Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose [Who Do You Think You are?]

by Alice Munro
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In Beggar Maid, was Rose the victim, vixen, or villian?

Expert Answers

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First, lets define each term.  A victim is someone who suffers as a result of the action of others.  A vixen is defined as an ill-tempered woman, often quarrelsome or deceptive; a vixen is also often considered seductive.  A villian is a wicked/evil person determined to be the enemy of someone.

Rose is a bit all of the types you mentioned but not any one completely.  She is a victim because life has caused her to be an outsider and created a situation of poverty and loneliness that isn't her fault.  However, she doesn't stay the victim but fights back.  She creates stories that distort the reality of her community and portrays the people of West Hanratty in humorous - and sometimes mean - ways.  She also goes through her early life trying to gain attention from others, to fulfill herself through them.  In this way, she is both part vixen and villain.  She is being deceptive and working against society, and often gaining the attention of men through her antics.

Rose comes to learn that her stories have provided her with a sense of connection and her experiences with men have given her self-knowledge.  She is able to find some peace and grow as a person.  In addition, Munro gives readers plenty of explanations to understand the motives behind her actions.  So she  is also a bit of a hero.

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