There is a reason to hope in all literature. Hope can be defined as something which one longs to see realized, or in other words, any form of optimism, with a belief of a positive outcome. Hope in a piece of literature verifies a level of goodness in the world, which can be illustrated many different ways by an author.
"The Shining Houses" by Alice Munro is an auspicious example of hope in a short story.
Alice Munro effectively uses different techniques to present hope in "The Shining Houses." Through her use of characterization, theme and symbolism, Munro competently illustrates hope, creating optimism with the use of these three short story components.
The first technique that aids in the creation of hope in "The Shining Houses" is symbolism in the title. The word "shining" alone has many optimistic elucidations, including magnificent, elegant, radiant, glowing, clean and polished. These words are all heartening, and create an optimistic mood from the beginning of the story. The optimistic mood created by the title carries throughout the story, encouraging the reader to identify other conditions of hope further on.
In addition to symbolism in the title, Alice Munro creates hope through characterization. The character who contains the prevailing amount of hope in "The Shining Houses" is Mary. Mary is the only character in the story that has a personal relationship with Mrs. Fullerton. Mary Would "sit on the back steps of Mrs. Fullerton's house, talking - or really listening - to Mrs. Fullerton" (16). This detail creates a tone of hope for the reader. Because the reader soon finds out that the other members of the community consider Mrs. Fullerton an outcast, Mary is considered as an inspiration, because she ignores the community's thoughts of Mrs. Fullerton, and continues to have a relationship with her. .
Mary is also a sign of hope to Mrs. Fullerton, reassuring Mrs. Fullerton that not everyone in the community is against her.