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Volume 19, Number 1 (1994)

The Woman Out Back: Alice Munro's "Meneseteung"

  • Dermot McCarthy
May 22, 2008


The form of Alice Munro's "Meneseteung" forces the reader to be aware of the activity of fictive construction. Munro's representation of the past as a variety of texts waiting to be read and rewritten by the present facilitates the dissolution of the narrator into her subject as she reconstructs the life of Almeda, a Victorian poetess. Almeda's choice of redemptive female eccentricity over confining patriarchal respectability (with the accompanying metaphoric move from the Victorian respectability of her father's house on Dufferin Street to the marginal world of the Pearl Street swamp) is willed by the narrator; it is her contemporary consciousness that identifies the other's eccentricity as independence and acceptance of life.