Alice Munro (nee Laidlaw) was born in Wingham, a small Huron County town, in 1931. Her father's family had lived in Western Ontario for several generations, while her mother's family had settled in the Ottawa Valley. She is best described as one of the best Canadian writers that the 20th century has produced. Most, if not all, of her writings are a rare blend of unique social observation and incredible psychological insight. This may be a reflection of Munro's early life, most of which was spent living in a ghetto like community, with prostitutes, beggars, and other social outcasts. It is highly probable that her insights on society are shaped by these early experiences. This paper will seek to highlight that most of Alice Munro's work (1 novel and 7 short story collections) are an extension of her own early experiences and as such an extension of the writer herself.
The subject matter of Munro's works has quite clearly developed from her own experiences; while these works are not autobiographical the author claimed in many interviews that they are an "emotional reality". Munro's life experiences of growing up in a relatively poor provincial southwestern Ontario town during the depression, negotiating the rebelliousness and idealism of adolescence, discovering sex, leaving home, testing herself at university, falling in love, getting married, having children, getting divorced, making a living, and getting along in a variety of complicated relationships all inform the fiction she creates. .
While she's been alive to nuance from the beginning of her career, her early stories often showed a protagonist struggling to understand someone else, particularly an older character, whom the protagonist can see only from the outside. The struggle seemed to reflect Munro's own effort as a writer to inhabit her characters through her imagination. But seven decades of accumulating experience have peeled away the barrier that once kept her apart from her aging characters.