Innovation within the modern short story through the interaction of gender, nationality, and genre, Margaret Atwood's Wilderness tips and Alice Munro's Open secrets
Weaver, Rosalie Mary
MetadataShow full item record
Through its review of the evolution of the short story and its application of feminist, postmodernist, Reader-response theory, and New Historicism to the recent short-story collections of Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro, this thesis asserts that both late twentieth-century writers are innovators within the short-story genre. Short-story critics' continuous disagreement over definition due to the hybrid nature of the short story is seen as analogous to Canadian women writers' ongoing concerns with issues of identity related specifically to gender and nationality. In Wilderness Tips and Open Secrets, Atwood's and Munro's problematization of gender and national identity correlates with their choice of genre. In their hands, the ensuing interaction of gender, nationality, and genre becomes a transformative force for innovation within the modern short story. Furthermore, Atwood's and Munro's innovations within the modern short story build upon Sandra Zagarell's description of the narrative of community, a genre which flourished in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, was written mostly by women, and focused on "expanding the story of human connection and continuity." Atwood and Munro use the communal narrative strategies of folktale, legend, and gossip, as well as the traditional narrative patterns of the Romance with its masculine concept of idenity, as departure points to the production of internal innovations that energize the short-story genre as it enters a new millenium.