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An Analysis of the Avant-Garde Features in Alice Munro’s Early Writing through an Interpretation of “The Office”

Wang Lan, Huang Chuan

“The Office”, one of Alice Munro’s early works, does not belong to the common category of feminist writing. The short story not only exhibits the heroine’s burgeoning female consciousness and her pursuit of subjectivity, but also exposes the confusion and anxiety of the female character under the pressures from the society and daily life. Although the heroine’s behavior is, to some degree, an echoing of the contemporary female consciousness, the reversal of a commonly expected result underscores Munro’s reflection of female identity and subjectivity. Even though Munro did not resort to a novel or experimental style as to the content and characterization in “The Office”, she inherits and surpasses the underpinnings of traditional feminist works by means of intertexuality and parody. Her avant-garde consciousness, as shown in the subtle but nurturing exploring and innovative spirit, positively promoted the Canadian English literature that was then still groping for its development.