The IUP Journal of English Studies
Narrative Slippage and Construal in Literature: Alice Munros Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage

Article Details
Pub. Date : March, 2019
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES41903
Author Name : Roghayeh Farsi
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : English Studies
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 14



This paper applies construal, a concept from Cognitive Grammar, to Alice Munros short story Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. Like (post)modernist stories, Munros story has multiple plots and narrators and develops out of constant spatiotemporal shifts. Such features mark the story with narrative slippages, that is, smooth shifts and turns of perspective. The study examines the applicability of construal for literary interpretation. It provides a close reading of Munros story in the light of cognitive construal, dividing the story based on its narrative slippages and investigating the perspective and construal of each scene. The analysis shows interplays between subjective and objective construals in each slippage. Also, the paper discusses the tensions between narrative points of view and construals and takes them as the limitations of the concept of construal when applied to a complex literary work. Cognitive Grammar does not address such tensions in complex narratives; it, therefore, needs to expand its potentials in this respect.


Cognitive Grammar has recently developed diverse methodologies and terminologies that are applied to different disciplines like education, political discourse, news reports, etc. Some scholars of Cognitive Grammar have also attempted to read literary works through this lens (Harrison and Stockwell 2013; Harrison et al. 2014; Stockwell 2002; 2009; 2013; 2014). One of the concepts of Cognitive Grammar is construal that has not been specifically applied to any literary work. The present study tries to fill this gap. It selects Alice Munros short story Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (henceforth Hateship; Munro 2001b) as a case study. This is one of those stories whose complexity of plot and diversity of human relations and understanding make it an epitome of literature. A work of metafiction, this story sheds critical light on such notions as narratorial authority and stability of identity. Munros pen has stretched the potentials of short story, adapting it to the thematic mission of revealing the cognitive mechanisms of human cognition.


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