretation that the "joke" of "A

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23 Wilderness Station" cautions the re ader against, I am nevertheless indebted to this essay for the idea of considering "A Wilderness Station" to be a story containing a joke to begin with. Carrington makes the connection between Annie's reference to the April Fools' jokes she and Sadie used to play and the fact that "A Wilderness Station" was first published in The New Yorker in April ("Double" 5). Simon's death also occurs in early April. Additionally, Annie's name is a diminutive of Alice Munro's middle name, Ann (9). With "A Wilderness Station," Munro seems to be constructing a kind of meta story, which creates a parallel between its characters who "misread" the mysterious motivations of Annie Herron and those readers who misinterpret Munro's work. Munro riddles the reader with "A Wild erness Station" in a way that corresponds to how Annie perplexes the minister and clerk with her account of Simon's death. Yet Carrington, instead of recognizing the fallibility of the interpretations imposed on Annie by the minister and the clerk and see king an alternative kind of answer for her motivations, arrives at an interpretation which is very much aligned with those of the nineteenth century male professionals in "A Wilderness Station." While the minister and the clerk attempt to interpret the se cond version of events concerning Simon's death the one Annie conveys to the clerk, in which she is Simon's murderer Carrington's analysis is more concerned with the third version of the story, which Annie conveys only to Sadie and in which George is the m urderer. Because there are no characters in "A Wilderness Station" who ever read or hear this version, Munro leaves it up to the reader to interpret it and evaluate its veracity. At this point, the reader can either stop to explore the implications that arise for "A

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24 Wilderness Station" if Annie's account is true, and George really did murder his brother, or dismiss Annie's version of events as untrue, just as the minister and clerk did previously. Carrington does the latter, claiming that the said "hoax" or joke of "A Wilderness Station" "is that there is no mystery because there is no murder. George has not killed his brother, and Annie has been the victim of her own confused perception" ("Double" 9). Carrington's interpretation of Annie's motives ech oes the diagnosis offered by the story's nineteenth century doctor: In a classic case of Freudian projection [Annie] is imputing to [George] what she has perhaps secretly wished to do herself. She is defending herself against the accusations of her own guilty conscience just as much as she is defending him. (6) Above all, this interpretation does precisely that which the figures of patriarchal authority in "A Wilderness Station" do: deny Annie a voice. By claiming that there is no mystery and that both Annie's accounts of Simon's death are inherently untrue, Carrington aligns her own version of the truth with George's version found at the beginning of the story, in which his brother's death is simply an accident. What Carrington's analysis neglects to consider is why Munro would go through the trouble of constructing a story in which such emphasis is placed on a multi vocal history, and in which the possibility of a master narrative or narrator is repeatedly denied, only to have George's initial acc ount the only account of the three to come from a male, and the only one, significantly, that denies all guilt end up being the only account that is "true." By claiming that both Annie's accounts are inspired by nothing more than "a confused perception" or "a classic case of Freudian projection," Carrington not only

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25 regresses to a point of view which denies the veracity and authority of women's narratives, reducing Annie to a confused, hysterical figure, but also constructs a dead end reading of "A Wilde rness Station," which becomes nothing more than a wild goose chase. When one considers Annie's third account to be true, however, the possibilities are expanded, not only for a reading of "A Wilderness Station," but for questions of fiction and history in general. This second kind of reading seems more aligned with the hopes Munro expressed for the stories in Open Secrets when she said that she "wanted [them] to be open and "to challenge what people want to know" (Howells 120, emphasis mine). I would like now to look more closely at the account of Simon's death that Annie writes to Sadie in order to understand the emotional exchange that occurs between Annie and George on the day of that event. Annie's version of the story begins in the same way that George's 1907 version does: The younger Herron brother drags the elder's body home, and tells Annie that he has been killed by a falling tree branch. In Annie's version, however, we receive more information regarding the emotional state of both herself (s he is afraid, thinking that Simon's dead eyes are "watching" her) and George, who sits "turned away" throughout the entire time she washes Simon's body (208). The only word George utters in this passage is "what?" when Annie asks him to help her turn Simo n's body over so she can clean up some blood that has collected on the floor. After George comes down to the floor to help, she discovers "where the axe [has] cut" open the back of Simon's head; upon this discovery "neither [George nor she says] anything" (209).

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26 After burying Simon, Annie and George go back inside where George will not eat nor drink the tea she makes him. He does not speak. Finally, Annie begins to talk to him: You didn't mean to do it. It was in anger, you didn't mean what you wer e doing. I saw him other times what he would do to you. I saw he would knock you down for a little thing and you would just get up and never say a word. The same way he did to me. If you had not have done it, some day he would have done it to you. (2 10) George remains silent. Annie then begins to persuade him not to turn himself in, and asks him to get down and pray with her, saying that she will ask for forgiveness as well, "because when [she] saw [Simon] was dead [she] did not wish, not for one min ute, for him to be alive" (211). But George still will not respond. Annie takes a bible down from the shelf and tells him she is going to pick a passage at random to guide him, a device she and the other girls "in the Home" used to predict their futures. She reads aloud a passage that says, "Neither can they prove the things of which they now accuse me," persuading George that this means he is "safe" (212). Then she drags him to bed (as he still will not move or speak), where he begins to shiver. To wa rm him, she puts flat irons under the blankets and rubs his body with her hands, speaking to him all the while:

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27 I talked to him then in a different way quite soft and told him to go to sleep and when he woke up his mind would be clear and all his horrors would be wiped away. A tree branch fell on him. It was just what you told me. I can see it falling. I can see it coming down so fast like a streak and little branches crackling all along the way, it hardly takes longer than a gun going off and you say, what is that? and it has hit him and he is dead. (212) George falls asleep and Annie undresses beside him, examining the bruises that cover her body (213). These bruises go unexplained, but the assumption is that they have come from Simon. Although the reader does not actually get to see Simon prior to his death (aside from in George's terse description of him in the Carstairs' Argus ), we can infer from Annie's allusions to him (to his rage at the oat cakes in her false confession, to her "not [wishing] for him to be alive," to "what he would do" to George), along with her bruises, that he has victimized both her and George, and that her compassion for George arises out of the manner in which she has identified his victimization with her own. Simon, it seems, may have been following in the footsteps of the traditional wilderness hero, who enters the wilderness to escape "the taboos of society and to seek an outlawed sexuality" (Lander 202). In this quotation, Lander is referring to miscegenation, but Si mon's treatment of his brother and his new wife may also be explained by his sense of existence in a new space where he no longer feels constrained by societal "taboos."

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28 When George wakes up the next morning, he is "better," not having forgotten what happ ened but talking as if it is "all right." He has the idea to read something out of the Bible and is confused to find that it is not on the shelf. When he sees it by the fireplace, he asks Annie why it's there, and she does "not remind him of anything" (2 13). Later, he goes out to tell a neighboring family about Simon's death. When he returns, Annie asks if told them "about the tree" and he looks at her "for the first time in a bad way the same bad way his brother used to look" ( 213 ). While George's 19 07 account of his brother's death demonstrates an unwillingness to confront emotion, Annie's account is emotionally charged. Morwenna Griffiths writes that "truth and knowledge become distorted when feelings are not acknowledged" (135). We can see such a distortion occurring in George's account of his brother's death, which resists any description capable of inspiring emotional reaction [The tree branch] hit Simon on the head and killed him instantly. I had to drag his body back then to the shanty thr ough the snow. He was a tall fellow though not fleshy, and it was an awkward task and greatly wearying. It had got colder by this time, and when I got to the clearing I saw snow on the wind like the start of a storm. [] Simon was all covered with snow t hat did not melt on him, by this time, and his wife coming to the door was greatly puzzled, thinking that I was dragging along a log. (196 7)

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29 The details in this passage seem misplaced. Rather than describing the moment in which he first realizes his brot her is dead, George automatically renders him an inanimate object, the weight of which he describes in full detail. We also receive other physical description his exhaustion, the cold as well as a description of Annie's confusion upon thinking that Simon 's body is "a log." Perhaps one explanation for this resistance to description capable of inspiring emotional reaction is that George is in shock, as we learn from Annie's narrative that he most certainly is. But then, George writes this account over fif ty years after his brother's death. The fact that it still reads like he is in shock seems to demonstrate either his failure to emotionally work through his brother's death, his attempt to cover up his lack of emotion in relation to it, or both. Annie's account, however, is imbued with emotion in a way that is characteristic of Munro's work. As I remarked in my introduction, Munro does not attempt to impose emotion on the reader through long, sentimental descriptions, but emphasizes instead thought, act ion, and superficial detail, leaving it up the reader to infer their emotional weight. The effect of this technique is frequently a more highly charged emotional atmosphere than would be created by a more direct portrayal of emotions, in that emotions ar e actually inspired in the reader, rather than just described for her. Annie's account directly explores the nuances of both her and George's reactions to Simon's death, and there is much that the reader can infer from it emotionally.

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30 First, we have Geo rge's evidently traumatized reaction to his brother's death, evinced by his incapacity to move or speak. He is, however, able to speak a little before Annie discovers the axe wound (enough to tell her that Simon was killed by a falling branch and to ask what?"); it is only after Annie discovers how Simon actually died that the reality of his actions send him into total shock. Then we have Annie's identification of George's victimization at the hands of his brother with her own. As we will see in the n ext two chapters, this kind of intuitive understanding between victims is a device frequently employed by Munro to create connections between characters, and also between character and reader. Here, it allows Annie to understand the motivation behind Geor ge's actions ("I saw he would knock you down for a little thing the same way he did to me") and to act benevolently towards him. Finally, we have Annie's attempt to relieve George's sense of guilt. She does this at first subtly, assuring him that she un derstands his motives and that everything will be all right. But as she lies beside him in bed, something more intense seems to occur. Rather than simply relieving George's guilt, Annie actually seems to be attempting to erase it. The scene is reminisce nt of hypnosis: Annie speaks softly and reconstructs events in a way that she claims George will believe once he awakes: "When he woke up all his horrors would be wiped away. A tree branch fell on him." When George wakes up, this reconstruction seems to have worked. He is all "better," and his inability to remember why the Bible is off the shelf demonstrates that something like an erasure has occurred. Further evidence of how completely George internalizes

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31 Annie's more innocent reconstruction of events is found in his 1907 account of his brother's death, which retains the detail about the crackling tiny branches that Annie first invented: "We just heard the little branches cracking where it fell and looked up to see it and it hit Simon on the head and k illed him instantly" (195). George's newspaper account regurgitates the exact language Annie fed to him on the night of Simon's death. Even fifty years after the fact, George is incapable of telling his own story; he still relies on the one Annie has con structed for him. Of course, George's guilt has not really been erased, and "A Wilderness Station" is explicitly concerned with the impossibility of such an erasure. Emotions here are entities that must be acknowledged and experienced, that cannot be buried, like Simon's body, under the woodpile indefinitely. The "bad" look George shoots Annie when she asks if he told the Treeces about the "tree branch" reveals that he retains some degree of awareness of her knowledge of the murder and involvement in its attempted erasure. Also, from the night that Annie tucks George into bed onwards, she reports that her sleep is disturbed. While George never says anything to her when they are awake, only shooting her the "bad look," Annie says that "he would com e and say things in [her] dreams" (215), and when she goes to turn herself in, she tells the people at the jail "the very same thing George told [her] so often in [her] dreams, trying to get [her] to believe it was [her] and not him" (215). Sleep has an i mportant symbolic function here: when Annie succeeds in lulling George to sleep on the night of the murder, she actually succeeds in desensitizing him to his own guilt. The fact that

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32 Annie cannot sleep that night and continues to have disturbed dreams dem onstrates the degree in which George's emotion has been transferred to her. As Carrington recognizes, there is some degree of Freudian transference taking place here, except this occurs in the direction opposite to the one in which she describes it: rath er than imputing to George that which she wanted to do, Annie's compassionate feelings for George allow him to impute to her (emotionally, at least) that which he actually did do. George, either consciously or unconsciously, takes advantage of the tendern ess Annie shows him on the night of his brother's murder; he allows Annie's emotional understanding of his victimization to become his victimization, using her compassion as a repository into which he can transmit both his feelings of victimization and of guilt. The dichotomy I presented in my introduction, between man and rationality and woman and emotion, has arisen from just such a use of woman as emotional repository. Both Annie and George possess feelings of fear and victimization, but George demon strates his unwillingness to acknowledge these in his silence, in the "bad look" he shoots Annie when she refers to their joint cover up the day after the crime. He clearly does not see himself as identified with Annie in the same way she feels herself id entified with him. Annie recognizes they are both victims; George prefers to allow her to take on all feelings of fear and victimization, to project the role of victim onto her. (There is no mention in his article in the Argus of any power discrepancy be tween himself and his brother). This projection is similar to the one we find in historical discourse inspired by traditional wilderness narratives. Lander quotes from

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33 William Spragues' 1940 Women and the West: A Short Social History, in which he writes that the "danger [presented by the wilderness] was one which sent fear into the hearts of women in particular (Lander 198). Additionally, Lander contends that "victimization and martyrdom are the bone and muscle of every statue, picture and word portrait of a frontier woman" (196). To focus exclusively on the feelings of victimization of the woman in the wilderness, though, is to deny the fears, failures and frustrations doubtlessly also experienced by frontier men While women, due to their subjugated s tatus, may have faced greater dangers in the wilderness just as they did everywhere else, Lander recognizes that the frontier woman's feelings of victimization have been embellished by male writers and historians (209). This embellishment serves an import ant function for the white male who writes history: it allows him to attribute his guilt for the violence he perpetrated in the wilderness to the women he had to protect. The fearful, victimized woman, of course, wants revenge, wants "to scalp the woodlan d scalpers" who persecute her (Fielder qtd. Lander 208), like the legendary Hannah Duston in Haverhill, Massachusetts who "reportedly" scalped sixteen Indians, including six children, after being captured and before returning to her settlement (Lander 209) Lander points out that for every legend of a Hannah Duston, white patriarchal tradition neglects to include one regarding a woman like Mary Jemison, who chose to marry into an Indian tribe after being captured ( 209 ) By emphasizing how victimized the f rontier woman felt by the wilderness, by emphasizing her alien, "intruder" status in the natural world, white male historians are able to attribute the loss of the New World's "Second Paradise" to white

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34 woman's arrival. Such an imputation of guilt, of cou rse, takes us back to Adam and Eve, and we begin to see how the identification made between woman and emotions serves male interest by allowing men to relieve themselves of guilt that is rightfully their own. To experience emotions that are not one's own is a fundamental part of the female experience in a patriarchal world. While the conscious reason Annie turns herself in is to protect herself from George and the violence she sees as inherent to the patriarchal world, unconsciously she is internalizing George's guilt. Yet, as Annie's letter to Sadie proves, this internalization is never complete; Annie never actually believes that she killed Simon. It is only, however, by replacing this guilt on its rightful owner that Annie can free herself from cont inuing to experience it. This is accomplished, to some degree, by Annie's letter to Sadie, which is perhaps why she goes through such great lengths to send it. But it becomes clear that Annie views a face to face meeting with George as the only real way to relieve herself of feelings of guilt and victimization that are not her own. The final document comprising "A Wilderness Station" jumps forward again in time, this time to 1959. This document is also a letter, written by Christina Mullen, the daughter of the family that Annie went to work for as a seamstress after leaving the County Gaol. Christina writes this letter for a university historian who is writing a biography on the politician Treece Herron, George Herron's grandson. Annie and Geor ge are no longer the central focus of this narrative, but in it we receive much detail regarding Annie's life after she left the jail. The events the letter is concerned with take

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35 place in 1907, and Christina gives the impression that Annie had been with the Mullen family a long time prior, implying that she did not remain incarcerated very long. Annie, called "Old Annie" by the Mullen family, is known for being an eccentric who makes up stories, although the reader recognizes that these are chronological rearrangements of her own life. In one example, Annie manipulates the story of her escape from George Herron and the wilderness to better resemble the traditional wilderness narrative, in which a male protagonist escapes societal restraints and instituti ons by running off to the wilderness: Sometimes Old Annie called the Gaol the Home. She said that a girl in the next bed screamed and screamed, and that was why she Annie ran away and lived in the woods. She said the girl had been beaten for letting th e fire go out. Why were you in jail, we asked her, and she would say, "I told a fib!" (217) Annie also tells small lies on a regular basis, such as when she tells Christina that she "can't write," although both the reader and Christina know this not to be true (218). We can infer from Annie's manipulations of reality that she is still taking some degree of refuge in storytelling, although she does not confuse her stories with reality, as both Carrington and characters in "A Wilderness Station" believe. "I f they think I am crazy and I know the difference," Annie writes to Sadie, then "I am safe" (215). Howells points out how Annie becomes "a kind of Scheherazade figure" who uses her storytelling abilities to keep herself safe (128). By refusing to subscri be to either black and white notions of the truth or a linear chronological narrative, Annie resists the

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36 patriarchal historical narrative, which depends upon the accuracy and logic of its claims, all while protecting herself under the guise of, at first, i nsanity, and later, eccentricity. Annie's ability to tell stories and see the truth in new ways arises from the "narrative habits" (Nussbaum 427) she begins to develop back in 1852, on the night where she learned to use her emotional understanding of ano ther to interpret his motivations and relieve him of his pain. The main event of Christina's 1959 letter is a day trip she takes with Annie out to the Herron farmhouse to visit George. The trip is Annie's idea, inspired by Christina's recent purchase of a Stanley Steamer car. Christina is surprised by Annie's request to go out in the car since she rarely leaves the house. But she agrees to take her, despite the fact that Annie provides no information about whom they are going to visit, other than to say they are her "relatives" (218). Upon their arrival at the Herron farmhouse, we learn that George Herron, while still alive, can no longer talk, due to an unspecified, recent illness. Treece Herron expresses regret that Annie and Christina hadn't come just a few months earlier, when George had been clear headed enough to write an article about his "early days" in Carstairs for the local paper (the same one from the beginning of "A Wilderness Station) (221). Annie goes out to sit with George on the porc h anyway: He had a beautiful full white beard reaching down to the bottom of his waistcoat. He did not seem interested in us. He had a long, pale obedient face. Old Annie said, "Well, George," as if this was about what she had expected. She sat on the o ther chair and said to one of

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37 the little girls, "Now bring me a cushion. Bring me a thin kind of cushion and put it at my back." (223) The adjective "obedient" is an interesting choice, as it implies a dynamic between Annie and George reminiscent of the o ne they had in 1853, when George "obediently" accepted Annie's camouflaged version of events. At this point, the narrative breaks away from Annie and George, as Christina goes off to flirt with Treece Herron. When she comes back to the porch, both Annie and George have fallen asleep. Munro's decision to deny the reader an account of this last exchange between Annie and George may seem frustrating at first, until we realize that we already have all the information we need to discern what transpires betwe en them. The fact that Christina finds them both asleep contrasts this scene directly with the one that takes place in 1853, when Annie lulls the tortured George to sleep and lies awake by herself. In the more recent exchange, Annie has clearly relieved herself of George's guilt, just as she took it on before. This idea is stressed further in the last line of "A Wilderness Station," a quotation from Annie to Christina: "I did used to have the terriblest dreams" (225). The significance of this line lies in it being in the past tense; Annie makes it clear that she is no longer having the nightmares that George himself could not have. As Christina and Annie leave the Herron farm, Christina remarks to Annie that it is too bad that George wasn't able to talk to her. "Well, I could talk to him," Annie responds (225). So Annie was talking to George before they fell asleep, and it takes no great leap to infer what she was talking about. As they sit on the porch, out of earshot of the reader, Annie narrates fo r George her version of the events surrounding

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38 Simon's death. The reader does not need to hear this as she already has, back in Annie's letter to Sadie. But unlike the letter, this narration is structured for a male listener. And George is the only male listener throughout "A Wilderness Station" who does not who, in fact, cannot, since as he can no longer speak interrupt or contradict Annie's version of events. By retelling the story of Simon's death, Annie reassigns the adult George his own feelings o f guilt and victimization, which she relieved him of when he was a boy of fourteen. The fact that George is still able to fall asleep after this reassignment takes place, however, demonstrates that these feelings no longer have the power that they once di d. This is because Annie has not simply served as an empty repository, sheltering George's feelings until she could retransfer them; she has actually been feeling them for him, wringing them of their power and using them up. Annie's actions could be viewe d in a negative light. By taking on the responsibility of George's guilt, it may seem she has failed to act compassionately in terms of recognizing another's emotion as that of another. But as I have shown, Annie demonstrates that she has not failed to r ealize that she did not actually kill Simon, and that George's guilt is not actually her own. Annie takes on the emotions that George Herron rejects and, in the process, frees herself from a restrictive patriarchal society which considers emotions to be f eminine domain. Similarly, the reader who takes on the emotions of Annie Herron comes to understand the mystery of "A Wilderness Station" and, in the process, frees herself from a model of reading which places her at the mercy of a single narrative perspe ctive.

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39 In his refusal to take on that which is his to be felt, George ends up losing his capacity for communication. It is significant that the illness that renders him mute comes so shortly after his retelling of the false account of his brother's deat h in the Carstairs' Argus; it is almost as if his repeated denial of his own emotions is what robs him of his ability to speak Conversely, Annie, in her receptiveness to the emotional world, gains a voice, but if and only if the reader grants it to her b y taking her story seriously.

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40 Emotional Detective Work in "Open Secrets" [The detective story's] analysis constitutes part of the analysis of Baudelaire's own work, despite the fact that Baudelaire wrote no stories of this type. Les Fl eurs du Mal incorporates three of its decisive elements as disjecta membra: the victim and the scene of the crime ("Une Martyre'), the murderer ("Le vin de l'assasin"), and the masses ("Le Crepuscule du soir"). The fourth element is lacking the one that p ermits the intellect to break through this emotion laden atmosphere. Baudelaire wrote no detective story because, given the structure of his drives, it was impossible for him to identify with the detective. In him, the calculating, constructive element w as on the side of the asocial and had become an integral part of cruelty. Walter Benjamin, The Writer of Modern Life (74) The title story of Open Secrets appears, on the surface, to be much like a traditional detective story. Its narrative centers on th e same three of the genre's "decisive elements" that Benjamin identifies as scattered fragments in Baudelaire (the victim/scene of crime, murderer, and masses). Yet the mystery of "Open Secrets" cannot be solved in the conventional manner of detective sto ries, which is, as Benjamin points out, the intellect's penetration of an "emotion laden atmosphere." The legal and judicial systems, traditional bastions of the intellect, prove inadequate venues for solving, or even discussing, the mystery with which th e story is concerned. Solutions, rather, lie in the heart of the "emotion laden atmosphere" itself, in feelings and connections made between characters and across plotlines. The story's protagonist, Maureen Stephens, functions as a kind of anti detectiv e figure: Rather than intellectually breaking down the story's clues, Maureen emotionally internalizes them. Rather than scouring the outside world for evidence, she remains within the confines of her house. Yet despite Maureen's divergence from the conv entional detective role, she solves the mystery of teenager Heather Bell's disappearance.

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41 However, because Maureen comes upon truth through a subjective and emotional process, she lacks the language to communicate her findings in the context of an objectiv e, rational law. Additionally, to communicate the truth she has uncovered would entail marking herself as a victim in the eyes of a law that mistrusts and condemns female victims. Maureen thus remains silent about her findings, and Heather Bell's murder is never solved within the context of "Open Secrets." The role of detective then falls to the reader, who must find the language to communicate the truth Maureen cannot. In "A Different Track: Feminist Meta Narrative in Munro's Friend of my Youth, G ayle Elliot writes that the narrative process that uncovers truth in Munro's fiction is one that "renders experience into speech, or as Norman Friedman puts it objectifies the subjective" (79). This movement from the subjective to the objective is the sam e process Morwenna Griffiths refers to when she writes of "consciousness raising" (see Introduction (4). Griffiths alludes to Hester Eisenstein's feminist slogan, "the personal is political," to emphasize the "connections between the personal, private, in timate world of personal relationships and the public, social, political world of impersonal duties and rules" (134 5). "Open Secrets" illustrates this idea in two ways: First, to solve the crime that has been committed in the story's public sphere (again st Heather Bell and the law), the reader must recognize a similar crime taking place in the private sphere (the home and marriage of Maureen Stephens). Second, in doing so, the reader realizes that the personal stories of the characters in "Open Secrets" have political implications: by exposing the emotional similarities between disparate instances of

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42 sexual aggression, Munro views sexual violation from a woman's perspective, rather than from the perspective of a patriarchal law that imposes technical divi sions in order to categorize rape As we come to understand the emotions connecting the characters of "Open Secrets," we realize that the "calculating, constructive element," represented by the legal system and conventionally harnessed to solve mysterie s, has become, like in Baudelaire, "asocial." In other words, the imposition of objective definition onto subjective experience the reverse process of consciousness raising leads not only to a diminished understanding of truth, but also to cruelty. T he time is 1965, in Carstairs, Ontario, and a teenager named Heather Bell has gone missing on a "Canadian Girls in Training" (C.G.I.T.) camping trip to Peregrine Falls. Maureen first learns of Heather's disappearance from her husband's cousin, Frances, th e family housekeeper and town gossip. The gossip shared by women in domestic spaces plays a key role in the present day narrative of "Open Secrets," in which Maureen does not enter the outside world or public sphere. Rather, the outside world comes to he r, on a wave of female voices. This idea is embodied in a rhyming poem about Heather Bell interspersed throughout the story. The final stanza reads: So of Heather Bell we will sing our song As we will till our day is done. In the forest green she was ta ken from the scene Though her life had barely begun. (156)

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43 The poem, written by an anonymous author within forty eight hours of Heather's disappearance, has been passed from woman to woman in Carstairs: Frances brings it to Maureen's house already "typed o ut" and tries to read it aloud, although Maureen claims she is not interested (157). The stanzas interspersed throughout the narrative of "Open Secrets" are reminiscent of the chorus' role in a Greek tragedy; the poem represents the opinions of the facele ss masses and emphasizes the tragic nature of "Open Secrets." The female gossip that permeates the narrative of "Open Secrets" has been influenced by patriarchal assumptions and ideas. Because the men in the story have been silenced in either literal or symbolic ways, women, here, are the enforcers of patriarchal values. This is most evident in the judgments Frances passes on Heather Bell; her speculations about the teenager's disappearance emphasize a suspicious obsession with female sexuality over any sort of legitimate concern for the girl's safety. Frances believes Heather has run off with some man she arranged to meet before the camping trip. She relates a story she learned from her granddaughter, also a C.G.I.T. in which Heather Bell squirted the other C.G.I.T.s "in all the bad places" with a hose when the girls stopped to cool down at a farmhouse on their way to the falls (130). She goes on to disparage the character of Mrs. Bell, who she claims was away for the weekend on some kind of tryst (13 1), the implication, of course, being that Heather is taking after her mother. "They will try to make out she was some poor innocent," says Frances of Heather Bell, "but the facts are dead different" (130).

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44 Maureen, however, evinces little interest in the type of singular "fact" abundant in town gossip. 6 While Frances, in her speculations decontextualizes "facts" from the narrative surrounding them, in the process robbing them of their full meaning (this is especially evident in her comment about Heather squirting the other C.G.I.T.s with the hose; we later learn Heather wasn't the only one doing the squirting), Maureen incorporates "facts" into narrative. Rather than viewing Heather Bell as an adolescent temptress, Maureen, a former C.G.I.T., identifie s with her and the other girls: she "had been one of them, twenty or so years ago" (131; emphasis mine). Maureen's association of her own experience with Heather Bell's allows her to fill in the gaps in the town gossip, to have a vivid, sensory vision of the C.G.I.T. camping trip and scene of the crime, rather than just an abstract, fragmented understanding. The account of the camping trip shifts back and forth in tense and perspective, so that Maureen's experiences as a C.G.I.T. mingle with those of Hea ther Bell and her friends: Miss Johnstone had taken them on a half mile hike before breakfast, as she always did, to climb the Rock the chunk of limestone that jutted out over the Peregrine River. [...] On Sunday morning, you always had to do that hike, do pey as you were from trying to stay awake all night and half sick from smoking smuggled cigarettes. Shivering, too, because the sun wouldn't have reached deep into the woods yet. [] [Miss Johnstone] would pull [up a 6 The challenge Maureen faces in taking Carstairs' gossip with a grain of salt is a common one for the Munrovian protagonist, who often must defend a rich inner world from the prying eyes of a reductive small town curiosity. In "Open Secrets," town gossip turn s out to be a major red herring, distracting both character and reader alike from the mystery's key clues.

