Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Author Ted Solotaroff has described Munro as a maximalist who adds small details together to form “the narrative configuration of a life” and defines a character through “a mounting glow of implication” rather than through the flash of revelation familiar in short fiction. This technique works in accordance with Munro’s conception of a world of multiple dimensions and expanding boundaries, where the immediate motivation for action is often apparently arbitrary. Consequently, “Royal Beatings” swings abruptly from one period of time to another, and the narrative focus shifts quickly from its location in an omniscient perspective to the viewpoint of either Rose or Flo, seeming to erase the barrier between an internal and an external depiction of character. Within this flexible frame, Munro uses vivid, explicit language in a style Solotaroff calls renovated realism and evokes an aura of immediacy with often pungent dialogue that energizes the narrative.


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Franzen, Jonathan. “Alice’s Wonderland.” The New York Times Book Review, November 14, 2004, 1, 14-16.

Howells, Coral Ann. Alice Munro. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 1998.

McCulloch, Jeanne, and Mona Simpson. “The Art of Fiction CXXXVII.” Paris Review 131 (Summer, 1994): 226-264.

Moore, Lorrie. “Leave Them and Love Them.” The Atlantic Monthly 294, no. 5 (December, 2004): 125.

Munro, Sheila. Lives of Mothers and Daughters: Growing Up with Alice Munro. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2001.

Ross, Catherine Sheldrick. Alice Munro: A Double Life. Toronto: ECW Press, 1992.

Simpson, Mona. “A Quiet Genius.” The Atlantic Monthly 288, no. 5 (December, 2001): 126.