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Group 5: "The Shining Houses" by Alice Munro

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Tabitha Arts

on 31 May 2013

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Transcript of Group 5: "The Shining Houses" by Alice Munro

Characters "The Shinning Houses" Mary: the protagonist of the story and the only dynamic character.
She is a curious, fair lady,
who is facing the conflict
of maintaining her integrity
or compromising to
the collective benefit. Symbolism Mrs. Fullerton's House
In the end, Mary does not conform to the peer pressure from her friends by refusing to sign the petition, but is unable to convince them to leave Mrs. Fullerton and her house alone. Setting The story takes place in Canada during the 60’s in a urban contemporary setting. By Alice Munro About the Author: Born July 10, 1931 (age 81) in Wingham, Ontario Published her first story in 1950, "The Dimensions of a Shadow" Published her first collection of stories, "Dance of the Happy Shades" in 1968 She has 7 published books in total Specializes in short story genre Mrs. Fullerton: is a flat character who is honest and positive, but neither her appearance or her house's appearance is great,






also the huge gap created by the age difference isolate Mrs. Fullerton Mary’s friends/family: are flat characters and have the goal of making a modern and better community although they are selfish and careless to Mrs.Fullerton. The new “Shiny houses” represent the future modernization of our society, how rapidly things are changing. Mary is forced to make a decision of maintaining her integrity or compromising to society pressure.


ex. “ ‘I can’t sign that,” she said. Her face flushed up at once, her voice was trembling.” Climax Falling Action The falling action happened right after the climax in the story. It starts with the depart of Mary from her friends and follows with some imagery of Mrs.Fullerton’s house and the other shining houses all shrink into the night.
ex. “the white houses were growing dim... The pattern of Garden place , seemed to shrink at night into the raw black mountain side” Conflicts Person Vs. Self The character of Mary is sympathetic to Mr. Fullerton’s abnormal existence in a town where urban development is underway.

Her friends are trying to make Mary agree to force Mrs. Fullerton to have her old house vacated to make way for nicer houses.

She struggles with her internal need for acceptance with her sympathetic feelings toward the history of the Fullerton house. Person Vs. Society The conflict between Mary and her peers is that Mary wants to defend Mrs. Fullerton’s right to keep her house, whereas her neighbors want to tear it down.
Mary wants to be accepted by her friends, who have a strong argument, and she doesn’t know how to express her attachment to the house.
Mary wants to help Mrs. Fullerton resist the constant change of society in order to preserve the history of her residence. Her peers want to tear the house down to make the subdivision look beautiful. Point of View Style Alice Munro’s style usually involves writing about characters who are caught between two worlds. She typically emphasizes the conflict of fitting into society when the character’s opinions differ from the normal ideas.
In this story, Mary is the protagonist who is divided between the new generation and the old generation. She wants to be accepted by her friends who are concerned with the appearances of the town, while she also sympathizes with the outcast Mrs. Fullerton and her plight to maintain her messy house. Mrs.Fullerton’s house is a symbol of the older generations , represents a dull and unimpressive way of life (to the younger characters at least) and the past era. New White Houses The new houses are a symbol of the younger generations , represents a new, expensive, and impressive way to live and the future of the neighbourhood.

Mary also gives off hope as a character because she is the only one who really truly knows who Mrs. Fullerton is because they are on a personal level together. Theme symbol of darkness, amongst the shining houses. Depicted as a dark gloomy place, with plants and weeds, and shacks, reminiscent of a forest.

In contrast to her, the supermarkets eggs stand as the opposing force to her old methods as the new, cleaner, cheaper version, much like the houses. Eggs Irony There is a couple cases of irony in respect to the title of this story:

1. The houses are suppose to be shining, yet the people within them are cold and deceitful.

2. Mrs. Fullerton's house, according to the neighbourhood, is "unkept, dingy, and an eyesore" for the rest of the people living in the area. The Irony has to do with the title may suggest that Mrs.Fullerton's house could be one of the 'Shining Houses', when in reality, it is the opposite.