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45 piece of wild ginger] and nibble it. [ ] Look what nature provides us. I forgot my sweater, Heather said when they were halfway up. Can I go back and catch up. (134) Maureen's understanding of Heather Bell's character and experience is not "obtained at the sudden apprehension of a single, un itary Truth, but through participation in a narrative process" (Elliot 79). The relationships she recognizes are metonymic ones, "based on association, connection, proximity," and requiring "an entire context to be understood" (Houston 82). Unlike France s, who takes one "fact" to be representative of another truth, Maureen integrates the story's constituent elements both with one another, and with her own memories and experiences. To understand the fuller implications of Munro's strategy here, it is u seful to consider how contemporary theory forms the relationship between metonymy and metaphor. In her article on metonymy in Munro's story "Meneseteung," writer Pam Houston uses the work of Lacan to explore the ways that gender influences our recognition of metaphorical and/or metonymic connections. Alluding to Jane Gallop's Reading Lacan, she writes that metaphor's verticality has caused it to be associated with freedom, while metonymy's reliance on its context has associated it with servitude. Metaph or assumes an independence, while metonymy assumes a dependency, and with the dependency, an incompleteness in itself, an absence or lack. (Houston 82)

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46 Earlier, Houston associates masculine intelligence with metaphor and feminine intelligence with metonymy The inference I make from this association, although Houston does not actually state this, 7 is that because women are taught that our value depends on our relationships with men, and that we are not complete unto ourselves, we become more skilled in thi nking in contextual, relationship based (i.e., metonymic) terms. This idea is especially relevant in the case of Maureen who is enmeshed in an abusive marriage, meaning that her sense of independence and self sufficiency have been diminished to miniscule proportions. Perhaps the association of metonymy with dependency, then, goes some way in explaining why Maureen seems to exist in a state of metonymic hyper awareness. Throughout "Open Secrets," she weaves together seemingly disparate narratives into a m ulti layered story and reveals herself to be acutely aware of the stories behind vague external signs (a.k.a., "facts" or clues). Frances, in contrast, seems to succumb to what Lacan, in explaining why metaphor has been studied more than metonymy, calls "the eternal temptation [] to consider what is most apparent in a phenomenon [as that which] explains everything" (qtd. Houston 83). She shows little interest in narrative and context, but rather, evinces "a masculine tendency to name and make one word stand for another" (Houston 83) (Mrs. Bell=slut; Mrs. Bell=Heather; Heather=slut). Munro contrasts Frances' substitutive way of looking at the world with Maureen's narrative based way at 7 My one problem with Houston's article, which is otherwise excellent and instrumental to this thesis, is that I do not feel she adequately emphasi zes the socially constructed nature of her gender intelligence division. This is a common problem, I feel, in theory that focuses too much on phallic symbolism: it is too easily interpreted as reinforcement for essentialist/biological notions of gender di fference.

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47 the beginning of "Open Secrets" in order to set up an opposition tha t will become important later in the story. The connection between Maureen and Heather Bell is based not simply on the structural relationship between their narratives: the fact that both were Canadian Girls in Training who went on trips to Peregrine Fa lls. It is based also on an emotional relationship, on a loss of self that Maureen perceives herself as having undergone in adolescence, which she now associates with Heather's disappearance. After reflecting on the games of Truth or Dare she and her fri ends used to play on C.G.I.T. camping trips when she was a girl, Maureen makes a telling connection between herself and Heather Bell: [Maureen] remembered how noisy she had been then. A shrieker, a dare taker. Just before she hit high school, a giddiness either genuine or faked or half and half became available to her. Soon it vanished, her bold body vanished inside this ample one, and she became a studious, shy girl, a blusher. She developed the qualities her husband would see and value when hiring and proposing. I dare you to run away. Was it possible? There are times when girls are inspired when they want the risks to go on and on. They want to be heroines, regardless. They want to take a joke beyond where anybody has ever taken it before. To be careless, dauntless, to create havoc that was the lost hope of girls. From the [] hassock at her husband's side she looked out at the old copper beech trees. [] She could imagine

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48 vanishing. But of course you didn't vanish and there was always the othe r person on a path to intersect yours and his head was full of plans for you even before you met. (139 40) In Reading Lacan, Jane Gallop writes that, "in the metonymic dimension, the signifier can receive its complete signification only aprs coup (by defe rred action, after the fact)" (qtd. Houston 82). This idea is evident in the above three paragraphs; each paragraph depends on the paragraph after it to develop its full and nuanced meaning. These metonymic connections are telling; Munro moves without ap parent explanation from Maureen's "hiring and proposing" husband to the italicized hiss of a dare: I dare you to run away. Who is daring whom? The obvious implication is one of Heather's friends, daring Heather, but could this also be Maureen daring herse lf? And then, "the lost hope of girls" moves to a "hassock at her husband's side." Does the gleeful Maureen of the first paragraph seem like a woman who would ever find herself sitting on a hassock, let alone at her invalid husband's side? And finally, is the "he" the "she" encounters in the third paragraph an interloper on Heather's path, or Maureen's? In response to this last question, I would like to turn to Maureen's husband, who fits the description of this interloper fairly accurately. His head w as certainly full of plans for Maureen before they met: Maureen met Alvin Stephens (whose first name is only given once throughout the story; everyone in Carstairs calls him "Lawyer Stephens") when he hired her as a secretary for his law office. He was a generation older than her and married at the time, but after the death of his wife, Maureen "graduated (as both she and [her husband put it])" from running his office to "running his house" (133).

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49 Maureen is known throughout the town of Carstairs for ha ving made a "lucky marriage" (134). However, we come to learn that her place in her marriage has always been a definitively subordinated one, although the way this subordination has manifested itself has changed for the worse after her husband's stroke. Prior to the stroke, Lawyer Stephens ended all sexual relations with Maureen after a miscarriage that forced her to have her tubes tied: It seemed that he had been mostly obliging her, because he felt that it was wrong to deny a woman the chance to have a child. Sometimes, she would pester him a little and he would say, "Now, Maureen. What's this all about?" Or else he would tell her to grow up. [] His saying that humiliated her, and her eyes would fill with tears. He was a man who detested tears ab ove all things. (154 5) After the stroke, Maureen thinks it would be "a relief to have that state of affairs back again" (155). Whereas before Lawyer Stephens' sexuality was repressed, it is now uncontrollable, violent and animalistic: Now his eyes woul d cloud over and his face would seem weighed down. He would speak to her in a curt and menacing way and sometimes push and prod her, even trying to jam his fingers into her from behind. She did not need any of that to make her hurry she was anxious to ge t him into the bedroom as soon as possible, afraid that he might misbehave elsewhere. (155) Maureen spends her time in bed with her husband in pain and humiliation, worried that Frances might hear his "bullying," "pounding of her" and the command that

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50 woul d "perhaps be incoherent to anybody but Maureen but that would still speak eloquently, like lavatory noises, of his extremity" (155). The command is for Maureen to "talk dirty," which she does "try" to do. She wants "above all else to help him along." A fter these incidents, "Maureen often had to hang onto the banisters, she felt so hollow and feeble. And she had to keep her mouth closed not on any howls of protest but on a long sickening whimper of complaint that would made her sound like a beaten dog" (156). The comparison made between Maureen and a dog emphasizes the way in which her subjectivity has been degraded by her marriage. She has been reduced to a less than human status by her husband's refusal to acknowledge her personhood and desire in h is sexual withholding, pre stroke, and in his repeated acts of marital rape, post stroke. Maureen's metonymic association of her degraded subjectivity with Heather Bell's sense of agency helps to erode a dichotomy between agents and victims that often wor ks against the latter; as we see in Frances' comments, her perception of Heather as an agent of her fate prevents her from feeling sympathy. Philosopher Martha Nussbuam criticizes this "stark and binary choice," common "in American society today," in whic h we are forced to choose "between regarding people as agents and regarding them as victims." The starkness of this choice is related to the absence of narrative around its two conflicting terms; "agent" and "victim" are presented as static opposites, rat her than as metonymically connected categories. Nussbaum, unsurprisingly, advocates that we reintegrate these words by paying more attention to the narratives connecting them; she uses Greek tragedy as an example of a medium in

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51 which "agency and victimhoo d are not [viewed as] incompatible." Rather, in Greek tragedy, it is "only the capacity for agency [that] makes victimhood tragic" (406). I have already mentioned one aspect of "Open Secrets" (the chorus like poem) that resembles something out of Greek tragedy; here, now, is another: Heather Bell functions as a direct counterpart to Maureen's passivity, at least, the Heather Bell pre disappearance. She is the embodiment of agency, identified, as we have seen, with Maureen's adolescent self, the giddy, noisy "shrieker [and] daretaker." Heather Bell serves as a reminder of what Maureen has lost in her womanhood/victimhood and of why, exactly, that victimhood is tragic: [Heather's] displayed photograph will fade in public places. Its tight lipped smile, bitten in at one corner as if suppressing a disrespectful laugh, will seem to be connected with her disappearance rather than a mockery of the school photographer. There will always be a tiny suggestion, in that, of her own free will. (159) Indeed, "Open Secrets" is a tragedy: it contains a tragic curse, passed down from generation to generation. Although Heather's photograph preserves that "tiny suggestion" of "free will," Heather herself no longer does. Maureen's loss of agency and self have become Hea ther's. Whether Heather's path was intercepted after she decided to run away, or while she was simply walking back to camp to get her sweater, we know that it was, and by someone whose head was already full of plans

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52 What happened to Heather Bell? We nev er find out exactly, as her body is never found and Maureen never reports what she realizes to the authorities (or anyone else). But we do receive enough information in the story to infer who was responsible for her death. This information is derived fro m another compassionate glimpse Maureen has into a life that is not her own. The day after Maureen learns of Heather Bell's disappearance, a woman from town named Marian, and her husband, Theo Slater, come to call on Lawyer Stephens. Maureen Stephens' an d Marian Slater's similar sounding names are no accident on the part of Munro, as is apparent thanks to an earlier draft of the story published in The New Yorker. 8 In this earlier version, Marian's name is Evelyn (Carrington "Talking Dirty" 6). Munro has thus consciously decided to change Marian's name to something closer to Maureen in order to encourage an association between their characters. 9 There is also a cross association between Theo Slater and Alvin Stephens' names (the "t" of Theo is reflected in "Stephens," like the "a" of Alvin is in "Slater"), which creates a connection between their characters. The reason for these connections will soon become apparent. Although Lawyer Stephens has given up his practice since his stroke, he still has a few people who call on him to "ask about the Law," and Maureen is often needed at these meetings to interpret her husband's slurred speech (141). The Stephens and the Slaters sit down at the kitchen table, where Marian Slater immediately launches into an 8 The New Yorker holds first publication rights to Munro's work, meaning that many of her stories are published in the magazine prior to being collected in book form. 9 The characters' names also, of course, have a similar ring to Munro's own, which emphasizes, as with Annie in "A Wilderness Station," their narrative based perception of the world.

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53 excessively detailed story that begins on Sunday, the day of Heather Bell's disappearance. She goes on in great detail about a boil she was nursing at the time, about her husband's various chores that day (taking salt out to the cows, mending a fence), ab out his decision not to take the dog, etc. (144). The excesses of Marian's account are immediately suspicious to a reader familiar with Munro, who prefers, as I pointed out in my Introduction, narratives that say "too little" to those that say "too much" (Intro. 7). Marian's story focuses on details to a tyrannical degree, evincing a refusal to leave anything up to the imagination of her listeners, or the reader. Her mistrust of us causes us to mistrust her. As Nabokov's Humbert Humbert remarks in the b eginning of his confession: "You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style" ( Lolita 9). Marian, however, is no murderer; she is just speaking for one. Theo Slater is silent and visibly uncomfortable throughout her report. At first, Mauree n attributes this to him being embarrassed by his wife, but as she watches more carefully, she notices something else: "Something flashed in his face a tic, a nerve jumping in one cheek. [Marian] was watching him in spite of her antics, and her look said, Hold on. Be still" (148). Marian seems to be talking for her husband, a dynamic familiar to Maureen, who talks "for" Lawyer Stephens in both business and the bedroom. But interestingly, at this point, Maureen is also identifying with Theo, who is being controlled by his wife in a manner comparable to how Lawyer Stephens controls Maureen. According to Marian's story, on Sunday, she was in bed with a boil while Theo

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54 was out working on their property. She fell asleep and was awakened by the dog barkin g (144 145). She went downstairs and opened the door and there was Mr. Siddicup, a somewhat tragic town figure whom Maureen knows. Formerly "a dignified, sarcastic little Englishman," misfortune began to befall him after a surgery for throat cancer, whic h left him without a larynx. His wife died shortly afterwards, and Mr. Siddicup has since become "a morose and rather disgusting old urchin" who neglects to bathe or wash his clothes, and decorates the interior of his house with his dead wife's underwear (146; 152). People in Carstairs are still kindly to him, however, and Marian was not surprised to see him at her door as he sometimes came by to request a cigarette (147). Mr. Siddicup, however, seemed to want something else that morning. He was wild eye d and frantic looking, zigzagging around the yard, and making unintelligible noises (147). Finally, he went to the water pump and drenched himself, lifting "one arm back in the general direction of the bush and the river pointing and making noises" (149 ). Marian says the gestures meant little to her at the time, as she did not yet know about Heather Bell's disappearance, but upon find out about it on Monday, she began thinking about those girls, coming in with Miss Johnstone on Saturday morning wanting a drink. [] [Theo] let them play with the hose, they jumped around and squirted each other and had a great time. They were trying to skip the streams of water and they were a bit on the wild side. [] He had to practically wrestle the hose away from them and give them a few squirts of water to make them

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55 behave. (151) This, of course, is the rest of the story Frances heard from her granddaughter. Marian ostensibly mentions it to highlight the maturity and the purity of Theo's intentions in relation to th e girls, but Frances' account has already planted an enduring suggestion of lewdness in the story, and Marian's exaggerated attempt to highlight its innocence ends up only marking her husband, rather than Heather Bell, as the perpetrator of that lewdness. (Note the ambiguous placement of the word "practically.") Although Marian's story is not, on its own, enough information to solve the mystery of Heather Bell's disappearance, I would like to state now what I believe happened to Heather, so that I can b etter continue my discussion of how Munro allows the reader to come to this understanding. I believe that Theo Slater first encountered Heather and the other C.G.I.T.s on Saturday, when they stopped by his house on their way to Peregrine Falls. Whether o r not he singled Heather out is ambiguous; Marian claims he did not know which girl she was, but this seems another attempt on her part to preemptively direct suspicion away from him (151). Regardless, he played with the girls and the hose in a manner tha t, as we have seen, suggests lewdness. Then, on Sunday, when the girls were taking their hike, he set off in the direction of the river, either with the intention of meeting them again, or of simply putting salt out for the cows. When he crossed paths wi th Heather Bell, alone, on her way back to camp, the desire awakened the day before took over. Whether or not Theo meant to kill Heather Bell is an unanswerable question, but at some point, he did make the decision to sexually violate her. And at some po int during that violation, Mr. Siddicup saw them, then hurried to the Slater house to try to inform Marian of what her husband was

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56 doing. Marian's story, in its attempt to supply her husband with an alibi and purity of intent, ends up, rather, connecti ng him to the victim, the scene of the crime, and a motive. She even makes a suggestion as to where Theo could have hidden Heather's body. While describing his job at the atomic energy plant, she offers this detail: "Even the rags he cleans off his boots with, they have to be buried underground" (152). It doesn't take a murderer to recognize that an underground repository of nuclear waste would be an ideal place to hide a body. So much, then, for "all inclusive" narratives! Marian's story embellishes every detail to the nth degree, leaving absolutely nothing out, and yet, as Ildiko de Papp Carrington recognizes, it is "not information, but disinformation" ("Talking dirty" 599). It is not, alone, enough to lead us to the truth; it supplies the facts, but the bridges between these facts are faulty. Maureen's sense of compassion and narrative abilities, however, allow her to fill in the gaps created by what is not said. We see this in the way she "reads" Theo's facial expression while Marian is telling his story, but more significantly, in a scene that occurs after the Slaters leave the Stephens' house. When Marian finishes her story, Lawyer Stephens tells her that she and Theo should go to the police because he thinks her story is "information," "not accusation" (152). Maureen, "not quite satisfied," watches the Slaters leave from a window on the stair landing. They turn in the direction of the police station, but then stop to sit down on the wall of a cemetery across the street: They didn't talk, or look at each other, but seemed united, as if taking a rest in the midst of hard shared labors. []

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57 Now Marian took out some pins and carefully lifted off her hat. [] She set it in her lap and her husband reached over. He took it away, as if anxious to take away anything that might be a burden to her. He settled it in his lap. He bent over and started to stroke it, in a comforting way. He stroked that hat made of horrible brown feathers as if he were pacifying a little scared hen. But Marian stopped him. She said something to him, she clamped a hand down on his. The way a mother might interrupt the carrying on of a simple minded child with a burst of abhorrence, a moment's break in her tired out love. (154 5) Seeing this, Maureen feels "a shock," "a shrinking in her bones" (155). Her husband then calls her into his bedroom and rapes her. This type of violation being a commonplace in her life, she is able to think of other things throughout it, including a custard she plans to make when he finishe s. But at the height of her husband's "rampage, she [thinks] of the fingers moving in the feathers, the wife's hand laid on top of the husband's, pressing down" (156). Maureen is beginning to make a connection here that is still not entirely clear. Som ehow, she is associating her victimization at the hands of her husband with something she glimpsed in that moment of candor between the Slaters. But what is the connection? In her article on the story, Ildiko de Papp Carrington makes an excellent argumen t for a parallel reading of "Open Secrets" and John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men with Theo's character corresponding to Steinbeck's Lennie Small. George Milton speaks for the mentally retarded Lennie as Marian speaks for Theo, "scowl[ing]

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58 meaningfully at" him to keep him quiet in a way that recalls the look Marian shoots her husband to keep him "still" ("Talking Dirty 3). Although Munro gives no indication that Theo is mentally retarded, upon meeting him, Maureen notices "a look of strain and dryness, or bewilderment" in his eyes, and thinks that, "perhaps, he [is] not very bright" (142). George and Lennie's interdependent mode of communication arouses the ranch hand's son's suspicion in a way comparable to how Theo and Marian Slater arouse Maureen's ("Ta lking Dirty" 3). And in the most obvious connection between the two narratives, there is Theo's "sensuous stroking" of Marian's hat. Carrington points out that Marian's "immediate revulsion against this 'carrying on' identify Theo's behavior as not only 'simple minded' but also overtly sexual" (4). Lennie Small, similarly, takes sensual pleasure in "stroking soft things: mice, rabbits, newborn puppies, pieces of velvet, and women's hair and clothes" (4). Because of Lennie's size and fervor, however, he often unintentionally kills the animals he strokes, and in the novel's final, tragic scene, he inadvertently breaks the neck of the ranch hand's daughter while stroking her hair. If we read the final scene of Of Mice and Men as connected to the missing scene from "Open Secrets," which documents what transpired between Theo Slater and Heather Bell, Theo's desire becomes associated with Lennie Small's childish surrender to sensory pleasure. We are able to envisage a scenario in which Theo comes across Hea ther in the woods, succumbs to his sexual desire, and then kills her, either accidentally or because, having violated her, he feels that he has to. Both Lennie's murder of the ranch owner's daughter and Theo's murder of Heather Bell can be read

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59 as instanc es of the body ruling the mind. But this sets up an over simplified, hierarchical relationship between the mind and body that I do not believe Munro intends, and it is Lawyer Stephens' presence in the story that complicates this hierarchy. Lawyer Stephen s demonstrates that the intellect, alone, is insufficient for controlling bodily impulse. This idea is illustrated, partly, in his personal conflict between the mind and body, in the way he totally represses his sexuality prior to his stroke, and then swi ngs to the opposite end of the spectrum after it. But the mind's failure to control the body is also illustrated in the failure of the Law, intellect embodied, to prevent Alvin Stephens from raping his wife. In her article on Munro's The Lives of Girls a nd Women, Janet Beer writes that "Munro is charting the decline of the male language and the paucity or inadequacy of the masculine word" (129). We see this idea in Lawyer Stephens' slurred speech: he can no longer communicate without the help of Maureen' s feminine voice. But the masculine word proves itself to be doubly inadequate here. Not only does the language of the Law fail to communicate truth, it fails, also, to serve as a reliable social authority. Although Lawyer Stephens is brutally raping Ma ureen, because they are married, the Law would not recognize what he is doing as such. 10 10 A brief history of legislation concerning marital rape: In Canada prior to the 1980s, husbands were granted immunity against prosecution for spousa l rape. Now, spouses can be prosecuted for sexual assault, which is a different, and less severe, charge than rape. Prior to the 1960s, the United States preserved a historical doctrine that stated that it was impossible for a husband to rape his wife. Only since 1993 has marital rape been considered a crime in all fifty U.S. states, with North Carolina being the last state to remove a statute of spousal immunity. In seven states, marital rape is considered a separate crime from rape, carrying stricter criteria for prosecution and lighter sentences. Several states will only prosecute marital rape if it was accompanied by significant force, often meaning with a weapon (while non

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60 The name Lawyer Stephens is a metonym in itself, which represents the way that Alvin Stephens, prior to his stroke, has come to embody the Law. His metonymic monike r suggests that he is no longer associated with his individual, emotional, or human qualities, but rather, functions as the personification of intellect and objectivity (and when the intellect breaks down, with pure bodily, animalistic lust). The Law assu mes that pure objectivity should be sufficient to ensure truth and morality, but as we see here, it is not. Split entirely between the influence of mind and of body, Lawyer Stephens lacks the mediating, emotional, human influence that would allow him to r ecognize Maureen's subjectivity and desire (or lack thereof). Martha Nussbaum writes that "political systems are human, and they are only good if they are alive in a human way" (404). A Law that strives for absolute objectivity and rationality is not a L aw that meets this description. Maureen is, literally, being raped by the Law. As Maureen begins to make her custard, she thinks of a story that Miss Johnstone, the leader of the C.G.I.T. troop, tells the girls every year about a religious vision she had when she was a girl with polio (157). Maureen dismisses Miss Johnstone as "crazy," but starts considering moments she sometimes has in her own life where she sees things that "seem to be part of another life that she is leading, a life just as long an d complicated and strange and dull," but not her own (158). Upon having this thought, Maureen has a vision: marital sex offense laws usually refer to lack of consent rather than use of force), or if a husband and wife are living separately. ( http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbName=DocumentViewer&DocumentID=3270 ; 2007)

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61 She sees one of those thick fingered hands that pressed into her tablecloth and that had worked among the feathers, and it is pressed down, unresis tingly, but by someone else's will it is pressed down on the open burner of the stove where she is stirring the custard in the double boiler, and held there just for a second or two, just long enough to scorch the flesh on the red coil, to scorch but not t o maim. In silence this is done, and by agreement a brief and barbaric necessary act. (158) This is a vision, as Coral Ann Howells puts it, of "a guilt acknowledged" (123). It is a vision that has arisen, once again, from emotional connections Maureen m akes between separate narrative strands. But these connections are complex and multiple, not simple substitutions. The vision of the hand pressed against the burner is partly a revenge fantasy, representing Maureen's desire to punish her husband for his sexual abuse. In Enchanted Maidens, James Taggart writes of the symbolic significance of female characters punishing men for sexual transgressions by violence done to their hands: "The maiden's disfigurement of the thief's hand is undoubtedly a reference to castration and appears in a number of maiden and thieves stories by women (63). Munro is alluding to a long narrative tradition in which the disfigurement of hands contains this kind of sexual symbolism. But Maureen's vision may also be a guilt fan tasy in which she perceives her sexual desire as something that needs to be punished. It is important to remember that even though Maureen is being victimized, she is still a sexual being with desires that are not being met. Her husband's violent denial of her subjectivity has forced her to

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62 repress these desires, so that she feels guilty for being sexual at all. The fact, however, that the hand Maureen sees pressed on the burner is Theo Slater's, rather than her own or her husband's, forges an assoc iation that allows us to solve the mystery of Heather Bell's disappearance. Theo Slater's "guilt acknowledged" is herein associated with both Lawyer Stephen's sexual abuse of his wife and with Maureen's repressed sexuality. By incorporating Theo's feelin gs of guilt and repression with the facts provided by his wife's narrative, we are able to piece together the story that assigns him responsibility for Heather Bell's death. By connecting these two instances of sexual aggression within her story, Munro in the words of Catharine MacKinnon, "reunifies" the "divisions that have been imposed upon that aggression by the legal system," and directs the reader's attention, instead, towards the similarities in the experiences of women who have been violated (Ma cKinnon 85). The mystery of "Open Secrets" cannot be solved unless the reader recognizes Theo Slater's violation of Heather Bell as related to Lawyer Stephens' violation of Maureen, although the law, in 1965, would choose to view these violations as unrela ted. Here lies one implication of the title "Open Secrets:" The Stephens' marriage is open to the world, lawfully recognized, yet sheltering shame, violence, and crime. MacKinnon believes the reunification of instances of sexual aggression is one of th e first steps towards legally redefining rape from a woman's perspective. She attributes sexual inequality in part to the fact that "the definition of rape is not based on [a woman's] sense of [her] violation" (82): The crime of rape this is a legal and o bserved, not a subjective,

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63 individual, or feminist definition is defined around penetration. This seems to me a very male point of view on what it means to be sexually violated. [] This is Rape as defined according to what men think violates women. [] T he crime of rape focuses more centrally on what men define as sexuality than on women's experience of our sexual being. [] Finders of fact look for more force than usual during the preliminaries.' Rape is defined by distinction from intercourse -not nonv iolence, intercourse. They ask, does this act look more like fucking or like rape. But what is their standard for sex and is this question asked from the woman's point of view? (MacKinnon 87 88) I want to draw your attention to the vocabulary distincti ons MacKinnon makes here. Terms denoting objectivity and separation ("finders of fact, "define," "distinction") are contrasted to those related to subjectivity and feeling ("sense," "individual," "experience"), emphasizing the way a woman's subjective ex perience and feeling are relegated to a category outside the "legally provable" (88). MacKinnon, however, argues that subjective experience and feeling are precisely what define rape. The problem, therefore, becomes one of language. By invalidating subj ective language, patriarchal law denies the perspective of a subordinated population: "When you are powerless, you don't just speak differently. A lot, you don't speak. Your speech is not just differently articulated; it is silenced" (MacKinnon 39). Wom en are literally denied the words they need to communicate their feelings of violation.

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64 This idea goes far in explaining Maureen's ultimate silence. Although she knows who murdered Heather Bell, she has no way to communicate this knowledge, or the meth od with which she has come upon it. She maintains her silence for the rest of her life, meaning that Theo Slater is never brought to justice, and that Siddicup, the only suspect in the case (thanks to Marian Slater), is subjected to multiple humiliating a nd fruitless searches before being incarcerated in an insane asylum (159 60). The final paragraph of "Open Secrets" looks forward in time, to after Lawyer Stephens has died and Maureen has remarried: In kitchens hundreds and thousands of miles away, [Maur een will] watch the soft skin form on the back of a wooden spoon and her memory will twitch, but it will not quite reveal to her this moment when she seems to be looking into an open secret, something not startling until you think of trying to tell it. (1 60) We see here that Maureen will eventually disconnect herself from the vision she has at the stove in 1965. She will bury it, and although her memory will sometimes "twitch," she will not have access to this particular moment again. Her suppression of what she knows is a result of her inability to communicate what she knows. What is "startling" to Maureen is her encounter with this absence of language. The word "tell," in addition to being commonly used with the word "secret," carries the implication of telling on, as in tattling, or more formally, as in testifying in a court of law. Munro's use of the word "tell" emphasizes Maureen's recognition of the fact that her subjective, emotional realization cannot be communicated using the language of the ob jective, legal realm inhabited by her husband. Furthermore, the term "marital rape" does not

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65 exist in 1965, meaning that it would be difficult for Maureen to explain even to herself why her violation at the hands of her husband feels so similar to Heather 's at the hands of Theo Slater. Maureen's silence becomes what MacKinnon calls the "silence of a deep kind, the silence of being prevented from having anything to say." MacKinnon remarks that "sometimes, [this kind of silence] is permanent" (39). For M aureen, we see that it is.

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66 "Vandals" and the De romanticized Romantic Hero "[In this passage I was] trying to figure something out -and I may not have figured it out yet -about the kind of men many women, women like me, are drawn to. It has to do with "the highly romantic thing of falling in love with Heathcliff. [] You always think that Heathcliff is going to do you the honor of falling in love with you." What you may not realize is that "he probably doesn't want to be Heathcliff all that much anyway." Alice Munro (Humphreys) The "highly romantic" model Munro describes here is one that has interested her since her earliest days as a writer. Before the epiphany (described in my Introduction) that precipitated her growing interes t in the short story form, she was writing a novel based, in part, on Wuthering Heights (Miller "On Looking" 1). But Munro's disenchantment with her novel corresponded with a growing disenchantment with conventional literary models, and "Vandals" is perha ps the best example in Munro's oeuvre of her rejection of the tortured, Romantic hero. Munro's "Heathcliff" is a man named Ladner, an emotionally wounded and aloof war veteran living on a swamp just outside Carstairs, Ontario. In some ways, "Vandals" is a love story between Ladner and a woman named Bea Doud, but from the story's first word, Munro prevents the reader from becoming swept up in Bea and Ladner's dark romance. Munro structures "Vandals" so that it moves backwards in time, a decision that succ eeds in driving home the damage wrought by Ladner before his entrance into the narrative. By the time the reader gets to see Ladner close up, she is already alert to the damage he has done and thus views him with a coldly critical eye, rather than an open heart.

