Analasis on “Tricks” By Alice Munro
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Alice Munro is a Canadian author who has written many short-story compilations and collections. In 2013 she won the Nobel Prize in literature, for her work as “master of the contemporary short story”. Her stories often depict the troubles of young women and their complexities. They are well known for her uncomplicated prose style, and she is also known for her smooth way of switching between the present and the past. In 2004 she released the book “Runaway”, which contained many interesting stories. One of these short stories was “Tricks”.
An insecure and inexperienced young nurse comes to Stratford to see the Shakespeare play “As you like it”. After the play she decides to take a walk along the river, when suddenly she realizes that she had forgotten her purse. When looking for her purse, she encounters Daniel, a polite man having a walk with his dog in the park. He invites her for some food and offers her to pay for her train ticket home. Robin has never been in love, but she immediately falls for him, and the two of them ends up having a good time, and finishes the evening with a little kiss. When saying goodbye at the train station, Daniel says that Robin should meet him again in a year’s time, wearing the same green dress she wore that day, when he is back from his trip to Montenegro. A year passes, but the green dress isn’t finished at the cleaners when the day comes. Robin then decides to buy a new green dress and heads down to the shop where Daniel worked. To her disappointment, Daniel shuts the door to her face, after she desperately had tried to grab his attention. It isn’t until many years later, when Robin finds out that Daniel had a twin brother who lived with him, who most likely was the man in the shop that day.
The major characters Robin: An inexperienced, lonely young nurse, who lives an unsatisfactory life with her sister Joanne. She is slightly socially awkward, and has never had a boyfriend or lover. She likes being alone, and feels at ease when
accompanied by strangers. The main character as well. She tends to feel stressed and over thinks a lot when beeing in conversation. Joanne: She is 31, which makes her five years older than Robin. She has a “childish body”, and straight brown hair. She suffers from asthma, can’t really be left alone and is generally a very weak person. Still, she is mean towards people more fortunate than her, and has always criticized Robin for her “foolishness”. She might be one of the reasons that Robin is in such a bad place. Daniel: A fairly young shop-owner, who originally comes from Montenegro. He is polite, has an east-European accent and possibly good looking. There is something extraordinary about him, which makes Robin fall in love with him. Setting in time and place
In page 267, when Coral hands Robin the printout on Alexander Adzic, the twin brother of Daniel Adzic, we get to know that the brothers emigrated in 1962 to Canada, and earlier in the story, in page 246, Daniel says that he has lived in Canada for about five years, which tells the reader that the story takes place around 1967. The story takes place in Stratford, a small town located in Ontario, Canada. The main themes
The main themes in the story could be happiness for once. It is difficult to find happiness, and when you are a person who is insecure and unsatisfied with your life in general, it is even harder. A different theme could be love, off course. Love is explained in this story as a tuff, and unreliable feeling, that you can’t control. And that love doesn’t always happen to every human being. Another theme could be disappointment. The feeling of disappointment is explained very detailed and as heartbreaking as it can be in this short story. When Robin gets the door slammed to her face, it is like her world gets destroyed completely, and the reader immediately feels her pain. Allusions
In the short story different allusions occur, like the name of Daniels dog, Juno. Juno is the name of a Roman Goddess, who was married to Jupiter, the king of the Roman gods. She was a queen, and a protector for the Roman women. Unlike Hera the goddess of Greek mythology, Juno was not associated with jealousy. She was proud and respected. Alice Munro’s stories most often
have women as the main character. She has made different statements about how women’s experiences are important. So maybe it is important for her to integrate female historical figures into her stories, so she can hint how she feels about women’s rights, etc. Another allusion is that of the play Robin sees “As You Like It”. It is a comedy written by William Shakespeare. The play is about overall about love, and maybe the play doesn’t take it self too seriously as other works of Shakespeare, as the plot is a bit ridicules. One of the major Characters in this comedy is a girl. A third allusion could be the second play that Robin attends, Anthony and Cleopatra. Another play by Shakespeare, dealing with themes such as: love, war, jealousy and power. A much more sad and serious play than as you like it. It ends in a tragic way, with the death of both Antony and Cleopatra. The play shows the downsides with falling in love, such as jealousy, distrust and revenge, and that these things essentially can ruin a relationship.
So, was Robin right in believing in her relationship with Danilo or was it all made up in her mind? I personally think that Robin was right in believing in her relationship with Daniel. It is very rare for a person not to experience love at least once, and from what I can tell in this story is that the connection between Robin and Daniel is true. For once, it would be very strange if Daniel had told Robin to meet her in a years time, just as a joke, or if he had no interest in her anyway. And I think the logic behind the scene were Robin shows up at the shop only to find Daniels twin brother, is realistic.
I thought the story was an excellent example of what Munro is capable of writing, a short, personal story about a woman’s difficulties and issues. Munro’s way of writing gives me a lot of insight and sympathy with the main-character, and even though the plot to me may seem a little dated and unsurprising, the story captivates me and keeps me interested in reading more. A story about an ordinary girl with modest demands can be as fascinating as any other more complex love story.