In a short story, all elements such as theme, setting, point of view, conflict, and character are important but the most important is the character. In “Runaway” by Alice Munro, she puts the basic essential element of character at the forefront. She has all the important elements in the story: a working class, young woman in rural Ontario who is dependent on love and is followed by despair and danger with movements both backward and forward in time, to make her an old fashioned page turner. Also, in Runaway she makes use of a stock character which is intellectual, older woman with certain emotional issues to deal with (Munro).
The goat is also one of the characters of Runaway which was kept by the couple whose marriage was not working and this goat kept them together. Before the disappearance of the goat and the return, it was a bonding symbol for the family and an important character. This goat created the never ending bond between Sylvia, the widow, and Carla, who was the physical, not emotionally established woman who had these complexities about her husband. Sylvia not only helps Carla but declares her crush for Carla and eventually forces her to leave her husband. In Alice Munro’s stories characters are very important (Munro).