"The Red Dress" and "The Day of The Butterfly" are two very interesting stories, written by an exceptional Canadian author, Alice Munro. Both of these stories are well written and can be associated with what goes on in today's society. The principal characters, human relationships, and the importance of symbolism exist, in both of these stories, strongly. There are many similarities, and also differences between the two short stories, that compare and contrast what can be viewed upon in our daily lives.
The principal characters of "The Red Dress" is the narrator, who's name never gets revealed throughout the story, and the principal character in "The Day of The Butterfly", Myra, have many similarities. These principal characters are both females with low self-esteems. Both Myra, and the narrator have no control over their lives, and therefore strive for their own unique individuality. However they both suffer because of the control that their parents have over their lives. They both have few friends and strive to be popular. However until they become individuals themselves they will continue to suffer.
Another contribution to the story is the human relationships, that take place between both of the main characters. These character relationships are completely different. The narrator has many problems with her mother, and her best friend. The main conflicts that take place between both of the stories are the principal characters and their parents. However, one of these conflicts is more visible in one story than in the other. Myra's conflicting relationships with her parents are not visible, but can be understood because her parents have left her with full responsibility for her younger brother.
Which causes Myra to have no time for herself or the people around her. Another example of this is the narrator and her mother. The mother makes the red dress for her daughters first high school dance out of love, but she doesn't realize the pain that she's causing her daughter. The daughter feels that by her mother making her the dress, without any consent by herself, it leaves her with no control, or say of what takes place in her life.
The main similarity between both of these short stories is that of symbolism. Symbolism in a short story or another kind of story is extremely necessary for a greater understanding of the symbolic value of the story. Both aspects of symbolism in the two short stories, reflect upon the main characters life and changes. In "The Red Dress", the red dress is the symbolic value. It represents the conflict between the narrator, and her mother. The narrator's mother makes the dress out of love, but the narrator feels she's only doing it out of control over her.
However in "The Day of The Butterfly" the key symbolic value is the butterfly broach which was given to Myra by Helen. From the butterfly's birth to it's early death, represents the stages of Myra's difficult life, as she suffered from the childhood disease, leukemia. These two short stories, "The Red Dress and "The Day of The Butterfly" have more comparisons, than differences. Both short stories are based on females with low self-esteem and little confidence. Throughout the course of the story they both strive to find some guidance and help in their significant lives. They are searching for individuality, and the respect they deserve.
They can find this unique individuality in themselves, the relationships that they hold with other people, and most of all understanding their own symbolic meaning in their life.