Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

A third-person narrative, “Dédé” is told from the point of view of Pascal, the Brouets’ son. Although the character Dédé lends his name to the title, his role is minor in the development of the narrative. However, the action revolves around Dédé even as he remains in the background. Such an inverted technique is typical of Gallant’s subtle approach to fiction. Although Gallant’s strong point is character development, all other aspects of her urbane and polished fiction are admirable as well, each one enlarging her primary focus on character.

The language used in the story remains simple, direct, and economical. At times it verges on the elliptical but never turns purposefully vague. Gallant is a singular writer in that she captures French society and mores so well while writing in English. Although she is fluent in French, she writes only in English, considering it an anchor for an understanding of the world about her. In addition to writing about the French, Gallant also records the lives of Canadians both at home and abroad. Whether they are about French or Canadian subjects, her stories always offer flawless accounts of human behavior.

On the surface, Gallant’s stories appear to be constructed in a random manner. Sometimes the most significant details emerge at unexpected turns in the narrative. The shifts in time from past to present also give the impression that this story is simply unfolding on its own with no overall...

(The entire section is 470 words.)


(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Canadian Fiction Magazine 28 (1978). Special issue on Mavis Gallant.

Essays in Canadian Writing 42 (Winter, 1990). Special issue on Mavis Gallant.

Gadpaille, Michelle. “Mavis Gallant.” In The Canadian Short Story. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Grant, Judith Skleton. “Mavis Gallant.” In Canadian Writers and Their Works, edited by Robert Lecker, Jack David, and Ellen Quigley. Toronto: ECW Press, 1989.

Keith, William John. “Mavis Gallant.” In A Sense of Style: Studies in the Art of Fiction in English-Speaking Canada. Toronto: ECW Press, 1988.

Kulyk Keefer, Janice. Reading Mavis Gallant. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Schaub, Danielle. Mavis Gallant. New York: Twayne, 1998.

Simmons, Diane. “Remittance Men: Exile and Identity in the Short Stories of Mavis Gallant.” In Canadian Women Writing Fiction, edited by Mickey Pearlman. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1993.

Smythe, Karen. Gallant, Munro, and the Poetics of Elegy. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1992.