Fits by Alice Munro: Summary & Analysis

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  • 0:04 Breaking Down Fits and…
  • 1:03 Peg Find the Weebles Dead
  • 2:12 Word Spreads About the Weebles
  • 3:27 Robert Begins to…
  • 4:03 Analysis
  • 5:11 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

When was the last time you threw a 'fit' or tried to 'fit' in? There are so many uses for the word 'fit,' a worthy title for this Alice Munro short story. In this lesson, we'll summarize the piece and analyze its meaning.

Breaking Down Fits and ''Fits''

Have you ever heard someone say, ''He threw a fit?'' Frequently, that phrase has been used to describe a child's temperamental behavior, a tantrum, or a crying spell. Fit has also other interesting meanings: someone may be physically or mentally fit, a person may be the right fit for a new job, or you may have a violent fit of coughing during a bout of the flu. In Alice Munro's ''Fits,'' the word could have various meanings as well. We'll get into that after a short summary of the story.

The story opens by immediately telling us about the central event of the story: ''The two people who died were in their early sixties.'' The deceased couple, named the Weebles, are described in the appearance of average, everyday people.

After the description of the deceased couple, we meet Robert and Peg and learn a bit about their backgrounds. Robert had been a bit of a womanizer who didn't want to follow in the family business. Peg had been previously married then divorced, and worked in a store owned by Robert's family.

Peg Finds the Weebles Dead

The story changes when the farm woman who sold eggs in the community shows up on Robert and Peg's doorstep. She delivers the couple's eggs and asks to leave the Weebles' eggs due to a schedule conflict. Robert and Peg are the Weebles' neighbors. Robert tells the woman it's no problem and that they'll run the eggs over to their neighbors in the morning.

Robert wakes up early the next morning and considers delivering the eggs, but it's too early. He leaves the task for Peg. The story tells us next that Robert is piecing together the gruesome events of the day from police reports and his wife's account. It's an important notation because, as readers, we're seeing everything through Robert's eyes.

Before leaving for work, Peg ventures over to the Weebles with their eggs. She lets herself into the house, calling for the couple but gets no response. She goes upstairs in an event the author simply describes in one line: ''The door of that room [the bedroom]was wide open.'' As readers, we can infer what Peg has seen, but it's never mentioned and Peg never reacts. She simply leaves, closes the door behind her, gets in her car, and drives to the police station.

Word Spreads About the Weebles

By the time Robert and Peg are at work, the word is spreading through the small town about what happened at the Weebles: a murder-suicide. Peg reacts calmly to the chatter around her and explains that she is the one who found the couple dead in their bedroom.

People's curiosity, at this point, has gotten the best of them. They begin quizzing Peg and questioning Robert, who is surprised by his wife's reaction: ''She had not said one word to me. Nothing. I said, 'How come you never said a word about this, Peg?' and she said, 'I knew you'd find out pretty soon.' ''

Robert begins questioning, internally, how this could have happened, if there were signs of the couple's distress, if there were financial problems or mental problems. Later, Peg and Robert field questions about the event from their boys at home.

After dinner, Peg finally tells her husband about walking in on the couple in their bedroom: ''Then I saw his leg, I saw his leg stretched out into the hall, and I knew then, but I had to go on in and make sure,'' she said. Her story is told in a very matter-of-fact manner.

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