Reviewing Open Secrets By Alice Munro English Literature Essay

October 11, 2017 English Literature

Throughout Alice Munro ‘s “ Open Secrets ” the storyteller places considerable accent on Maureen ‘s eldritch ability to construe assorted signifiers of language-anything from spoken word to unspoken words, and even body linguistic communication. This accent by the storyteller on Maureen ‘s capablenesss to construe linguistic communication finally establishes Maureen as the investigator tasked with work outing the enigma of the disappearing of Heather Bell. Though Maureen is portrayed as a maestro in about all facets of linguistic communication, nevertheless, the storyteller emphasizes one aspect of linguistic communication which Maureen struggles with: profane linguistic communication. Ultimately, it is the deficiency of command in this area-the merely Chinaman in her armour with regard to language-which consequences in Maureen coming up abruptly in work outing the enigma of Heather Bell ‘s disappearing and unable to to the full grok the “ Open Secret ” right before her eyes.

The storyteller first brings to attending Maureen ‘s abilities in the subject of linguistic communication through her relationship with her hubby. Once a practicing lawyer, Maureen ‘s husband-referred to as Lawyer Stephens-relied on her to basically move as his Scribe. Furthermore, Maureen non merely performed this undertaking competently, but was revered by her hubby for the value she added to the office. The storyteller emphasizes this point by citing their former workplace relationship: “ His name for her, in the office, had been the Jewel, because she was intelligent and reliable, in fact rather able to pull up paperss and write letters on her ain, ” ( Munro 138 ) . Mention of this moniker emphasizes Maureen ‘s command over linguistic communication, and the grade to which her hubby relies on her for affairs affecting linguistic communication.

Subsequently in life, furthermore, Lawyer Stephens ‘ trust on Maureen ‘s command of linguistic communication is exponentially increased after he suffers a shot. As a consequence of the shot, Lawyer Stephens ‘ address is affected. Consequently, the storyteller is calculated in indicating out that Maureen adopted the function of his translator, because she was the lone 1 who could understand him: “ His address was sometimes slurred, so she had to remain about and construe for people who did non cognize him, ” ( Munro 137 ) . It besides bears significance that the storyteller points out that Lawyer Stephens ‘ still refer to Maureen as “ The Jewel ” to the current twenty-four hours. The fact that the moniker has survived clip and remained as a referent to Maureen ‘s accomplishments, indicates that she has n’t lost a measure in her linguistic communication accomplishments since her yearss as “ The Jewel. ” Furthermore, to underline the consequence of Lawyer Stephens ‘ shot, and to further underscore Maureen ‘s function of translator, the storyteller intentionally recites Lawyer Stephens ‘ slurred address. For illustration, upon nearing Maureen and Frances, Lawyer Stephens asks “ Whaur making out at that place? ” ( 137 ) , as opposed to simply rectifying Lawyer Stephens ‘ slurred address for the reader. The fact that Maureen answers her hubby ‘s thick address with perfect apprehension and without jumping a round is another solid indicant of her command of language-and the importance of this command within the narrative.

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A peculiarly of import scene in the narrative is the love scene between Maureen and Lawyer Stephens, because it juxtaposes Maureen ‘s command of linguistic communication against her lone insufficiency with regard to linguistic communication. The beginning of this scene emphasizes Maureen ‘s linguistic communication abilities by showing her bent for construing the mute linguistic communication of organic structure linguistic communication. After Marian and her hubby leave Maureen ‘s house following their meeting with Lawyer Stephens, Maureen ‘s hubby approaches her for sex. Before Lawyer Stephens has the opportunity to verbally proposition Maureen, nevertheless, the storyteller provides Maureen ‘s position on the state of affairs through her reading of her hubby ‘s organic structure linguistic communication. Maureen ‘s elusive appraisal of the situation- ” His head was on something else, ” ( 154 ) -is later confirmed when her hubby asks her to “ Come on down here, ” ( 154 ) to prosecute in intercourse. The storyteller farther refers to Maureen ‘s ability to read organic structure linguistic communication by mentioning to the marks she has perceived to intend that her hubby wants to hold sex: “ Now his eyes would overcast over and his face would look weighed down, ” ( 155 ) . This focal point by the storyteller on Maureen ‘s ability to construe the mute linguistic communication of her hubby is one of the strongest word pictures of Maureen ‘s interpretive linguistic communication accomplishments.

Though the storyteller ‘s preliminary to the love scene between Maureen and her hubby provides arguably the strongest grounds of her interpretive linguistic communication accomplishments, it is the existent love scene itself which reveals Maureen ‘s only-but finally fatal-language defect. The manner in which the storyteller finally presents this defect, furthermore, farther emphasizes the comprehensiveness and earnestness of the defect. Immediately before uncovering Maureen ‘s lone linguistic communication defect, the storyteller provides another highly strong illustration of Maureen ‘s command of language-specifically in the country of construing her hubby ‘s thick address. Prior to making the tallness of rousing, Lawyer Stephens provides Maureen with an direction, which the storyteller carefully frames as an indicant of Maureen ‘s ability as an translator: “ aˆ¦a bid that possibly would be incoherent to anybody but Maureen but that would still talk articulately, like toilet noises, of his appendage, ” ( 155 ) . It is besides of import to advert that the storyteller besides recites Lawyer Stephens ‘ bid with phonic accuracy- ” Ta ‘ dirty! Ta ‘ dirty! “ -emphasizing the “ incoherent ” nature of the bid, which merely Maureen would understand. In direct apposition to this show of Maureen ‘s linguistic communication accomplishments, nevertheless, the storyteller instantly reveals Maureen ‘s lone linguistic communication defect. Though Maureen understands the thick address of her hubby ‘s bid, she struggles to really execute it. The storyteller emphasizes this point by defining specific countries of the linguistic communication procedure that Maureen struggles with in “ Ta ‘ dirty ” : “ Maureen knew adequate words, but it was hard for her in her jolted province to name up merely which 1s might accommodate, and to express them in a tone that would be converting, ” ( 157 ) . In this manner, the storyteller emphasizes the fact that Maureen struggled to believe of the appropriate words for the state of affairs, and present the appropriate linguistic communication in an reliable manner. Therefore, the storyteller reveals that profane language-through a word picture of her insufficiency to “ Ta ‘ dirty ” -is one country of linguistic communication in which Maureen has non attained command.

Though her insufficiency with regard to corrupt linguistic communication may look confined to her sleeping room experiences with her hubby, there is an statement to be made that it extends to all things profane-including the truth behind Heather Bell ‘s disappearing and slaying. Following the going of Marion and her hubby, Maureen has a vision which is inextricably linked to the truth behind Heather Bell ‘s disappearing, and which points to Marion ‘s hubby as the perpetrator. This statement is supported by the fact that the storyteller is careful to project uncertainty upon the possible guilt of Mr. Siddicup each clip this possibility is mentioned-through implicative phrasing such as “ Many people will go on to believe that he did something or proverb something, ” ( 160 ) . In fact, the last words of the story-spoken by the narrator-demonstrate Maureen ‘s inability to set into words the fruits of her vision: “ In kitchens 100s and 1000s of stat mis off, she ‘ll watch the soft tegument signifier on the dorsum of a wooden spoon and her memory will jerk, but it will non rather reveal to her this minute when she seems to be looking into an unfastened secret, something non galvanizing until you think of seeking to state it, ” ( 160 ) . Ultimately, with these last words the storyteller leaves the reader with the feeling that Maureen can non come to footings with the account behind Heather Bell ‘s disappearing because she is unable to rally up the profane linguistic communication necessary to explicate what happened to the small miss.


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