Thanks For The Ride by Alice Munro, 1957
The magic trick:
Giving Lois the emotional control of the story
“Thanks For The Ride” is unique among the Dance Of The Happy Shades for its male narrator. Don’t be fooled, though. This story very much belongs to Lois. She may not control the physical action of the plot, or even the circumstances of her life. But she counters by employing emotional control. The narrator expects some kind of storybook, tender moment, and instead gets scorn and sarcasm. And that’s quite a trick on Munro’s part.
Lois walked stiffly ahead of me, rustling her papery skirt. I said: “Did you want to go to a dance or something?”
“No,” she said. “I don’t care.”
“Well you got all dressed up –“
“I always get dressed up on Saturday night,” Lois said, her voice floating back to me, low and scornful. Then she began to laugh, and I had a glimpse of her mother in her, that jaggedness and hysteria. “Oh, my God!” she whispered. I knew she meant what had happened in the house, and I laughed too, not knowing what else to do. So we went back to the car laughing as if we were friends, but we were not.
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