Search Results Results 1 of You searched. Alice Munro: Wild Swans. Munro is superb at getting inside the emotion of relationships by viewing them through a character that may or may not be honest.. An interview with Alice Munro begins precisely on time, and always with a quick, friendly, personal exchange of greetings and news.
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From here on out, Rose will have awakened. Rose is traveling to Toronto — by herself we learn in passing that her father has died — with a bit of money. For her part, Rose cannot believe this, nor does she believe the scandalous tales Flo tells about the members of their own community.
Rose has not yet learned that everyone has a secret life. Indeed, part of the reason she is going to Toronto is to perform a work in secret, a work with sexual undertones: For herself Rose wanted to buy hair-remover to put on her arms and legs, and if possible an arrangement of inflatable cushions, supposed to reduce your hips and thighs.
On the train ride, something happens that Flo warned about. A man asks to sit next to Rose. Pounded, pleasured, reduced, exhausted. She wants intimacy, period. And when she realizes that she might be getting it — that the newspaper touching her might not be a newspaper — she is scared. She could not bring herself to look.
Was there a pressure, or was there not? She shifted again. Her legs had been, and remained, tightly closed. It was. It was a hand. That was what she tried to say. She wants this to happen, even though there is absolutely no physical or otherwise attraction. This was disgrace, this was beggary.
But what harm in that, we say to ourselves at such moments, what harm in anything, the worse the better, as we ride the cold wave of greed, of greedy ascent. The man and Rose do not even acknowledge it when the train arrives. They will never see each other again. One weekend, this friend dressed like Farmer and went off to a resort to have some fun in her new skin. Rose is a teenager on her way to Toronto by train, with ten dollars pinned to her slip strap. There is also a short list of things to get for Flo.
Flo has many fears and many dictums regarding sex, but what she does not offer is any kind of guidance about the real conduct of sex between real people: what it says, how it feels, and how many different kinds of sexual experience there are.
Left without information, Rose is at the mercy of her own ignorance; Flo is, in fact, with her easy stories and vivid opinions, a kind of white slaver herself, given that she distorts human experience by giving only the lurid warnings and nothing else. The major action in the story is this: a man gets on the train, plunks himself down beside Rose, begins touching her under the protection of his newspaper, moving his hand up her leg until it reaches the top of her stockings, moves, in fact over her panties and between her legs, and Rose acquiesces.
Rose enjoys the acquisition of power. The story is an echo of the title story in The Lives of Girls and Women, the one in which Del, a young teen, positively seeks the sexual attentions of an older single man, which leads to a sordid episode with the man. Both stories are shocking — the events are shocking, and that the girls both seem willing participants is shocking. The girls seem unaware of the risks, and the actual outcomes for each girl, in the end, does not indicate much good to have come of it.
She never saw him again in her life. But he remained on call, so to speak, for years and years, ready to slip into place at a critical moment, without even any regard, later on, for husbands and lovers. Regardless of how the danger in the story strikes the twenty-first century reader, I think Munro is using the episode to express the need women have to be sexual beings, first, and the need women have to be sexually autonomous to the same degree as do men.
But I think she is also playing with the idea that women use sex as a form of power, and that as power, sexual power is over-rated and also not the real thing. Not real sex and not real power. The narrator plays down the episode by tossing it all off as similar to masturbation. But it seems not. The story is funny, it is strange, it is provoking, it is frightening. Written at the beginning of the sexual revolution, it is kind of a comic manifesto: girls and women have the same rights as men to sexual autonomy.
But the comic tone undermines the seriousness of manifesto; instead, the story seems to be ridiculing the idea of sexual power. The story is very frightening to a twenty-first century reader. After Pamela Smart and Ariel Castro and who knows how many other girls actually being made sexual slaves, the story now reads very differently than it might have done in There is a flatness to the telling, an ordinariness that hints to the reader that not only Rose got up to such shenanigans, but that all kinds of girls actually did all kinds of such things.
But the twenty-first century reader feels a chill in the presence of this story, knowing what we know now but I remind myself of Flo and all her warnings. He seemed to her the sort of person who does everything in a showy way. The little man is swan-like in his seduction, the white ink-stained newspapers flapping around him and Rose like wings. A modern day Zeus come in a disguise. So, Yeats, then.
What about Yeats? After the episode on the train, Rose has put on power, she thinks. Ever after, she is able to summon sexuality, regardless of husband or lovers — regardless, I think, of anything they have done or not done.
She is not at their mercy, not their slave. Does Munro mean any connection here? A princess has eleven brothers and a wicked step-mother who banishes the boys. It is up to the princess to rescue them.
This she does, but part of her rescue requires her to be mute. Which reminds me of Rose saying nothing as the little man molests her. The seventies, when Munro wrote this, was a time of heady faith in the rightness of sexual power for women as well as men. As we all know, there was an element of playing with fire to all of this. People got hurt, people got used, and marriages disintegrated at a rate previously unknown. Munro is playing with it all. One wonders if Rose will be distracted by having put on power, or if she will realize sexual power is a guise, a disguise, as well as a distraction.
Will she be able to concentrate on finding out what it will be that will give her real power? Real autonomy? I think Munro is ridiculing women who have, in the seventies, gotten completely carried away with sexual freedom, mistaking it for what it is not. Transformation is why Rose is going to Toronto.
She thinks: They could transform her, make her calm and slender and take the frizz out of her hair, dry her underarms and turn her complexion to pearl. But the real transformation is from the rebellious act she performed on the train. Is this good or bad? Or good and bad, more like?
The story details the power she now has to satisfy herself, regardless of lover or husband, but what we know is having read the book , Rose has made poor matches for lover and husband.
Something is missing in Rose, passion, perhaps. Truthfulness, perhaps. A center, perhaps. He notes that of the 59 swans, many of them are still mates, are still mated, after all this time, still true and full of passion and beauty.
Not so the poet, standing by the side of the lake. And not so Rose. Products from Amazon. Take a second to support The Mookse and the Gripes on Patreon!
Enseguida empezabas a dar cabezadas y a farfullar, no estabas en condiciones de hilar una frase. Pero vio muchas otras cosas. El otro solo tuvo tiempo de mirarse la tripa, no pudo ni chistar. Flo daba a entender que eso no era nada, en Toronto. Se le puso la cara negra como la tinta. Y tal vez unos paquetes de chicle. Y una o dos chocolatinas.
Wild Swans by Alice Munro: Summary & Characters
Who could believe it, of a man that age? Things are not always as they appear. For instance, now boarding the train to travel to Toronto on her own for the first time, she remembers having travelled there once before with Flo, a few years earlier. Rose had discovered that the milk bought from the vendor was sour.
“Wild Swans” Alice Munro
Kigajora But the comic tone undermines the seriousness of manifesto; ssans, the story seems to be ridiculing the idea of sexual power. I tossed my cigarettes into the toilet ping and straightened my back, but the pain in my chest was sharper, and I was convinced that the corruption had begun. She even has trouble distinguishing between fact and fiction: Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: The shiny bread is thus both a sign of the wealth he once had access to, and of his nostalgic desire to reclaim that wealth. To ask other readers questions about Wild Swansplease sign up.