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An Examination of Intertextuality Between Alice Munros Simons Luck and Margaret Atwoods Happy Endings - Essay Example

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An Examination of Intertextuality Between Alice Munros Simons Luck and Margaret Atwoods Happy Endings

Whether or not the average reader is familiar with the particulars of the hypothesis, one cannot avoid several decades of literature and culture influenced by these ideas, as they range from the daydreams of Thurber's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty to the fantastic worlds of C. S. Lewis's Narnia books. The two stories examined in this paper, Alice Munro's "Simon's Luck" and Margaret Atwood's "Happy Endings," couple the form of multiple realities with the human psychology of traditional literature. Reader's need only the latent immersion of the involved concepts that permeate the today's world; their inner empathy and the authors' skill will maintain one's attention. Only through closer examination can the levels of intertextuality begin to be distinguished, compared, and analyzed.
Munro's story has already existed in a different reality, i.e. it was originally published in 1978 under the title "Emily," which perhaps was the narrator's name before she blossomed into this incarnation as Rose. The reason for the name change will be addressed momentarily. Rose's first instance of confusing reality happens when she is accosted by the student at the party. While she registers that his name is David and that he is a former student, she recalls nothing else, and instead idly projects a history onto him, "He had probably been brought up in a gentle home, where people talked about answering Nature's call and blessed each other for sneezing." When Simon later fails to come to the house, Rose realizes that "Preparations court disaster," in that she had been preparing for one future that did not happen. To console herself, she then imagines alternate futures in which she takes action, either by calling him or writing him a note, or alternately, where he has taken action, by going traveling or having gotten married. She lives through all of these realities through the course of the weekend. Rose has lived through a number of different realities, between teaching and acting, but her relationships patterns seem to end with her fleeing regardless of what the situation was. AS she flees away from Simon, she imagines a number of possibilities for what he is doing, perhaps pulling up to her house. She imagines how the retionship would have only become more akward with time. To escape this cycle of depression, she has extended her excuse to the university, saying that she has run into a job opportunity a future she has accurately predicted for once. She lands an acting role and moves out to British Columbia. Months later, she meets a mutual acquaintance or hers and Simon's, at which point she learns that Simon has died, apparently from an illness that he had for some time. While the title of the story initially seems to relate to the anecdote Simon tells of escaping during World War II, it actually relates to his ultimate fate. For all of the possible futures that Rose had imagined for him, of all the endings she has ever experienced for relationships, his death was tailor made as the only possibility to truly exit her life. He will always be unique to her for that, if no other reason. And as for the ...Show more


Literary tradition has never been afraid to escape from reality, as exemplified through such texts as Dante's Divine Comedy or Spenser's Faerie Queen. Part of this stems from the fact that humans frequently accept the possibility that if the mind can conceive of a notion, it can exist; another part of this is a psychological tendency of humans to dwell upon or even create past memories and alternate futures…
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An Examination of Intertextuality Between Alice Munros Simons Luck and Margaret Atwoods Happy Endings essay example
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