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In »How Alice Munro ends »Passion«: closure, but not as we expected
it« Michael Toolan explores the consequences of Susan Lohafer’s
claim that the reader’s expectations of how a given story will end is
conditioned by genre expectations. Toolan has replicated a study done
by Lohafer on how readers’ sequence the ending of Alice Munro’s short
story »Passion«. Like Lohafer’s study, Toolan’s study demonstrates that
almost none of the readers were able to predict and match Munro’s ending.
Whereas Lohafer explained the alternative sequencing as resulting
genre expectations, Toolan also focuses on stylistics when he explains
how cohesive binding ties certain sentences together. Recurrent
mentioning of the time frame, of the protagonist and of the cheque she
receives guides readers into sequencing in a certain way. Toolan also
argues that the student readers’ preferred ending makes for a more reassuring
and familiar story than Munro’s more disturbing ending, and
that the reassuring ending appeals to young people with simpler story expectations.