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67 In Labyrinth of Desire, Rosemary Sullivan explores the romantic appeal of Heathcliff, whom she describes as "a female fantasy" and "psychological [impossibility]:" He is a narcissistic man who treats life as if it owes him, violently takes what h e wants, and yet is honorable at the core. [] He is a man who brutalizes the world and yet is preternaturally faithful to one woman. In the real world, a man capable of marrying his beloved's sister in law out of contempt, strangling his wife's pet dog f or pleasure, and intentionally demeaning a child out of revenge would also be abusive towards his lover. (70) Sullivan gets at something important here, which Munro also confronts in "Vandals": the tension and correspondence between the fictional "demon lo ver," and the real life abuser. Sullivan quotes La Rochefoucauld in saying "that we pattern our love affairs after literary models," but emphasizes that "it's a great mistake to look for Heathcliff in the real world" (68; 71). In "Vandals," Munro refuses to add fuel to the fire of the Heathcliff fantasy; she presents Ladner as an unquestionable abuser, of not just Bea, but also of a young girl named Liza. Ladner's sexual violation of a young girl prevents even the most tender hearted reader from falling in love with him. He comes across as not just emotionally destructive, but also sexually repellent. "Vandals," like all the stories of Open Secrets requires work and involvement on the part of the reader. Ladner's sexual abuse of Liza is not immediatel y apparent; rather, it is possible to miss. But "Vandals," like "A Wilderness Station," is a story that

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68 centers around a question of motive, and to miss the sexual abuse aspect of the narrative is to render one of the story's main events utterly enigmatic To complete the meaning of the story, to transcend, as one does in "Open Secrets," its emotionally turbid mystery, the reader must trust the motives behind one of its female character's actions, must view Liza as a person, rather than a histrionic femin ine maelstrom, must ask the questions, "Why are you angry; why are you hurting; what happened to you?" For the reader who does this, "Vandals" offers more than enough by way of answers. Time in "Vandals" moves backwards in three sections The story, like "Open Secrets," exists in the "metonymic dimension," meaning that each of these sections attains its full significance only "aprs coup," or in context of the section that comes after (Gallop qtd. Houston 82). The first section is a never mailed lett er from Bea Doud to Liza. We learn from this letter that Bea's partner, Ladner, has unexpectedly died during heart bypass surgery, and that prior to this surgery, Bea had asked Liza to check on their house to make sure the water line was turned off. Liza apparently did so and called Bea to let her know that the house had been vandalized. Bea thanks Liza for informing her of this, and Liza's husband for boarding up the window through which the vandals entered the house (262 3). The rest of this section is the backstory of Bea's relationship with Ladner. The story's second section is the scene in which Liza and her husband, Warren, go to check on the water line. Almost immediately upon entering the house, Liza begins to vandalize it ruthlessly, emptying b ottles from the kitchen over the floors and

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69 furniture and destroying Ladner's taxidermied animals. Warren is baffled and made extremely uncomfortable by Liza's behavior, but he does not try to stop her, and eventually joins in a little on the destruction himself (280 2). The third section goes back to when Liza was a child and involves her and her brother Kenny's relationship with Ladner, their neighbor. Ladner has a property on a swamp that he has turned into an outdoor museum of sorts, dividing the lan d into sections representing different natural habitats and displaying his taxidermied animals. He calls it "Lesser Dismal" after the Greater Dismal swamp in the U.S. Liza and her brother spend every day playing on the Lesser Dismal, while the brusque, i ll natured Ladner teaches them about the natural world. When Bea comes onto the scene, Liza immediately adores her, looking up to her as a mother figure, as her own mother is dead. Both Ladner and Bea play clearly significant roles in Liza and Kenny's ch ildhoods; the children spend more time with the couple than they do with their own father. So why, the question is, does Liza vandalize Bea and Ladner's house? I would like to pause here to relate an anecdote involving my first reading of the story, and to talk about how that reading contrasted with that of another reader, who is male. In this thesis, I take the view that reading is a subjective experience and assert that it is only through subjective experiences that we learn compassion. My interest, then, lies not only in my own reading experience, but also in the way that one reader's experience complements and contrasts with another's. While any worthwhile work of critical inquiry will enter a dialogue with other readers, my wish here is to move th is

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70 dialogue, for a moment, away from the realm of academic discourse and into the more intimate setting of a personal relationship. I hope that doing so will allow me to incorporate some of the vocabulary, customs and emotional considerations that accompa ny a personal relationship into a work of critical inquiry, thereby taking a step in breaking away from a critical tradition that has often looked down upon the integration of the personal and the theoretical an integration, as I hope to have shown, that i s essential to a reading of Munro's work. The first time I read "Vandals," the motives behind Liza's vandalism of Ladner's house became clear to me in the third section of the story. I was already keeping a careful eye on Ladner, thanks to some clues f rom the story's first two sections. Additionally, I was baffled by Liza's vandalism of Bea and Ladner's house, which made me all the more suspicious of her childhood interactions with the couple. However, in the third section of the story, there are two places in which Ladner's sexual abuse of Liza is given direct mention, and after my arrival at these places, I understood Liza's motives immediately: When Ladner grabbed Liza and squashed himself against her she had a sense of danger deep inside him, a mec hanical sputtering, as if he would exhaust himself in one jab of light Instead, he collapsed heavily, like the pelt of an animal flung loose from its flesh and bones. He lay so heavy and useless that Liza and even Kenny felt for a moment that it was a tr ansgression to look at him. He had to pull his voice out of his groaning innards, to tell them they were bad. (292)

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71 The abuse is also mentioned in a scene prior to this, where Liza is swimming in Ladner's pond and Ladner makes "a pretend grab at her, to g et her between the legs, [at the same time making] a pious, shocked face as if the person in his head was having a fit at what his hand might do" (289). As a woman, there was no doubt in my mind after reading these two passages as to what had transpired between Ladner and Liza. Any other possibilities as to how these passages could have been read was, for me, cancelled out by the previous scene in which Liza vandalizes Ladner's house. Liza's vandalism of Ladner's property is her revenge for his vandalis m of her. Munro emphasizes the association between Ladner and Liza's respective roles as vandals through a technique we now know she is fond of: an alliterative association between their names. Because the "solution" to the story came so easily to me, I didn't even realize that I had done any work to get to it. Instead, I was just left feeling impressed by what Munro had accomplished in "Vandals" and recommended to the story to my friend, Alex, a fellow writer and Munro fan. Alex is as a sophisticat ed reader and writer capable of grasping nuance. He holds a Classics degree, has taught and translated Latin poetry, and is the most well read person I know. He has taught me a great deal about literature. I was thus surprised to receive an email from h im about "Vandals" in which he made no mention of Ladner's sexual abuse of Liza. He recognized other feelings in the story, most notably Liza's feelings that Bea was "trespassing" when she came to live with Ladner, but not Liza's sense of being vandalized bodily. Had he missed it? Or did he simply

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72 not see it as the motivation behind her vandalism of Ladner's house? But how could it not be? I responded to Alex with a shorter version of what will make up much of the content of this chapter, in which I pr esent the textual support to back up my reading of "Vandals." He wrote back to say he had reread the story and that it was "all obviously there" but that he had missed "Munro's clues." His next comment was, in many ways, the inspiration for this chapter, if not this thesis: "And I suspect I was meant to miss them." Shortly after this, I had a dream about the story that I related to Alex in another email. It was a dream involving Vladimir Nabokov, a writer who has, since I discovered him, exerted a r ather problematic influence. He is one of my favorite writers, and his fiction often strikes me as intensely compassionate in its vivid imaginings of characters' lives. Nabokov the man, however, made some statements that I feel to be less compassionate. I am thinking in particular of one in a letter to Edmund Wilson, in which he said women writers were "of another class" (and by "another," he did not mean "higher," nor was he making this remark in the Marxist sense, like Catharine MacKinnon does in order to call for its transformation). In this sense, Nabokov has become, for me, a writer who in many ways represents the patriarchal literary tradition: a writer whose unambiguous expressions of authority I sometimes perceive as almost threatening, 11 a writer who has inspired me 11 Precisely because they ar e so unambiguous and intellectually controlled, because they are abstracted from human realities and fallibility in a way that his fiction is not. In interviews, Munro and Nabokov often come across as veritable opposites, which is interesting because I fe el that their fiction is similar in many ways. In interviews, Munro makes few strong or

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73 greatly, yet who would have viewed me, because of my sex, as a natural inferior. My dream was thus significant as a confrontation between my conception of the male, authoritative literary tradition, and the feminist, socially oriented (although nevertheless compassionate or individualistic) fiction I was discovering in the work of Munro: I dreamed I was in DC at some sort of low end cabaret club. The "bar" was more like a greasy lunch counter, of the sort that would be found in some c heap diner off the freeway. I was sitting at it, talking to the dancers and the bartender, and suddenly, Nabokov was sitting next to me. He was still young and attractive, and far more friendly than I would have expected him to be. I started telling him ab out "Vandals," except somehow, in my telling or in his interpretation, it became a story that I wrote, on which I was asking for his advice. He told me I needed to make the sexual abuse element even subtler than it already was "a paragraph, at the most," h e said. After I went back to my hotel, he kept sending me telegrams about his ideas for "Vandals." I was being bombarded by telegrams from Nabokov. The fact that, in this dream, I have taken over the authorship of Munro's story, coupled with Nabokov's b ombardment of telegrams, reminds me of Sandra Gilbert definitive statements, and has gone as far as to say that "everything [she says] when [she does] an interview is tentative" (Humphreys). Compare this attitude to Nabo kov's insistence on maintaining complete control in interviews, to the point where he wouldn't even hold one in person, but instead responded to all questions in writing, using the format as a sounding board off of which to expound more of his notions of c ertainty ( Strong Opinions xv).

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74 and Susan Gubar's response to Harold Bloom's idea of the "anxiety of influence," wherein they argue that the female writer has a different challenge than Bloom's male writer, who must "kill" his literar y influences. The female writer, according to Gilbert and Gubar, must not "kill" her influences, but rather grapple with the seeming obliteration of their narrative and thus her narrative, the entire female narrative from the literary tradition. She mu st, rather, seek out a female literary influence to identify with, in order to "prove by example that a revolt against patriarchal authority is possible" (Gilbert and Gubar 2027). In my first chapter, I quote Patrocinio Schweickart in saying that "the fe minist reader takes the part of the woman writer against patriarchal misreadings that trivialize or distort her work" (46, my page 16). In my dream, this idea becomes literal and personal; I am identified with Munro to such an extent that I have actually written her story and must protect it against a deluge of "authority" from a male writer who wants to control it. I interpret Nabokov's bombardment of telegrams in two ways. The first involves a certain truth in Munro's fiction that my unconscious appare ntly feels the patriarchal literary tradition wants to deny. Although Nabokov has written a whole novel that graphically depicts sexual scenes between an older man and young girl, he views a woman writer's subtler treatment of similar subject matter as be ing too obvious. "Make that part smaller," says the dream Nabokov. "You have gone too far in writing about it even this much." But I simultaneously interpret Nabokov's bombardment in the opposite way, as related to the comment Alex made about feeling a s if he were "meant to miss" the

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75 "clues" in Munro's story. Both the dream Nabokov and Alex are emphasizing the subtlety of Munro's fiction as something that is, or should be, intentional. I realize there is an element of "Vandals" that actually strives t o be clandestine. But why? Why does Munro even leave open the possibility that the reader will misinterpret Liza's motivations for vandalizing Ladner's house? I think the reason has something to do with the discrepancies between my and Alex's first rea dings of the story. What was easy for me, as a female reader, to recognize, was not so immediately apparent to a male reader. This is a problem with real life implications, a problem that arises in a society in which men are not taught to interpret women 's emotions, while women are forced to interpret men's emotions in order to survive: Learning by osmosis what men want in a woman and trying to give it to them, women hope that being the wanted image will alter their odds [of being abused]. Paying attent ion to every detail of every incident of a woman's violation they can get their hands on, women attempt not to be her. (MacKinnon 88) In other words, what was so easy for me as a female reader was perhaps too easy why should I be so alert to victimizati on? By making the elements of sexual victimization in "Vandals" subdued and subtle, Munro exposes the mechanics of that victimization in a way that is revealing for both men and women. The masculine reader must recognize something he might overlook in ev eryday life in order to complete the meaning of the story. And the feminine reader must extricate herself from the hold of a destructive romantic model, to recognize Heathcliff as sheer fantasy.

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76 The problem at the heart of "Vandals" is one of recogniti on. When Bea moves into Ladner's house, Liza has a very specific set of expectations about the role she will play in their lives: "Bea was not measured or judged by Liza in the way that other people were. But this did not mean Liza's love for Bea was eas y or restful her love was one of expectation, but she did not know what it was that she expected" (287). But by not recognizing Ladner's abuse of Liza, Bea fails to fulfill her expectations, so that Liza's act of vandalism in the second part of the story is directed, in some ways, as much at Bea as it is at Ladner. While the child Liza may not know what it is she expects from Bea, the reader can infer. Liza expects Bea, as Ladner's "girlfriend" (284), to have the power to put Ladner, Liza and Kenny ba ck again in their appropriate roles as adult and children, to make them "like a family" (286). Bea, however, abdicates this maternal role: Bea could spread safety, if she wanted to. Surely she could. All that is needed is for her to turn herself into a different sort of woman, a hard and fast, draw the line sort, clean sweeping, energetic and intolerant. None of that. Not allowed. Be good. The woman who could rescue them who could make them all, keep them all good. What Bea has been sent to do, she doesn't see. Only Liza sees. (293) The emphasis on the word "see" is important here, for a question left unanswered in "Vandals" is whether Bea actually does see what is taking place between Liza and

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77 Ladner. In her letter to Liza at the beginning of the story, there is no obvious indication of guilt or apology, although she does recount a telling dream. In Bea's dream, she is going to collect Ladner's bones at some kind of religious ceremony that comes seven years after a loved one's death (although in the waking world, Ladner has not been dead longer than a year). She collects the bag of bones and "feels so happy to receive it," which she thinks has "something to do with [her]feelings for [Ladner] and his for [her] being purified." But then someone s ays to her "'Did you get the little girl?'" Bea writes that she understood what was meant. The little girl's bones. I saw that my bag was really quite small and light to contain Ladner. What little girl? I thought, but I was already getting confused about everything and had a suspicion I might be dreaming. It came into my mind, Do they mean the little boy? Just as I woke up I was thinking of Kenny and wondering, Was it seven years since the accident? (I hope it doesn't hurt you, Liza, that I menti on this also I know that Kenny was no longer little when the accident happened.) (263) Bea is referring to a drunk driving accident in which Kenny was killed as a teenager (276). But in doing so, she is neglecting another possible interpretation of the d ream. Seven is the age Liza was when she first started spending time on Ladner's property (285). The bones Bea collects in her dream may be Liza's. She may thus be recognizing symbolically, if not consciously, what has transpired between Liza and Ladner and the way in which this experience was, for Liza, a symbolic death.

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78 Another possible indication that Bea feels some sense of guilt towards Liza is that she pays for Liza to go to college. This is not help Liza has requested; Bea simply calls her on e day "out of the blue" and makes the offer (275). Liza accepts but ends up dropping out after only a year, when she becomes a Christian. She meets her husband, Warren, through the church (276). So Bea might offer to pay for Liza's education out of a s ense of guilt. But I believe it is more likely that, either out of willful or unconscious ignorance, she is not aware of Ladner's abuse of Liza as a girl. Her offer to pay for Liza's education seems more an attempt to impart her own gifts to the younger woman. Bea has a master's degree in English and family money and occasionally evinces a degree of condescension towards the residents of the backwater township where Ladner lives, as when she refers in her letter to Liza's conversion: "I hear you are a Ch ristian now, Liza, what a splendid thing to be! Are you born again? I always liked the sound of that!" (261). I believe that Bea does not recognize what occurs between Liza and Ladner because she is too distracted by her obsession with Ladner. She h as become addicted, in a way, to his emotional unavailability, and to recognize what he is doing to Liza would mean giving him up. In a letter Bea writes to her female friends shortly after she moves in with Ladner (we learn that "she had a couple friends then, to whom she wrote and actually sent letters," the emphasis being on the "then," as in "not now"), Bea tries to explain why she left her previous boyfriend a friendly, outgoing high school principal whose wife is in a coma to live with Ladner, a former member of the Royal Army who now devotes his free time to taxidermy. She writes

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79 that she would hate to think she had gone after Ladner because he was rude and testy and slightly savage, with the splotch on the side of his face that shone like metal in the sunlight []. [Ladner was burned on his face and neck while fighting in World War II.] She would hate to think so, because wasn't that the way in all the dreary romances some brute gets the woman tingling and then it's goodbye to Mr. Fine and Dece nt. (268) But this seems to be precisely what she has done, as the next paragraph indicates: No, she wrote, but what she did think and she knew that this was very regressive and bad form what she did think was that some women, women like herself, mig ht be always on the lookout for an insanity that could contain them. For what was living with a man if it wasn't living inside his insanity? A man could have a very ordinary, a very unremarkable insanity, such as a devotion to a ball team. But that migh t not be enough, not big enough and an insanity that was not big enough simply made a woman mean and discontented. [] What did Ladner offer her then, that she could live inside? She didn't mean just that she would be able to accept the importance of lear ning the habits of porcupines and writing fierce letters on the subject to journals that she, Bea, had never before heard of. She meant also that she

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80 would be able to live surrounded by implacability, by ready doses of indifference which at times might se em like scorn. (269) This is the passage to which Munro is referring in the epigraph I have chosen for this chapter. Although Bea speaks flippantly of "dreary romances," she seems, semi consciously, to be walking directly into one. Her idea of a "contai ning insanity" reminds me of Rochester's wife locked in the attic of Jane Eyre or of Cathy's explanation, in Wuthering Heights, as to why she loves Heathcliff: "My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath a source of little visible delight, but necessary" (qtd. Sullivan 69). Bea is drawn to Ladner because of the danger he represents, a common theme in romances involving the "demon lover": "To love against the world's terms, against the normalizing, the quotidian, [seems] brave. To love as the world is afraid to do [confers] status, heroism" (Sullivan 68). This idea also works to explain the degree of pride Bea evinces in the letters she writes to her friends about Ladner. Bea's attraction to Ladner is also based on his inability to meet the emotional needs of another human being. This is evident in the account of their first interaction, in which Bea goes to call on him alone after a failed first time visit with her previous boyfriend, Peter Parr. Peter Parr took Bea to Ladner's in an a ttempt to set up a field trip for his high schoolers; Bea, already annoyed with Peter's over friendliness prior to this trip, realizes she is "on the wrong track with Peter Parr" upon seeing Ladner turn him gruffly away. After meeting Ladner, Bea realizes that she does not "want anymore of [Peter's] geniality, his good intentions, his puzzling and striving" (268).

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81 When Bea returns to Ladner's on her own, he is similarly gruff, although he does take her on the tour of his property that he denied Peter Parr Throughout this tour, she is intrigued by his lack of courtesy: "He did not slow down for her or help her in any way to cross a creek or climb a bank. He never held out a hand or suggested that they might sit and rest on any appropriate log or slope" ( 270). He refuses to engage her in any of her attempts to be flirtatious; when she asks if a pair of necking swans are mates he responds with only an abrupt "Evidently" (271). Bea is less intrigued, however, when Ladner makes her tea, at which point she s tarts to think there is "nothing so very mysterious about him, maybe nothing even so very interesting" (273). Her attraction is predicated on his lack of interest in her; she is most excited to see him "at some hard job, when he is forgetful of [her]" (27 0). Ladner is exciting because he makes satisfaction impossible; around him, Bea is in a constant state of desiring. Her desire, as Munro puts it, is to have Heathcliff do her the honor of falling in love with her. But Heathcliff, as Munro recognizes, c an do no one that honor. Heathcliff is too damaged to love, and to love him, therefore, means to be constantly yearning and repeatedly wounded. In her love for Ladner, Bea becomes detached from the rest of the world, unable to see anyone but him. This is especially evident in the way that she loses touch with the women around her. As I mentioned, when Bea first moves in with Ladner, she has several female friends to whom she regularly writes letters. As Ladner's treatment of her grows harsher, howeve r, she becomes cut off from her friends: Several other women had thought themselves capable of [living with Ladner.] She found traces of them. A belt

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82 size26 a jar of cocoa butter, fancy combs for the hair. He hadn't let any of them stay. Why them and n ot me? Bea asked him. None of them had any money,' said Ladner. A joke. I am slit to bottom with jokes. (Now she wrote letters only in her head.) (269) Bea's detachment from the feminine world is most evident, however, in her failure to make an identif ication with Liza. Liza, too, has been swept up in Ladner's darkness, yet Bea is too lost in that darkness to realize that she is not alone. Munro makes a conventionally Romantic move in her use of the pathetic fallacy: the darkness of Ladner's character corresponds with the darkness of his swamp side property, which has a definite Moorland feel: "The swamp was black from a distance, a long smudge on the northern horizon" (277). Also, both Bea and Liza's narratives contain descriptions of their encounter s with Lesser Dismal that are sexual in nature: The smell of hawthorn blossoms seemed to [Bea] an intimate one, musty or yeasty. (272) In some places the air is thick and private, and in others you feel an energetic breeze. Smells are harsh and enticing. Certain walks impose decorum and certain stones are set a jump apart so they call out for craziness. Here are the scenes of serious instruction where Ladner taught them how to tell a hickory tree from a butternut and a star from a planet. [] And places where Liza thinks there is a bruise on the ground, a tickling and shame in the grass. (291)

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83 To Liza, Lesser Dismal is a world with its own rules, just as Ladner is a man who defies her previous notions of bad and good: "with him, what was terrible was always funny, badness was mixed up with silliness, you always had to join in with dopey faces and voices and pretending he was a cartoon monster" (290). Liza seems to mix up Ladner's brand of lawlessness with the laws of nature, as we see in descriptions that flow fluidly between her growing understanding of the natural world and her growing corruption at the hands of Ladner: Soon they knew much more. At least Liza did. She knew birds, trees, mushrooms, fossils, the solar system. She knew where certai n rocks came from and that the swelling on a goldenrod stem contains a little white worm that can live nowhere else in the world. She knew not to talk so much about all she knew. (286) The "emotion laden" natural setting of "Vandals" is a clear throwback t o the Romantic world of the Brontes. But this fact makes the pull that Ladner's property exerts over the young Liza particularly disturbing. We are not witnessing the "brooding lovers on the brooding moors" (Sullivan 69), but rather, a middle aged man an d a seven year old girl on a swamp filled with taxidermied animals. Through her subversion of Romantic literary convention, Munro further emphasizes the horror of her story's reality. Although there are multiple correspondences between Bea and Liza's narratives, Bea's alliance with Ladner prevents her from recognizing these. As I have hoped to show throughout this thesis: in the stories of Open Secrets connections made

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84 between disparate narratives, and especially disparate female narratives, are the only path to truth. Bea's inability to recognize the connection between her narrative and Liza's, therefore, is a bad sign. This idea is made especially clear in a scene towards the end of the story, in which Ladner starts mimicking Bea while she plays in the pond with Liza: He was doing what she was doing, but in a sillier, ugly way. He was most intentionally and insistently making a fool of her. See how vain she is, said Ladner's angular prancing. See what a fake. Pretending not to be afraid of t he deep water, pretending to be happy, pretending not to know how we despise her. This was thrilling and shocking. Liza's face was trembling with her need to laugh. Part of her wanted to make Ladner stop, to stop at once, before the damage was done, and part of her longed for that very damage, the damage Ladner could do, the ripping open, the final delight of it. (289) Bea sees Liza's face and turns around, catches sight of Ladner and goes inside. Liza is devastated as it seems to her "that Bea [will] h ave to go away. How could she stay after such an insult? [] Bea did not understand about Ladner. And how could she? Liza herself couldn't have described to anybody what he was like" (289). But it seems Bea does indeed understand far too well about Lad ner. Or perhaps the tragedy is that she does not understand as well as Liza, that a seven year old girl is more alert to the damage he is causing than a grown woman. In recognition of

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85 her alignment with Bea, Liza goes home and retrieves one of her most p rized possessions: "a single rhinestone earring that she found on the road" (290.) She offers this to Bea in a demonstration of compassion that looks far more childish than it actually is. Bea is in a better mood when Liza gives her the earring, and Liza thinks "she [has] forgiven Ladner after all, or made a bargain not to remember" (293). (The implication, of course, being that Liza has been making bargains "not to remember.") Bea is unable, however, to reciprocate the feeling that Liza shows to her, t o recognize that Liza is also being damaged by Ladner. Liza recognizes Bea as a woman who shares her experience, but Bea does not return this recognition. Only the reader can compensate for Bea's lack of recognition by seeing that which she does not: L iza's victimization. Here is a reason for the backwards chronology of "Vandals:" Munro shows the damage caused by each act of vandalism before the transgression that inspired it, and thus forces the reader to superimpose the damage caused by Ladner's viol ation of Liza onto the act of vandalism. In other words, it is difficult to read the final section of the story without thinking that Ladner's abuse of Liza is serious, or that it will affect Liza later in her life, because we have already seen that it ha s. The reader and Bea thus possess very different kinds of consciousness regarding Ladner's capacity for damage; Bea is trapped in the past and present, while we, as readers, have seen the future. The reader's consciousness of the cycle of abuse in "Van dals" thus breaks that cycle in two ways. The reader gets to see Ladner in the full daylight of reality (as in the scene where the sun on his face makes his scar shine "like metal") rather than in

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86 flattering Romantic shadow. Munro thus succeeds in dispel ling the intrigue of Heathcliff, in emphasizing his grotesque sadism over his mystery. In addition to viewing Lander in broad daylight, the reader also must recognize Liza's victimization in order to complete the meaning of the story. I have written mor e here about reading "Vandals" from a woman's perspective because I am, of course, a woman. I do not, however, believe Munro has intentionally written a story that men will not "get." Rather, I anticipate that the process masculine readers must go throug h in order to uncover the meaning of "Vandals" adds to its value. In Upheavals of Thought, Nussbaum calls for a modern literature that teaches compassion to men in a patriarchy, using Greek drama as a model: The extension of empathy required of an ancient Greek spectator is remarkable, given the extremely hierarchical, male dominated character of Athenian society. A young male spectator is asked to see the distresses of human life from points of view that include those of women who are raped in wartime, [ ] Becoming a woman in thought, he finds that he can remain himself, that is to say, a reasoning being with moral and political commitments. (430). To complete the story's meaning, the masculine reader of "Vandals" must carefully consider the motivations o f a female character without falling back onto the over simplistic explanation that she is just crazy or over emotional, as we have seen both readers and characters do with and in "A Wilderness Station." To understand "Vandals," the reader must come to pe rceive Liza's motivations as justified, and to do

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87 this, he must recognize the way in which she has been violated. This violation is buried in the story in a way similar to how it is often buried in a society that represses an awareness of it. In reading "Vandals," the masculine reader is required to identify with a female character in thought and feeling, a "narrative habit" from which more men could benefit (Nussbaum 247). But Nussbaum's recommendation only goes so far in fixing the problem presented by "Vandals." Her recommendation is for what bell hooks would call "a benevolent patriarch," rather than for the destruction of a patriarchal paradigm (81). Such a destruction, of course, requires an additional consciousness on the part of women. While th ere are many things in a patriarchy about which women are not offered a choice, we can choose to reject outdated and harmful romantic models such as the one Munro subverts in "Vandals." Munro's story strives not to perpetuate an equation of woman and vict im, but instead to create a consciousness of this equation and of all the elements that it entails. While Ladner is the only character in "Vandals" who comes across in an entirely negative light, Munro asks the woman reader to be conscious of the choice B ea has made in being with him, and to recognize, even when Bea cannot, the problems with that choice. Liza's anger, after all, arises from the fact that she did not have one.

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88 Conclusion The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is n ot made conscious, it happens outside as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves. Carl Jung Somethin g I learned recently, while applying to MFA programs in creative writing, is that no MFA program wants to read a personal statement about how long you have wanted to be a writer. Program coordinators across the board claim that they receive far too many s tatements beginning with some variation of: "I've wanted to be a writer since age X." MFA department websites implore their new applicants not to use this clichŽd opening, and upon coming across this cardinal rule, I made a mental note to avoid any storie s about my five year old self's literary ambitions. But then I paused, for I realized my five year old self had no literary ambitions. Nor did my ten nor fifteen nor even eighteen year old selves. As a girl, in fact, I vehemently did not want to be a writer. I wrote stories, but this seemed to me more of a compulsion than an occupation; whenever someone told me that I would be a writer, I'd reply that I actually planned to be an actress. Writers, I understood, saw things. Actresses, on the other ha nd, were seen. The latter seemed without question to be a vastly superior existence to the former. I realize, now, that my reluctance to embrace my gifts as a writer was a result of my over identification with a masculine point of view. This over ident ification was something I did not recognize, let alone start to get over, until just two years ago, when my discovery of Alice Munro's work catalyzed a long and complex process of

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89 recognition and transcendence. Before discovering Alice Munro, I had existe d in what literary critic Lee Edwards would call a "schizophrenic" state: Schizophrenia is the bizarre but logical conclusion of our [androcentric literary] education. Imagining myself male, I attempted to create myself male. Although I knew the case wa s otherwise, it seemed I could do nothing to make this other critically real. (qtd. Schweickart 41) Of course, my desire to be an actress (and I did not want to be an actress in the "active" sense of the word; I was more interested in being passively seen and appreciated) was not a desire to "create myself male," but rather, an inability to view myself as both female and subject, as both female and, in the words of Laura Mulvey, "bearer of the look" (2186). My writer tendencies made the schizophrenic natur e of this situation even worse because I was, of course, bearer of the look, both in the literal sense (we are all bearers of the look unless we are blind), but also, in the sense that I was seeing things and then writing them down. It was hard to reconci le my writing with the feeling that being female meant being seen. My knowledge of what it meant to be female came from the places whence such knowledge usually comes: art and culture. Like most children, I watched movies in which women functioned exclus ively as erotic object for either onscreen character or theater spectator (Mulvey 2186). (Disney princesses, I have noticed, with few exceptions, meet this criteria of Mulvey's for "woman displayed.") I adhered to school reading lists composed primarily of books by male authors and in the perspective of male narrators, and saw, everywhere I went, advertisements in which women's bodies

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90 were used to sell products. The stories I wrote throughout adolescence were, with few exceptions, third person narrations about myself: using the pronouns "she" and "her," I described the things that I did, mused on the subject of my mystery and the way in which my thoughts and feelings appeared to the outside world. I was, in other words, writing about myself from a male p erspective, which I have since noticed is a common trademark of beginning women writers. 12 Alice Munro, however, writes stories in which women are, undeniably, subjects. In multiple ways, Munro avoids viewing her female characters through a mascu linized gaze. Structurally, she positions male lives as peripheral to women's narratives, an idea we can recognize most readily in her segmented novel, The Lives of Girls and Women (2001) Munro's experimentation with a novelistic form reveals how strong ly she disassociates women from male driven narratives; none of the male characters in The Lives of Girls and Women appears in more than two consecutive narrative segments, although some of the book's main female characters appear in every one. Munro thus dispels the notion that the woman's Bildungsroman must contain "a natural or inevitable movement toward the married state or attainment of romantic love or that there is any one dominant chord in a woman's life" (Beer 126). Much to the contrary, Munro's protagonist, Del Jordan, ends up alone, "grave and simple, carrying a small 12 Recently, I was browsing a high school literary journal, and came across a piece that a girl had written entirely from her boyfriend's perspective. In the first person, she had written about his appraisal of her hair, li ps, body, about the desire she provoked in him, about the thoughts he had about her. The writing was excellent, and I was saddened that the girl seemed to be lost, like I once was, in a perspective that was not her own, that she seemed to be stuck viewing herself from the outside in.

