To Keep from Crying: Reviewing Stories of Love and Marriage by Female Authors

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To Keep From Crying Upon initial consideration, there is not an abundance of similarities found in Margaret Atwood's "Happy Endings", Alice Munro's "How I Met My Husband", and Wendy Cope's "Lonely Hearts". Atwood and Cope's works are satirical to the point of resembling farces, while Munroe's short story is a moving tale of first love that is decidedly serious in its treatment of the motifs of emotions, sensuality, and the relationships between men, women and girls. Yet all of these works are primarily concerned with romantic relationships between the sexes, and they each utilize various literary devices to present alternative viewpoints of what constitutes a desired ending or outcome of those relationships. By emphasizing varying degrees of comedy, these three stories present elements of satire to demonstrate alternative perspectives of what constitutes an ideal romantic relationship between the sexes. "Happy Endings", in particular, utilizes a highly overt form of comedy to depict the human folly of conceptions of romantic relationships. This brief narrative sketch is highly two-dimensional the characters are purposefully flat and undeveloped (Goldblatt 275) in order to emphasize the ideals of romantic relationships which the author widely mocks through the delivery of a variety of multiple choice scenarios regarding the outcomes of their personal relationships. One of the primary indications of a work of literature satirizing some aspect of human nature is the use of

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