Study Guide

Passion Genre

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Coming-Of-Age; Postmodernism; Tragedy

"Passion" can be categorized in the Coming-Of-Age genre because it explores Grace's transition from adolescence to adulthood. Did that explanation blow your mind? We thought it might. It's interesting to consider that while "Passion" qualifies as a Coming-Of-Age story, the vast majority of all that "becoming an adult" business takes place off screen. We meet Grace as an old woman at the beginning of the story, and spend a summer with her when she's twenty years old, but everything that happened in between is left for us to imagine.

Postmodernism might sound super fancy and kind of intimidating, but all it means in this case is that "Passion" is experimental in form.

Munro is never flashy about being experimental, but her stories often follow nonlinear narratives and play with time in interesting ways. It's a good way to make the form of a story reflect memory—how we remember things out of order, reconstruct or misremember certain details, and how memories usually come drifting back in unexpected ways.

As for Tragedy, "Passion" deals with some somber themes. There's a general mood of impending disappointment, as if every twist or turn in the road will eventually lead to a letdown.

Still, that doesn't mean there aren't things to be cheerful about. There's the story of how Mr. Travers "searched and searched for the particular pink granite, because Mrs. Travers had once exclaimed over a rock like that" (12). There's the final embrace that Neil gives Grace, as if to tell her, "Everything was possible" (302). Throughout the story there are small acts of kindness and small examples of love amid all that murky sad sauce.          

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