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91 suitcase, getting on a bus, like girls in movies leaving home, convents, lovers" ( Lives 201). The progression of Del's narrative is towards Self, rather than towards Other. This last paragraph of The Lives of Girls and Women contrasts in a revealing way with the title of one of the stories in Open Secrets. In "A Real Life," a character named Millicent persuades her neighbor Dorrie to marry "because marriage takes you out of yours elf and gives you a real life" (75). Dorrie, however, "[has] a life," and a rich one, which continues even after her husband's death, much to Millicent's mystification. Millicent wrongly views the female challenge as finding someone to take "you out of y ourself"; as I have attempted to show, many modern women are already outside of themselves, looking in. With her title, Munro emphasizes the way in which Dorrie finds "a real life" by remaining securely and happily inside herself, rather than by shaping h er life in the eyes of a man. Munro employs other strategies, as well, to assure her female characters' place as subject throughout Open Secrets. We have seen her definitively and freely silence a host of male voices, in both "Open Secrets" and "A Wilde rness Station," thus allowing her female characters' stories to unfold without interference. In "Vandals," Ladner's death marks the beginning of the story, rendering his character a destructive memory rather than a living person with the power to further shape the narrative in the way that Liza (with her vandalism) and Bea (with her letter) each do. Every story in the collection explores the interiors of women's minds; Maureen's visions and memories make up much of the content of "Open Secrets," while the greater part of another story, "Carried Away," appears to be the imaginary construction of its female

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92 protagonist (making "Carried Away" what I like to call Munro's "David Lynch story"). And in "The Albanian Virgin," a woman is granted the unusual opport unity to shed her gender like a pair of clothes, thus assuming albeit in a mitigated and provisional way male privilege and status. Yet, although the women in Munro's stories are definitely subjects, they are not subjects in the way I have typically kno wn subjects to be. Munro's protagonists are perceptive, rather than judgmental, more concerned with the relationships connecting people and ideas than with discerning independent values. They are emotional and sometimes irrational, sometimes at a loss fo r words. But though they do not look upon the world with an objectifying gaze, they see truth. In her fiction, Munro has done more than simply insert women into narrative positions formerly occupied by men; she has succeeded in shifting a cultural paradi gm. Her characters embody feminine qualities (emotionality, subjectivity, intuition) under valued in our culture, but these qualities are viewed not from the outside in, but from the inside out, which allows the reader to see how they can serve as paths t o knowledge. In reading Munro's stories, I felt as if, in the words of Carl Jung, an "inner situation" were being "made conscious." I realized that the perception of emotions as hindrances, rather than conduits, to truth was a false and biased one, that it was based on our patriarchal culture's inability to "become conscious of [its] inner opposite," rather than on an actual superiority of objective over subjective knowledge. I realized that the qualities that I had heretofore associated with being objec tified, with being seen and judged and condescended to, were not actually inferior qualities, but valid forms of

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93 intelligence. How else to explain the fact that these qualities were the only ones with which the "secrets" of Munro's stories could be unders tood? In writing this thesis, I have often felt like Maureen watching the skin form on the back of a spoon at the end of "Open Secrets": as if I am looking into an idea "not startling until [I] think of trying to tell it" (160). What is startling about "trying to tell it" is the same thing that was startling for Maureen: an encounter with an absence of language. I was taught to write about literature using a masculine, authoritative voice, to wield an objective vocabulary that served to erase all traces of myself and my experience from my analysis. I was taught to break down text to fit the confines of an argument, no matter what damage done to the text or how narrow the confines of that argument. What I was not taught, until just recently, when I mad e the decision to teach myself, were the strategies and language that would make the inter subjective, emotional, human part of my reading experience the important part, the reason I was studying in literature "critically real" (Edwards ctd. above). In setting out to find theorists who had successfully integrated their critical and emotional selves in writing about literature, I had no idea I was about to uncover an entire movement of women who had been writing, and speaking, about the intelligence of emotions for decades. Through Dr. Reid, Dr. Dimino, and the serendipitous web of connections that forms when you're making this kind of inquiry, I realized the dialogue I wanted to start with this thesis was already occurring in multiple disciplines. Fe minist philosophers like Morwenna Griffiths and Martha Nussbaum were arguing for emotions to be considered as intelligent entities not tied exclusively to mind or body.

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94 Catharine MacKinnon was calling for a consideration of emotions and subjective experie nce in law. And writers like Patrocinio Schweickart and Adrienne Rich were writing about literature in a style that incorporated subjective experience and personal voice. The connections that writing this thesis has caused me to make the connections th at Alice Munro has enabled me to make have, in other words been life changing. A part of me feels as if I should say more, as if this concluding statement about my own experience is somehow insufficient to justify the endeavor. But perhaps, precisely b ecause of this feeling, this is the perfect note on which to end.

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95 Bibliography Atwood, Margaret. Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature. Toronto: Anansi Press LTD, 1972. 91 106. Benjamin, Walter. The Writer of Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire. Trans. Howard Eiland and Edmund Jephcott. Cambridge: Bellknap Press of Harvard, 2006. 1 133. Beer, Janet. "Short Fiction with Attitude: The Lives of Boys and Men in the Lives of Girls and Women. The Yearbook of English S tudies 31 (2001): 125 32. Carrington, Ildiko de Papp. "Double Talking Devils: Alice Munro's A Wilderness Station.'" Essays on Canadian Writing 58 (Spring 1996): 71 92. --. "Talking Dirty: Alice Munro's Open Secrets' and John Steinbeck's Of Mice an d Men ." Studies in Short Fiction 31.4 (Sept. 1994): 595 606. 18 Feb. 2009 < http://lion.chadwyck.com.ezproxy.lib.usf.edu/se archFulltext.do?id=R0153581 8&divLevel=0&area=abell&forward=critref_ft > Chekhov, Anton. "Heartache." The Portable Chekhov. Ed. Avrahm Yarmolinsky. London: Penguin, 1975. 118 125.

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96 --. "The Short Story [Letters]." The New Short Story Theories. Ed. Charl es E. May. Athens: Ohio UP, 1994. 195 99. Elliot, Gayle. "A Different Track: Feminist Meta Narrative in Alice Munro's Friend of My Youth. Journal of Modern Literature 20.1 (1996): 75 84. Gilbert, Sandra M. "Life Studies, or Speech After Long Silen ce: Feminist Critics Today. College English 40.8 (Apr. 1979): 849 863. Gilbert, Sandra M. and Gubar, Susan. "From: The Mad Woman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth Century Literary Imagination." Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Letich et al. New York: Norton & Co., 2001. 2023 2035. Griffiths, Morwenna. "Feminism, Feelings and Philosophy." Feminist Perspectives in Philosophy. Ed. Morwenna Griffiths and Margaret Whitford. London: Macmillan Press LTD. 1988. 131 15 2. Gurr, Andrew. "Short Fictions and Whole Books." Narrative Strategies in Canadian Literature: Feminism and Post Colonialism. Ed. Coral Ann Howells and Lynette Hunter. Philadelphia: Open UP, 1991. 11 18.

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97 hooks, bell. Communion: The Female Search for Love. New York: Perennial, 2002. Houston, Pam. "A Hopeful Sign: The Making of Metonymic Meaning in Munro's Menesteung.'" The Kenyon Review 14.4 (1992): 79 92. Howells, Coral Ann. Alice Munro. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1998. Humphreys, Josephi ne. "Mysteries Near at Hand." New York Times 11 Sep. 1994. 18 Feb. 2009 Irvine, Laura. "Questioning Authority: Alice Munro's Fiction." CEA Critic: An Official Journal of the Colle ge English Association 50.1 (Sept. 1987): 57 66. Jung, Carl. Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Trans. Richard and Clara Winston. New York: Vintage, 1963. Kennard, Jean E. "Personally Speaking: Feminist Critics and the Community of Readers." College En glish, 43.2 (Feb. 1981): 140 145.

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98 Lander, Dawn. "Eve Among the Indians." The Authority of Experience. Ed. Arlyn Diamond and Lee R. Edwards. Amherst: U. Mass. Press, 1977. 194 211. MacKendrick, Louis K. (ed). Probable Fictions: Alice Munro's Narrat ive Acts Toronto: ECW Press, 1983. MacKinnon, Catharine. Feminism Unmodified. Cambridge: Harvard, 1987. May, Charles E. "Chekhov and the Modern Short Story." The New Short Story Theories. Ed. Charles E. May. Athens: Ohio UP, 1994. 199 217. Mazur, Carol. Alice Munro: An Annotated Bibliography of Works and Criticism. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2007. McCarthy, Dermot. "The Woman out Back: Alice Munro's 'Meneseteung'." Studies in Canadian Literature/ƒtudes en LittŽrature Canadienne 19.1 (1994): 1 19. 18 Feb. 2009 Miller, Judith MacLean (ed). The Art of Alice Munro: Saying the Unsayable: Papers from the Waterloo Conference. Waterloo, Ontario: U. Waterloo Press 1984.

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99 --. "Deconstructing Silence: The Mystery of Alice Munro." The Antigonish Review 129 (2008). 18 Feb. 2009 -. "On Looking into Rifts and Crannies: Alice Munro's Friend of my Youth ." The Antigonish Review 120 (2000). 18 Feb. 2009 < http://www.antigonishreview.com/bi 120/120 miller.html > MacA skill, Ewen. "PM to apologize for Canada's treatment of native Americans." The Guardian. 12 Jun. 2008. 18 Feb. 2009 < http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/12/canada.usa > Mulvey, Laura. "Visual Pleasure in the Narrative Cinema." Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Letich et al. New York: Norton & Co., 2001. 2181 2192 Munro, Alice. Open Secrets. New York: Vintage Books, 1994. --. Dance of the Happy Shades. London: Penguin, 1968. --. Friend of My Youth. New York: Vintage B ooks, 1990.

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100 --. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. --. The Lives of Girls and Women. New York: Vintage Books, 2001. --. The Love of a Good Woman. New York: Vintage Books, 1998. --. The Moons of Jup iter. Toronto: Gage LTD, 1982. --. The Progress of Love. New York: Vintage Books, 1986. --. Runaway. New York: Vintage Books, 2004. --. Something I've Been Meaning To Tell You. New York: Vintage Books, 1974. Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita. New York: Vin tage International, 1955. --. Strong Opinions. New York: Vintage International, 1973. Nussbaum, Martha C. Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions. New York: Cambridge Press, 2001. 297 454. Proust, Marcel. In Search of Lost Time. Trans. C.K. Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin.

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101 Vol. 3 ( The Guermantes Way). New York: Modern Library, 1993. "Rape (law)." Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia, 2008 18 Feb. 2009 http://encarta.msn.com Rasporich, Beverly Jean. Dance of the Sexes: Art and Ge nder in the Fiction of Alice Munro. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1990. Rich, Adrienne. "Vesuvius at Home: The Power of Emily Dickinson." On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose 1966 1978. New York: Norton, 1979. 157 183. Schweickart, Patrocinio P. "Reading Ourselves: Towards a Feminist Theory of Reading." Gender and Reading: Essays on Readers, Texts and Contexts. Ed. Elizabeth A Flynn and Patrocinio P. Schweickart. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1986. 31 62. "Spousal Rape Laws: 20 Years Later." The National Center for Victims of Crime 2007. 18 Feb 2009 http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbName=DocumentViewer&DocumentID=32701 Sullivan, Rosemary. Labyrinth of Desire: Women, Passion and Romantic Obsession. Washington: Counterpoin t, 2001. 67 82.

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102 Taggart, James M. Enchanted Maidens: Gender Relations in Spanish Folktales of Courtship and Marriage. Princeton, 1990. 18 Feb. 2009 < http://books.google.com/books?id=33CsSe447_8C&dq=james+taggart+ench anted+maidens+online&printsec=frontcov er&source=bl&ots=DMlZtmRoly&si g=kdFckesMZAh8u1c4YraakB63kN0&hl=en&ei=ObCcSa2aEaDlmQfCndHm BA&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result > Thacker, Robert (ed). The Rest of the Story: Critical Essays on Alice Munro Toronto: ECW Press, 1999. Wollstonecraft, M ary. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Bartleby.com, Inc., 1999. 18 Feb. 2009 http://www.bartleby.com/144/

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TELLING SECRETS: ALT ERNATIVE PATHS TO TR UTH IN ALICE MUNRO'S OPEN SECRETS BY CAITLIN KINDERVATTER CLARK A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Amy Reid Sarasota, Florida May, 2009

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ii F OR L YLA E. C LARK

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iii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I am both grateful and honored to have completed this project under the sponsorship of Dr. Amy Reid, who has i nspired me as both an intellectual and a human being. She is, in addition to Alice Munro, one of the inspirations for the "connective" nature of this thesis; her ability to connect my inchoate ideas to larger movements and texts has been life changing. I would like to thank Jan Wheeler, for starting the utopia known as the Writing Resource Center, and for her wit, kindness, and indefatigable support and loyalty. Her compassion and wisdom have set a standard for which I hope, always, to continue to strive I am also grateful to have had Dr. Nova Myhill as an advisor for my first few years at New College. Dr. Myhill challenged me to the heights of my abilities, and the intellectual confidence I now possess is largely indebted to her intelligence, high sta ndards, and support. Thanks also to all the other members of the Literature faculty with whom I have worked during my time at New College, all of whom have influenced me in lasting and meaningful ways. This was a thesis about women and relationships, a category that would have existed purely in the abstract if it weren't for four brilliant, strong, and inspiring women who came into my life during this time. Bottomless thanks to Jessica Cardott, Alexis Cartland, Kate DeBolt and Erica Schoon. I am ind ebted, as well, to Alex Hacker, without whom I may very well never have been urged to write this thesis, and not just because he introduced me to Alice Munro. I want also to thank my brother, Adam, who has made me prouder than anyone in the world. And mo st of all, I need to thank my parents, Ted and Suzi, for whom I know I have not made things easy, but who have stood by me the whole way. Their support, curiosity, and love have been my major sources of strength, and I am confident now that I have the abi lity to make them proud. They also both read this entire thesis, which is a feat whose equivalent I'm not sure I'll ever be able to accomplish, even for a child of my own. Finally, thanks to my dog, Gus, for making sure I got out of the house on three da ily walks, and for doing something adorable or disgusting every time I began to take myself too seriously.

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iv TABLE OF CONTENTS Dedication ii Acknowledgments iii Table of Contents iv Abstract v Intro duction 1 "A Wilderness Station:" Whose Story, Whose Guilt? 13 Emotional Detective Work in "Open Secrets" 40 "Vandals" and the De romanticized Romantic Hero 66 Conclusion 88 Bibliography 95

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v T ELLING S ECRETS : A LTERNATIVE P ATHS TO T RUTH IN A LICE M UNRO S O PEN S ECRETS Caitlin Kindervatter Clark New College of Florida, 2009 ABSTRACT In this thesis, I examine narrative strategies in Open Secrets a short story co llection by Alice Munro. I focus specifically on "A Wilderness Station," "Open Secrets," and "Vandals," arguing that each story subverts a specific literary genre the wilderness narrative, the detective story, and the romance, respectively and that Munro u ses our generic expectations to emphasize the ways in which knowledge can be obtained through emotions. With reference to Morwenna Griffiths' explanation of "consciousness raising," I explore the way that the subjective, emotional experiences of Munro's characters point us towards larger truths with political implications. Emotions and subjectivity have traditionally been viewed as hindrances that need to be overcome in pursuit of truth, but the questions raised in Open Secrets cannot be answered using analysis alone. Rather, in order to uncover the meaning of the stories, the reader must access the emotional experiences of Munro's characters, and connect these, in some way, to his or her own emotional experience. While Munro's stories place great value on emotional intelligence, they are also

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vi highly concerned with social structures, and especially, with various manifestations of male domination. We see that the intelligence Munro's female characters possess arises directly from their subordinated posit ion; they learn to read emotions in part because they need to be alert to male violence, and they weave together narrative connections in order to survive. The experience of reading these stories, then, becomes what philosopher Martha Nussbaum calls "exer cises in compassion": artistic experiences that allow the reader to take on another's emotions in a space safe from the dangers societal power structures. Dr. Amy Reid Literature

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1 Introduction Insofar as we are taught to read, what we engage are not texts, but paradigms. [] Insofar as literature is itself a social institution, so, too, reading is a highly socialized or learned activity. [] We read well, and with pleasure, what w e already know how to read; and what we already know how to read is to a large extent dependent on what we have already read. Annette Kolodny, "Dancing Through the Minefield: Some Observations on the Theory, Practice, and Politics of a Feminist Literary C riticism" (qtd. Schweickart 45) While the stories in Open Secrets have elements of mystery and romance, themes which have always attracted readers, they do not satisfy in the same way as a traditional mystery or romance would. [] The stories in Open Sec rets aren't about what they seem to be about. Clearly, some people find this quite disconcerting. Alice Munro, Boyce and Smith interview (qtd. Howells 120) Alice Munro writes short stories that we, as readers, initially think we "know how to read." The y are stories lined with generic signposts that we recognize, and so we wander into them thinking we are not far from the familiar. But somewhere in the midst of this first reading, somewhere around the third temporal loop, unexplained jump, or blank spac e on the page, we realize that we have actually strayed far from home. We realize that we are in the midst of a wilderness unlike any we have seen before, one that is not meant to be conquered, and more oppressive than free. Or we realize that we are on the edge of our seats over a mystery that will not be "solved" in any traditional sense of the word: the detective will stay silent; rationality will not prevail. Or we realize that we are watching a woman fall for a tortured, romantic hero, a veritable Heathcliff," as it were, while feeling nothing ourselves aside from concern and a vague repulsion. In this thesis, I look at three stories from Alice Munro's collection, Open Secrets (1994). I argue that each of these stories directly subverts a spec ific literary genre the wilderness narrative, the detective story, and the romance, respectively and that

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2 Munro uses our generic expectations to emphasize the way in which knowledge can be obtained through emotions. Munro uses generic conventions, these t rademarks of literature "we already know how to read," in order to draw us into stories that "aren't about what they seem to be about." But what, then, are these stories about? Subverting conventions is not an end, but a means to an end, and thus while t his thesis will explore, to some degree, the ways in which Munro subverts specific conventions, I am more concerned with the meaning produced by her subversion. By subverting our generic expectations, Munro also subverts dominant cultural paradigms. Her stories make the case for a mode of knowing that has been traditionally associated with feminized, inferior realms, a mode of knowing bound to subjectivity, emotions, and relational connections. In our culture, this type of feminine intelligence is often viewed as inferior to a more authoritative, masculine intelligence associated with realms of objectivity, rationality, and analysis. 1 While feminine knowledge has always been valued in certain circumscribed arenas, such as those involving nurturing and motherhood, Western thought has less frequently considered it as an adequate means to uncovering truth. Emotions in our society are generally viewed as purely individual and subjective as hindrances that need to be overcome in the pursuit of a larger, ob jective truth. 1 By associating emotions and subjectivity with a realm of knowledge regarded as feminine, m y intention is not to reinforce an essentialist dichotomy that defines emotional intelligence as inherently female. I argue, instead, that this kind of intelligence is available to all of us. I do wish, however, to acknowledge the existence of this dicho tomy in our culture, and to emphasize the way in which one side of it (the authoritative, objective side) has been valued over the other as a means for seeking knowledge and truth. I attempt, where possible, to use the terms "feminine" and "masculine," ra ther than "female" and male," in order to emphasize the socially constructed nature of this division.

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3 Second wave feminism responds to this view of emotions as inherently fallible with an alternative idea called "consciousness raising." Consciousness raising, in the words of feminist philosopher Morwenna Griffiths, is a process where "f eelings are the subject matter," and where "their expression is a means of arriving at the truth, a truth about public, political life rather than just individual personalities" (135). 2 Griffiths criticizes the division of human nature into two categorie s (the mind: rational, reasonable, God like; and the body: sensual, instinctive, animal like) for its over simplification, and emphasizes "feelings [and] emotions as a separate category" that does "not fit comfortably into [this] twofold division" (139; 14 1). She, along with other feminist philosophers like Martha Nussbaum, views emotions as neither fully rational, i.e., of the mind, nor "pure, physical promptings of the body" over which it is best that the mind rule hierarchically (Griffiths 140). Yet, a lthough they exist separately from reason, emotions are still viewed as a means to truth: The production of feminist knowledge is grounded in feeling. So far from feelings being seen as mere subjectivity, something to be overcome in the search for objecti vity, they are seen to be a source of knowledge. (Griffiths 135) 2 Such an idea is not unique to feminist theory, as we see in the following quotation from In Search of Lost Time: People foolishly imagine that the br oad generalities of social phenomena afford an excellent opportunity to penetrate further into the human soul; they ought, on the contrary, to realise that it is by plumbing the depths of a single personality that they might have a chance of understanding those phenomena" (Proust 450). Proust, here, may as well be writing about the entire enterprise of fiction. The idea of the personal as a path to understanding the public and political is one that has been understood by writers since Homer, yet it is an idea to which we do not do justice when we deny the importance of subjectivity (of both character and reader) in literature.

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4 The three Alice Munro stories I look at each contain some manifestation of this idea of "consciousness raising." Through feeling, characters arrive at truths relevant not just to themselves but also to other individuals, and to political and literary institutions. In "A Wilderness Station," protagonist Annie Herron takes on a male character's feelings of guilt and victimization, and in the process, raises our awareness about the way patria rchal, colonial societies repress feelings of guilt and fear by projecting them onto subordinated populations. In "Open Secrets," a woman named Maureen Stephens solves a murder by connecting her own feelings of victimization at the hands of her husband wi th a crime committed against an adolescent girl. Maureen's discovery has political implications: by emotionally connecting two disparate instances of sexual violence, she raises questions about how rape is legally defined. And finally, in "Vandals," the reader's own feelings of repulsion towards a "romantic hero" who molests a young girl end up exposing the implausibility of romances like Wuthering Heights, where a young woman falls for a violent and emotionally detached lover. As you may have noticed, these stories are all centered on protagonists who are women. Morwenna Griffiths writes that second wave feminism "agrees with the statement that women are more emotional than men, but [] reconceptualises [it] so that it is now women rather than men who are better able to understand the world and live in it successfully" (136). While Munro's stories perhaps prove Griffiths' statement to be true, they also reveal it to be highly problematic. More recent feminist movements have been resistant to place suc h a high value on women's "different" ways

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5 of knowing out of fear that the over valuing of "feminine" intelligence will justify and reinforce the power dynamics that have brought that intelligence into being. bell hooks is one recent example of a feminist who advises that we take "the trend [of attaching] value to women's supposedly different ways of knowing" with caution (hooks 80). hooks emphasizes that women are not innately more emotional or relationship focused than men, and recommends that we focus on the social structures that result in feminine intelligence, rather than just saying such intelligence is good and proceeding "as if patriarchy [does] not exist and as if male domination [is] not a reality" (80). Munro's stories exist in a space somewher e between these two feminist positions. While her stories place great value on emotional, relationship based intelligence, in so far as they actually require the reader to fulfill his or her generic expectations using emotions and metonymic connections, t hey are also highly concerned with social structures, and especially, with various manifestations of "male domination." We see that the intelligence Munro's female characters possess arises directly from their subordinated position; they learn to read emo tions in part because they need to be alert to male violence, and they weave together narrative connections in order to survive, in the manner of Scheherazade or The Odyssey 's Penelope. So how can these two ideas be reconciled? Munro's stories demon strate that societal institutions of knowledge and power would benefit, without a doubt, from a better integration of emotional and relational intelligence. But how do we value, and more importantly, teach emotional intelligence when we have seen that it arises from a person's subordinated status?

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6 I believe that the answer to this question lies within Munro's stories themselves. For there is one way that the stories of Open Secrets do not meet Griffiths' definition of "consciousness raising," and this is that, within the stories themselves, emotional subject matter is not "expressed." The emotional expression that Griffiths sees as a necessary step to arriving at truth thus falls to the reader, who must find the language with which to express the emotions of a character in order to uncover the meaning of the story, and also the larger truth to which the story points. This kind of reader involvement which calls for the reader to bridge narrative gaps using her own emotions is one that I have come to associa te with the modern short story. Munro scholar Janet Beer remarks that the short story "points in the direction of both more condensed and more extended narrative methods" more condensed for obvious reasons, and more extended because narrative gaps that ca ll upon the reader's subjective experience increase, rather than decrease, the possibilities for meaning (Beer 131). Anton Chekhov, who is often regarded as a "master" and "innovator" of the short story form (May 208), addresses this idea directly in one of his letters: If I introduce subjectivity [into one of my stories], the image becomes blurred and the story will not be as compact as all short stories ought to be. When I write, I reckon entirely upon the reader to add for himself the subjective elemen ts that are lacking in the story. (195) On the jacket cover of Munro's Open Secrets Cynthia Ozick calls her "our Chekhov." Indeed, Munro's conception of the short story form seems to adhere to

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7 Chekhov's assertion that "in short stories it is better to s ay not enough than to say too much" (Chekhov 198). Although Munro writes short stories exclusively, 3 she initially attempted a few never completed novels. In the following passage, she describes an epiphany of sorts that caused her to become disenchanted with the novel and increasingly interested in more condensed literary forms: [Munro is] staring out a library window into "snow falling straight down." She is watching a farmer, with horses, with grain piled on a sleigh, having the grain weighed. He lo oks like a picture, she says, "the snow conferring dignity and peace." But "I didn't see it framed and removed in that way. I saw it alive and potent, and it gave me something like a blow to the chest. What does it mean, what can be discovered about it what is the rest of the story? The man and the horses are not symbolic or picturesque, they are moving through a story which is hidden, and now, for a moment, carelessly revealed. How can you get your finger on it, feel that life beating? It was more a torment than a comfort to think about this, because I couldn't get a hold of it at all. I went back to 3 This statement is not entirely accurate; Munro has written two books classified as novels: The Lives of Girls and Women (2001) and Who Do You Think You Are? (1979; the U.S. printed version of this book is called The Beggar Maid for a somewhat ironic reason: the U.S. publisher didn't think American readers would understand the implications of the expression, which is unfortunate b ecause of the way it connects to Flannery O'Connor, etc.) However, both of these books are actually collections of stand alone short stories, although there is novelistic cohesion in the fact that they each follow the same characters throughout, and The Lives of Girls and Women has a fairly (for Munro) linear, Bildungsroman type narrative. I discuss it more in my Conclusion.

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8 stringing out my secret and gradually less satisfying novel." (Miller "On Looking" 1) The encounter Munro describes here is one between her self and h er narrative abilities, between an author and her own imagination. It is precisely the kind of encounter she sets up for her readers in Open Secrets, "by intentionally leaving gaps and omissions, [and thus relying upon the] reader to participate actively in co creating' the text" (Elliot 78). We can think of each story in Open Secrets as a series of glimpses out the window, as a chain of moments in which an otherwise hidden story is, "for a moment, carelessly revealed." The reader must piece together the rest of the story" occurring on the other side of the windowless walls. This process of emotional, narrative creation is valuable to a woman reader in that it emphasizes the importance of a kind of intelligence commonly associated with her objectifica tion and secondary status. In Munro's stories, emotional, relational intelligence is viewed not only as not inferior to rational, factual intelligence; it is actually the only type of intelligence through which the truth can be understood. For a class o f people subjugated by a master narrative that has denied them a voice, the short story may seem an anti tyrannical literary form, which engages, rather than denies, the experience of its reader. Janet Beer writes that "it is often the case that short sto ries treat the lives of those who are, for some reason, marginal or marginalized by society" (128). Perhaps this is because short stories, by nature of their brief form, are less likely than novels to attempt to impose truth or emotion. Munro's stories e ngage reader experience by asking the reader to identify connections, not only

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9 between elements within the stories themselves, but also between the stories and other texts, between the stories and her own life. These are metonymic connections, bridging na rrative gaps and augmenting context. Context, in Munro, is everything, and the more the reader is able to expand a story's relatable context, the more that story's meaning will expand. In contrast, separating a story's elements into their constituent par ts will detract from that story's meaning, because "meaning [in Munro] cannot be derived from any single story segment," but "emerges, instead, from the shifting contexts in which the (multiple) stories are told" (Elliott 77). For the reader less accust omed to thinking in emotional or relational terms, however, Munro's stories have a different kind of value. By setting up generic "problems" that can only be solved through the employment of an alternative way of knowing, Munro's stories actually have the potential to teach emotional and relational intelligence. Due to their condensed and fragmented forms, Munro's short stories often replicate the kinds of perceptions we experience in life, which are rarely whole or continuous. As Munro realized as she g azed out the library window, in life, we are never granted all of the story; we receive only brief glimpses into it. Elsewhere, Munro states that this is precisely why she does not write novels. When asked why she writes only short stories, she responds, I can't work in continuity stories because I don't actually feel it in life. I feel funny jumps (qtd. Rasporich 175). The short story is, for this reason, an ideal form for what Martha Nussbaum refers to as "exercises" in compassion (430), artistic e xperiences that cultivate "narrative habits" (427) that we can apply to encounters with people in everyday life. Because we

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10 have only the slightest glimpses into one another's lives, we cannot afford to view emotional understanding as inherently deceptive and demand, always, more information. There is never enough information, never as much as there is in a novel such as In Search of Lost Time, where every character gets both a voice and an observer. Because we do not get to read the "novels" of the liv es of everyone we meet, we must rely on our emotional understanding our sense of compassion to fill in the parts of the story that we do not know. Because relational connections are such an important aspect of Munro's work, analysis and deconstruction ar e not sufficient tools with which to understand her stories, which is a challenge I have had to face while writing about her work within a theoretical tradition typically centered around these processes. I address this problem, in part, by making a consci ous effort to respect the narrative integrity of each of the stories I examine. Rather than separating narrative elements from their syntactic contexts (which, I feel, would be akin to doing violence to Munro's meaning), I try to offer guided readings tha t adhere to the stories' underlying narrative structures. This, unsurprisingly, has resulted in my arguments being less linear than they might have been otherwise. But because I want this thesis to raise questions about mainstream paradigms, especially l iterary and critical paradigms, I believe that the spiralings of my chapters will raise more important questions than they will cause rhetorical harm. Another way I have attempted to break away from a critical tradition in which I do not feel I can adequa tely discuss Munro's work is through my use of the personal

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11 voice. I use the first person throughout the thesis (although I would have liked to be more consistent in doing so; habits instilled by academia are hard to break), and in both my final chapter, "Vandals and the De romanticized Romantic Hero," and my Conclusion, relate personal anecdotes about my reading experience. By doing this, I am hoping, as Patrocinio Schweickart puts it, to dispel [in the context of this thesis] the objectivist illusion t hat buttresses the authority of the dominant critical tradition (38) and to emphasize reading as an "inter subjective encounter" between reader and text (48). I have tried to preserve, within my critical writing, my own "process of discovery," rather tha n just conducting "a retrospective analysis of the [text as] finished product" (Kennard 141). 4 Because this thesis is concerned with connections, I have chosen, for my readings, three stories from the same collection, Open Secrets (1994) The short storie s in each of Munro's collections inform one another, corresponding metonymically in the same way as the elements within each of her stories. The common thread to the stories in Open Secrets is an open endedness that asks the reader to use his or her emoti ons and subjectivity as a mode of understanding. Munro has stated that the open endedness that unites these stories was intentional: "I wanted these stories to be open. I wanted to challenge what people want to know. Or expect to know. Or 4 In my research, I have discovered that the use of the personal voice is a stylistic device common to feminist criticism, whic h is unsurprising in light of what I have said about the goal of feminism being paradigm change. In "Reading Ourselves: Towards a Feminist Theory of Reading," Patrocinio Schweikart offers an illuminating reading of the personal voice in Adrienne Rich's es say, "Vesuvius at Home: The Power of Emily Dickinson." Other theorists I have read who make free use of the personal voice and narrative are Judith MacLean Miller, Pam Houston (both in writing about Munro), bell hooks, and Rosemary Sullivan.

