What are some symbols in Runaway by Alice Munro?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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There are quite a few symbols in Alice Munro's text Runaway.

Perhaps the most prominent symbol in the text is that of clothing. The image of clothing is used to depict how some things simply do not "fit" the person who is "wearing" them. This symbol is illuminated by the fact that Carla, when borrowing Sylvia's clothes, decides that they do not "fit" her. This symbol speaks to the idea of self-realization and self-identity.

Another symbol in the text is the travel and modes of transportation. In the text, the characters are seen on buses and trains. The symbolism of travel and modes of transportation speak to the idea of, again, self-realization and self-identity. In the travels of the women, they are in search of who they are. They do not seem to fit into the lives they live. The travel motif, or symbol, illuminates the message of movement and finding one's true self.

Given that the text is called Runaway, another symbol is that of a home. All of the women in the text are in search of a true home--a place where they fit in and can be at ease with who they are and their lives around them.

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