Night, Alice Munro



'a cloud around that word'- Metaphor suggests a negative atmosphere and that they don't really talk about much, lack of communication.

'Think again.'- Series of short paragraphs + rhetorical questions indicates her fear

'How strange'- short, direct sentences used to explain very complex thoughts and feelings.

'the thought'- Short sentence= tension as reader wonder what terrible deed she thinks of.

'jealously, viciousness, or anger'- Rule of 3- motives are not conventional

'madness'- personifies as 'lying beside' her as if it is a person outside herself

'Why not try the worst?'- Rhetorical question indicates promptings Munro felt.

'The worst'- Short sentence here is indicating the fear she has.

'Absurd'- repetition of this. It's isolation as a single paragraph represents how isolating and alienating this experience was for her.

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'had to do'- suggests ironic humour. Suggest negative, pessimistic attitude.

'it ever crossed my head to wonder how my father was going to pay'- This suggests that she is unaware of her family's financial situation.

'unmentionable nostalgia'- This suggests that the family do not discuss feelings.

'concerned him was a growth'- surprising information reveals real reason for her pain.

'it's all over now'- closes conversation, mother doesn't really want to talk about anything.

'spit on her bared face, enraging'- The paragraph introduces the character of Catherine and gives us a sense of the relationship b/w the 2 girls.

'don't mean to say I was entirely in control'- Raises the idea of controlling her sister.

'invalid status...wandering about like a visitor'- paragraph shows Munro didn't do much housework to recover. She didn't really understand why= lack of communication.

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'inward- this uselessness and strangeness I felt'- lack of communication again. Would've been better if her family treated her as normal. She keeps her worries secret. References to chores suggests a hard lifestyle with lots of manual labour, but finds a sense of purpose to it.

'work that dictated their lives'- Work/chores are presented as defining the usefulness of a person.

' longer existed'- furniture is no longer existent because it not in use. Reflects how she feels insignificant and ignored when not occupying her full role.

'It was informing'- 'it' suggests she feels these thoughts are coming from external sources.

'I did think of it'- here 'it' refers to the deed that she is not yet willing to name.

'take possession of me'- possession is an emotive word suggesting lack of control . This could contrast with the control she had over her sister but she can't control herself.

'not even think of it but I did think of it'- Contradiction in sentence reflects her inner struggle.

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'no streetlights'- darkness of situation emphasises Alice's isolation.

'demons' - vocabulary about problem escalated from 'it' to 'madness' to 'demons'.

'congratulatory'- suggest joy from hard work and chores. Idea of happiness from hard work and trouble from idleness is an ongoing theme in the passage.

'there was northing natural about it'- surprised both fo them- but calm and genuine.

'dressed for a day's work'- suggests another naive assumption- lack of communication.

'why wasn't my father in his overalls'-  as an adult she is looking back. She didn't understand.

'account of good dreams'- suggests he may be having trouble / bad dreams too.

'I said then'- word 'then' suggests that the word here suddenly blurted out.

'I had been before'- this part suggests a turning point in the text.

'no more than a dream,'- father's reaction is very calm.

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'what he did worked'- suggests what her Dad did was good. How he dealt with it by diminishing and normalising her fears so they no longer are important.

'she should rule the roost'- Suggests he would not have felt guilty for using a str4p on a child- would be seen as normal. Munro mentions this to show that her father was not a modern, emotional, child centred parent, yet he was able to respond to her mental illness in the best way.

'forget about'- suggests she has recovered from her anxieties after conversation.

'I have thought'- Present perfect tense here suggests she has wondered about this over the years. Rest of paragraph, she goes to suggest possible reasons for her dad being up and dressed. Fact that she never knew again shows lack of communication.

'Nevermind. From then I could sleep'- Suggests that her father may not have been able to solve his own problems, but he solved hers.

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  • Structure shows gradual isolation of narrator from her family. Isolation begins with emergency operation and continues through period of recovery during which she starts feeling excluded. Then becomes more a physical seperation as she starts following a different sleep pattern. Starts going out, therefore away from them during the night.
  • Encounter with her father represents her return to her 'normal' role in the family.
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