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12 anticipate kn owing" (qtd. Howells 120). Munro does not mention challenging how we know, but this, I believe, is the major accomplishment of the stories in Open Secrets. The stories discussed in the following three chapters share a distrust of continuity and authority of narratives that seem too detailed and full, of old and familiar literary models. They share an emphasis on the value of compassion and emotional connection, often revealing the stories of characters who continually fail to make a connection with anot her human being. It is only through the reader's involvement and active participation that the emotional connections missing from Munro's stories can be made. In reading Munro, the reader finds, contrary to popular belief, that feeling can be knowing.

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13 "A Wilderness Station:" Whose Story, Whose Guilt? What Second Paradise was lost when White women entered the American woods. Leslie Fielder in The Return of the Vanishing American, 1969 (qtd. Lander 208) In "A Wilderness Stat ion," Munro pokes fun at frontier era wilderness narratives that project white male guilt onto latter day "Eves." The history of this projection is explored by Dawn Lander in "Eve Among the Indians," where she argues that literary tradition "has treated t he drama of the New World as the reenactment of the Fall of Eden," with the "invasion of feminine sentiments" into the wilderness viewed as "the cause of racism, of the destruction of the wilderness, and of the psychic crippling of the American male" (197; 203). 5 By "feminine sentiments," Lander means emotion, especially guilt and fear. Guilt and fear interfere with man's feelings of harmony with, and supremacy over, nature, which are the main emphases of the male wilderness narrative. These emotions are thus projected onto women and other subordinated populations who serve to relieve white male explorers of their "feminine" feelings. 5 Although La nder's essay is written in the context of United States history, I believe it is relevant here, where my intention is not to identify characteristics inherent to the Canadian wilderness narrative, but to identify characteristics of the wilderness narrative as a genre and to discuss the way in which that genre's conventions have been shaped by patriarchal assumptions. While there have, of course, been many American wilderness narratives, the genre is, if anything, more immediately pertinent to Canada, where most land is still undeveloped and the wilderness is still, very much, a reality, rather than a historical construct. The encounters and confrontations Canadian and U.S. American settlers had with native tribes are comparable, although according to Marga ret Atwood, Canada has "a slightly better track record" when it comes to its historical treatment of native peoples (92). A brief idea of that record from a modern perspective: In June, 2008, Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, issued a public apolog y to 15,000 students who were forced into assimilation schools and campaigns in the early 20 th century. Prime Minister Jean ChrŽtien issued a public apology to native Canadian peoples in 1998. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/12/canada.usa)

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14 Munro's protagonist, Annie Herron, does not, however, passively accept male guilt, but instead consciously assumes it. An d rather than resulting in further oppression, Annie's assumption of guilt actually allows her to escape, in some degree, the constraints of a patriarchal existence. Annie's path to freedom is in this way the opposite of the path followed by the tradition al wilderness hero: she finds freedom by leaving, rather than conquering, the wilderness; by feeling rather than rejecting, guilt and fear. "A Wilderness Station" is a story about the reality of emotions. The guilt and fear that fill the air of the newl y occupied wilderness need to be felt by someone; they will not, Munro shows us, simply evaporate. If emotions are feminine domain, Annie benefits from what her existence inside that domain has taught her. Her receptiveness to emotions grants her a voice and control over her narrative, while male characters without the capacity to feel wind up voiceless and reliant upon the narratives of others. In reading "A Wilderness Station," the reader takes on the role of historian. The story is not related by a narrator, but through a series of (fictional) primary historical documents (i.e., letters and newspaper articles) from nineteenth century Ontario. The central event with which these documents are concerned is a death that took place in the wilderness fro ntier, a death that may or may not have been a murder. Munro gradually presents us with three conflicting versions of the events surrounding this death, and it is the reader's job to evaluate their veracity, to decide which of them constitutes the most ac curate version of "history."

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15 The "historian" reader of "A Wilderness Station" has the benefit of being presented with a first person account from someone who was historically silenced. We get to read a letter from Annie Herron that may very well have rema ined unopened and unread throughout her lifetime (we do know that it was never delivered to its intended recipient). Annie's letter helps prevent the reader from making the same mistake as literary critic Leslie Fielder (please see epigraph) whom Dawn Lan der criticizes for his assumption that "American white male literature expresses the [actual] sensibility of the American white female" (210). In his attempt to make claims about the experience of settler women in the wilderness, Fielder mistakes "the mal e view of the female view" as "identical to the female view" (Lander 210). By providing us with Annie's letter, Munro asks the reader of "A Wilderness Station" not to make the same mistake. Although Annie may have been silenced while she was living, it i s her contribution to the documents composing "A Wilderness Station" that ends up being the key to the story's truth. The reader, however, faces several potential traps along the way to uncovering truth in "A Wilderness Station." These are places where M unro presents the reader with the chance to perpetuate the repression of Annie's voice, to become complicit with the male voices that have silenced her, to accept a male authored historical account as the "true" version of events, and Annie's as just a cas e of feminine histrionics. To fall into this trap, however, is to deny the value derived from the unique narrative structure of "A Wilderness Station," a story that succeeds in being both a multi vocal history, emphasizing the fallibility of single perspe ctive historical

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16 narrative, and a history that has, in fact, been written by a woman. After all, the impression that the story's documents come to us "unmediated" is an illusion (Howells 125); they have, of course, been carefully mediated by Munro herself who has not just arranged and selected, but also invented, them. To deny the one female voice found in this story authored by a female writer is to do a great disservice to Munro's work; it is, in fact, to blatantly misinterpret it. The "feminist reader must "[take] the part of the woman writer against patriarchal misreadings that trivialize or distort her work" (Schweickart 46) in the same way that the feminist historian must account for the voices silenced by history. Annie first appears in "A Wilderness Station" as a silent object of exchange. The story's first document is a letter dated January 1852, a response from the matron of a Toronto orphanage to a Mr. Simon Herron. The letter concerns an inquiry made by the latter regarding marriageab le girls. The matron mentions a Miss Sadie Johnstone and a Miss Annie McKillop, both of whom are eighteen and have recently been apprenticed to a milliner. The second document jumps forward in time to a February 1907 newspaper article from the Carstairs Argus entitled "Recollections of Mr. George Herron." This article contains our first account of the events surrounding the death of George Herron's brother, Simon. In this first version, two orphan brothers, nineteen year old Simon and fourteen year o ld George, leave Halton County, Ontario to take up "Crown Land north of the Huron Tract" (193). George's account contains many conventions

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17 of the wilderness survival narrative, including the construction of shelter in a wild, inhospitable environment and an emphasis on freedom and self reliance (Howells 126). The older Herron brother is so insistent on maintaining a sense of independence that he rejects all kinds of favors offered to him and his brother by fellow pioneers: Henry Treece sent us a very larg e and comfortable bear skin for our cover in bed but my brother would not take the favor and sent it back saying no need. Then after several weeks we got our box and had to ask for the ox to bring it on from Clinton, but my brother said that this is the l ast we will need to ask of any person's help. (194) In the next paragraph, however, Simon, with an endorsement from the North Huron missionary minister, writes to an orphanage requesting a wife, a woman capable of cooking meals for himself and his brother and of cleaning their house. (In a classic instance of Munrovian humor, both the Simon of 1852 and George, writing the article in 1907, seem oblivious to how Simon's request doubly contradicts his adamant conviction not to ask anyone else for help.) Si mon goes to Toronto and "gets" Annie, who comes and makes the brothers' shanty "more comfortable" (195). At this point, Annie is well aligned with the frontier woman found in traditional wilderness narratives; her new situation is one that she has not "f reely chosen," but it is assumed that she will "submit to the wilderness just as [] she [will submit] to sex" with her new husband (Lander 196). Two months after Annie's arrival, Simon is killed by a falling tree branch while clearing brush with George. George drags his body home, where Annie washes him

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18 off, and then they bury him together. George goes on to marry a pioneer girl, and Annie moves to Walley. This is where George's account ends. Following it, however, we go back in time to a series of le tters written in 1852, which offer a more complicated version of events surrounding Simon's death and the role that George and Annie played in it. In a letter from the North Huron minister who knows the Herrons, we learn that after Simon's death, Annie de velops "an aversion to everyone who would help her," particularly her brother in law, and takes essentially to living in the wilderness, leaving the door to the shanty open to animals and sleeping out of doors (198 9). Annie hereby begins to deviate from the traditional notion of the civilized white woman in the wilderness. Lander points out that in historical wilderness narratives, a white woman's "separation from the male, and solitary wandering in the wilderness are considered equivalent to the fall." The wilderness is "a natural habitat for forbidden sexuality," and according to the traditional narrative, the only single women we find there are "promiscuous savages, black or Indian, or white prostitutes" (Lander 199). Annie, however, as we come to di scover, seems to have fled into the wilderness not to seek a "forbidden sexuality," but in order to escape one. One day, the minister, who has been periodically checking up on Annie, discovers that she has disappeared, and that the words "Walley, Gaol" hav e been written on the shanty floor with a burnt stick (199). He thus writes to the Clerk of the Peace in Walley to alert him of Annie's possible arrival in that town and to ask him to take care of her. The Clerk of the Peace responds to the minister's le tter with baffling

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19 news: Annie has arrived at the Wally Gaol and confessed to the murder of her husband. She claims that on the day of Simon's death, she brought him and his brother lunch in the bush. Simon became mad because fish oil had soaked into his oat cakes, and promised to beat her later. When he turned away, she picked up a rock and threw it at his head (201). The clerk and minister are mystified by this version of events, as is the reader. Not only does Annie's account contradict that of Ge orge, who would presumably have told someone if he saw Annie kill his brother, but it also contains many holes, such as how she found a rock when the ground was covered in snow. Additionally, Annie changes her story, going from saying that she threw the r ock to saying that she "picked it up in both hands and smashed it down" on her husband's head (201). While neither the minister nor the clerk believe Annie's version of events, the clerk allows her to stay in the jail as she has no place else to go, and a s she makes herself handy mending the prison linen (204). The third and final account of the events surrounding Simon's death is the only one that comes to us from Annie herself. She has been attempting to post letters from the jail to her friend, Sadie, but believes these are being intercepted. (She's right; the clerk opens and reads them, but then attempts to send them on, yet they are returned to him because Sadie is no longer at the address to which they are sent. Instead of telling Annie this, howe ver, the clerk sends her letters onto the minister, so that together they can continue to analyze them for clues.) So Annie tucks a letter into a set of curtains she has made for the opera house, with a note on the envelope

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20 requesting that the finder plea se post. However, we know Sadie will not receive this letter either, as the address Annie has for her is not right. Thus, it is possible that the reader of "A Wilderness Station" is the only person who actually reads the version of events found in this l etter. This adds further layers to Howells' idea of an unmediated history. Not only is the history of "A Wilderness Station" unmediated by a secondary source imposing an overriding interpretation on its multiple voices, it is perhaps also unmediated by t he forces that attempt to suppress voice (here, the patriarchal authority embodied in the clerk and the minister who appropriate Annie's letters for themselves). If the reader of "A Wilderness Station" is the only person to read Annie's letter, then she i s literally reading the history of the voiceless, a story that was never told. The version of events that Annie sends to Sadie is the only one in "A Wilderness Station" that is related in a private, intimate space. George's account is related in a new spaper article, the most public written outlet available, while Annie's "confession" to Simon's murder is related to a male figure of authority who has great power over her. Annie's letter to Sadie, however, is a story shared between friends, equals, fema les. For this reason, I believe it is the only version of events found in "A Wilderness Station" in which the teller has no reason to lie. In her letter, Annie writes that George killed his brother by chopping the back of his head open with an ax. Geor ge, of course, has obvious reason for not wanting to confess to murdering his brother, neither back in 1852 nor in 1907. Annie, frightened of the consequences of accusing a man of murder in a world in which she is entirely at the mercy of men and their de sires (she must "submit" not only to the wilderness, but

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21 to Simon), has reason to want to escape this system of exchange and take refuge in a place that is safe and stable, and where she can exist independently of men, such as the jail. Howells emphasiz es that the "real threats to [Annie] come not from nature but from men" (128), and it is important to note that she means white men, Simon and George Herron, not the native men whom traditional frontier women are supposed to fear so deeply (Lander 200). A Wilderness Station" thus adds another twist to the traditional wilderness narrative, contrasting Annie with both the civilized white woman who fears the wilderness, and also with the white male hero who enters the wild seeking freedom and self discovery: "Annie Herron not only seems to feel quite at home in the wilderness, but ironically lives a long life of freedom and safety by choosing to go to the gaol" ( Howells 126). In her letter to Sadie, Annie reveals that she indeed sees the jail as a sort of s afe house: "I am safe from George here is the main thing" (215). In this light, it is important to recognize that the account Annie writes for Sadie is the only version of events that comes to us in a purely female space; it is not narrated by a male char acter or constructed for a male audience. Considering that the threats from which Annie feels she must protect herself come from men, it is only in a space protected from men that she feels safe enough to tell the truth. Both the minister and the clerk offer interpretations regarding Annie's motivations for claiming that she is responsible for Simon's death. The minister views her motives in a patriarchal Christian sense, stating that he believes Annie's "submission to her husband was not complete," an d that after his death, her guilt

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22 "must have taken hold of her mind so strongly that she made herself out to be actually responsible for his death" (203). The Clerk of the Peace calls in a doctor, who views Annie's hidden reasoning through the lens of the popular psychology of the time: [The doctor's] belief is that she is subject to a sort of delusion particular to females, for which the motive is a desire for self importance, also a wish to escape the monotony of life and the drudgery they may have been born to. They may imagine themselves possessed by the forces of evil, to have committed various and hideous crimes, and so forth. (205) Howells points out that these theories are "the voices of patriarchal authority, both spiritual and secular" (127). Bo th interpretations are stereotypical generalizations about women, and their outdated, clichŽ riddled reductions should cue the reader into the fact that they are not meant to be taken seriously. Additionally, Munro places them within close proximity to ea ch other in the narrative, which gives them both a negating effect and a joke like quality. ("In stepped the doctor, in stepped the priest, etc.") Jokes, however, usually contain three elements, and here there are only two. This is because the third ele ment of the joke comes not from a nineteenth century male professional in "A Wilderness Station," but from the contemporary reader or critic who attempts to impose his or her own patriarchal misinterpretation on Annie's motives. One example of a critic wh o does this is Ildiko de Papp Carrington in "Double Talking Devils: Alice Munro's A Wilderness Station.'" Although I believe Carrington arrives at exactly the type of patriarchal misinterpretation that the "joke" of "A

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23 Wilderness Station" cautions the re ader against, I am nevertheless indebted to this essay for the idea of considering "A Wilderness Station" to be a story containing a joke to begin with. Carrington makes the connection between Annie's reference to the April Fools' jokes she and Sadie used to play and the fact that "A Wilderness Station" was first published in The New Yorker in April ("Double" 5). Simon's death also occurs in early April. Additionally, Annie's name is a diminutive of Alice Munro's middle name, Ann (9). With "A Wilderness Station," Munro seems to be constructing a kind of meta story, which creates a parallel between its characters who "misread" the mysterious motivations of Annie Herron and those readers who misinterpret Munro's work. Munro riddles the reader with "A Wild erness Station" in a way that corresponds to how Annie perplexes the minister and clerk with her account of Simon's death. Yet Carrington, instead of recognizing the fallibility of the interpretations imposed on Annie by the minister and the clerk and see king an alternative kind of answer for her motivations, arrives at an interpretation which is very much aligned with those of the nineteenth century male professionals in "A Wilderness Station." While the minister and the clerk attempt to interpret the se cond version of events concerning Simon's death the one Annie conveys to the clerk, in which she is Simon's murderer Carrington's analysis is more concerned with the third version of the story, which Annie conveys only to Sadie and in which George is the m urderer. Because there are no characters in "A Wilderness Station" who ever read or hear this version, Munro leaves it up to the reader to interpret it and evaluate its veracity. At this point, the reader can either stop to explore the implications that arise for "A

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24 Wilderness Station" if Annie's account is true, and George really did murder his brother, or dismiss Annie's version of events as untrue, just as the minister and clerk did previously. Carrington does the latter, claiming that the said "hoax" or joke of "A Wilderness Station" "is that there is no mystery because there is no murder. George has not killed his brother, and Annie has been the victim of her own confused perception" ("Double" 9). Carrington's interpretation of Annie's motives ech oes the diagnosis offered by the story's nineteenth century doctor: In a classic case of Freudian projection [Annie] is imputing to [George] what she has perhaps secretly wished to do herself. She is defending herself against the accusations of her own guilty conscience just as much as she is defending him. (6) Above all, this interpretation does precisely that which the figures of patriarchal authority in "A Wilderness Station" do: deny Annie a voice. By claiming that there is no mystery and that both Annie's accounts of Simon's death are inherently untrue, Carrington aligns her own version of the truth with George's version found at the beginning of the story, in which his brother's death is simply an accident. What Carrington's analysis neglects to consider is why Munro would go through the trouble of constructing a story in which such emphasis is placed on a multi vocal history, and in which the possibility of a master narrative or narrator is repeatedly denied, only to have George's initial acc ount the only account of the three to come from a male, and the only one, significantly, that denies all guilt end up being the only account that is "true." By claiming that both Annie's accounts are inspired by nothing more than "a confused perception" or "a classic case of Freudian projection," Carrington not only

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25 regresses to a point of view which denies the veracity and authority of women's narratives, reducing Annie to a confused, hysterical figure, but also constructs a dead end reading of "A Wilde rness Station," which becomes nothing more than a wild goose chase. When one considers Annie's third account to be true, however, the possibilities are expanded, not only for a reading of "A Wilderness Station," but for questions of fiction and history in general. This second kind of reading seems more aligned with the hopes Munro expressed for the stories in Open Secrets when she said that she "wanted [them] to be open and "to challenge what people want to know" (Howells 120, emphasis mine). I would like now to look more closely at the account of Simon's death that Annie writes to Sadie in order to understand the emotional exchange that occurs between Annie and George on the day of that event. Annie's version of the story begins in the same way that George's 1907 version does: The younger Herron brother drags the elder's body home, and tells Annie that he has been killed by a falling tree branch. In Annie's version, however, we receive more information regarding the emotional state of both herself (s he is afraid, thinking that Simon's dead eyes are "watching" her) and George, who sits "turned away" throughout the entire time she washes Simon's body (208). The only word George utters in this passage is "what?" when Annie asks him to help her turn Simo n's body over so she can clean up some blood that has collected on the floor. After George comes down to the floor to help, she discovers "where the axe [has] cut" open the back of Simon's head; upon this discovery "neither [George nor she says] anything" (209).

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26 After burying Simon, Annie and George go back inside where George will not eat nor drink the tea she makes him. He does not speak. Finally, Annie begins to talk to him: You didn't mean to do it. It was in anger, you didn't mean what you wer e doing. I saw him other times what he would do to you. I saw he would knock you down for a little thing and you would just get up and never say a word. The same way he did to me. If you had not have done it, some day he would have done it to you. (2 10) George remains silent. Annie then begins to persuade him not to turn himself in, and asks him to get down and pray with her, saying that she will ask for forgiveness as well, "because when [she] saw [Simon] was dead [she] did not wish, not for one min ute, for him to be alive" (211). But George still will not respond. Annie takes a bible down from the shelf and tells him she is going to pick a passage at random to guide him, a device she and the other girls "in the Home" used to predict their futures. She reads aloud a passage that says, "Neither can they prove the things of which they now accuse me," persuading George that this means he is "safe" (212). Then she drags him to bed (as he still will not move or speak), where he begins to shiver. To wa rm him, she puts flat irons under the blankets and rubs his body with her hands, speaking to him all the while:

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27 I talked to him then in a different way quite soft and told him to go to sleep and when he woke up his mind would be clear and all his horrors would be wiped away. A tree branch fell on him. It was just what you told me. I can see it falling. I can see it coming down so fast like a streak and little branches crackling all along the way, it hardly takes longer than a gun going off and you say, what is that? and it has hit him and he is dead. (212) George falls asleep and Annie undresses beside him, examining the bruises that cover her body (213). These bruises go unexplained, but the assumption is that they have come from Simon. Although the reader does not actually get to see Simon prior to his death (aside from in George's terse description of him in the Carstairs' Argus ), we can infer from Annie's allusions to him (to his rage at the oat cakes in her false confession, to her "not [wishing] for him to be alive," to "what he would do" to George), along with her bruises, that he has victimized both her and George, and that her compassion for George arises out of the manner in which she has identified his victimization with her own. Simon, it seems, may have been following in the footsteps of the traditional wilderness hero, who enters the wilderness to escape "the taboos of society and to seek an outlawed sexuality" (Lander 202). In this quotation, Lander is referring to miscegenation, but Si mon's treatment of his brother and his new wife may also be explained by his sense of existence in a new space where he no longer feels constrained by societal "taboos."

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28 When George wakes up the next morning, he is "better," not having forgotten what happ ened but talking as if it is "all right." He has the idea to read something out of the Bible and is confused to find that it is not on the shelf. When he sees it by the fireplace, he asks Annie why it's there, and she does "not remind him of anything" (2 13). Later, he goes out to tell a neighboring family about Simon's death. When he returns, Annie asks if told them "about the tree" and he looks at her "for the first time in a bad way the same bad way his brother used to look" ( 213 ). While George's 19 07 account of his brother's death demonstrates an unwillingness to confront emotion, Annie's account is emotionally charged. Morwenna Griffiths writes that "truth and knowledge become distorted when feelings are not acknowledged" (135). We can see such a distortion occurring in George's account of his brother's death, which resists any description capable of inspiring emotional reaction [The tree branch] hit Simon on the head and killed him instantly. I had to drag his body back then to the shanty thr ough the snow. He was a tall fellow though not fleshy, and it was an awkward task and greatly wearying. It had got colder by this time, and when I got to the clearing I saw snow on the wind like the start of a storm. [] Simon was all covered with snow t hat did not melt on him, by this time, and his wife coming to the door was greatly puzzled, thinking that I was dragging along a log. (196 7)

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29 The details in this passage seem misplaced. Rather than describing the moment in which he first realizes his brot her is dead, George automatically renders him an inanimate object, the weight of which he describes in full detail. We also receive other physical description his exhaustion, the cold as well as a description of Annie's confusion upon thinking that Simon 's body is "a log." Perhaps one explanation for this resistance to description capable of inspiring emotional reaction is that George is in shock, as we learn from Annie's narrative that he most certainly is. But then, George writes this account over fif ty years after his brother's death. The fact that it still reads like he is in shock seems to demonstrate either his failure to emotionally work through his brother's death, his attempt to cover up his lack of emotion in relation to it, or both. Annie's account, however, is imbued with emotion in a way that is characteristic of Munro's work. As I remarked in my introduction, Munro does not attempt to impose emotion on the reader through long, sentimental descriptions, but emphasizes instead thought, act ion, and superficial detail, leaving it up the reader to infer their emotional weight. The effect of this technique is frequently a more highly charged emotional atmosphere than would be created by a more direct portrayal of emotions, in that emotions ar e actually inspired in the reader, rather than just described for her. Annie's account directly explores the nuances of both her and George's reactions to Simon's death, and there is much that the reader can infer from it emotionally.

