A real life by Alice Munro
I would like to start this presentation by asking you and myself something; what is a real life? I would like you to think for a few seconds, what is a real life for you, is it something subjective or objective, is it something easy or difficult to answer. Maybe, if we go beyond, I can ask you, what is real for you? Indeed, this is a difficult question, but I think that the writer of this story that we are discussing now, made a very close attempt to answer this huge question and she did it just by telling us the story of a simple and ordinary family.
This is the Beck´s family story; a Canadian ordinary family with three siblings, Albert, Millicent and Dorrie. However, it is through the differences between the two sisters, Millicent and Dorrie, how we can have a sparkle about what could be “a real life”.
Millicent shows us the artificiality and hollowness of a social climber, versus Dorrie a true Canadian primitive that is remarkable for her integrity and innocence. Millicent was not an educated woman, she married to Porter, a land owner, and they had three children. Porter promised Millicent only material things, but he was a good man, he did not interfere in how his wife manages their home, he did not care. Dorrie was a big woman with heavy legs, chestnut -brown hair and dark freckles like dots of velvet. She was well known in town as the lady who left skinned rabbits on doorsteps and who went through the fields and the woods with her dog and gun. She lived with her brother Albert and after his death by her own; her relationship with him was always based on real affection and authentic interests, she had a close bound with Albert. This is the life that Millicent wanted Dorrie to leave, the story tells us the inability of Millicent to understand that Dorrie has a real life, she was free to do whatever she pleased, and to follow her interests no matter what people think about her, but Millicent thinks that she had to have...
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