Runaway (Patriarchy, Binary oppositions, and Agency)

The short story ‘Runaway,’ centers on Carla and Clark are a young married couple living on a farm. They bolster themselves by engaging in horseback rides and offering riding lessons to interested individuals; they also lease stable space, sustenance, and general care to other individuals’ horses (Munro, pp. 145).Carla has already graduated from a secondary school and comes from an upper average family who once wanted to be a veterinarian, Clark, on the contrary, is a school dropout, vagabond, and a Greek god who has been doing numerous random casual jobs. Carla’s family doesn’t support him; however, she fled to run off with him as when she ought to have joined college, out of defiance to their normal rural way of life. In any case, she thinks that it’s hard to live with Clark, who can be dogged by obsessive jealousy and bad-tempered, this has made him be in bad terms with different individuals around the local area. The book “Social Inequalities, Empowerment, and Women’s Transitions into Abusive Marriages” talks of similar experiences that women go through in abusive marriages and how it shapes their life just like Carla’s (Miedema, Stephanie Spaid, et al. pp. 682)

Carla does house chores for her neighbor Sylvia whose husband Leon passed on, To tempt her husband, she discloses to Clark an outrageous created story in which Leon (Sylvia’s late husband) had ordered her to perform sexual favors (which she did not do agree to). This doesn’t work well as Clark ends up fixated on obtaining cash from Sylvia. However Carla gets a solitary break from his strain to do this when their neighbor Sylvia travels to Greece and Carla does not have to go to her house anymore(Munro, pp. 145).Sylvia comes back from her get-away and Carla trusts Clark won’t discover her return immediately, however, Clark does and commands her to go clean the house once more. This portraysPatriarchy where Clark holds all the power in their marriage and dictates what Carla has to do. Though it is against her desire, she has no option but to obey her husband. In the modern world, this is very common where men are regarded as the heads of the family and women have little or no say on the decisions of the house including what directly affects them.Carla is furious about this and can’t stop crying; it’s evident that her husband does not treat her right. This has also been portrayed in the story “Identity Transformations of Women Who Left Abusive Military Marriages” where military women go through similar verbal abuse from their husbands (Erin, pp. 132)

In the midst of all this, the childless Sylvia develops care, concern and a developing friendship for Carla. At the point when the tearful Carla goes to do the cleaning, Sylvia develops the urge to help her. Carla begins sobbing uncontrollably again and confesses that she can’t continue staying with the inhospitable and verbally oppressive Clark. Sylvia makes an arrangement for Carla to flee to Toronto, where she can remain with Sylvia’s companion. Carla concurs, obtains some garments and cash, and flees that evening(Munro, pp. 149).Nevertheless, in transit there, she freezes, lamenting her choice of fleeing, she feels that she can’t live without her husband and her identity cannot be separated from Clark. She alights the vehicle and requests Clark to come to pick her which he does. He discloses to her he couldn’t stand to lose her.Despite the knowledge that Carla has received from Sylvia and her support for her to flee, Carla is ignorant and returns to the same fate she had escaped from; this is binary thinking where she has two opposing choices to make between knowledge and ignorance. She chooses the latter and goes back, despite the efforts of empowering women in the modern society, the majority of them stick to abusive marriages out of ignorance. Clark is mad at Sylvia and cuts all ties they have with her as Sylvia apologizes.

Flora, they goat that had mysteriously disappeared, comes back, but Clark doesn’t tell Carla about it, she only gets to hear this from Sylvia through her apologetic letter after she has moved away, it seems Clark slaughtered the goat. However Carla does not confront her husband about it, she still is afraid of losing Clark no matter the number of mistakes that he does. From numerous points of view, Carla’s temperament is symbolized by Flora the goat, a creature that, as indicated by Clark, can never be completely restrained. (Munro, pp. 152).Flora flees once, and Carla has fled two times: first, she runs away from her parents, then again she runs away from her husband, Clark. Creatures that meander looking for ‘greener fields’ regularly get lost, caught, or murdered, which is generally what Carla does.



Works Cited

Barber, Lester E. “Alice Munro: The Stories of Runaway.” ELOPE: English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries, vol. 3, no. 1-2, 2006, pp. 143–156., doi:10.4312/elope.3.1-

Miedema, Stephanie Spaid, et al. “Social Inequalities, Empowerment, and Women’s Transitions into Abusive Marriages: A Case Study from Myanmar.” Gender & Society, vol. 30, no. 4, 2016, pp. 670–694.

Kern, Erin. “Identity Transformations of Women Who Left Abusive Military Marriages: A Narrative Study.” Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, vol. 29, no. 3, 2017, pp. 127–148.


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