The Concept Of Beauty In The Shining House By Alice Munro

Decent Essays

The idea of beauty is often extremely subjective. What one person thinks is beautiful could be completely meaningless to another. A person can only ever see the beauty in something if they recognize it for what it truly is. With only a surface level comprehension it’s impossible to see the inner beauty that something might have. This idea is expounded on in “The Shining Houses” by Alice Munro, where beauty is presented as something that comes from meaning and not from outward impression. The protagonist, Mary finds a distinction between physical beauty and emotional beauty in her community. Mary and her neighbours have conflicting reactions to a house in the neighbourhood owned by a woman named Mrs Fullerton. The house has absolutely no surface level appeal but has a very rich emotional significance. Through these differing opinions Munro shows how having a deeper understanding will reveal an inner beauty. The people in the neighbourhood have a definition of beauty opposing Mary’s; they think that pretense and facade are of the utmost importance and because of that they are hostile towards things with no outward beauty. In the short story “The Shining Houses” Alice Munro defines beauty as something that comes from understanding and not from seeing. She shows this using Mary’s treatment of Mrs Fullerton, her neighbour’s treatment of Mrs Fullerton and the contrast between the shining houses and Mrs Fullerton's house. The majority of the people in the neighbourhood plot to get

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