Alterity in Alice Munro’s Short Story “Child’s Play”


  • Florian Pichon University of Montreal, Canada Author



Short story; Narrator; Affects; Alterity; Alice Munro


Alice Munro’s “Child’s Play” is a narrator’s confession about the difficulty of confessing. It is by delaying the information, undertaking a cataphoric articulation of the catastrophe, that the narrator eventually spits out the truth. From the ubiquity of the “Up” orientational metaphor during the sacrificial act to the narrative detours, transfers from the present to the past and line breaks filling the unmentioned, the narrative is a matter of differing and deferring. The oppositions in “Child’s Play” weave together: the scapegoating of the sacrificed victim gives her potency for the shaping of the young narrator’s friendship with an illusionary twin; and the scapegoat’s ghost, the powerful present absent, takes the host of the narrative hostage. The writing becomes both a poison and a remedy: the fabrication of a poisonous narrative riddled with literary circumvolutions and deviations of deviances enables the truth to emerge.