In the short story “How I Met My Husband” by Alice Munro the structure of the plot and the conflict work in unity to reach the conclusion. This story has a sympathetic protagonist dealing with a relatable conflict, suspense, and a twist ending that may keep the reader thinking after the last lines have been read.
The protagonist in this story, Edie, is a timid person who is always doing whatever makes other people happy and never says what she wants. She describes herself as “shy” (Munro 127). The Peebles’ family employs her, so she wants to do her job and not get fired. That adds to her desire to please. She uses the word “scared” multiple times when talking about working, twice on page 131, even though she says the Peebles family is kind to her (130). On page 130 she smokes a cigarette when Chris offers her one because she “couldn’t even shake (her) head no”. Then she kisses him on page 136, even though she doesn’t really know what is going on. She has never kissed a boy before except “on a dare” (136) and she barely knows this guy, but she goes along with it.
Edie does not seem like she would be a character the reader would sympathize with because of this insecurity, but it stems from her social status. The main conflict in the story is Edie versus society. She is in awe of the life she lives being the “hired girl” for the Peebles (129). The reader can see this in the way she describes washing dishes on page 128 and how she “loved the double sink” (127). She only took a bath once a week because she felt like taking one “oftener” would make it less wonderful (128). She tries on Mrs. Peebles’ clothes when she is not home (128) because she wants to pretend what it would be like to have clothes like that. “There was no limit on ice cubes” in the Peebles’ home, which she takes advantage of (129). When Chris comes to the house for water, she offers him water from the tap, to let him know they have “piped water” (129), showing him the status she has because she...
Cited: Munro, Alice. “How I Met My Husband.” Perinne Literature: Structure, Sound & Sense. Tenth
Ed. Ed. Thomas Arp and Greg Johnson. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. 2009. 125-140. Print.
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