The Shinning Houses- Literary Criticism

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January 11, 2013
Literary Criticism
“The Shinning Houses”
By Alice Munro

The short story The Shinning Houses by Alice Munro epitomizes a time of great change, showing a conflict between the old and the new. Mary is the main character of the story and is faced with a decision that could potentially change the life of her neighboring friend, Mrs. Fullerton. Mrs. Fullerton is the oldest living member of the newly growing community, but her fifty year old house is being threatened by the on going petition, forcing the destruction of her home. This is because the community believes her property brings down the real state value of their homes and believes it would be better for the community as a whole if she were gone, so they try to get Mary to sign the petition. Mary understands their point of view, but because of the relationship she has with Mrs. Fullerton and her own insistence that it would be wrong to do, she refuses to sign the petition. Her individual decision is a vital part of the main message and theme of the story for it is pressed upon that despite social pressure; we do not have to conform. Mary represents the individualist lifestyle in her actions that go against the community’s petition despite their power and tendency to succeed, teaching the reader that our individual actions do in fact matter. It is through the Archetypical point of view and Social Marxist approach that the reader is able to further understand that individuality does not go unseen and unaffected but actually affects everyone in society.

Within the short story the characters face external and internal conflicts. Mary’s external conflict is again the community. The community is insistent in their plan ot get rid of Mrs. Fullerton’s house because it is not visually appealing, bringing the cosot of the real state market in their neighborhood. Mrs. Fullerton is also part of this external conflict. She is ostracized, victimized when neighbors decide to petition to have her house...
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