Meneseteung. By Alice Munro · January 11, P. The New Yorker, January 11, P. The narrator describes “Offerings,” a book of. Cet article propose une analyse des négociations onomastiques dans la nouvelle intitulée “Meneseteung”, tirée de Friend of My Youth en s’appuyant sur les. Section 1 concentrates on the book () and uses it to tells us about Meda’s life from when the poems come out. Section 2 life in the town.
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Names are, in fact, sites of negotiation for identity, and historical and cultural issues. They are never accepted as definite products, but questioned as performative and open textual units. This process of substitution is far more complex than a neutral and univocal exchange. Considering psychic dynamics, Lacan inscribes naming within the symbolic order, according to which the linguistic act shapes subjectivity — to be distinguished from the ego and the self — and allows access to the social world.
As a matter of fact, the symbolic creates reality, that order which is named by language. According to psychoanalytic theory, not only is naming implied in maturity and in the separation from the maternal, but it also involves access to and acquisition of power. Naming testifies to the power inherent in the symbolic order.
Their observation can reveal power dynamics functioning on psychic, political and socio-cultural levels. Of crucial significance are the subject s and the object s of naming, their mutual relation and the position they occupy within the space of narration. This constructs, in fact, the point of view from which the referent is gazed upon and, subsequently, named by the narrating stance.
Obviously, the carrier of the name, that is the signifier, is to be observed in the code smode s and form s in which it is articulated. It can be formulated coherently with the textual nature of the surrounding text or in a different language, register, graphic solution. These choices imply discursive acts of hegemony or subversion, of coherence or disruption, of cohesion or dissemination, and raise the question of the function s of the naming process.
Such solutions can be only rarely retraced on a formal and stylistic plan, since they often carry psychological, social and political significances, which can ultimately help deeply question the textualization of the name. Adopting an open and fluid perspective on naming, the present work is, instead, concerned with names as sites of continuous negotiation.
According to various positions of the French philosophers Kristeva, Irigaray, Cixous, Wittig, mediated into the Canadian debate by Brossard, Godard, Redekop and Kamboureli, among others, gender is the privileged site that determines the very nature of writing and that needs to be placed at its very core.
Negotiation of Naming in Alice Munro’s “Meneseteung”
So, the pivotal question raised by Godard: A la vie, elle ne refuse rien. Sa langue ne contient pas, elle porte, elle ne retient pas, elle rend possible. Coherently, Kamboureli confirms its capacity to unveil previously hidden and silenced voices and discourses: Redekop goes even further.
Establishing a conflict horizon between the biologic and the symbolic, she warns: This location is often selected for the profound attraction and connection the writer feels: Kroetsch clarifies the role played by space within this narrative system: Clearly, small-town Ontario is more a social community strictly embedded in the territory people live in than a mere physical site.
Curiously, the author has often had to face the complaints of Wingham inhabitants who have felt offended by the supposedly grotesque effect achieved through the representation of scenes and characters in a disenchanted and sarcastic style.
This clearly shows the inability to capture and appreciate the aesthetic and non-referential value of narration and in particular of narration of space Locatelli and Di Blasio The writer herself rejects in her narratives a documentary style and constantly warns her readers to avoid a documentary gaze; she endlessly clarifies that what she is describing is a literary space, suspended along the horizon of storytelling.
This kind of reading was not only conducted by the general munrl but also by some critics. Personal testimony was seen as politically empowering for both readers and writers.
No doubt, Munro is a writer. Her gaze is definitely that of a storyteller menesetehng storytelling is an obsessively recurring topic; the motivations and frustrations, the dynamics and challenges of artistic production are clearly visible throughout the pages.
For decades, Munro has been faithful to this genre, first adopted for very pragmatic motivations due to family duties and lack of time Ross, Thacker However, her editors and agents have constantly put pressure on her to work towards a novel form.
Meanwhile, she has reached the worldwide acclaimed status of master of the short story. Even though refusing theorising about her genre solution, she has progressively developed this form and blurred traditional genre distinctions Howells Her stories have become increasingly longer, more entangled in plot and meaning, and more sophisticated in style. Notably, the narrator concludes the story admitting her own limits and thus questioning her own reliability: Like her narrator, the writer herself continuously rewrites and reinvents aliec and plots, as well as modes and forms of the story genre.
Several Munro researchers have been strenuously trying to find out the historical source for Roth. In her cogent volume on Munro, Redekop confessed that she: I still have a lingering suspicion that there must really have been such a person and I would continue to suspect this even if Alice Munro herself assured me that she made up the woman.
Curiously, only when the story was reprinted in the collection Best American Short StoriesMunro admitted knowing the two nineteenth-century poetesses. The narrative fabrication of the poetess should be questioned, as it is performed by the narrative stance. While different time periods qlice juxtaposed, the physical setting remains unaltered: The narrative style is far from homogeneous: Complexity and irreducibility not only refer to narrating voice, style, temporal setting, but also to the representation of the protagonist herself.
