D avid and Stella are aging together, bitterly. This is particularly tragic for Stella. David is a rich, sickly character. As David turns the car into the lane, Stella steps out of the bushes, holding a colander full of berries.
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I argue that while Munro, in this story, explores the consequences of ageing for both men and women, she exposes more starkly its transformative effects on her female protagonist, Stella.
If you have personal access to this content, log in with your username and password here:. Disparity and Deception in Alice Munro's 'Lichen'. Isla Duncan. Your Access Options. Log In If you have personal access to this content, log in with your username and password here: Email or username: Password: Remember me. Forgotten your password? Login via OpenAthens. Purchase this article - DOI Print ISSN: Online ISSN: Current issue List of issues.
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Stella is unsurprised, and this show-and-tell routine is familiar to her, but it is unsettling for the reader, who has not even yet gotten a sense of Catherine. Immediately, however, the reader is introduced to Stella. As David drives up, Stella steps out of the bushes, where she has been picking berries. There is nothing underneath these clothes, as far as he can see, to support or restrain any part of her.
“Lichen” Alice Munro
The one, practiced most scrupulously, yields ever briefer and ever more abstract or parablelike fictions; the other, of course, yields the novel or the epic. Some storytellers experiment endlessly while others, having found their voices early on, and having developed or appropriated the most pragmatic structures to contain them, are content to work in more or less the same tradition throughout their careers. When the work is good no one is likely to lament the writer's lack of interest in experimentation. When the work is very good no one is likely even to notice it.
Disparity and Deception in Alice Munro's 'Lichen'
Collection: Selected Stories Author: Alice Munro Title: Lichen Stella and David, who were married for over twenty years and have by now been separated for several more, aren't completely out of each other's lives. David is visiting Stella because it's her father's birthday and he's always liked the old man. On this visit he brings his most recent lover, Catherine, a wispy woman who's already on her way to being replaced with someone much younger. The only person who knows about all of David's sexual shenanigans is Stella, because he confides in her. The dynamic between them is interesting. On the one hand he broke up the marriage with his affairs, and he now looks on Stella's comfortably aging body with contempt.
In Lichen, his sentiment is expanded to show that men find aging equally problematic. Munro represents bodies through idealization and fragmentation to show the humiliating effect this has on both men and women. Both Stella and David, the main characters, are middle-aged. But it is obvious that David is struggling to accept the process. His angry, misogynistic views toward aging women are clearly shown by his attitude to the body:. Aging is about bodies for David. David fragments the body into a list of parts and depersonalizes both men and women, turning them into mere flesh, thereby allowing them to become disposable and replaceable.