Short Story Cycles

Identity in the Short Story Cycles of Lorrie Moore

Abstract in French here.

First paragraph:

As became increasingly evident in the 1960s and beyond, female identity is fraught with conflicting role choices and continuing pressure to fulfill social expectations despite increased career demands. The resultant fracturing of identity and existential angst is reflected in short story cycles written by quite a few women in the last forty years. Although this genre dates back to the Decameron and The Canterbury Tales, its use is especially appropriate for contemporary women authors as they sort through the roles available to their female protagonists and try to piece together a unified sense of self for them. Lorrie Moore is one of a group of writers, including Alice Munro, Jamaica Kincaid, Harriet Doerr, Denise Chávez, Ellen Gilchrist, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Sandra Cisneros, who have used the form in this way. Although the point of view varies, fictional narratives by these authors consistently feature one contemporary female’s perspective. Each story illuminates a specific aspect of the protagonist or a particular role that is available to her; she integrates these elements as she works to create an empowering, authentic existence. Just as the short story cycle is greater than the sum of its parts, these protagonists’ lives are richer than is reflected in any of the tales taken individually.

from Karen Weekes, “Identity in the Short Story Cycles of Lorrie Moore”, Journal of the Short Story in English [Online], 39 | Autumn 2002, Online since 29 July 2008, connection on 21 February 2022. 



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