An Ounce of Cure Defined
In Alice Munro’s, “An Ounce of Cure,” a typical teenage girl, after being dumped by her boyfriend, takes drastic actions to forget her emotions and later finds herself face to face with reality. With that feeling of hurt, devastation, and slight bitterness inside of her, she made the decision to get drunk in hopes of forgetting the emotions that suddenly overwhelmed her. Not knowing the outcome of her actions, she quickly becomes aware that she had done wrong. She later would learn from her mistake and become a better person for her decision that ultimately changed the course of her life.
The story, An Ounce of Cure, is told by the teenage girl several years after the crisis in which she endured. The narrator appears to be a somewhat typical teenage girl who fell in love for the first time to only find herself heartbroken. It is apparent to the reader from the consistent use of past tense, the level of vocabulary, and the mention of major events such as first love, first dance, and college, that the story is being told looking back on a troubling but yet vital part of her past.
Towards the end of her story she states, “I had a glimpse of the shameless, marvelous, shattering absurdity with which the plots of life, though not fiction, are improvised” (Munro, 22). It was on that Saturday night in April in 1968 at the Berryman’s house which whom she baby-sat for often, that the life-altering decision unraveled. The setting in this story is like a timeline of her summer from the breakup to the drunken cascade.
Munro plotted the story in such a way that you feel as though you were following the main character through several months of emotions and conflicts; such as seeing Martin Collingwood play Darci in the schools Christmas production of Pride and Prejudice all the way up to the night of the Spring Dance, shortly followed by that forever lasting Saturday night. The language and tone throughout the story is light and playful, not once letting the painful measures of the experience dictate.
She tells her story using humor to downplay her pain and speaks about the subject as though she has fully come to terms with it, giving the tone of the entire story a playfulness, self-criticism, detachment, and even keenness. She once states within the story what she felt after drinking that, “when I say I was expecting extravagant results, I do not mean that I was expecting this…” (Munro 22). She acts as though her experience that night made her more mature and open-minded towards the world and its possibilities.
After reading An Ounce of Cure and the drastic events that took place, familiar emotions arise because this particular story maybe the narrator’s story but it is virtually every teenagers as well. The tone made you feel compelled to console her in those hard times but also made you feel inspired by the confidence and self-awareness that aspired that night.