Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

In Search of Storytelling: Selected Short Fiction by Mary Lavin

Dr Linda P.L. Wong.

Though her stories carry seemingly simple plots, Lavin presents women’s search for freedom amidst daily grind. The author often reveals people and circumstances in a different light to both challenge her readers to think deeply and to display her ironic vision of life. By adopting a repetitive pattern of storytelling, her characters are seen trying to escape from social and historical bondage. Though repetition is used as an aesthetic device to help the characters to reinvent themselves and understand reality, ambiguities still abound because of gendered expectations and boundaries. The family relationship, as seen in the selected stories, serves as an impetus for her storytelling. The women in Lavin’s stories long for more emotional freedom and space within their own circumstances. Lavin writes not about physical escape, but about mental peace and individual respect; and invites her readers to re-read the lives of her women characters, who are in turn trying to re-read their identities and relationships. Readers are then involved in relating to the women who have gone before them, and in understanding life as an ambivalent cycle. Women characters become texts, and carry the same sort of ambiguities within themselves.


Dr Linda P.L. Wong  (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China)
Assistant Professor
Department of English Language and Literature
Hong Kong Baptist University

  • Repetition
  • Mother-daughter relationship
  • Storytelling
  • Gendered boundaries
  • Generational conflicts
  • Narrative strategy

(Virtual Presentation, English)