Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Literature, Animals, Writer, Style, Body, Irony, Garden, Context

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/08

Interpretive Essay on Vandals by Alice Munro

Munro Alice’s Vandals is an exceptional story mainly constructed on the themes of pedophilia, taxidermy, and Gothic. Liza; the main character in the short story is sexually molested by Ladner, who most likely also abuses her brother Kenny too. Their father warned Liza and Kenny about Ladner, a taxidermist; works for museums, but they got close to him and watched him as they gained interest and knowledge in animals. Taxidermy refers to preparation stuffing and collecting of animal skins in a bid to preserve them or for exhibition and scientific study. Ladner then took advantage of this close association to satisfy his pedophiliac interests.
According to my review, I personally believe that Bea is aware of the fact that Ladner abuses Liza, but she fails to do something about it. Bea donates a considerable amount of money for Liza’s college fund despite Liza not asking for the contribution. Theoretically we can conclude that it was a way of Bea to try to show compassion to Bea and hence try to loosen off the pain experienced by Liza. After the demise of Ladner, Liza finally feels free from Ladner’s treatment. She is vengeful and takes this chance to reclaim herself from him. She is bringing down the house and anything she associated to the bereaved as a way of restoring herself; considerably more wild than moderate.
Alice uses letters in her story The Vandals, a property known as epistolary. The story begins with a letter by Bea meant to thank Liza for taking care of Ladner’s property as the former took care of Ladner in the hospital. Nonetheless, this letter fails to reach the latter. This style of writing presents a familiar understanding of the persona’s feelings and thoughts and hence gives the reader anticipation for events without interruption from the writer. It also allows the reader to have multiple sides of views giving it dimensions making it more captivating. It is mainly used to exploit linguistic humor and intentionally expose some facts about characters. Nevertheless, such a style of writing may hinder the writer from fully developing the characters of the story and hence provide mild understanding to the readers.
Gothic is a form of literature that puts together fantasy and savagery. Munro uses Canadian Gothic most likely her origin being Canada. Gothic literature involves inculcation of many vices such as murders, rape, ghosts, pedophilia, vampires, and lots of gory scenes. Such things lead to anxiety in its whole context since it involves things that don’t usually happen; expanding imagination to greater depths. Due to its vigilance in vices and psychotic characteristics, it might cause trauma in children and lead to the acquisition of psychotic behaviors.
Further looking in, character development is very evident all over the literature piece. Bea is brought out as a character that is fond of treating ignorance as a basis of knowledge and source of inaction. She ignores that Ladner might be abusing Liza though she does believe it is happening. Ladner has crafted his garden with stuffed animals and signs. It creates a context for thinking about the relationship between nature and culture. However, he uses this skill of trying to tell the truth about the nature to hide what happens behind his pedophiliac acts. Liza is rather wild since she goes on destruction breaking things and tossing stuffed animals to the ground when she returns to Dismal at Bea bidding. She breaks the window as advised by her husband Warren as a way of hiding evidence that it was a key-holder that vandalized the place.
One other aspect of style used is use of fiction. A taxidermist display is meant to show the innocence of nature but yet it gives a gory idea. The garden encourages view of animal bodies heightens their objectness and allow easy scrutiny of discrete details. Munro also uses metaphors; one time Liza recalls an ordeal in which Ladner raped her when she was young and after he collapsed slowly, like the pelt of an animal flung loose from its flesh and bones. Through this phrase, the writer invites the reader to see the comparison between Ladner and the animals he stuffs in the museum and garden.
Liza and Kenny’s repeated exposure to sexual issues and practices made their mind sexualized. For instance, Ladner and Kenny and Bea came across a beech tree carved on with initials LL. Kenny thought one L was for Ladner and the other for Liza and a foot below was PDP, he shouted Pull Down Pants. Ladner asked Bea not to listen to the perverted kids.
The diction of the story does involve using of terminologies that are well descriptive on the main themes involved. For instance, since it includes a person that works in a museum a word such as taxidermy is applied in the story. Diction is essential for any literature, and a writer should use appropriate terminologies related to the topic.
Irony is a style of language that typically uses a combination of words or phrases whose message is meant to contradict with the intended message. There are several instances of irony in the Vandals such as Ladner’s view of his home as a pre-industrial land which is satirical since the field is made mainly of manufactured things. Secondly, Munro’s ironically considered the image of the taxidermy specimen as magnificent constructions rejects Ladner’s sentimental view of an ultimately pastoral Dismal and also turns down an enduring tendency to see animal bodies as entirely reasonable. Irony is used to create a comic and funny relieve in a story hence make it more captivating. It is mainly used to bring humor to a text and hence captures the mind of the readers. Munro has well employed this feature.
Munro uses animal symbolism to describe her cast. For instance, when Bea arrives in Dismay, she asks Kenny and Liza what kind of animal they would like to be. It reminds us the level to that which human can be likened to animals that are skinned manipulated as Lander skins the animal collections. In addition, it is evident that Munro reinforces connections between the human and animals as she writes; Liza makes croaking noises, and a slithery spirit possesses her.


Munro uses a distinctive tactic of writing showed by her skilled combination techniques of fiction while she maintains her flow of the story. Her vigilance focuses on ensuring the flow of the story feels like a conversation; natural but subtle since she maintains sophistication. This complexity can be understood only through deep reflection on the construction where gossip is intertwined with commentary promoting further interpretation. She also, as typical of her, failed to reveal the characters definitively until the last minute.
Her origin being Canada, Canadian Gothic has been part of their culture. Hence, it is not a surprise as she knows how to describe medieval scenes. She uses gothic to make the relationship between human and animal bodies relative through the use of taxidermy in this context. She also tries to reveal her understanding of pedophilia by subjecting Liza as a victim of the abuse and Ladner as the perpetrator. Hence, she recalls the effects of child abuse to children who later develop into adults. Some of these effects include bitterness and wildness that act as ways of getting even with the pain of being abused.

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WePapers. (2020, December, 08) Profession: Essay. Retrieved May 28, 2022, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/profession-essay/
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"Profession: Essay." WePapers, Dec 08, 2020. Accessed May 28, 2022. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/profession-essay/
WePapers. 2020. "Profession: Essay." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved May 28, 2022. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/profession-essay/).
"Profession: Essay," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 08-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/profession-essay/. [Accessed: 28-May-2022].
Profession: Essay. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/profession-essay/. Published Dec 08, 2020. Accessed May 28, 2022.

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