She has also lost her young brother and sister when they were young. Like her father, she has an intense passion for poetry, which she has cultivated throughout her life. The name of the Meneseteung river is significant in this story and will be here addressed in its various implications. In fact, meenseteung title of the short story is mirrored in the title of the poem: This hospitality is marked by the refracted title, at the same time visible as a paratext of the frame text and in the supposedly quoted poems.
The story enacts, according to Wall 76a mise en abyme of a second text, alics at the same time constructs and deconstructs the first text, showing its composed and menesdteung nature ibid. In Munro, unlinear and hybrid textuality is not only a stylistic solution but an epistemic mode, engendering a never-ending deferral of meaning. Through title reduplication, Munro makes the reader suspect canonical and definite textual borders and look for alternative and fluid modes of reconfiguring text genre and narrative stance.
One can only find that name associated to the bridge that crosses the Maitland River. This leads us to an apparently philological level of analysis. One source she mentions states that it is the Chippewa term for the Maitland River. In this case, she recovers the ancient, hidden name of the river, a politically highly significant practice.
Still today, maps of Canada are scattered with duplicated UK place names, testifying to what Bourdieu defines as a symbolic act of imposition which legitimates symbolic violence.
When inhabited centres were founded, they were given British names to mark the arrival, the power, and the control of the settlers.
Alice Munro: “Meneseteung” – The Mookse and the Gripes
In most cases, anglophone names were even attributed to pre-existing centres, or natural sites like lakes, rivers, mountains, obliterating their original names in the attempt to erase the indigenous history, culture and identity. It is in her stories that names are negotiated and the naming process performed.
It is not surprising that Munro keeps for herself space for intervention in the recovery of the Menesetung name: Interestingly, in other stories she also calls the same river Wawanash River, using another Indian name. Noteworthy, Canadian writers have been adopting fictitious Indian place names for decades: The adoption of fictitious place names deprived of a codified and recognisable referential anchorage abolishes the traditional implications of hegemony and control of the naming process itself.
I am still partly convinced that this river — not even the whole river but this stretch of it — will provide whatever myths you want, whatever adventures. I name the plants, I name the fish, and every name seems to me triumphant, every leaf and quick fish remarkably valuable. It does not impose already written stories but leaves space for the you-reader to want them, to tell them, to write them down.
At a certain point, the narrator seems meneseteyng feel the necessity to clarify the use of the name Meneseteung in the story, in what seems a meta-narrative and meta-linguistic explanation: The name of the poem is the name of the river. No, in fact it is the river, the Meneseteung, that is the poem —with its deep holes and rapids and blissful pools under the summer trees and its grinding blocks of ice thrown up at the end of winter and its desolating spring floods.
Not only does the visual shape of the river iconically recall a poem, but the metaphoric image of the river flux will obsessively recur throughout the story mneeseteung. Munro goes even further and paints a kaleidoscopic narrative meenseteung refracting infinite connections.
Then, the self being gazed upon is reduplicated into the knitted tablecloth, which undergoes a metamorphosis. It becomes water over which crocheted roses can float, while some grape juice Almeda was preparing overflows the container At this point she is overwhelmed by the intensity and unavoidability of meheseteung inspiration: Soon this glowing and swelling begins to suggest words — not specific words but a flow of words somewhere, just about ready to make known to her.
River, river-self, watered tablecloth, grape juice, words, poems, menstrual blood. Not only does Munro break meeneseteung cultural taboo and write of menstruation, but as a seamstress she crochets the abject on the narrative texture-tablecloth, and makes it the very origin of writing. On this knitted tablecloth, she makes the real and the symbolic converge. It is in the naming process that msneseteung can be approached.
Again, this process of giving voice can be muneo retraced. Almeda, Alice, Anne, but also Clare, Eloise, and an almost dead woman. She is not interested in the official name one finds at the beginning of the story, Almeda Joynt Roth, or the normal one used throughout the pages, Almeda Roth.
At emneseteung beginning of the story, the narrative voice slows down the rhythm of narration, opens a parenthesis and formulates a hypothesis: No other traces appear to clarify the doubt. Then, at the end of the story, she reaches the graveyard and finds the nickname engraved on the stone: So it was true that she was called by that name in the family.
Not just in the poem. Translating Lacanian positions, Kroetsch thus clarifies the relation between writers and naming: They name in order to give focus and definition. They name to create boundaries. Almeda had then chosen and used the name Meda to trace and to mark her own identity, both intimate and intellectual, as a woman and as a poetess.
The two seem strictly connected, even mutually interchangeable.
The portrait of virtue seems completed. I may have got it wrong. Perhaps, the name Mjnro could and should be further explored in more subtle implicatures.