Mary's Decisions In The Shining Houses By Alice Munro

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Conflict is so generally what forces us to see who we really are and what type of characteristics shape us and our future. In the short story “The Shining Houses” by Alice Munro, Mary is faced with a decision that is very conflictive with her values and the way she views the world. In the short story Mary is conveyed from the start as a very kind and giving person who takes time out of her day to talk to the elder woman Mrs.Fullerton who lives on the newly renovated street of Heather Drive. Mrs.Fullerton is a clear symbol of the past and what the history of the street is. The young family’s who are causing the conflict with Mary represent the future of the street. Mary is forced into a situation where she must choose between letting the neighbours…show more content…
Through her explicit understanding of both sides and ability to listen Mary makes decisions based on her values a main one being kindness. During the beginning of the story Mary listens to Mrs.Fullerton’s many stories although she has previously heard her speak of many. She listens with patience and enjoys them as though it was the very first time. She finally understands how much history Mrs.Fullerton holds and how the presence of her reminds her of all that has been misplaced in the world as described in “She had almost forgotten that there are people whose lives can be seen like this. She did not talk to many old people any more” (Page 1). She is kind towards her elders as she understands what it must feel like to be pushed out of your home where you have made so many memories. Mrs.Fullerton is developed as a very isolated character in the story as she wants nothing to do with many of the young families on the street. As the young people do not know her very well she is discussed as a sort of object them to them with no feelings and emotions. Many do not know all the stories she has of her life on the street with her husband Mr.Fullerton that has previously passed on. She speaks of these stories to Mary filled with such youth and warmth refusing to conform to the perspectives the other neighbours have on her. The conflict between Mrs.Fullerton and the new neighbours is a symbolic conflict of the old vs. the new. Mary sees Mrs.Fullerton as being attacked. She sees all the love and gentleness Mrs.Fullerton really has which helps aid her descsion in the

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