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Dragged into the Past: A Major Motif in Munro's 'Walker Brothers Cowboy'
Notes on Contemporary Literature (2007)
  • Charlie Sweet, Eastern Kentucky University
  • Hal Blythe, Eastern Kentucky University
Alice Munro's "Walker Brothers Cowboy" (The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Ed. Sarah Lawall. NY: Norton, 2002) is bracketed by similar images that establish the futility of trying to stop time. At the beginning of story, in order to explain to the narrator how the glaciers formed the Great Lakes, the father "shows me his hand with his spread fingers pressing the rock-hard ground where we are sitting. His fingers hardly make any impression at all ... " (3012); at the conclusion as Ben Jordan, the father, and his children prepare to return home from their odyssey, Nora Cronin touches the car's fender, "making an unintelligible mark in the dust there" (3020). By using the same verb (i.e., to make) and noun (fingers--stated and implied) in both constructions, Munro helps readers understanding why early in the story the narrator states, "the tiny share we have of time appalls me" (3012). The story utilizes the repeated motif of the journey into the past: the father dragging the narrator down to the lake where they used to live, the mother dragging the narrator to Simon's grocery, the father dragging the narrator and her brother to Nora Cronin's house, and, ultimately, the narrator dragging the audience into her past.
  • alice walker,
  • walker brothers cowboy criticism
Publication Date
May 1, 2007
Citation Information
Charlie Sweet and Hal Blythe. "Dragged into the Past: A Major Motif in Munro's 'Walker Brothers Cowboy'" Notes on Contemporary Literature Vol. 37 Iss. 3 (2007)
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