Royal Beatings Alice Munro

In: English and Literature

Submitted By prawn78
Words 500
Pages 2
I believe the two story features that are most essential to developing and telling a successful short story are descriptive detail and emphasis on a single character. Considering that these stories are short in nature these features, I believe, most greatly help to expedite the author’s intent.

In short stories there is little time to fully develop more than one character. One character must drive the story without much aid from other characters, so descriptive detail has to help fill in the blanks.
Emphasis on a single character is also vital. Contrasting with an antagonist or ushering in some form of conflict helps to develop a character without taking the attention away from them. This contrast brings out character flaws or highlights which makes the character and story more dynamic.

Descriptive detail is highlighted in “Royal Beatings”. In this short story the detail helps to fill-out the character, to develop her; to give you a peak into her psyche. Rose’s imagination gives a great example of descriptive detail as it relates to her beatings “the blood came leaping out like banners” is a line that resonated with me. There is a sense of theatricality to the part she has to play in this story; “She plays his victim with self-indulgence that arouses, and maybe hopes to arouse” is a line that also lends heed to this notion. The descriptive detail in her thoughts are so vivid that you can’t help but visualize what she is thinking. You can understand and relate to her character having to retreat to these fantastical thoughts in order to cope with life.

Examples of emphasis on a single character are evident in both “Royal Beatings” and “The Yellow Wallpaper”. Flo’s ongoing physical abuse and emotional isolation from her father and stepmother and longing for a connection to her dead mother brings to light the extreme struggle she has gone through in her…...

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