“Tricks” is a short story by Alice Munro. The short story follows the life of Robin, a woman who usually spends her life caring for her ill sister. However, one day Robin meets a mysterious stranger during her trip to Stratford, where she goes to watch a Shakespeare play, and falls in love with him.
One of the main themes in the short story is clearly the theme of love. Robin has never had a boyfriend before, she has almost given up on trying to find one. However, when she meets Danilo, the helpful stranger, she falls in love straight away. They arrange to meet again the following year, since Danilo suggests that “next summer we will meet.” Robin is filled with anticipation, such is the excitement she feels about seeing Danilo again. Indeed she returns to Stratford the following year, in the hope to see him. This shows how much she had been looking forward to seeing Danilo again. Sadly, her hopes do not come true. The theme of love is also illustrated by the fact that Robin travels to Stratford every year in order to see a play by William Shakespeare. As his plays usually contain the theme of love, this creates an interesting link to Robin trying to find love herself. But just as there is tragedy in Shakespeare’s plays, her own search for love ends tragically.
Another theme in this story is that of waiting. We learn that Robin has never had a boyfriend, so one could argue that Robin has spent her life waiting for love. Furthermore, Robin only gets to escape her life at home one day a year. The remainder of the year is spent waiting for her annual return to Stratford, in order to see one of Shakespeare’s plays and to be herself again, without having to be responsible for somebody else: as Robin puts it “living outside Joanne's reach.” After meeting Danilo, Robin again has to wait: it will be a year until she might see Danilo again.