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30 First, we have Geo rge's evidently traumatized reaction to his brother's death, evinced by his incapacity to move or speak. He is, however, able to speak a little before Annie discovers the axe wound (enough to tell her that Simon was killed by a falling branch and to ask what?"); it is only after Annie discovers how Simon actually died that the reality of his actions send him into total shock. Then we have Annie's identification of George's victimization at the hands of his brother with her own. As we will see in the n ext two chapters, this kind of intuitive understanding between victims is a device frequently employed by Munro to create connections between characters, and also between character and reader. Here, it allows Annie to understand the motivation behind Geor ge's actions ("I saw he would knock you down for a little thing the same way he did to me") and to act benevolently towards him. Finally, we have Annie's attempt to relieve George's sense of guilt. She does this at first subtly, assuring him that she un derstands his motives and that everything will be all right. But as she lies beside him in bed, something more intense seems to occur. Rather than simply relieving George's guilt, Annie actually seems to be attempting to erase it. The scene is reminisce nt of hypnosis: Annie speaks softly and reconstructs events in a way that she claims George will believe once he awakes: "When he woke up all his horrors would be wiped away. A tree branch fell on him." When George wakes up, this reconstruction seems to have worked. He is all "better," and his inability to remember why the Bible is off the shelf demonstrates that something like an erasure has occurred. Further evidence of how completely George internalizes

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31 Annie's more innocent reconstruction of events is found in his 1907 account of his brother's death, which retains the detail about the crackling tiny branches that Annie first invented: "We just heard the little branches cracking where it fell and looked up to see it and it hit Simon on the head and k illed him instantly" (195). George's newspaper account regurgitates the exact language Annie fed to him on the night of Simon's death. Even fifty years after the fact, George is incapable of telling his own story; he still relies on the one Annie has con structed for him. Of course, George's guilt has not really been erased, and "A Wilderness Station" is explicitly concerned with the impossibility of such an erasure. Emotions here are entities that must be acknowledged and experienced, that cannot be buried, like Simon's body, under the woodpile indefinitely. The "bad" look George shoots Annie when she asks if he told the Treeces about the "tree branch" reveals that he retains some degree of awareness of her knowledge of the murder and involvement in its attempted erasure. Also, from the night that Annie tucks George into bed onwards, she reports that her sleep is disturbed. While George never says anything to her when they are awake, only shooting her the "bad look," Annie says that "he would com e and say things in [her] dreams" (215), and when she goes to turn herself in, she tells the people at the jail "the very same thing George told [her] so often in [her] dreams, trying to get [her] to believe it was [her] and not him" (215). Sleep has an i mportant symbolic function here: when Annie succeeds in lulling George to sleep on the night of the murder, she actually succeeds in desensitizing him to his own guilt. The fact that

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32 Annie cannot sleep that night and continues to have disturbed dreams dem onstrates the degree in which George's emotion has been transferred to her. As Carrington recognizes, there is some degree of Freudian transference taking place here, except this occurs in the direction opposite to the one in which she describes it: rath er than imputing to George that which she wanted to do, Annie's compassionate feelings for George allow him to impute to her (emotionally, at least) that which he actually did do. George, either consciously or unconsciously, takes advantage of the tendern ess Annie shows him on the night of his brother's murder; he allows Annie's emotional understanding of his victimization to become his victimization, using her compassion as a repository into which he can transmit both his feelings of victimization and of guilt. The dichotomy I presented in my introduction, between man and rationality and woman and emotion, has arisen from just such a use of woman as emotional repository. Both Annie and George possess feelings of fear and victimization, but George demon strates his unwillingness to acknowledge these in his silence, in the "bad look" he shoots Annie when she refers to their joint cover up the day after the crime. He clearly does not see himself as identified with Annie in the same way she feels herself id entified with him. Annie recognizes they are both victims; George prefers to allow her to take on all feelings of fear and victimization, to project the role of victim onto her. (There is no mention in his article in the Argus of any power discrepancy be tween himself and his brother). This projection is similar to the one we find in historical discourse inspired by traditional wilderness narratives. Lander quotes from

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33 William Spragues' 1940 Women and the West: A Short Social History, in which he writes that the "danger [presented by the wilderness] was one which sent fear into the hearts of women in particular (Lander 198). Additionally, Lander contends that "victimization and martyrdom are the bone and muscle of every statue, picture and word portrait of a frontier woman" (196). To focus exclusively on the feelings of victimization of the woman in the wilderness, though, is to deny the fears, failures and frustrations doubtlessly also experienced by frontier men While women, due to their subjugated s tatus, may have faced greater dangers in the wilderness just as they did everywhere else, Lander recognizes that the frontier woman's feelings of victimization have been embellished by male writers and historians (209). This embellishment serves an import ant function for the white male who writes history: it allows him to attribute his guilt for the violence he perpetrated in the wilderness to the women he had to protect. The fearful, victimized woman, of course, wants revenge, wants "to scalp the woodlan d scalpers" who persecute her (Fielder qtd. Lander 208), like the legendary Hannah Duston in Haverhill, Massachusetts who "reportedly" scalped sixteen Indians, including six children, after being captured and before returning to her settlement (Lander 209) Lander points out that for every legend of a Hannah Duston, white patriarchal tradition neglects to include one regarding a woman like Mary Jemison, who chose to marry into an Indian tribe after being captured ( 209 ) By emphasizing how victimized the f rontier woman felt by the wilderness, by emphasizing her alien, "intruder" status in the natural world, white male historians are able to attribute the loss of the New World's "Second Paradise" to white

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34 woman's arrival. Such an imputation of guilt, of cou rse, takes us back to Adam and Eve, and we begin to see how the identification made between woman and emotions serves male interest by allowing men to relieve themselves of guilt that is rightfully their own. To experience emotions that are not one's own is a fundamental part of the female experience in a patriarchal world. While the conscious reason Annie turns herself in is to protect herself from George and the violence she sees as inherent to the patriarchal world, unconsciously she is internalizing George's guilt. Yet, as Annie's letter to Sadie proves, this internalization is never complete; Annie never actually believes that she killed Simon. It is only, however, by replacing this guilt on its rightful owner that Annie can free herself from cont inuing to experience it. This is accomplished, to some degree, by Annie's letter to Sadie, which is perhaps why she goes through such great lengths to send it. But it becomes clear that Annie views a face to face meeting with George as the only real way to relieve herself of feelings of guilt and victimization that are not her own. The final document comprising "A Wilderness Station" jumps forward again in time, this time to 1959. This document is also a letter, written by Christina Mullen, the daughter of the family that Annie went to work for as a seamstress after leaving the County Gaol. Christina writes this letter for a university historian who is writing a biography on the politician Treece Herron, George Herron's grandson. Annie and Geor ge are no longer the central focus of this narrative, but in it we receive much detail regarding Annie's life after she left the jail. The events the letter is concerned with take

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35 place in 1907, and Christina gives the impression that Annie had been with the Mullen family a long time prior, implying that she did not remain incarcerated very long. Annie, called "Old Annie" by the Mullen family, is known for being an eccentric who makes up stories, although the reader recognizes that these are chronological rearrangements of her own life. In one example, Annie manipulates the story of her escape from George Herron and the wilderness to better resemble the traditional wilderness narrative, in which a male protagonist escapes societal restraints and instituti ons by running off to the wilderness: Sometimes Old Annie called the Gaol the Home. She said that a girl in the next bed screamed and screamed, and that was why she Annie ran away and lived in the woods. She said the girl had been beaten for letting th e fire go out. Why were you in jail, we asked her, and she would say, "I told a fib!" (217) Annie also tells small lies on a regular basis, such as when she tells Christina that she "can't write," although both the reader and Christina know this not to be true (218). We can infer from Annie's manipulations of reality that she is still taking some degree of refuge in storytelling, although she does not confuse her stories with reality, as both Carrington and characters in "A Wilderness Station" believe. "I f they think I am crazy and I know the difference," Annie writes to Sadie, then "I am safe" (215). Howells points out how Annie becomes "a kind of Scheherazade figure" who uses her storytelling abilities to keep herself safe (128). By refusing to subscri be to either black and white notions of the truth or a linear chronological narrative, Annie resists the

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36 patriarchal historical narrative, which depends upon the accuracy and logic of its claims, all while protecting herself under the guise of, at first, i nsanity, and later, eccentricity. Annie's ability to tell stories and see the truth in new ways arises from the "narrative habits" (Nussbaum 427) she begins to develop back in 1852, on the night where she learned to use her emotional understanding of ano ther to interpret his motivations and relieve him of his pain. The main event of Christina's 1959 letter is a day trip she takes with Annie out to the Herron farmhouse to visit George. The trip is Annie's idea, inspired by Christina's recent purchase of a Stanley Steamer car. Christina is surprised by Annie's request to go out in the car since she rarely leaves the house. But she agrees to take her, despite the fact that Annie provides no information about whom they are going to visit, other than to say they are her "relatives" (218). Upon their arrival at the Herron farmhouse, we learn that George Herron, while still alive, can no longer talk, due to an unspecified, recent illness. Treece Herron expresses regret that Annie and Christina hadn't come just a few months earlier, when George had been clear headed enough to write an article about his "early days" in Carstairs for the local paper (the same one from the beginning of "A Wilderness Station) (221). Annie goes out to sit with George on the porc h anyway: He had a beautiful full white beard reaching down to the bottom of his waistcoat. He did not seem interested in us. He had a long, pale obedient face. Old Annie said, "Well, George," as if this was about what she had expected. She sat on the o ther chair and said to one of

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37 the little girls, "Now bring me a cushion. Bring me a thin kind of cushion and put it at my back." (223) The adjective "obedient" is an interesting choice, as it implies a dynamic between Annie and George reminiscent of the o ne they had in 1853, when George "obediently" accepted Annie's camouflaged version of events. At this point, the narrative breaks away from Annie and George, as Christina goes off to flirt with Treece Herron. When she comes back to the porch, both Annie and George have fallen asleep. Munro's decision to deny the reader an account of this last exchange between Annie and George may seem frustrating at first, until we realize that we already have all the information we need to discern what transpires betwe en them. The fact that Christina finds them both asleep contrasts this scene directly with the one that takes place in 1853, when Annie lulls the tortured George to sleep and lies awake by herself. In the more recent exchange, Annie has clearly relieved herself of George's guilt, just as she took it on before. This idea is stressed further in the last line of "A Wilderness Station," a quotation from Annie to Christina: "I did used to have the terriblest dreams" (225). The significance of this line lies in it being in the past tense; Annie makes it clear that she is no longer having the nightmares that George himself could not have. As Christina and Annie leave the Herron farm, Christina remarks to Annie that it is too bad that George wasn't able to talk to her. "Well, I could talk to him," Annie responds (225). So Annie was talking to George before they fell asleep, and it takes no great leap to infer what she was talking about. As they sit on the porch, out of earshot of the reader, Annie narrates fo r George her version of the events surrounding

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38 Simon's death. The reader does not need to hear this as she already has, back in Annie's letter to Sadie. But unlike the letter, this narration is structured for a male listener. And George is the only male listener throughout "A Wilderness Station" who does not who, in fact, cannot, since as he can no longer speak interrupt or contradict Annie's version of events. By retelling the story of Simon's death, Annie reassigns the adult George his own feelings o f guilt and victimization, which she relieved him of when he was a boy of fourteen. The fact that George is still able to fall asleep after this reassignment takes place, however, demonstrates that these feelings no longer have the power that they once di d. This is because Annie has not simply served as an empty repository, sheltering George's feelings until she could retransfer them; she has actually been feeling them for him, wringing them of their power and using them up. Annie's actions could be viewe d in a negative light. By taking on the responsibility of George's guilt, it may seem she has failed to act compassionately in terms of recognizing another's emotion as that of another. But as I have shown, Annie demonstrates that she has not failed to r ealize that she did not actually kill Simon, and that George's guilt is not actually her own. Annie takes on the emotions that George Herron rejects and, in the process, frees herself from a restrictive patriarchal society which considers emotions to be f eminine domain. Similarly, the reader who takes on the emotions of Annie Herron comes to understand the mystery of "A Wilderness Station" and, in the process, frees herself from a model of reading which places her at the mercy of a single narrative perspe ctive.

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39 In his refusal to take on that which is his to be felt, George ends up losing his capacity for communication. It is significant that the illness that renders him mute comes so shortly after his retelling of the false account of his brother's deat h in the Carstairs' Argus; it is almost as if his repeated denial of his own emotions is what robs him of his ability to speak Conversely, Annie, in her receptiveness to the emotional world, gains a voice, but if and only if the reader grants it to her b y taking her story seriously.

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40 Emotional Detective Work in "Open Secrets" [The detective story's] analysis constitutes part of the analysis of Baudelaire's own work, despite the fact that Baudelaire wrote no stories of this type. Les Fl eurs du Mal incorporates three of its decisive elements as disjecta membra: the victim and the scene of the crime ("Une Martyre'), the murderer ("Le vin de l'assasin"), and the masses ("Le Crepuscule du soir"). The fourth element is lacking the one that p ermits the intellect to break through this emotion laden atmosphere. Baudelaire wrote no detective story because, given the structure of his drives, it was impossible for him to identify with the detective. In him, the calculating, constructive element w as on the side of the asocial and had become an integral part of cruelty. Walter Benjamin, The Writer of Modern Life (74) The title story of Open Secrets appears, on the surface, to be much like a traditional detective story. Its narrative centers on th e same three of the genre's "decisive elements" that Benjamin identifies as scattered fragments in Baudelaire (the victim/scene of crime, murderer, and masses). Yet the mystery of "Open Secrets" cannot be solved in the conventional manner of detective sto ries, which is, as Benjamin points out, the intellect's penetration of an "emotion laden atmosphere." The legal and judicial systems, traditional bastions of the intellect, prove inadequate venues for solving, or even discussing, the mystery with which th e story is concerned. Solutions, rather, lie in the heart of the "emotion laden atmosphere" itself, in feelings and connections made between characters and across plotlines. The story's protagonist, Maureen Stephens, functions as a kind of anti detectiv e figure: Rather than intellectually breaking down the story's clues, Maureen emotionally internalizes them. Rather than scouring the outside world for evidence, she remains within the confines of her house. Yet despite Maureen's divergence from the conv entional detective role, she solves the mystery of teenager Heather Bell's disappearance.

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41 However, because Maureen comes upon truth through a subjective and emotional process, she lacks the language to communicate her findings in the context of an objectiv e, rational law. Additionally, to communicate the truth she has uncovered would entail marking herself as a victim in the eyes of a law that mistrusts and condemns female victims. Maureen thus remains silent about her findings, and Heather Bell's murder is never solved within the context of "Open Secrets." The role of detective then falls to the reader, who must find the language to communicate the truth Maureen cannot. In "A Different Track: Feminist Meta Narrative in Munro's Friend of my Youth, G ayle Elliot writes that the narrative process that uncovers truth in Munro's fiction is one that "renders experience into speech, or as Norman Friedman puts it objectifies the subjective" (79). This movement from the subjective to the objective is the sam e process Morwenna Griffiths refers to when she writes of "consciousness raising" (see Introduction (4). Griffiths alludes to Hester Eisenstein's feminist slogan, "the personal is political," to emphasize the "connections between the personal, private, in timate world of personal relationships and the public, social, political world of impersonal duties and rules" (134 5). "Open Secrets" illustrates this idea in two ways: First, to solve the crime that has been committed in the story's public sphere (again st Heather Bell and the law), the reader must recognize a similar crime taking place in the private sphere (the home and marriage of Maureen Stephens). Second, in doing so, the reader realizes that the personal stories of the characters in "Open Secrets" have political implications: by exposing the emotional similarities between disparate instances of

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42 sexual aggression, Munro views sexual violation from a woman's perspective, rather than from the perspective of a patriarchal law that imposes technical divi sions in order to categorize rape As we come to understand the emotions connecting the characters of "Open Secrets," we realize that the "calculating, constructive element," represented by the legal system and conventionally harnessed to solve mysterie s, has become, like in Baudelaire, "asocial." In other words, the imposition of objective definition onto subjective experience the reverse process of consciousness raising leads not only to a diminished understanding of truth, but also to cruelty. T he time is 1965, in Carstairs, Ontario, and a teenager named Heather Bell has gone missing on a "Canadian Girls in Training" (C.G.I.T.) camping trip to Peregrine Falls. Maureen first learns of Heather's disappearance from her husband's cousin, Frances, th e family housekeeper and town gossip. The gossip shared by women in domestic spaces plays a key role in the present day narrative of "Open Secrets," in which Maureen does not enter the outside world or public sphere. Rather, the outside world comes to he r, on a wave of female voices. This idea is embodied in a rhyming poem about Heather Bell interspersed throughout the story. The final stanza reads: So of Heather Bell we will sing our song As we will till our day is done. In the forest green she was ta ken from the scene Though her life had barely begun. (156)

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43 The poem, written by an anonymous author within forty eight hours of Heather's disappearance, has been passed from woman to woman in Carstairs: Frances brings it to Maureen's house already "typed o ut" and tries to read it aloud, although Maureen claims she is not interested (157). The stanzas interspersed throughout the narrative of "Open Secrets" are reminiscent of the chorus' role in a Greek tragedy; the poem represents the opinions of the facele ss masses and emphasizes the tragic nature of "Open Secrets." The female gossip that permeates the narrative of "Open Secrets" has been influenced by patriarchal assumptions and ideas. Because the men in the story have been silenced in either literal or symbolic ways, women, here, are the enforcers of patriarchal values. This is most evident in the judgments Frances passes on Heather Bell; her speculations about the teenager's disappearance emphasize a suspicious obsession with female sexuality over any sort of legitimate concern for the girl's safety. Frances believes Heather has run off with some man she arranged to meet before the camping trip. She relates a story she learned from her granddaughter, also a C.G.I.T. in which Heather Bell squirted the other C.G.I.T.s "in all the bad places" with a hose when the girls stopped to cool down at a farmhouse on their way to the falls (130). She goes on to disparage the character of Mrs. Bell, who she claims was away for the weekend on some kind of tryst (13 1), the implication, of course, being that Heather is taking after her mother. "They will try to make out she was some poor innocent," says Frances of Heather Bell, "but the facts are dead different" (130).

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44 Maureen, however, evinces little interest in the type of singular "fact" abundant in town gossip. 6 While Frances, in her speculations decontextualizes "facts" from the narrative surrounding them, in the process robbing them of their full meaning (this is especially evident in her comment about Heather squirting the other C.G.I.T.s with the hose; we later learn Heather wasn't the only one doing the squirting), Maureen incorporates "facts" into narrative. Rather than viewing Heather Bell as an adolescent temptress, Maureen, a former C.G.I.T., identifie s with her and the other girls: she "had been one of them, twenty or so years ago" (131; emphasis mine). Maureen's association of her own experience with Heather Bell's allows her to fill in the gaps in the town gossip, to have a vivid, sensory vision of the C.G.I.T. camping trip and scene of the crime, rather than just an abstract, fragmented understanding. The account of the camping trip shifts back and forth in tense and perspective, so that Maureen's experiences as a C.G.I.T. mingle with those of Hea ther Bell and her friends: Miss Johnstone had taken them on a half mile hike before breakfast, as she always did, to climb the Rock the chunk of limestone that jutted out over the Peregrine River. [...] On Sunday morning, you always had to do that hike, do pey as you were from trying to stay awake all night and half sick from smoking smuggled cigarettes. Shivering, too, because the sun wouldn't have reached deep into the woods yet. [] [Miss Johnstone] would pull [up a 6 The challenge Maureen faces in taking Carstairs' gossip with a grain of salt is a common one for the Munrovian protagonist, who often must defend a rich inner world from the prying eyes of a reductive small town curiosity. In "Open Secrets," town gossip turn s out to be a major red herring, distracting both character and reader alike from the mystery's key clues.

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45 piece of wild ginger] and nibble it. [ ] Look what nature provides us. I forgot my sweater, Heather said when they were halfway up. Can I go back and catch up. (134) Maureen's understanding of Heather Bell's character and experience is not "obtained at the sudden apprehension of a single, un itary Truth, but through participation in a narrative process" (Elliot 79). The relationships she recognizes are metonymic ones, "based on association, connection, proximity," and requiring "an entire context to be understood" (Houston 82). Unlike France s, who takes one "fact" to be representative of another truth, Maureen integrates the story's constituent elements both with one another, and with her own memories and experiences. To understand the fuller implications of Munro's strategy here, it is u seful to consider how contemporary theory forms the relationship between metonymy and metaphor. In her article on metonymy in Munro's story "Meneseteung," writer Pam Houston uses the work of Lacan to explore the ways that gender influences our recognition of metaphorical and/or metonymic connections. Alluding to Jane Gallop's Reading Lacan, she writes that metaphor's verticality has caused it to be associated with freedom, while metonymy's reliance on its context has associated it with servitude. Metaph or assumes an independence, while metonymy assumes a dependency, and with the dependency, an incompleteness in itself, an absence or lack. (Houston 82)

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46 Earlier, Houston associates masculine intelligence with metaphor and feminine intelligence with metonymy The inference I make from this association, although Houston does not actually state this, 7 is that because women are taught that our value depends on our relationships with men, and that we are not complete unto ourselves, we become more skilled in thi nking in contextual, relationship based (i.e., metonymic) terms. This idea is especially relevant in the case of Maureen who is enmeshed in an abusive marriage, meaning that her sense of independence and self sufficiency have been diminished to miniscule proportions. Perhaps the association of metonymy with dependency, then, goes some way in explaining why Maureen seems to exist in a state of metonymic hyper awareness. Throughout "Open Secrets," she weaves together seemingly disparate narratives into a m ulti layered story and reveals herself to be acutely aware of the stories behind vague external signs (a.k.a., "facts" or clues). Frances, in contrast, seems to succumb to what Lacan, in explaining why metaphor has been studied more than metonymy, calls "the eternal temptation [] to consider what is most apparent in a phenomenon [as that which] explains everything" (qtd. Houston 83). She shows little interest in narrative and context, but rather, evinces "a masculine tendency to name and make one word stand for another" (Houston 83) (Mrs. Bell=slut; Mrs. Bell=Heather; Heather=slut). Munro contrasts Frances' substitutive way of looking at the world with Maureen's narrative based way at 7 My one problem with Houston's article, which is otherwise excellent and instrumental to this thesis, is that I do not feel she adequately emphasi zes the socially constructed nature of her gender intelligence division. This is a common problem, I feel, in theory that focuses too much on phallic symbolism: it is too easily interpreted as reinforcement for essentialist/biological notions of gender di fference.

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47 the beginning of "Open Secrets" in order to set up an opposition tha t will become important later in the story. The connection between Maureen and Heather Bell is based not simply on the structural relationship between their narratives: the fact that both were Canadian Girls in Training who went on trips to Peregrine Fa lls. It is based also on an emotional relationship, on a loss of self that Maureen perceives herself as having undergone in adolescence, which she now associates with Heather's disappearance. After reflecting on the games of Truth or Dare she and her fri ends used to play on C.G.I.T. camping trips when she was a girl, Maureen makes a telling connection between herself and Heather Bell: [Maureen] remembered how noisy she had been then. A shrieker, a dare taker. Just before she hit high school, a giddiness either genuine or faked or half and half became available to her. Soon it vanished, her bold body vanished inside this ample one, and she became a studious, shy girl, a blusher. She developed the qualities her husband would see and value when hiring and proposing. I dare you to run away. Was it possible? There are times when girls are inspired when they want the risks to go on and on. They want to be heroines, regardless. They want to take a joke beyond where anybody has ever taken it before. To be careless, dauntless, to create havoc that was the lost hope of girls. From the [] hassock at her husband's side she looked out at the old copper beech trees. [] She could imagine

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48 vanishing. But of course you didn't vanish and there was always the othe r person on a path to intersect yours and his head was full of plans for you even before you met. (139 40) In Reading Lacan, Jane Gallop writes that, "in the metonymic dimension, the signifier can receive its complete signification only aprs coup (by defe rred action, after the fact)" (qtd. Houston 82). This idea is evident in the above three paragraphs; each paragraph depends on the paragraph after it to develop its full and nuanced meaning. These metonymic connections are telling; Munro moves without ap parent explanation from Maureen's "hiring and proposing" husband to the italicized hiss of a dare: I dare you to run away. Who is daring whom? The obvious implication is one of Heather's friends, daring Heather, but could this also be Maureen daring herse lf? And then, "the lost hope of girls" moves to a "hassock at her husband's side." Does the gleeful Maureen of the first paragraph seem like a woman who would ever find herself sitting on a hassock, let alone at her invalid husband's side? And finally, is the "he" the "she" encounters in the third paragraph an interloper on Heather's path, or Maureen's? In response to this last question, I would like to turn to Maureen's husband, who fits the description of this interloper fairly accurately. His head w as certainly full of plans for Maureen before they met: Maureen met Alvin Stephens (whose first name is only given once throughout the story; everyone in Carstairs calls him "Lawyer Stephens") when he hired her as a secretary for his law office. He was a generation older than her and married at the time, but after the death of his wife, Maureen "graduated (as both she and [her husband put it])" from running his office to "running his house" (133).

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49 Maureen is known throughout the town of Carstairs for ha ving made a "lucky marriage" (134). However, we come to learn that her place in her marriage has always been a definitively subordinated one, although the way this subordination has manifested itself has changed for the worse after her husband's stroke. Prior to the stroke, Lawyer Stephens ended all sexual relations with Maureen after a miscarriage that forced her to have her tubes tied: It seemed that he had been mostly obliging her, because he felt that it was wrong to deny a woman the chance to have a child. Sometimes, she would pester him a little and he would say, "Now, Maureen. What's this all about?" Or else he would tell her to grow up. [] His saying that humiliated her, and her eyes would fill with tears. He was a man who detested tears ab ove all things. (154 5) After the stroke, Maureen thinks it would be "a relief to have that state of affairs back again" (155). Whereas before Lawyer Stephens' sexuality was repressed, it is now uncontrollable, violent and animalistic: Now his eyes woul d cloud over and his face would seem weighed down. He would speak to her in a curt and menacing way and sometimes push and prod her, even trying to jam his fingers into her from behind. She did not need any of that to make her hurry she was anxious to ge t him into the bedroom as soon as possible, afraid that he might misbehave elsewhere. (155) Maureen spends her time in bed with her husband in pain and humiliation, worried that Frances might hear his "bullying," "pounding of her" and the command that

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50 woul d "perhaps be incoherent to anybody but Maureen but that would still speak eloquently, like lavatory noises, of his extremity" (155). The command is for Maureen to "talk dirty," which she does "try" to do. She wants "above all else to help him along." A fter these incidents, "Maureen often had to hang onto the banisters, she felt so hollow and feeble. And she had to keep her mouth closed not on any howls of protest but on a long sickening whimper of complaint that would made her sound like a beaten dog" (156). The comparison made between Maureen and a dog emphasizes the way in which her subjectivity has been degraded by her marriage. She has been reduced to a less than human status by her husband's refusal to acknowledge her personhood and desire in h is sexual withholding, pre stroke, and in his repeated acts of marital rape, post stroke. Maureen's metonymic association of her degraded subjectivity with Heather Bell's sense of agency helps to erode a dichotomy between agents and victims that often wor ks against the latter; as we see in Frances' comments, her perception of Heather as an agent of her fate prevents her from feeling sympathy. Philosopher Martha Nussbuam criticizes this "stark and binary choice," common "in American society today," in whic h we are forced to choose "between regarding people as agents and regarding them as victims." The starkness of this choice is related to the absence of narrative around its two conflicting terms; "agent" and "victim" are presented as static opposites, rat her than as metonymically connected categories. Nussbaum, unsurprisingly, advocates that we reintegrate these words by paying more attention to the narratives connecting them; she uses Greek tragedy as an example of a medium in

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51 which "agency and victimhoo d are not [viewed as] incompatible." Rather, in Greek tragedy, it is "only the capacity for agency [that] makes victimhood tragic" (406). I have already mentioned one aspect of "Open Secrets" (the chorus like poem) that resembles something out of Greek tragedy; here, now, is another: Heather Bell functions as a direct counterpart to Maureen's passivity, at least, the Heather Bell pre disappearance. She is the embodiment of agency, identified, as we have seen, with Maureen's adolescent self, the giddy, noisy "shrieker [and] daretaker." Heather Bell serves as a reminder of what Maureen has lost in her womanhood/victimhood and of why, exactly, that victimhood is tragic: [Heather's] displayed photograph will fade in public places. Its tight lipped smile, bitten in at one corner as if suppressing a disrespectful laugh, will seem to be connected with her disappearance rather than a mockery of the school photographer. There will always be a tiny suggestion, in that, of her own free will. (159) Indeed, "Open Secrets" is a tragedy: it contains a tragic curse, passed down from generation to generation. Although Heather's photograph preserves that "tiny suggestion" of "free will," Heather herself no longer does. Maureen's loss of agency and self have become Hea ther's. Whether Heather's path was intercepted after she decided to run away, or while she was simply walking back to camp to get her sweater, we know that it was, and by someone whose head was already full of plans

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52 What happened to Heather Bell? We nev er find out exactly, as her body is never found and Maureen never reports what she realizes to the authorities (or anyone else). But we do receive enough information in the story to infer who was responsible for her death. This information is derived fro m another compassionate glimpse Maureen has into a life that is not her own. The day after Maureen learns of Heather Bell's disappearance, a woman from town named Marian, and her husband, Theo Slater, come to call on Lawyer Stephens. Maureen Stephens' an d Marian Slater's similar sounding names are no accident on the part of Munro, as is apparent thanks to an earlier draft of the story published in The New Yorker. 8 In this earlier version, Marian's name is Evelyn (Carrington "Talking Dirty" 6). Munro has thus consciously decided to change Marian's name to something closer to Maureen in order to encourage an association between their characters. 9 There is also a cross association between Theo Slater and Alvin Stephens' names (the "t" of Theo is reflected in "Stephens," like the "a" of Alvin is in "Slater"), which creates a connection between their characters. The reason for these connections will soon become apparent. Although Lawyer Stephens has given up his practice since his stroke, he still has a few people who call on him to "ask about the Law," and Maureen is often needed at these meetings to interpret her husband's slurred speech (141). The Stephens and the Slaters sit down at the kitchen table, where Marian Slater immediately launches into an 8 The New Yorker holds first publication rights to Munro's work, meaning that many of her stories are published in the magazine prior to being collected in book form. 9 The characters' names also, of course, have a similar ring to Munro's own, which emphasizes, as with Annie in "A Wilderness Station," their narrative based perception of the world.

