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The Shining Houses
Transcript of The Shining Houses
by: Alice Munro
The protagonist of The Shining Houses is Mary. Mary is the fair and friendly society member. She is a strong individual and is not afraid to stand up against society for what she believes in. Being a round character who
develops throughout the book,
she is expressed as a very
wholehearted and caring
person while she faces
Throughout the story, there were many other minor, flat characters introduced such as Carl, Steve, Edith, Janie, etc. These characters are the antagonists because they represent the society, who the protagonist faces her conflict against. These characters are expressed as the successful community members trying to do what's "right" for the society, but not caring who they hurt along the way. They resemble the "rich and snobby" stereotype, who act as though they care, when really they only care about themselves
The overall setting of this story is inferred to have taken place in the 60's-70's due to its old fashioned scenery and lifestyle. The setting was described as very clear and bright with "shining houses" lining the community streets, and friendly conversation being made throughout the society. The community members were described as very well dressed and composed. The atmosphere was light and happy, or at least it wanted to give that impression.
Mrs. Fullertons House
The story was first introduced at Mrs. Fullertons house, when Mary went to buy some eggs from her chickens. Mrs. Fullerton wasn't described in great detail, just that she was a sweet old lady who has lived there for a very long time, but her house was a little different. Her house is how the whole community knows her, and what they they are always talking about. It was an old house, dirty and scummy, filled with animals, and because all the other houses were new and "shining", this house stood out like a stain on a white t-shirt. The society wanted to get rid of this house, but Mary didn't. She didn't care about her house, for she liked Mrs. Fullerton, and she felt warm and happy here.
After visiting with Mrs. Fullerton, Mary and her son went to Edith's house, a classy, rich community member, for Edith's sons birthday party. All the neighbors and friends in the society were there, discussing the latest gossip over tea and biscuits, and as soon as Mrs. Fullertons house was brought up into conversation, she immediately felt uncomfortable. The more that was planned to get rid of this poor old lady's house, the more rotten and horrible she realized these people were, acting as
though they are doing this for the community,
when really she knows they are only doing it
for themselves. The mood has dropped from
light and happy, to dark and gloomy.
In the beginning of the story, the main character, Mary, was introduced, as she was sitting and listening to Mrs. Fullerton telling a story when she went to her house to buy eggs. Mrs. Fullertons house (where the setting was first introduced) was old, dingy, and run-down.
The Struggle between opposing forces that drives the action of the story.
The Portion of the story where the conflict increases.
The peak of the action and conflict, where the protagonist is forced to make a single big decision that defies the outcome of the story.
The portion of the story where the conflict decreases.
The outcome of the conflict and how the story ends.
There are 6 different parts of a plot!
The protagonist is the main character in a story. These characters can be found as round characters (the complex characters who develop and grow throughout the story), and are usually involved in the conflict. These characters are common and constant through the text.
The Flat Characters
The flat characters are the minor characters in stories who do not undergo substantial change or growth in the coarse of the story. They are two-dimensional characters who although are not described in great detail and do not grow throughout the story, play an important, supporting role to the protagonist/round characters.
Mrs Fullerton is a flat character that is only introduced once in the story, but is involved in the main conflict. She is the sweet and wise old lady of the village, but is expressed as the "odd man out" with her dull, old house in the town of shining houses.
The antagonist is the "enemy" in the story. They are found through the protagonist and is the person(s) who is opposed to, struggled against, or competed with another. They are usually part of the conflict, and is considered "the bad guy".
The setting is uncovered from the different areas the story takes places. The setting can include time (day, night, etc.), date (year, month, etc.), and most importantly place (a house, a park, school, etc.). Setting also sets the mood/atmosphere of the story, such as dark, mysterious, happy, gloomy, etc.
The setting and characters are established, including the protagonist. The conflict/basic situation is also introduced.
Mary leaves Mrs. Fullertons house to go to a birthday party and hears the adults in the other room talking about Mrs. Fullertons old and dreary house, in the middle of the new and "shining" houses. She wants to avoid it but they are expecting her in there. She is forced to enter the situation.
Mary tries to stand up for Mrs. Fullerton against the adults (the antagonists) but can't seam to find the words or the courage to face the "society"
The adults say that the house is ruining the value of the new "shining houses", trying to hide their selfishness, and find a way to get rid of Mrs. Fullertons old and dull house by building a lane through it.
While the parents pack up to leave, they sign a petition to activate their plan to build a lane to get rid of Mrs. Fullertons house. Mary tries to avoid signing the petition so she tries to sneak out quickly, but on her way out they hand her the pen.
She grows the courage to stand up against the society for Mrs. Fullerton and refuses to sign the petition, leaving with pride and dignity.
Some examples of protagonists include:
Examples of flat characters include:
Examples of antagonists include:
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