“Silence” is a short story by Alice Munro, one of three in a triptych about a woman called Juliet. The first are “Chance” and “Soon“.
All three are published in the Runaway collection (2004).
[“Silence”] brings to the foreground a theme that runs through many stories by Alice Munro—the role of silence within the network of domestic relations.
Read “Silence” online at The New Yorker.
Structurally, “Silence” is a mythic journey which spans approximately half of a woman’s entire life. The story opens with Juliet off on a trip in order to find information. Along the way she meets allies, opponents (most are a mixture of both), then returns ‘home’ a changed person after solving part of the mystery and learning something important about herself.
Usually when I break down a story into classic seven step structure, there’s a fairly clear line between each step. One masterful thing about work of Alice Munro: the lines are not there. “Silence” makes an excellent case study of a short story in which the ‘Self-revelation’ phase melts in to the ‘New Equilibrium’ stage. The reader keeps having revelation after revelation, then bang, there’s the big gut punch, right at the end. Continue reading “Silence by Alice Munro”