Thresholds and What Seems to Be: Munro’s First Sentences
Keywords:Alice Munro, stylistics, first sentences, short story
This paper provides an overview of Alice Munro’s first sentences from her 149 stories published in her 14 collections. Despite the epithet “Munroesque,” there is a remarkable variety to the typical Munro story and Munro’s style. Many of her stories begin with short, mundanely declarative sentences of a few words; many other first sentences stretch over several lines; many foreground time or, more accurately, time past. The variety of these first sentences might lead the cataloguer to despair or to proclaim fatuously that the Munroesque quality of her fiction lies in how different it all is …. Though generalizations are dangerous, there is one constant: for all their stylistic diversity, Munro’s first sentences tend to establish a tension between what is realistic and tangible and the seeming, what lies beneath or hidden.
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