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53 excessively detailed story that begins on Sunday, the day of Heather Bell's disappearance. She goes on in great detail about a boil she was nursing at the time, about her husband's various chores that day (taking salt out to the cows, mending a fence), ab out his decision not to take the dog, etc. (144). The excesses of Marian's account are immediately suspicious to a reader familiar with Munro, who prefers, as I pointed out in my Introduction, narratives that say "too little" to those that say "too much" (Intro. 7). Marian's story focuses on details to a tyrannical degree, evincing a refusal to leave anything up to the imagination of her listeners, or the reader. Her mistrust of us causes us to mistrust her. As Nabokov's Humbert Humbert remarks in the b eginning of his confession: "You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style" ( Lolita 9). Marian, however, is no murderer; she is just speaking for one. Theo Slater is silent and visibly uncomfortable throughout her report. At first, Mauree n attributes this to him being embarrassed by his wife, but as she watches more carefully, she notices something else: "Something flashed in his face a tic, a nerve jumping in one cheek. [Marian] was watching him in spite of her antics, and her look said, Hold on. Be still" (148). Marian seems to be talking for her husband, a dynamic familiar to Maureen, who talks "for" Lawyer Stephens in both business and the bedroom. But interestingly, at this point, Maureen is also identifying with Theo, who is being controlled by his wife in a manner comparable to how Lawyer Stephens controls Maureen. According to Marian's story, on Sunday, she was in bed with a boil while Theo

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54 was out working on their property. She fell asleep and was awakened by the dog barkin g (144 145). She went downstairs and opened the door and there was Mr. Siddicup, a somewhat tragic town figure whom Maureen knows. Formerly "a dignified, sarcastic little Englishman," misfortune began to befall him after a surgery for throat cancer, whic h left him without a larynx. His wife died shortly afterwards, and Mr. Siddicup has since become "a morose and rather disgusting old urchin" who neglects to bathe or wash his clothes, and decorates the interior of his house with his dead wife's underwear (146; 152). People in Carstairs are still kindly to him, however, and Marian was not surprised to see him at her door as he sometimes came by to request a cigarette (147). Mr. Siddicup, however, seemed to want something else that morning. He was wild eye d and frantic looking, zigzagging around the yard, and making unintelligible noises (147). Finally, he went to the water pump and drenched himself, lifting "one arm back in the general direction of the bush and the river pointing and making noises" (149 ). Marian says the gestures meant little to her at the time, as she did not yet know about Heather Bell's disappearance, but upon find out about it on Monday, she began thinking about those girls, coming in with Miss Johnstone on Saturday morning wanting a drink. [] [Theo] let them play with the hose, they jumped around and squirted each other and had a great time. They were trying to skip the streams of water and they were a bit on the wild side. [] He had to practically wrestle the hose away from them and give them a few squirts of water to make them

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55 behave. (151) This, of course, is the rest of the story Frances heard from her granddaughter. Marian ostensibly mentions it to highlight the maturity and the purity of Theo's intentions in relation to th e girls, but Frances' account has already planted an enduring suggestion of lewdness in the story, and Marian's exaggerated attempt to highlight its innocence ends up only marking her husband, rather than Heather Bell, as the perpetrator of that lewdness. (Note the ambiguous placement of the word "practically.") Although Marian's story is not, on its own, enough information to solve the mystery of Heather Bell's disappearance, I would like to state now what I believe happened to Heather, so that I can b etter continue my discussion of how Munro allows the reader to come to this understanding. I believe that Theo Slater first encountered Heather and the other C.G.I.T.s on Saturday, when they stopped by his house on their way to Peregrine Falls. Whether o r not he singled Heather out is ambiguous; Marian claims he did not know which girl she was, but this seems another attempt on her part to preemptively direct suspicion away from him (151). Regardless, he played with the girls and the hose in a manner tha t, as we have seen, suggests lewdness. Then, on Sunday, when the girls were taking their hike, he set off in the direction of the river, either with the intention of meeting them again, or of simply putting salt out for the cows. When he crossed paths wi th Heather Bell, alone, on her way back to camp, the desire awakened the day before took over. Whether or not Theo meant to kill Heather Bell is an unanswerable question, but at some point, he did make the decision to sexually violate her. And at some po int during that violation, Mr. Siddicup saw them, then hurried to the Slater house to try to inform Marian of what her husband was

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56 doing. Marian's story, in its attempt to supply her husband with an alibi and purity of intent, ends up, rather, connecti ng him to the victim, the scene of the crime, and a motive. She even makes a suggestion as to where Theo could have hidden Heather's body. While describing his job at the atomic energy plant, she offers this detail: "Even the rags he cleans off his boots with, they have to be buried underground" (152). It doesn't take a murderer to recognize that an underground repository of nuclear waste would be an ideal place to hide a body. So much, then, for "all inclusive" narratives! Marian's story embellishes every detail to the nth degree, leaving absolutely nothing out, and yet, as Ildiko de Papp Carrington recognizes, it is "not information, but disinformation" ("Talking dirty" 599). It is not, alone, enough to lead us to the truth; it supplies the facts, but the bridges between these facts are faulty. Maureen's sense of compassion and narrative abilities, however, allow her to fill in the gaps created by what is not said. We see this in the way she "reads" Theo's facial expression while Marian is telling his story, but more significantly, in a scene that occurs after the Slaters leave the Stephens' house. When Marian finishes her story, Lawyer Stephens tells her that she and Theo should go to the police because he thinks her story is "information," "not accusation" (152). Maureen, "not quite satisfied," watches the Slaters leave from a window on the stair landing. They turn in the direction of the police station, but then stop to sit down on the wall of a cemetery across the street: They didn't talk, or look at each other, but seemed united, as if taking a rest in the midst of hard shared labors. []

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57 Now Marian took out some pins and carefully lifted off her hat. [] She set it in her lap and her husband reached over. He took it away, as if anxious to take away anything that might be a burden to her. He settled it in his lap. He bent over and started to stroke it, in a comforting way. He stroked that hat made of horrible brown feathers as if he were pacifying a little scared hen. But Marian stopped him. She said something to him, she clamped a hand down on his. The way a mother might interrupt the carrying on of a simple minded child with a burst of abhorrence, a moment's break in her tired out love. (154 5) Seeing this, Maureen feels "a shock," "a shrinking in her bones" (155). Her husband then calls her into his bedroom and rapes her. This type of violation being a commonplace in her life, she is able to think of other things throughout it, including a custard she plans to make when he finishe s. But at the height of her husband's "rampage, she [thinks] of the fingers moving in the feathers, the wife's hand laid on top of the husband's, pressing down" (156). Maureen is beginning to make a connection here that is still not entirely clear. Som ehow, she is associating her victimization at the hands of her husband with something she glimpsed in that moment of candor between the Slaters. But what is the connection? In her article on the story, Ildiko de Papp Carrington makes an excellent argumen t for a parallel reading of "Open Secrets" and John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men with Theo's character corresponding to Steinbeck's Lennie Small. George Milton speaks for the mentally retarded Lennie as Marian speaks for Theo, "scowl[ing]

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58 meaningfully at" him to keep him quiet in a way that recalls the look Marian shoots her husband to keep him "still" ("Talking Dirty 3). Although Munro gives no indication that Theo is mentally retarded, upon meeting him, Maureen notices "a look of strain and dryness, or bewilderment" in his eyes, and thinks that, "perhaps, he [is] not very bright" (142). George and Lennie's interdependent mode of communication arouses the ranch hand's son's suspicion in a way comparable to how Theo and Marian Slater arouse Maureen's ("Ta lking Dirty" 3). And in the most obvious connection between the two narratives, there is Theo's "sensuous stroking" of Marian's hat. Carrington points out that Marian's "immediate revulsion against this 'carrying on' identify Theo's behavior as not only 'simple minded' but also overtly sexual" (4). Lennie Small, similarly, takes sensual pleasure in "stroking soft things: mice, rabbits, newborn puppies, pieces of velvet, and women's hair and clothes" (4). Because of Lennie's size and fervor, however, he often unintentionally kills the animals he strokes, and in the novel's final, tragic scene, he inadvertently breaks the neck of the ranch hand's daughter while stroking her hair. If we read the final scene of Of Mice and Men as connected to the missing scene from "Open Secrets," which documents what transpired between Theo Slater and Heather Bell, Theo's desire becomes associated with Lennie Small's childish surrender to sensory pleasure. We are able to envisage a scenario in which Theo comes across Hea ther in the woods, succumbs to his sexual desire, and then kills her, either accidentally or because, having violated her, he feels that he has to. Both Lennie's murder of the ranch owner's daughter and Theo's murder of Heather Bell can be read

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59 as instanc es of the body ruling the mind. But this sets up an over simplified, hierarchical relationship between the mind and body that I do not believe Munro intends, and it is Lawyer Stephens' presence in the story that complicates this hierarchy. Lawyer Stephen s demonstrates that the intellect, alone, is insufficient for controlling bodily impulse. This idea is illustrated, partly, in his personal conflict between the mind and body, in the way he totally represses his sexuality prior to his stroke, and then swi ngs to the opposite end of the spectrum after it. But the mind's failure to control the body is also illustrated in the failure of the Law, intellect embodied, to prevent Alvin Stephens from raping his wife. In her article on Munro's The Lives of Girls a nd Women, Janet Beer writes that "Munro is charting the decline of the male language and the paucity or inadequacy of the masculine word" (129). We see this idea in Lawyer Stephens' slurred speech: he can no longer communicate without the help of Maureen' s feminine voice. But the masculine word proves itself to be doubly inadequate here. Not only does the language of the Law fail to communicate truth, it fails, also, to serve as a reliable social authority. Although Lawyer Stephens is brutally raping Ma ureen, because they are married, the Law would not recognize what he is doing as such. 10 10 A brief history of legislation concerning marital rape: In Canada prior to the 1980s, husbands were granted immunity against prosecution for spousa l rape. Now, spouses can be prosecuted for sexual assault, which is a different, and less severe, charge than rape. Prior to the 1960s, the United States preserved a historical doctrine that stated that it was impossible for a husband to rape his wife. Only since 1993 has marital rape been considered a crime in all fifty U.S. states, with North Carolina being the last state to remove a statute of spousal immunity. In seven states, marital rape is considered a separate crime from rape, carrying stricter criteria for prosecution and lighter sentences. Several states will only prosecute marital rape if it was accompanied by significant force, often meaning with a weapon (while non

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60 The name Lawyer Stephens is a metonym in itself, which represents the way that Alvin Stephens, prior to his stroke, has come to embody the Law. His metonymic monike r suggests that he is no longer associated with his individual, emotional, or human qualities, but rather, functions as the personification of intellect and objectivity (and when the intellect breaks down, with pure bodily, animalistic lust). The Law assu mes that pure objectivity should be sufficient to ensure truth and morality, but as we see here, it is not. Split entirely between the influence of mind and of body, Lawyer Stephens lacks the mediating, emotional, human influence that would allow him to r ecognize Maureen's subjectivity and desire (or lack thereof). Martha Nussbaum writes that "political systems are human, and they are only good if they are alive in a human way" (404). A Law that strives for absolute objectivity and rationality is not a L aw that meets this description. Maureen is, literally, being raped by the Law. As Maureen begins to make her custard, she thinks of a story that Miss Johnstone, the leader of the C.G.I.T. troop, tells the girls every year about a religious vision she had when she was a girl with polio (157). Maureen dismisses Miss Johnstone as "crazy," but starts considering moments she sometimes has in her own life where she sees things that "seem to be part of another life that she is leading, a life just as long an d complicated and strange and dull," but not her own (158). Upon having this thought, Maureen has a vision: marital sex offense laws usually refer to lack of consent rather than use of force), or if a husband and wife are living separately. ( http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbName=DocumentViewer&DocumentID=3270 ; 2007)

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61 She sees one of those thick fingered hands that pressed into her tablecloth and that had worked among the feathers, and it is pressed down, unresis tingly, but by someone else's will it is pressed down on the open burner of the stove where she is stirring the custard in the double boiler, and held there just for a second or two, just long enough to scorch the flesh on the red coil, to scorch but not t o maim. In silence this is done, and by agreement a brief and barbaric necessary act. (158) This is a vision, as Coral Ann Howells puts it, of "a guilt acknowledged" (123). It is a vision that has arisen, once again, from emotional connections Maureen m akes between separate narrative strands. But these connections are complex and multiple, not simple substitutions. The vision of the hand pressed against the burner is partly a revenge fantasy, representing Maureen's desire to punish her husband for his sexual abuse. In Enchanted Maidens, James Taggart writes of the symbolic significance of female characters punishing men for sexual transgressions by violence done to their hands: "The maiden's disfigurement of the thief's hand is undoubtedly a reference to castration and appears in a number of maiden and thieves stories by women (63). Munro is alluding to a long narrative tradition in which the disfigurement of hands contains this kind of sexual symbolism. But Maureen's vision may also be a guilt fan tasy in which she perceives her sexual desire as something that needs to be punished. It is important to remember that even though Maureen is being victimized, she is still a sexual being with desires that are not being met. Her husband's violent denial of her subjectivity has forced her to

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62 repress these desires, so that she feels guilty for being sexual at all. The fact, however, that the hand Maureen sees pressed on the burner is Theo Slater's, rather than her own or her husband's, forges an assoc iation that allows us to solve the mystery of Heather Bell's disappearance. Theo Slater's "guilt acknowledged" is herein associated with both Lawyer Stephen's sexual abuse of his wife and with Maureen's repressed sexuality. By incorporating Theo's feelin gs of guilt and repression with the facts provided by his wife's narrative, we are able to piece together the story that assigns him responsibility for Heather Bell's death. By connecting these two instances of sexual aggression within her story, Munro in the words of Catharine MacKinnon, "reunifies" the "divisions that have been imposed upon that aggression by the legal system," and directs the reader's attention, instead, towards the similarities in the experiences of women who have been violated (Ma cKinnon 85). The mystery of "Open Secrets" cannot be solved unless the reader recognizes Theo Slater's violation of Heather Bell as related to Lawyer Stephens' violation of Maureen, although the law, in 1965, would choose to view these violations as unrela ted. Here lies one implication of the title "Open Secrets:" The Stephens' marriage is open to the world, lawfully recognized, yet sheltering shame, violence, and crime. MacKinnon believes the reunification of instances of sexual aggression is one of th e first steps towards legally redefining rape from a woman's perspective. She attributes sexual inequality in part to the fact that "the definition of rape is not based on [a woman's] sense of [her] violation" (82): The crime of rape this is a legal and o bserved, not a subjective,

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63 individual, or feminist definition is defined around penetration. This seems to me a very male point of view on what it means to be sexually violated. [] This is Rape as defined according to what men think violates women. [] T he crime of rape focuses more centrally on what men define as sexuality than on women's experience of our sexual being. [] Finders of fact look for more force than usual during the preliminaries.' Rape is defined by distinction from intercourse -not nonv iolence, intercourse. They ask, does this act look more like fucking or like rape. But what is their standard for sex and is this question asked from the woman's point of view? (MacKinnon 87 88) I want to draw your attention to the vocabulary distincti ons MacKinnon makes here. Terms denoting objectivity and separation ("finders of fact, "define," "distinction") are contrasted to those related to subjectivity and feeling ("sense," "individual," "experience"), emphasizing the way a woman's subjective ex perience and feeling are relegated to a category outside the "legally provable" (88). MacKinnon, however, argues that subjective experience and feeling are precisely what define rape. The problem, therefore, becomes one of language. By invalidating subj ective language, patriarchal law denies the perspective of a subordinated population: "When you are powerless, you don't just speak differently. A lot, you don't speak. Your speech is not just differently articulated; it is silenced" (MacKinnon 39). Wom en are literally denied the words they need to communicate their feelings of violation.

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64 This idea goes far in explaining Maureen's ultimate silence. Although she knows who murdered Heather Bell, she has no way to communicate this knowledge, or the meth od with which she has come upon it. She maintains her silence for the rest of her life, meaning that Theo Slater is never brought to justice, and that Siddicup, the only suspect in the case (thanks to Marian Slater), is subjected to multiple humiliating a nd fruitless searches before being incarcerated in an insane asylum (159 60). The final paragraph of "Open Secrets" looks forward in time, to after Lawyer Stephens has died and Maureen has remarried: In kitchens hundreds and thousands of miles away, [Maur een will] watch the soft skin form on the back of a wooden spoon and her memory will twitch, but it will not quite reveal to her this moment when she seems to be looking into an open secret, something not startling until you think of trying to tell it. (1 60) We see here that Maureen will eventually disconnect herself from the vision she has at the stove in 1965. She will bury it, and although her memory will sometimes "twitch," she will not have access to this particular moment again. Her suppression of what she knows is a result of her inability to communicate what she knows. What is "startling" to Maureen is her encounter with this absence of language. The word "tell," in addition to being commonly used with the word "secret," carries the implication of telling on, as in tattling, or more formally, as in testifying in a court of law. Munro's use of the word "tell" emphasizes Maureen's recognition of the fact that her subjective, emotional realization cannot be communicated using the language of the ob jective, legal realm inhabited by her husband. Furthermore, the term "marital rape" does not

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65 exist in 1965, meaning that it would be difficult for Maureen to explain even to herself why her violation at the hands of her husband feels so similar to Heather 's at the hands of Theo Slater. Maureen's silence becomes what MacKinnon calls the "silence of a deep kind, the silence of being prevented from having anything to say." MacKinnon remarks that "sometimes, [this kind of silence] is permanent" (39). For M aureen, we see that it is.

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66 "Vandals" and the De romanticized Romantic Hero "[In this passage I was] trying to figure something out -and I may not have figured it out yet -about the kind of men many women, women like me, are drawn to. It has to do with "the highly romantic thing of falling in love with Heathcliff. [] You always think that Heathcliff is going to do you the honor of falling in love with you." What you may not realize is that "he probably doesn't want to be Heathcliff all that much anyway." Alice Munro (Humphreys) The "highly romantic" model Munro describes here is one that has interested her since her earliest days as a writer. Before the epiphany (described in my Introduction) that precipitated her growing interes t in the short story form, she was writing a novel based, in part, on Wuthering Heights (Miller "On Looking" 1). But Munro's disenchantment with her novel corresponded with a growing disenchantment with conventional literary models, and "Vandals" is perha ps the best example in Munro's oeuvre of her rejection of the tortured, Romantic hero. Munro's "Heathcliff" is a man named Ladner, an emotionally wounded and aloof war veteran living on a swamp just outside Carstairs, Ontario. In some ways, "Vandals" is a love story between Ladner and a woman named Bea Doud, but from the story's first word, Munro prevents the reader from becoming swept up in Bea and Ladner's dark romance. Munro structures "Vandals" so that it moves backwards in time, a decision that succ eeds in driving home the damage wrought by Ladner before his entrance into the narrative. By the time the reader gets to see Ladner close up, she is already alert to the damage he has done and thus views him with a coldly critical eye, rather than an open heart.

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67 In Labyrinth of Desire, Rosemary Sullivan explores the romantic appeal of Heathcliff, whom she describes as "a female fantasy" and "psychological [impossibility]:" He is a narcissistic man who treats life as if it owes him, violently takes what h e wants, and yet is honorable at the core. [] He is a man who brutalizes the world and yet is preternaturally faithful to one woman. In the real world, a man capable of marrying his beloved's sister in law out of contempt, strangling his wife's pet dog f or pleasure, and intentionally demeaning a child out of revenge would also be abusive towards his lover. (70) Sullivan gets at something important here, which Munro also confronts in "Vandals": the tension and correspondence between the fictional "demon lo ver," and the real life abuser. Sullivan quotes La Rochefoucauld in saying "that we pattern our love affairs after literary models," but emphasizes that "it's a great mistake to look for Heathcliff in the real world" (68; 71). In "Vandals," Munro refuses to add fuel to the fire of the Heathcliff fantasy; she presents Ladner as an unquestionable abuser, of not just Bea, but also of a young girl named Liza. Ladner's sexual violation of a young girl prevents even the most tender hearted reader from falling in love with him. He comes across as not just emotionally destructive, but also sexually repellent. "Vandals," like all the stories of Open Secrets requires work and involvement on the part of the reader. Ladner's sexual abuse of Liza is not immediatel y apparent; rather, it is possible to miss. But "Vandals," like "A Wilderness Station," is a story that

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68 centers around a question of motive, and to miss the sexual abuse aspect of the narrative is to render one of the story's main events utterly enigmatic To complete the meaning of the story, to transcend, as one does in "Open Secrets," its emotionally turbid mystery, the reader must trust the motives behind one of its female character's actions, must view Liza as a person, rather than a histrionic femin ine maelstrom, must ask the questions, "Why are you angry; why are you hurting; what happened to you?" For the reader who does this, "Vandals" offers more than enough by way of answers. Time in "Vandals" moves backwards in three sections The story, like "Open Secrets," exists in the "metonymic dimension," meaning that each of these sections attains its full significance only "aprs coup," or in context of the section that comes after (Gallop qtd. Houston 82). The first section is a never mailed lett er from Bea Doud to Liza. We learn from this letter that Bea's partner, Ladner, has unexpectedly died during heart bypass surgery, and that prior to this surgery, Bea had asked Liza to check on their house to make sure the water line was turned off. Liza apparently did so and called Bea to let her know that the house had been vandalized. Bea thanks Liza for informing her of this, and Liza's husband for boarding up the window through which the vandals entered the house (262 3). The rest of this section is the backstory of Bea's relationship with Ladner. The story's second section is the scene in which Liza and her husband, Warren, go to check on the water line. Almost immediately upon entering the house, Liza begins to vandalize it ruthlessly, emptying b ottles from the kitchen over the floors and

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69 furniture and destroying Ladner's taxidermied animals. Warren is baffled and made extremely uncomfortable by Liza's behavior, but he does not try to stop her, and eventually joins in a little on the destruction himself (280 2). The third section goes back to when Liza was a child and involves her and her brother Kenny's relationship with Ladner, their neighbor. Ladner has a property on a swamp that he has turned into an outdoor museum of sorts, dividing the lan d into sections representing different natural habitats and displaying his taxidermied animals. He calls it "Lesser Dismal" after the Greater Dismal swamp in the U.S. Liza and her brother spend every day playing on the Lesser Dismal, while the brusque, i ll natured Ladner teaches them about the natural world. When Bea comes onto the scene, Liza immediately adores her, looking up to her as a mother figure, as her own mother is dead. Both Ladner and Bea play clearly significant roles in Liza and Kenny's ch ildhoods; the children spend more time with the couple than they do with their own father. So why, the question is, does Liza vandalize Bea and Ladner's house? I would like to pause here to relate an anecdote involving my first reading of the story, and to talk about how that reading contrasted with that of another reader, who is male. In this thesis, I take the view that reading is a subjective experience and assert that it is only through subjective experiences that we learn compassion. My interest, then, lies not only in my own reading experience, but also in the way that one reader's experience complements and contrasts with another's. While any worthwhile work of critical inquiry will enter a dialogue with other readers, my wish here is to move th is

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70 dialogue, for a moment, away from the realm of academic discourse and into the more intimate setting of a personal relationship. I hope that doing so will allow me to incorporate some of the vocabulary, customs and emotional considerations that accompa ny a personal relationship into a work of critical inquiry, thereby taking a step in breaking away from a critical tradition that has often looked down upon the integration of the personal and the theoretical an integration, as I hope to have shown, that i s essential to a reading of Munro's work. The first time I read "Vandals," the motives behind Liza's vandalism of Ladner's house became clear to me in the third section of the story. I was already keeping a careful eye on Ladner, thanks to some clues f rom the story's first two sections. Additionally, I was baffled by Liza's vandalism of Bea and Ladner's house, which made me all the more suspicious of her childhood interactions with the couple. However, in the third section of the story, there are two places in which Ladner's sexual abuse of Liza is given direct mention, and after my arrival at these places, I understood Liza's motives immediately: When Ladner grabbed Liza and squashed himself against her she had a sense of danger deep inside him, a mec hanical sputtering, as if he would exhaust himself in one jab of light Instead, he collapsed heavily, like the pelt of an animal flung loose from its flesh and bones. He lay so heavy and useless that Liza and even Kenny felt for a moment that it was a tr ansgression to look at him. He had to pull his voice out of his groaning innards, to tell them they were bad. (292)

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71 The abuse is also mentioned in a scene prior to this, where Liza is swimming in Ladner's pond and Ladner makes "a pretend grab at her, to g et her between the legs, [at the same time making] a pious, shocked face as if the person in his head was having a fit at what his hand might do" (289). As a woman, there was no doubt in my mind after reading these two passages as to what had transpired between Ladner and Liza. Any other possibilities as to how these passages could have been read was, for me, cancelled out by the previous scene in which Liza vandalizes Ladner's house. Liza's vandalism of Ladner's property is her revenge for his vandalis m of her. Munro emphasizes the association between Ladner and Liza's respective roles as vandals through a technique we now know she is fond of: an alliterative association between their names. Because the "solution" to the story came so easily to me, I didn't even realize that I had done any work to get to it. Instead, I was just left feeling impressed by what Munro had accomplished in "Vandals" and recommended to the story to my friend, Alex, a fellow writer and Munro fan. Alex is as a sophisticat ed reader and writer capable of grasping nuance. He holds a Classics degree, has taught and translated Latin poetry, and is the most well read person I know. He has taught me a great deal about literature. I was thus surprised to receive an email from h im about "Vandals" in which he made no mention of Ladner's sexual abuse of Liza. He recognized other feelings in the story, most notably Liza's feelings that Bea was "trespassing" when she came to live with Ladner, but not Liza's sense of being vandalized bodily. Had he missed it? Or did he simply

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72 not see it as the motivation behind her vandalism of Ladner's house? But how could it not be? I responded to Alex with a shorter version of what will make up much of the content of this chapter, in which I pr esent the textual support to back up my reading of "Vandals." He wrote back to say he had reread the story and that it was "all obviously there" but that he had missed "Munro's clues." His next comment was, in many ways, the inspiration for this chapter, if not this thesis: "And I suspect I was meant to miss them." Shortly after this, I had a dream about the story that I related to Alex in another email. It was a dream involving Vladimir Nabokov, a writer who has, since I discovered him, exerted a r ather problematic influence. He is one of my favorite writers, and his fiction often strikes me as intensely compassionate in its vivid imaginings of characters' lives. Nabokov the man, however, made some statements that I feel to be less compassionate. I am thinking in particular of one in a letter to Edmund Wilson, in which he said women writers were "of another class" (and by "another," he did not mean "higher," nor was he making this remark in the Marxist sense, like Catharine MacKinnon does in order to call for its transformation). In this sense, Nabokov has become, for me, a writer who in many ways represents the patriarchal literary tradition: a writer whose unambiguous expressions of authority I sometimes perceive as almost threatening, 11 a writer who has inspired me 11 Precisely because they ar e so unambiguous and intellectually controlled, because they are abstracted from human realities and fallibility in a way that his fiction is not. In interviews, Munro and Nabokov often come across as veritable opposites, which is interesting because I fe el that their fiction is similar in many ways. In interviews, Munro makes few strong or

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73 greatly, yet who would have viewed me, because of my sex, as a natural inferior. My dream was thus significant as a confrontation between my conception of the male, authoritative literary tradition, and the feminist, socially oriented (although nevertheless compassionate or individualistic) fiction I was discovering in the work of Munro: I dreamed I was in DC at some sort of low end cabaret club. The "bar" was more like a greasy lunch counter, of the sort that would be found in some c heap diner off the freeway. I was sitting at it, talking to the dancers and the bartender, and suddenly, Nabokov was sitting next to me. He was still young and attractive, and far more friendly than I would have expected him to be. I started telling him ab out "Vandals," except somehow, in my telling or in his interpretation, it became a story that I wrote, on which I was asking for his advice. He told me I needed to make the sexual abuse element even subtler than it already was "a paragraph, at the most," h e said. After I went back to my hotel, he kept sending me telegrams about his ideas for "Vandals." I was being bombarded by telegrams from Nabokov. The fact that, in this dream, I have taken over the authorship of Munro's story, coupled with Nabokov's b ombardment of telegrams, reminds me of Sandra Gilbert definitive statements, and has gone as far as to say that "everything [she says] when [she does] an interview is tentative" (Humphreys). Compare this attitude to Nabo kov's insistence on maintaining complete control in interviews, to the point where he wouldn't even hold one in person, but instead responded to all questions in writing, using the format as a sounding board off of which to expound more of his notions of c ertainty ( Strong Opinions xv).

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74 and Susan Gubar's response to Harold Bloom's idea of the "anxiety of influence," wherein they argue that the female writer has a different challenge than Bloom's male writer, who must "kill" his literar y influences. The female writer, according to Gilbert and Gubar, must not "kill" her influences, but rather grapple with the seeming obliteration of their narrative and thus her narrative, the entire female narrative from the literary tradition. She mu st, rather, seek out a female literary influence to identify with, in order to "prove by example that a revolt against patriarchal authority is possible" (Gilbert and Gubar 2027). In my first chapter, I quote Patrocinio Schweickart in saying that "the fe minist reader takes the part of the woman writer against patriarchal misreadings that trivialize or distort her work" (46, my page 16). In my dream, this idea becomes literal and personal; I am identified with Munro to such an extent that I have actually written her story and must protect it against a deluge of "authority" from a male writer who wants to control it. I interpret Nabokov's bombardment of telegrams in two ways. The first involves a certain truth in Munro's fiction that my unconscious appare ntly feels the patriarchal literary tradition wants to deny. Although Nabokov has written a whole novel that graphically depicts sexual scenes between an older man and young girl, he views a woman writer's subtler treatment of similar subject matter as be ing too obvious. "Make that part smaller," says the dream Nabokov. "You have gone too far in writing about it even this much." But I simultaneously interpret Nabokov's bombardment in the opposite way, as related to the comment Alex made about feeling a s if he were "meant to miss" the

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75 "clues" in Munro's story. Both the dream Nabokov and Alex are emphasizing the subtlety of Munro's fiction as something that is, or should be, intentional. I realize there is an element of "Vandals" that actually strives t o be clandestine. But why? Why does Munro even leave open the possibility that the reader will misinterpret Liza's motivations for vandalizing Ladner's house? I think the reason has something to do with the discrepancies between my and Alex's first rea dings of the story. What was easy for me, as a female reader, to recognize, was not so immediately apparent to a male reader. This is a problem with real life implications, a problem that arises in a society in which men are not taught to interpret women 's emotions, while women are forced to interpret men's emotions in order to survive: Learning by osmosis what men want in a woman and trying to give it to them, women hope that being the wanted image will alter their odds [of being abused]. Paying attent ion to every detail of every incident of a woman's violation they can get their hands on, women attempt not to be her. (MacKinnon 88) In other words, what was so easy for me as a female reader was perhaps too easy why should I be so alert to victimizati on? By making the elements of sexual victimization in "Vandals" subdued and subtle, Munro exposes the mechanics of that victimization in a way that is revealing for both men and women. The masculine reader must recognize something he might overlook in ev eryday life in order to complete the meaning of the story. And the feminine reader must extricate herself from the hold of a destructive romantic model, to recognize Heathcliff as sheer fantasy.

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76 The problem at the heart of "Vandals" is one of recogniti on. When Bea moves into Ladner's house, Liza has a very specific set of expectations about the role she will play in their lives: "Bea was not measured or judged by Liza in the way that other people were. But this did not mean Liza's love for Bea was eas y or restful her love was one of expectation, but she did not know what it was that she expected" (287). But by not recognizing Ladner's abuse of Liza, Bea fails to fulfill her expectations, so that Liza's act of vandalism in the second part of the story is directed, in some ways, as much at Bea as it is at Ladner. While the child Liza may not know what it is she expects from Bea, the reader can infer. Liza expects Bea, as Ladner's "girlfriend" (284), to have the power to put Ladner, Liza and Kenny ba ck again in their appropriate roles as adult and children, to make them "like a family" (286). Bea, however, abdicates this maternal role: Bea could spread safety, if she wanted to. Surely she could. All that is needed is for her to turn herself into a different sort of woman, a hard and fast, draw the line sort, clean sweeping, energetic and intolerant. None of that. Not allowed. Be good. The woman who could rescue them who could make them all, keep them all good. What Bea has been sent to do, she doesn't see. Only Liza sees. (293) The emphasis on the word "see" is important here, for a question left unanswered in "Vandals" is whether Bea actually does see what is taking place between Liza and

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77 Ladner. In her letter to Liza at the beginning of the story, there is no obvious indication of guilt or apology, although she does recount a telling dream. In Bea's dream, she is going to collect Ladner's bones at some kind of religious ceremony that comes seven years after a loved one's death (although in the waking world, Ladner has not been dead longer than a year). She collects the bag of bones and "feels so happy to receive it," which she thinks has "something to do with [her]feelings for [Ladner] and his for [her] being purified." But then someone s ays to her "'Did you get the little girl?'" Bea writes that she understood what was meant. The little girl's bones. I saw that my bag was really quite small and light to contain Ladner. What little girl? I thought, but I was already getting confused about everything and had a suspicion I might be dreaming. It came into my mind, Do they mean the little boy? Just as I woke up I was thinking of Kenny and wondering, Was it seven years since the accident? (I hope it doesn't hurt you, Liza, that I menti on this also I know that Kenny was no longer little when the accident happened.) (263) Bea is referring to a drunk driving accident in which Kenny was killed as a teenager (276). But in doing so, she is neglecting another possible interpretation of the d ream. Seven is the age Liza was when she first started spending time on Ladner's property (285). The bones Bea collects in her dream may be Liza's. She may thus be recognizing symbolically, if not consciously, what has transpired between Liza and Ladner and the way in which this experience was, for Liza, a symbolic death.

