English 1106 300266607
The escape of Flora and Carla
Alice Munro’s “Runaway” is a story that revolves around the marriage of Clark and Carla. The themes of mystery, ignorance of the truth and deceit make us reflect on the reasons why Carla insisted on her relationship with Clark even though circumstances may have suggested otherwise. Furthermore, Munro’s clever use of flora, the white goat, symbolizes and mirrors Carla’s emotions, personality, characteristics and experiences throughout the play. Both characters (Flora and Carla) share the true essence behind their reasons for “running away”, and also the similarity of the consequences as a result of their actions. However, the portrayal of Flora captures the true essence of escape since this it symbolizes the foreshadowing of Carla’s fate.
There are two key scenarios wherein we can summarize that Carla “ran away” from her past life, unwittingly jumping into pitfall after pitfall. She was an innocent, college-bound 18yrs old who eloped with Clark against her parent’s will. She said “she chose this life with Clark….see things in a new way”(433), apparently very optimistic about her situation. Her infatuation with Clark led her to leave a future filled with opportunities, only to find out that she had entered into a world of physical, psychological and emotional abuse. Should the reader feel sympathy towards Carla?
Moreover, the second instance of Carla’s runaway is most interesting in the fact that the audience witnesses how gender inequality and the objectification of women leads her in attempting to run away from Clarke. After marriage, Carla, subservient to the whims and wishes of Clark, suffered from mental anguish. The quote “you flare up. That’s what men do”(431) symbolizes Carla’s inability to cope with Clark’s superiority and dominant character. The sympathy felt towards Carla shows how her vulnerable characteristic leads into how she accepts the violent and cruel attitude of Clark. Due to the fact that she doesn’t have a “voice” and opinion towards the relationship shows the constant deterioration of her character as she accepts her role as being inferior towards male dominance. Carla then chose to “runaway” from him with the assistance of Sylvia, her neighbor. The line “She howled, wept and gulped for air…look around wildly for something to wipe with”(444) illustrates the ordeal that women endure during the times of struggle and oppression. The description of her facial features highlights her helplessness because she remains clueless about how to resolve her seemingly hopeless predicament. The readers get to witness the series of events and incidents that lead her to attempt to move to Toronto. Mysteriously, in an apparent state of weakness and despair, Carla inexplicably decides to come home.
On the other hand, Munro’s reference to Flora, the goat, provides much evidence towards Carla’s motives and emotions to leaving Clark since both characters resemble purity...