This is a bit of an old essay, but one of my favourite’s so felt the need to share! Lichen Alice Munro once said in an interview “there’s something. Alice Munro’s second story, “Lichen”, in her collection Progress of Love couldn’t be more different than last week’s titular story. “Lichen” is. Disparity and Deception in Alice Munro’s ‘Lichen’. Using the tools of narratology and literary linguistics, I trace the various means, such as shifts in focalisation.
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Between them is the dark blot she called moss, or lichen. Both women were far too decent for David.
I started out disliking David but by the end of the story the dislike was mixed with pity for his weakness. Stella does not reply, does not reprimand, does not interrupt.
To get used to looking at his father-in-law, David tried to think of him as a post-human development, something new in the species. Or is it that she wants to protect her father from knowing that the marriage has broken down?
January 14th, 3 Comments.
David fragments the body into a list of parts and depersonalizes both men and women, turning them into mere flesh, thereby allowing them to become disposable and replaceable.
By this time, after the day has unfolded, the reader understands that David is desperate for the unknowing. As the title suggests, the stories tend to focus on the progressor lack of progressin family and love relationships. A lichen is very different from the individual organisms fungus, alga, etc. But then I had another look and some other pieces of information began to present themselves.
Why would this story, with its great setting, its complexity and mystery, its great characters Stella, her father, David, their daughter, and the girlfriends Catherine and Dina not have been a good novel? Alice Munro is so routinely called one of the greatest living short story writers that the accolade risks dulling the brilliance of her work, and certainly obscures its strangeness.
She comes across as much more self-sufficient and grounded than David and in some ways, so does Catherine. Stella, by herself, is a woman whose properties are to be an alto, a terrific cook, a good friend, the spirit of the neighborhood and neighborliness, a loyal daughter, and a self-reliant woman, but an a-sexual woman. And does she, through David, get to punish other women for their sexuality? To her credit though, Munro is consistently masterful at showing the measure of people’s lives and relationships in relatively few pages, what would take other authors a whole novel to accomplish.
Betsy, I admire your analysis of the incestuous nature of their relationship.
All I can say is what the gestalt of the story suggests to me. I love this terrifying story. You are commenting using your WordPress. She belongs to a rag-tag group that gets together for dinner once a week.
Or it could be a parasitic relationship, where one of them benefits and the other suffers for it. Similarly, Munro is suggesting that this ungodly marriage of Stella and David is a thing mutually beneficial to each of them. In a discussion with Catherine, the latter points out that David is dyeing his hair and Stella is genuinely surprised and then Catherine says she thinks David was afraid Stella might say something.
The photo – and what it depicts – fades with time and exposure to too much light. She explained to the Paris Review in that, “I have all these disconnected realities in my own life, and I see them in other people’s lives.
Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Reading the spaces of age mungo alice munro s the bear came. It is important to note, for the purposes of this story, that lichen is not half-parasitic, half parasitized.
I was like that to him? What, if anything, does he give them? And there is this: The story lichen by alice munro revolves around the description of a photograph. Alice munro s long short story the bear came over the mountain can be grouped with other contemporary texts that explore the spatial and social complexi ties of these environments. Else why would she have chosen him, or stayed with him, or even tolerated their present arrangement?
Munro, of course, says none of that outright. At the same time she enjoys that she has to bear with him only once a year, when she allows herself to be humbled by her, Mitigating circumstance is that there is also a possibility to taunt him and his lichsn girlfriend. Munro beat the odds, and not the nobel odds either. The message is clear; the younger the lovers become, the less real they become.
There is a Proustian quality to lichej way she portrays them enfolding one another, and the manner in which an unexpected resonance can unlock the past.
The revelation of the photographed subject umnro prepared with great suspense. In that one, muno is a poet, but she is, as a writer, on the road to nowhere. They are probably between fifty and sixty, and Stella looks it. Munro is, in Coral Ann Howells’s description, an artist of indeterminacy, a trait on which she pins her inability to write novels. This is a bit of an old essay, but one of my favourites so felt the need to share.
For him,facts step aside and give room for imagination.