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78 Another possible indication that Bea feels some sense of guilt towards Liza is that she pays for Liza to go to college. This is not help Liza has requested; Bea simply calls her on e day "out of the blue" and makes the offer (275). Liza accepts but ends up dropping out after only a year, when she becomes a Christian. She meets her husband, Warren, through the church (276). So Bea might offer to pay for Liza's education out of a s ense of guilt. But I believe it is more likely that, either out of willful or unconscious ignorance, she is not aware of Ladner's abuse of Liza as a girl. Her offer to pay for Liza's education seems more an attempt to impart her own gifts to the younger woman. Bea has a master's degree in English and family money and occasionally evinces a degree of condescension towards the residents of the backwater township where Ladner lives, as when she refers in her letter to Liza's conversion: "I hear you are a Ch ristian now, Liza, what a splendid thing to be! Are you born again? I always liked the sound of that!" (261). I believe that Bea does not recognize what occurs between Liza and Ladner because she is too distracted by her obsession with Ladner. She h as become addicted, in a way, to his emotional unavailability, and to recognize what he is doing to Liza would mean giving him up. In a letter Bea writes to her female friends shortly after she moves in with Ladner (we learn that "she had a couple friends then, to whom she wrote and actually sent letters," the emphasis being on the "then," as in "not now"), Bea tries to explain why she left her previous boyfriend a friendly, outgoing high school principal whose wife is in a coma to live with Ladner, a former member of the Royal Army who now devotes his free time to taxidermy. She writes

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79 that she would hate to think she had gone after Ladner because he was rude and testy and slightly savage, with the splotch on the side of his face that shone like metal in the sunlight []. [Ladner was burned on his face and neck while fighting in World War II.] She would hate to think so, because wasn't that the way in all the dreary romances some brute gets the woman tingling and then it's goodbye to Mr. Fine and Dece nt. (268) But this seems to be precisely what she has done, as the next paragraph indicates: No, she wrote, but what she did think and she knew that this was very regressive and bad form what she did think was that some women, women like herself, mig ht be always on the lookout for an insanity that could contain them. For what was living with a man if it wasn't living inside his insanity? A man could have a very ordinary, a very unremarkable insanity, such as a devotion to a ball team. But that migh t not be enough, not big enough and an insanity that was not big enough simply made a woman mean and discontented. [] What did Ladner offer her then, that she could live inside? She didn't mean just that she would be able to accept the importance of lear ning the habits of porcupines and writing fierce letters on the subject to journals that she, Bea, had never before heard of. She meant also that she

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80 would be able to live surrounded by implacability, by ready doses of indifference which at times might se em like scorn. (269) This is the passage to which Munro is referring in the epigraph I have chosen for this chapter. Although Bea speaks flippantly of "dreary romances," she seems, semi consciously, to be walking directly into one. Her idea of a "contai ning insanity" reminds me of Rochester's wife locked in the attic of Jane Eyre or of Cathy's explanation, in Wuthering Heights, as to why she loves Heathcliff: "My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath a source of little visible delight, but necessary" (qtd. Sullivan 69). Bea is drawn to Ladner because of the danger he represents, a common theme in romances involving the "demon lover": "To love against the world's terms, against the normalizing, the quotidian, [seems] brave. To love as the world is afraid to do [confers] status, heroism" (Sullivan 68). This idea also works to explain the degree of pride Bea evinces in the letters she writes to her friends about Ladner. Bea's attraction to Ladner is also based on his inability to meet the emotional needs of another human being. This is evident in the account of their first interaction, in which Bea goes to call on him alone after a failed first time visit with her previous boyfriend, Peter Parr. Peter Parr took Bea to Ladner's in an a ttempt to set up a field trip for his high schoolers; Bea, already annoyed with Peter's over friendliness prior to this trip, realizes she is "on the wrong track with Peter Parr" upon seeing Ladner turn him gruffly away. After meeting Ladner, Bea realizes that she does not "want anymore of [Peter's] geniality, his good intentions, his puzzling and striving" (268).

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81 When Bea returns to Ladner's on her own, he is similarly gruff, although he does take her on the tour of his property that he denied Peter Parr Throughout this tour, she is intrigued by his lack of courtesy: "He did not slow down for her or help her in any way to cross a creek or climb a bank. He never held out a hand or suggested that they might sit and rest on any appropriate log or slope" ( 270). He refuses to engage her in any of her attempts to be flirtatious; when she asks if a pair of necking swans are mates he responds with only an abrupt "Evidently" (271). Bea is less intrigued, however, when Ladner makes her tea, at which point she s tarts to think there is "nothing so very mysterious about him, maybe nothing even so very interesting" (273). Her attraction is predicated on his lack of interest in her; she is most excited to see him "at some hard job, when he is forgetful of [her]" (27 0). Ladner is exciting because he makes satisfaction impossible; around him, Bea is in a constant state of desiring. Her desire, as Munro puts it, is to have Heathcliff do her the honor of falling in love with her. But Heathcliff, as Munro recognizes, c an do no one that honor. Heathcliff is too damaged to love, and to love him, therefore, means to be constantly yearning and repeatedly wounded. In her love for Ladner, Bea becomes detached from the rest of the world, unable to see anyone but him. This is especially evident in the way that she loses touch with the women around her. As I mentioned, when Bea first moves in with Ladner, she has several female friends to whom she regularly writes letters. As Ladner's treatment of her grows harsher, howeve r, she becomes cut off from her friends: Several other women had thought themselves capable of [living with Ladner.] She found traces of them. A belt

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82 size26 a jar of cocoa butter, fancy combs for the hair. He hadn't let any of them stay. Why them and n ot me? Bea asked him. None of them had any money,' said Ladner. A joke. I am slit to bottom with jokes. (Now she wrote letters only in her head.) (269) Bea's detachment from the feminine world is most evident, however, in her failure to make an identif ication with Liza. Liza, too, has been swept up in Ladner's darkness, yet Bea is too lost in that darkness to realize that she is not alone. Munro makes a conventionally Romantic move in her use of the pathetic fallacy: the darkness of Ladner's character corresponds with the darkness of his swamp side property, which has a definite Moorland feel: "The swamp was black from a distance, a long smudge on the northern horizon" (277). Also, both Bea and Liza's narratives contain descriptions of their encounter s with Lesser Dismal that are sexual in nature: The smell of hawthorn blossoms seemed to [Bea] an intimate one, musty or yeasty. (272) In some places the air is thick and private, and in others you feel an energetic breeze. Smells are harsh and enticing. Certain walks impose decorum and certain stones are set a jump apart so they call out for craziness. Here are the scenes of serious instruction where Ladner taught them how to tell a hickory tree from a butternut and a star from a planet. [] And places where Liza thinks there is a bruise on the ground, a tickling and shame in the grass. (291)

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83 To Liza, Lesser Dismal is a world with its own rules, just as Ladner is a man who defies her previous notions of bad and good: "with him, what was terrible was always funny, badness was mixed up with silliness, you always had to join in with dopey faces and voices and pretending he was a cartoon monster" (290). Liza seems to mix up Ladner's brand of lawlessness with the laws of nature, as we see in descriptions that flow fluidly between her growing understanding of the natural world and her growing corruption at the hands of Ladner: Soon they knew much more. At least Liza did. She knew birds, trees, mushrooms, fossils, the solar system. She knew where certai n rocks came from and that the swelling on a goldenrod stem contains a little white worm that can live nowhere else in the world. She knew not to talk so much about all she knew. (286) The "emotion laden" natural setting of "Vandals" is a clear throwback t o the Romantic world of the Brontes. But this fact makes the pull that Ladner's property exerts over the young Liza particularly disturbing. We are not witnessing the "brooding lovers on the brooding moors" (Sullivan 69), but rather, a middle aged man an d a seven year old girl on a swamp filled with taxidermied animals. Through her subversion of Romantic literary convention, Munro further emphasizes the horror of her story's reality. Although there are multiple correspondences between Bea and Liza's narratives, Bea's alliance with Ladner prevents her from recognizing these. As I have hoped to show throughout this thesis: in the stories of Open Secrets connections made

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84 between disparate narratives, and especially disparate female narratives, are the only path to truth. Bea's inability to recognize the connection between her narrative and Liza's, therefore, is a bad sign. This idea is made especially clear in a scene towards the end of the story, in which Ladner starts mimicking Bea while she plays in the pond with Liza: He was doing what she was doing, but in a sillier, ugly way. He was most intentionally and insistently making a fool of her. See how vain she is, said Ladner's angular prancing. See what a fake. Pretending not to be afraid of t he deep water, pretending to be happy, pretending not to know how we despise her. This was thrilling and shocking. Liza's face was trembling with her need to laugh. Part of her wanted to make Ladner stop, to stop at once, before the damage was done, and part of her longed for that very damage, the damage Ladner could do, the ripping open, the final delight of it. (289) Bea sees Liza's face and turns around, catches sight of Ladner and goes inside. Liza is devastated as it seems to her "that Bea [will] h ave to go away. How could she stay after such an insult? [] Bea did not understand about Ladner. And how could she? Liza herself couldn't have described to anybody what he was like" (289). But it seems Bea does indeed understand far too well about Lad ner. Or perhaps the tragedy is that she does not understand as well as Liza, that a seven year old girl is more alert to the damage he is causing than a grown woman. In recognition of

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85 her alignment with Bea, Liza goes home and retrieves one of her most p rized possessions: "a single rhinestone earring that she found on the road" (290.) She offers this to Bea in a demonstration of compassion that looks far more childish than it actually is. Bea is in a better mood when Liza gives her the earring, and Liza thinks "she [has] forgiven Ladner after all, or made a bargain not to remember" (293). (The implication, of course, being that Liza has been making bargains "not to remember.") Bea is unable, however, to reciprocate the feeling that Liza shows to her, t o recognize that Liza is also being damaged by Ladner. Liza recognizes Bea as a woman who shares her experience, but Bea does not return this recognition. Only the reader can compensate for Bea's lack of recognition by seeing that which she does not: L iza's victimization. Here is a reason for the backwards chronology of "Vandals:" Munro shows the damage caused by each act of vandalism before the transgression that inspired it, and thus forces the reader to superimpose the damage caused by Ladner's viol ation of Liza onto the act of vandalism. In other words, it is difficult to read the final section of the story without thinking that Ladner's abuse of Liza is serious, or that it will affect Liza later in her life, because we have already seen that it ha s. The reader and Bea thus possess very different kinds of consciousness regarding Ladner's capacity for damage; Bea is trapped in the past and present, while we, as readers, have seen the future. The reader's consciousness of the cycle of abuse in "Van dals" thus breaks that cycle in two ways. The reader gets to see Ladner in the full daylight of reality (as in the scene where the sun on his face makes his scar shine "like metal") rather than in

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86 flattering Romantic shadow. Munro thus succeeds in dispel ling the intrigue of Heathcliff, in emphasizing his grotesque sadism over his mystery. In addition to viewing Lander in broad daylight, the reader also must recognize Liza's victimization in order to complete the meaning of the story. I have written mor e here about reading "Vandals" from a woman's perspective because I am, of course, a woman. I do not, however, believe Munro has intentionally written a story that men will not "get." Rather, I anticipate that the process masculine readers must go throug h in order to uncover the meaning of "Vandals" adds to its value. In Upheavals of Thought, Nussbaum calls for a modern literature that teaches compassion to men in a patriarchy, using Greek drama as a model: The extension of empathy required of an ancient Greek spectator is remarkable, given the extremely hierarchical, male dominated character of Athenian society. A young male spectator is asked to see the distresses of human life from points of view that include those of women who are raped in wartime, [ ] Becoming a woman in thought, he finds that he can remain himself, that is to say, a reasoning being with moral and political commitments. (430). To complete the story's meaning, the masculine reader of "Vandals" must carefully consider the motivations o f a female character without falling back onto the over simplistic explanation that she is just crazy or over emotional, as we have seen both readers and characters do with and in "A Wilderness Station." To understand "Vandals," the reader must come to pe rceive Liza's motivations as justified, and to do

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87 this, he must recognize the way in which she has been violated. This violation is buried in the story in a way similar to how it is often buried in a society that represses an awareness of it. In reading "Vandals," the masculine reader is required to identify with a female character in thought and feeling, a "narrative habit" from which more men could benefit (Nussbaum 247). But Nussbaum's recommendation only goes so far in fixing the problem presented by "Vandals." Her recommendation is for what bell hooks would call "a benevolent patriarch," rather than for the destruction of a patriarchal paradigm (81). Such a destruction, of course, requires an additional consciousness on the part of women. While th ere are many things in a patriarchy about which women are not offered a choice, we can choose to reject outdated and harmful romantic models such as the one Munro subverts in "Vandals." Munro's story strives not to perpetuate an equation of woman and vict im, but instead to create a consciousness of this equation and of all the elements that it entails. While Ladner is the only character in "Vandals" who comes across in an entirely negative light, Munro asks the woman reader to be conscious of the choice B ea has made in being with him, and to recognize, even when Bea cannot, the problems with that choice. Liza's anger, after all, arises from the fact that she did not have one.

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88 Conclusion The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is n ot made conscious, it happens outside as fate. That is to say, when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner opposite, the world must perforce act out the conflict and be torn into opposing halves. Carl Jung Somethin g I learned recently, while applying to MFA programs in creative writing, is that no MFA program wants to read a personal statement about how long you have wanted to be a writer. Program coordinators across the board claim that they receive far too many s tatements beginning with some variation of: "I've wanted to be a writer since age X." MFA department websites implore their new applicants not to use this clichŽd opening, and upon coming across this cardinal rule, I made a mental note to avoid any storie s about my five year old self's literary ambitions. But then I paused, for I realized my five year old self had no literary ambitions. Nor did my ten nor fifteen nor even eighteen year old selves. As a girl, in fact, I vehemently did not want to be a writer. I wrote stories, but this seemed to me more of a compulsion than an occupation; whenever someone told me that I would be a writer, I'd reply that I actually planned to be an actress. Writers, I understood, saw things. Actresses, on the other ha nd, were seen. The latter seemed without question to be a vastly superior existence to the former. I realize, now, that my reluctance to embrace my gifts as a writer was a result of my over identification with a masculine point of view. This over ident ification was something I did not recognize, let alone start to get over, until just two years ago, when my discovery of Alice Munro's work catalyzed a long and complex process of

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89 recognition and transcendence. Before discovering Alice Munro, I had existe d in what literary critic Lee Edwards would call a "schizophrenic" state: Schizophrenia is the bizarre but logical conclusion of our [androcentric literary] education. Imagining myself male, I attempted to create myself male. Although I knew the case wa s otherwise, it seemed I could do nothing to make this other critically real. (qtd. Schweickart 41) Of course, my desire to be an actress (and I did not want to be an actress in the "active" sense of the word; I was more interested in being passively seen and appreciated) was not a desire to "create myself male," but rather, an inability to view myself as both female and subject, as both female and, in the words of Laura Mulvey, "bearer of the look" (2186). My writer tendencies made the schizophrenic natur e of this situation even worse because I was, of course, bearer of the look, both in the literal sense (we are all bearers of the look unless we are blind), but also, in the sense that I was seeing things and then writing them down. It was hard to reconci le my writing with the feeling that being female meant being seen. My knowledge of what it meant to be female came from the places whence such knowledge usually comes: art and culture. Like most children, I watched movies in which women functioned exclus ively as erotic object for either onscreen character or theater spectator (Mulvey 2186). (Disney princesses, I have noticed, with few exceptions, meet this criteria of Mulvey's for "woman displayed.") I adhered to school reading lists composed primarily of books by male authors and in the perspective of male narrators, and saw, everywhere I went, advertisements in which women's bodies

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90 were used to sell products. The stories I wrote throughout adolescence were, with few exceptions, third person narrations about myself: using the pronouns "she" and "her," I described the things that I did, mused on the subject of my mystery and the way in which my thoughts and feelings appeared to the outside world. I was, in other words, writing about myself from a male p erspective, which I have since noticed is a common trademark of beginning women writers. 12 Alice Munro, however, writes stories in which women are, undeniably, subjects. In multiple ways, Munro avoids viewing her female characters through a mascu linized gaze. Structurally, she positions male lives as peripheral to women's narratives, an idea we can recognize most readily in her segmented novel, The Lives of Girls and Women (2001) Munro's experimentation with a novelistic form reveals how strong ly she disassociates women from male driven narratives; none of the male characters in The Lives of Girls and Women appears in more than two consecutive narrative segments, although some of the book's main female characters appear in every one. Munro thus dispels the notion that the woman's Bildungsroman must contain "a natural or inevitable movement toward the married state or attainment of romantic love or that there is any one dominant chord in a woman's life" (Beer 126). Much to the contrary, Munro's protagonist, Del Jordan, ends up alone, "grave and simple, carrying a small 12 Recently, I was browsing a high school literary journal, and came across a piece that a girl had written entirely from her boyfriend's perspective. In the first person, she had written about his appraisal of her hair, li ps, body, about the desire she provoked in him, about the thoughts he had about her. The writing was excellent, and I was saddened that the girl seemed to be lost, like I once was, in a perspective that was not her own, that she seemed to be stuck viewing herself from the outside in.

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91 suitcase, getting on a bus, like girls in movies leaving home, convents, lovers" ( Lives 201). The progression of Del's narrative is towards Self, rather than towards Other. This last paragraph of The Lives of Girls and Women contrasts in a revealing way with the title of one of the stories in Open Secrets. In "A Real Life," a character named Millicent persuades her neighbor Dorrie to marry "because marriage takes you out of yours elf and gives you a real life" (75). Dorrie, however, "[has] a life," and a rich one, which continues even after her husband's death, much to Millicent's mystification. Millicent wrongly views the female challenge as finding someone to take "you out of y ourself"; as I have attempted to show, many modern women are already outside of themselves, looking in. With her title, Munro emphasizes the way in which Dorrie finds "a real life" by remaining securely and happily inside herself, rather than by shaping h er life in the eyes of a man. Munro employs other strategies, as well, to assure her female characters' place as subject throughout Open Secrets. We have seen her definitively and freely silence a host of male voices, in both "Open Secrets" and "A Wilde rness Station," thus allowing her female characters' stories to unfold without interference. In "Vandals," Ladner's death marks the beginning of the story, rendering his character a destructive memory rather than a living person with the power to further shape the narrative in the way that Liza (with her vandalism) and Bea (with her letter) each do. Every story in the collection explores the interiors of women's minds; Maureen's visions and memories make up much of the content of "Open Secrets," while the greater part of another story, "Carried Away," appears to be the imaginary construction of its female

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92 protagonist (making "Carried Away" what I like to call Munro's "David Lynch story"). And in "The Albanian Virgin," a woman is granted the unusual opport unity to shed her gender like a pair of clothes, thus assuming albeit in a mitigated and provisional way male privilege and status. Yet, although the women in Munro's stories are definitely subjects, they are not subjects in the way I have typically kno wn subjects to be. Munro's protagonists are perceptive, rather than judgmental, more concerned with the relationships connecting people and ideas than with discerning independent values. They are emotional and sometimes irrational, sometimes at a loss fo r words. But though they do not look upon the world with an objectifying gaze, they see truth. In her fiction, Munro has done more than simply insert women into narrative positions formerly occupied by men; she has succeeded in shifting a cultural paradi gm. Her characters embody feminine qualities (emotionality, subjectivity, intuition) under valued in our culture, but these qualities are viewed not from the outside in, but from the inside out, which allows the reader to see how they can serve as paths t o knowledge. In reading Munro's stories, I felt as if, in the words of Carl Jung, an "inner situation" were being "made conscious." I realized that the perception of emotions as hindrances, rather than conduits, to truth was a false and biased one, that it was based on our patriarchal culture's inability to "become conscious of [its] inner opposite," rather than on an actual superiority of objective over subjective knowledge. I realized that the qualities that I had heretofore associated with being objec tified, with being seen and judged and condescended to, were not actually inferior qualities, but valid forms of

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93 intelligence. How else to explain the fact that these qualities were the only ones with which the "secrets" of Munro's stories could be unders tood? In writing this thesis, I have often felt like Maureen watching the skin form on the back of a spoon at the end of "Open Secrets": as if I am looking into an idea "not startling until [I] think of trying to tell it" (160). What is startling about "trying to tell it" is the same thing that was startling for Maureen: an encounter with an absence of language. I was taught to write about literature using a masculine, authoritative voice, to wield an objective vocabulary that served to erase all traces of myself and my experience from my analysis. I was taught to break down text to fit the confines of an argument, no matter what damage done to the text or how narrow the confines of that argument. What I was not taught, until just recently, when I mad e the decision to teach myself, were the strategies and language that would make the inter subjective, emotional, human part of my reading experience the important part, the reason I was studying in literature "critically real" (Edwards ctd. above). In setting out to find theorists who had successfully integrated their critical and emotional selves in writing about literature, I had no idea I was about to uncover an entire movement of women who had been writing, and speaking, about the intelligence of emotions for decades. Through Dr. Reid, Dr. Dimino, and the serendipitous web of connections that forms when you're making this kind of inquiry, I realized the dialogue I wanted to start with this thesis was already occurring in multiple disciplines. Fe minist philosophers like Morwenna Griffiths and Martha Nussbaum were arguing for emotions to be considered as intelligent entities not tied exclusively to mind or body.

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94 Catharine MacKinnon was calling for a consideration of emotions and subjective experie nce in law. And writers like Patrocinio Schweickart and Adrienne Rich were writing about literature in a style that incorporated subjective experience and personal voice. The connections that writing this thesis has caused me to make the connections th at Alice Munro has enabled me to make have, in other words been life changing. A part of me feels as if I should say more, as if this concluding statement about my own experience is somehow insufficient to justify the endeavor. But perhaps, precisely b ecause of this feeling, this is the perfect note on which to end.

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95 Bibliography Atwood, Margaret. Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature. Toronto: Anansi Press LTD, 1972. 91 106. Benjamin, Walter. The Writer of Modern Life: Essays on Charles Baudelaire. Trans. Howard Eiland and Edmund Jephcott. Cambridge: Bellknap Press of Harvard, 2006. 1 133. Beer, Janet. "Short Fiction with Attitude: The Lives of Boys and Men in the Lives of Girls and Women. The Yearbook of English S tudies 31 (2001): 125 32. Carrington, Ildiko de Papp. "Double Talking Devils: Alice Munro's A Wilderness Station.'" Essays on Canadian Writing 58 (Spring 1996): 71 92. --. "Talking Dirty: Alice Munro's Open Secrets' and John Steinbeck's Of Mice an d Men ." Studies in Short Fiction 31.4 (Sept. 1994): 595 606. 18 Feb. 2009 < http://lion.chadwyck.com.ezproxy.lib.usf.edu/se archFulltext.do?id=R0153581 8&divLevel=0&area=abell&forward=critref_ft > Chekhov, Anton. "Heartache." The Portable Chekhov. Ed. Avrahm Yarmolinsky. London: Penguin, 1975. 118 125.

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96 --. "The Short Story [Letters]." The New Short Story Theories. Ed. Charl es E. May. Athens: Ohio UP, 1994. 195 99. Elliot, Gayle. "A Different Track: Feminist Meta Narrative in Alice Munro's Friend of My Youth. Journal of Modern Literature 20.1 (1996): 75 84. Gilbert, Sandra M. "Life Studies, or Speech After Long Silen ce: Feminist Critics Today. College English 40.8 (Apr. 1979): 849 863. Gilbert, Sandra M. and Gubar, Susan. "From: The Mad Woman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth Century Literary Imagination." Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Letich et al. New York: Norton & Co., 2001. 2023 2035. Griffiths, Morwenna. "Feminism, Feelings and Philosophy." Feminist Perspectives in Philosophy. Ed. Morwenna Griffiths and Margaret Whitford. London: Macmillan Press LTD. 1988. 131 15 2. Gurr, Andrew. "Short Fictions and Whole Books." Narrative Strategies in Canadian Literature: Feminism and Post Colonialism. Ed. Coral Ann Howells and Lynette Hunter. Philadelphia: Open UP, 1991. 11 18.

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97 hooks, bell. Communion: The Female Search for Love. New York: Perennial, 2002. Houston, Pam. "A Hopeful Sign: The Making of Metonymic Meaning in Munro's Menesteung.'" The Kenyon Review 14.4 (1992): 79 92. Howells, Coral Ann. Alice Munro. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1998. Humphreys, Josephi ne. "Mysteries Near at Hand." New York Times 11 Sep. 1994. 18 Feb. 2009 Irvine, Laura. "Questioning Authority: Alice Munro's Fiction." CEA Critic: An Official Journal of the Colle ge English Association 50.1 (Sept. 1987): 57 66. Jung, Carl. Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Trans. Richard and Clara Winston. New York: Vintage, 1963. Kennard, Jean E. "Personally Speaking: Feminist Critics and the Community of Readers." College En glish, 43.2 (Feb. 1981): 140 145.

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98 Lander, Dawn. "Eve Among the Indians." The Authority of Experience. Ed. Arlyn Diamond and Lee R. Edwards. Amherst: U. Mass. Press, 1977. 194 211. MacKendrick, Louis K. (ed). Probable Fictions: Alice Munro's Narrat ive Acts Toronto: ECW Press, 1983. MacKinnon, Catharine. Feminism Unmodified. Cambridge: Harvard, 1987. May, Charles E. "Chekhov and the Modern Short Story." The New Short Story Theories. Ed. Charles E. May. Athens: Ohio UP, 1994. 199 217. Mazur, Carol. Alice Munro: An Annotated Bibliography of Works and Criticism. Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2007. McCarthy, Dermot. "The Woman out Back: Alice Munro's 'Meneseteung'." Studies in Canadian Literature/ƒtudes en LittŽrature Canadienne 19.1 (1994): 1 19. 18 Feb. 2009 Miller, Judith MacLean (ed). The Art of Alice Munro: Saying the Unsayable: Papers from the Waterloo Conference. Waterloo, Ontario: U. Waterloo Press 1984.

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99 --. "Deconstructing Silence: The Mystery of Alice Munro." The Antigonish Review 129 (2008). 18 Feb. 2009 -. "On Looking into Rifts and Crannies: Alice Munro's Friend of my Youth ." The Antigonish Review 120 (2000). 18 Feb. 2009 < http://www.antigonishreview.com/bi 120/120 miller.html > MacA skill, Ewen. "PM to apologize for Canada's treatment of native Americans." The Guardian. 12 Jun. 2008. 18 Feb. 2009 < http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/12/canada.usa > Mulvey, Laura. "Visual Pleasure in the Narrative Cinema." Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Letich et al. New York: Norton & Co., 2001. 2181 2192 Munro, Alice. Open Secrets. New York: Vintage Books, 1994. --. Dance of the Happy Shades. London: Penguin, 1968. --. Friend of My Youth. New York: Vintage B ooks, 1990.

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100 --. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. --. The Lives of Girls and Women. New York: Vintage Books, 2001. --. The Love of a Good Woman. New York: Vintage Books, 1998. --. The Moons of Jup iter. Toronto: Gage LTD, 1982. --. The Progress of Love. New York: Vintage Books, 1986. --. Runaway. New York: Vintage Books, 2004. --. Something I've Been Meaning To Tell You. New York: Vintage Books, 1974. Nabokov, Vladimir. Lolita. New York: Vin tage International, 1955. --. Strong Opinions. New York: Vintage International, 1973. Nussbaum, Martha C. Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions. New York: Cambridge Press, 2001. 297 454. Proust, Marcel. In Search of Lost Time. Trans. C.K. Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin.

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101 Vol. 3 ( The Guermantes Way). New York: Modern Library, 1993. "Rape (law)." Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia, 2008 18 Feb. 2009 http://encarta.msn.com Rasporich, Beverly Jean. Dance of the Sexes: Art and Ge nder in the Fiction of Alice Munro. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1990. Rich, Adrienne. "Vesuvius at Home: The Power of Emily Dickinson." On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose 1966 1978. New York: Norton, 1979. 157 183. Schweickart, Patrocinio P. "Reading Ourselves: Towards a Feminist Theory of Reading." Gender and Reading: Essays on Readers, Texts and Contexts. Ed. Elizabeth A Flynn and Patrocinio P. Schweickart. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1986. 31 62. "Spousal Rape Laws: 20 Years Later." The National Center for Victims of Crime 2007. 18 Feb 2009 http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbName=DocumentViewer&DocumentID=32701 Sullivan, Rosemary. Labyrinth of Desire: Women, Passion and Romantic Obsession. Washington: Counterpoin t, 2001. 67 82.

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102 Taggart, James M. Enchanted Maidens: Gender Relations in Spanish Folktales of Courtship and Marriage. Princeton, 1990. 18 Feb. 2009 < http://books.google.com/books?id=33CsSe447_8C&dq=james+taggart+ench anted+maidens+online&printsec=frontcov er&source=bl&ots=DMlZtmRoly&si g=kdFckesMZAh8u1c4YraakB63kN0&hl=en&ei=ObCcSa2aEaDlmQfCndHm BA&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result > Thacker, Robert (ed). The Rest of the Story: Critical Essays on Alice Munro Toronto: ECW Press, 1999. Wollstonecraft, M ary. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Bartleby.com, Inc., 1999. 18 Feb. 2009 http://www.bartleby.com/144/


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