Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.

11 January, 2017

Alice Munro, "White Dump"

"White Dump" was first published in The New Yorker in 1986. It's divided into about fifteen sections with some being in present tense and some in past tense. Denise, her stepmother, Magda, and her father, Laurence are at the family's vacation home which has been remodeled. It's a family saga that covers many years, from 1969 to maybe 1986-ish. On the one hand, it's about a married woman who was never really happy and had many love affairs and divorced. But, actually it's more about, not the affairs themselves, or her family, two children, husband, and mother-in-law, but about how she was going through life just performing what was expected, marking expectations off her list and moving on to the next item, expectation. "Here she sat and saw her day as hurdles got through." And, "Not much to her credit to go through her life thinking, Well, good, now that's over, that's over. What was she looking forward to, what bonus was she hoping to get, when this, and this, and this, was over?" So, for me, maybe the theme is expectations and how waiting for them and trying to fulfill others' expectations cannot lead to anything good.