3. How construction destroys and removes nature to build houses, only to name the subdivision after the trees that used to be there. The title prepared the reader that houses will likely be a central part of the story. It suggests these houses are new and clean, and that people might look favorably upon them. Old/New
there is a large difference between legal and moral. There are many things that are legal in life but they are not the moral thing to do.

the "new people" all want to get rid of Mrs. Fullerton's house and yes they are legally going about getting rid of the house the right way but they are overlooking the morals behind making someone move out of a house that they love.
They simply look over her feelings and only care about what is best for them. Legal/Moral The town around the house which and old lady named Mrs. Fullerton has been living in for 50 years is rapidly expanding. Newer, modern houses are being built around the town, which are out dating Mrs. Fullerton’s old, worn down farmhouse. The majority of the community around Mrs. Fullerton are all in agreement to get rid of her house, in order to give their town a clean, modern more sophisticated look. The protagonist of the story, Mary, wants to defend Mrs. Fullerton, as she feels she has the right to keep her house. The fate of the house is not directly stated. biggest conflict is between old (Mrs. Fullerton) and the new (white houses community) and the human reaction to everyday change. The climax happens when Mary’s friends/neighbors ask her to sign a petition for building a lane where Mrs.Fullerton's house is in order to improve their 'property value' which caused Mary to be in a dilemma.
The main reason was because the people hated the old lady and her traditional ways. Both sides of the story have very strong feelings of what they expect to be done which leads to a controversial conflict between the two parties. The small, older town is modernizing with wealthy new houses and subdivisions. The setting of Mrs. Fullerton’s house, the farm-like, untidy, historical looking house, represents the past. The Middle
Munro often does not include a resolution in her stories. She leaves the ending implicit because the purpose of her stories is to make the reader question the moral dilemmas and ponder the conflicts which are posed to the protagonist.
A concrete ending to the story would be irrelevant because the reader would feel that the conflict is resolved or the dilemma was concluded and would not consider the message of the text any further. "But these are people who win, and they are good people; they want homes for their children, they help each other when there is trouble, they plan a community – saying that word as if they found a modern and well-proportioned magic in it, and no possibility anywhere of a mistake.

There is nothing you can do at present but put your hands in your pockets and keep a disaffected heart." Conclusion Change/Status Quo There is a great deal of juxtaposition between the old (Mrs.Fullerton) and the young (people who have moved into the subdivision). Change is portrayed by the one generation wanting people to change and the other generation wanting to stay the same.
The author also gives one of their characters courage to stand up to the younger generation, there is also change in the setting which causes conflict between the generations. We know what Mary is thinking and feeling, and how she struggles with the dilemma presented to her by the conflict between Mrs. Fullerton and the rest of her neighbors.
What we know about the other characters is furnished by their conversation, actions, and surroundings. Connections The Movie, “Up”
The story relates to the movie “Up”, because the old man in the movie is like Mrs. Fullerton. Little Boxes by Malvina Reynolds
Subdivisions by Rush
The Cover by Jacob Moon
Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell Summary Protagonist/Antagonist The decision us as humans need to make as to how much history we should get rid of, and how much we should change about our society. The story is mainly told from Mary’s limited omniscient point of view, since the main struggle emerges from her thoughts and feelings. It shows her inner conflict of being caught between two ‘sides’ , with loyalties to both. Mary represents the middle as she tries to bridge the two generations together. The eggs Mrs. Fullerton sells stand as a representation of herself, and her unwillingness to conform to the evolving society around her. the younger generation of people mistreat the older generation and shows the different views of every individual and how they come together to create a community. older generation represents a dull and unimpressive way of life The new houses are a symbol of a younger generation, represent expensive, new and impressive ways to live The meaning of the title changed slightly in the story because although there were shining new houses in the neighborhood, there was also one house that did not shine in newness or tidiness, but stood out more in its own way. Title: The towns are growing around them and newer houses are out dating their own. The community around them wants them to leave in order to make space for prettier houses. The main character in the story, Mary, wants to defend Mrs. Fullerton’s right to keep her house, whereas her neighbors want to tear it down. In the end, Mary doesn’t conform to the peer pressure from her friends and husband, but she doesn’t convince them to leave Mrs. Fullerton alone. In all likelihood, the neighbours succeed in removing Mrs. Fullerton, although it is not explicitly stated. This is also what happens in the movie, Up. Songs VS. Mary represents the middle. Third Person Limited Omniscient Thanks for Listening! =)
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