Identify the author and the story from which this passage comes, and examine the most important or striking details of the passage itself. Point out details on character and characterization, setting, conflict, style, and/or narrative point of view.

Include a clear thesis statement that explains the importance of the passage in terms of the rest of the story. Depending on the passage, show how it contributes to theme, to character, to conflict, or to setting.

"He doesn’t answer. The belt is coming off; not hastily. It is being grasped at the necessary point. All right you. He is coming over to Rose. He pushes her off the table. His face, like his voice, is quite out of character. He is like a bad actor, who turns a part grotesque. As if he must savour and insist on just what is shameful and terrible about this. That is not to say he is pretending, that he is acting, and does not mean it. He is acting, and he means it. Rose knows that, she knows everything about him.

She has since wondered about murder, and murderers. Does the thing have to be carried though, in the end, partly for effect, to prove to the audience of one—who won’t be able to report, only register, the lesson—that such a thing can happen, that there is nothing that can’t happen, that the most dreadful antic is justified, feelings can be found to match it?"

 

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This passage from "Royal Beatings" by Alice Munro reflects the theme of the performance aspect of Rose's beating at the hands of her father. Rose gets into an everyday kind of argument with her stepmother, Flo, who then asks Rose's father to beat his daughter. In this passage,...

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This passage from "Royal Beatings" by Alice Munro reflects the theme of the performance aspect of Rose's beating at the hands of her father. Rose gets into an everyday kind of argument with her stepmother, Flo, who then asks Rose's father to beat his daughter. In this passage, the father does so in an almost ritualistic way. For example, he removes his belt slowly, and he speaks in a strange voice that isn't his own. Rose notices these things, even as a child, and she wonders if the aspect of performing also motivates people to commit severe atrocities such as murders. This passage reinforces the idea— which is one of the themes of the story—that Rose's father is administering this beating as a kind of family ritual, and that it has meaning only as a ritual, not as an act that is deeply felt or registered. You may have further thoughts about how this passage relates to the themes and characterization of the story.

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