The Day of the Butterfly

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Alice Munro, Day of the Butterfly

Theme:
-children’s experience of class difference & social attitudes towards immigrants -girls and growing up

Purpose:
-to investigate the ally’s experience. (Ally meaning a person who crosses the boundaries set by society to reach out to marginalised others) “I realized the pledge as our fingers touched.” ‘Pledge’ refers to a heavy commitment Helen, the narrator, would take on by being Myra’s friend -to provide a critique of adults’ role in educating children about community responsibility or failure to do so (Ms Darling person who creates “dreadful unease”, is not able to solve the problem but reinforces it : “let’s be nice to Myra”) -to critique adults’ role in social reproduction

a)Myra’s difference is highlighted when Ms Darling draws the class’ attention to her (contrast with Helen’s attitude towards Myra (genuinely kind, committed). b)The characterisation of Myra’s family as different, weird “she [Mrs. Sayla] told you the price in a little rapping voice, daring you to challenge her ... with open mockery in her eyes” could suggest that the narrator was the voice of the general privileged public that viewed the Sayla’s as different - The child reproduces the adults’ perception.

Narration:
-1st person narration – to reflect the narrator’s personal experience of being an ally and the internal conflict she faced by being an ally “if someone asked her where she got it, and she told them, what would I say?” -Point of view of a child and an ally “It was queer to think that Myra, too, read the comics” (Why the point of view of a child ally? Why not an adult’s? – to show that youth have greater capacity to be agents of social change than adults. Difficult to teach an old dog new tricks/old habits die hard) -tone: distanced - not really knowing whether what her classmates are doing is right but instinctively senses that it may not be – when she is talking about Myra and how the class’ behaviour of...
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