2. Demonstration 2
2.1 Carla’s loss of self 2
2.1.1 Constraints of Carla indicated by the enclosed town space 2
2.1.2 Predicaments of Carla caused by the repressive home space 3
2.2 Carla’s pursuit for self 5
2.2.1 Imaging the motor court: in search of freedom 5
2.2.2 Living in Toronto accommodation Sylvia offered: a room of not her own 6
2.3 Carla’s reconstruction of authentic self 7
2.3.1 Embracing her outdoor Space: a harmonious relationship with natural environment 7
2.3.2 Regaining her home space: a conformable relationship with husband 8
Works cited 12
On Carla’s Search for Self in Alice Munro’s Runaway: A Spatial Perspective
Alice Munro, a famous Canadian writer, Nobel Laureate in Literature in 2013, is good at capturing inspiration from her familiar space. Most critics notice that Munro bases her works on her hometown, a small town of Ontario. Munro herself also admits that hometown is the factor she pays most attention to and the root of her creativity. In addition, Munro is a housewife. Only after she deals with all house stuff and caring baby can she squeeze some time to explore her writing space. Home, as the space where women live for most of their life, becomes the focus of Munro’s writing, and is endowed with rich meanings.
As one of the important models of literature research, space criticism demonstrates the social cultural meanings of space. Mike Crang, a famous English geographer, proposes a “geological prospective of literature”（74）, and he comes up with that literature cannot be simply viewed as description of some areas, but endows these specific areas with different meanings. Literature works are “combination of literature and geology, not merely a reflection of the outside word”(Crang189); and as a social practice which experiences the changes of life space, it provides various means to know the world. Michel Foucault also points that building provides shelter for people, and weaves a relation net among people living there（Foucault 172). Therefore, building is not only the organic part of the space, but also participates in the formation of social relationship, offering people unique feelings. In the same way, home and other space in Runaway of Alice Munro have special social cultural meanings. The social practice about Carla’s runaway and return in the story, to which the writer pays a lot of attention, contains various rich meanings needed for a further study.
As one of the most important short stories by Munro, Runaway has received wide critical attentions and been studied from different perspectives. While most scholars have explored the structure, characterization as well as thematic concern of this work, research from spatial perspective has seldom been conducted. Runaway is particularly remembered by a middle aged woman——Carla, who runs away from her home, and experiences a significant change during her process of running away. Space, such as architectures, has great impact on the reconstruction of Carla’s identity. This thesis will study the characterization of Carla from the spatial perspective, with the focus on how Carla first suffers from the loss of her self, and how she finally achieves in reconstructing her authentic self after a long pursuit of her self-identity. The success of the characterization of Carla reveals Alice Munro great understanding and deep sympathy towards the predicaments of modern Canadian women.
Accordingly, this thesis will be divided into three parts. The first part will study why and how Carla, unsatisfied with her unhappy family life, runs away from home to seek space of self. The second part will probe into Carla’s predicaments when facing the completely strange surroundings and unknown future. This part will also analyze how Carla returns home because of innermost struggle and awakening during the runaway. The third part of the thesis will quest about the true thoughts at the bottom of Carla’s heart, analyzing how she reconstructs her real self as well as authentic space of herself, dwelling on both realistic space of home and inner space of freedom.
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