Runaway by Alice Munro
Summary and Reaction Essay
Everyone, including a goat, runs away for some reason in “Runway,” by Alice Munro. The protagonist, Carla, runs from her family to be with Clark, who is now her husband, and later in the story, she runs away from Clark. Clark ran away from high school and lost touch with his family, saying “families were like a poison in your blood.” Flora, who used to be Clarks’ buddy, but is now Carla’s pet goat, has disappeared. The neighbor from down the road, Sylvia, ran to Greece after the recent death of her husband, Leon. After she helps Carla run away from Clark, Sylvia runs to live in another town where she is teaching, instead of staying in her country home.
Upon her return from Greece Sylvia calls and asks for Carla to come help her with reopening her house. Carla does not want to go because Clark has devised a scheme to get money from Sylvia. Carla, unknowingly, put this idea in Clark’s head because she told him that Leon, while sick and dying made sexual advances to her. This was not true, but it seemed to arouse Clark, so she continued with the lie because it was exciting. When Carla gets to Sylvia’s, she is not herself, and begins to howl and cry. Sylvia asks if it is because the goat is missing. It turns out Carla is crying because she can’t stand Clark any more. They talk a little about what Carla wants to do. Sylvia says she will help her leave if that is what she wants to do. Sylvia arranges a place for her to stay, gives her clothes to change into, some money, and drives her to the bus station. On the bus, Carla starts thinking she would not “exist there.” “She would not really be there,” and “what would she care about, and how would she know that she was alive.” Carla gets off the bus three towns from home. She calls Clark to come get her, which he does. That night Clark went to Sylvia’s house to tell her to stay away from Carla. While talking, a ball of white light came toward...
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