response essay to Alice Munro's Free Radicals in Too Much Happiness

Response essay to Alice Munro's Free Radicals in Too Much Happiness

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Kayla Murphy September 23, 2011 English 4000, 10:10 Dr. Anderson/Brown-Spiers Assignment 3 The pattern of normalcy established in the first pages of Alice Munro’s “Free Radicals” from Too Much Happiness subverts the reader’s expectations when it breaks and reveals to the reader a true portrait of the main character, Nita. Munro’s portrayal of Nita as the quintessential people-pleaser is the crucial element which supports the pattern of normalcy. Nita is introduced as a typical grieving widow; avoiding friends and family while insisting that she is “not too depressed, not too lonely, not eating too little or drinking too much.” (118) Nita represents the archetypal passive wife. Every one of her actions is an attempt to fulfill the roles assigned to her by more dominant players in her life; most noticeably Rich and the man who killed his family. The reader’s first discovery is that Nita rarely speaks her mind or acts according to her own wishes. Her behavior is designed to meet the expectations of those around her. As a passive player in her own life, Nita desires a reality which she can control and open freely. Literature provides just the escape she needs: “She read modern fiction too. Always fiction. She hated to hear the word ‘escape’ used about fiction. She might have argued, not just playfully, that is was real life that was the escape. But this was too important to argue.” (124)
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This note was uploaded on 01/19/2012 for the course ENGL 4000 taught by Professor Douglasanderson during the Fall '11 term at University of Georgia Athens.

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Response essay to Alice Munro's Free Radicals in Too Much Happiness

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