Figuring Transition: Play, Performance, and Mimicry in Children’s Books by Thomas King, Mordecai Richler, and Margaret Atwood

  • Helene Staveley
Keywords: performativity, cross-dressing, mimicry, gender, Canadian picture books, play

Abstract

In Thomas King’s A Coyote Solstice Tale, Mordecai Richler’s Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang, and Margaret Atwood’s Wandering Wenda and the Widow Wallop’s Wunderground Washery, the mimicry of the transitional characters is a platform for their satire. Mimicry is a neutral practice in and of itself and can be advocated as a model behaviour: the dictum to become the change one wants to see in the world suggests that, by imitating a not-yet-actual ideal, one can make that fiction reality. For Child, The Hooded Fang, and the Wizard/Widow, mimicry also dramatizes the intolerability of worlds that manipulate interpellative processes to reify power. The transitional figures in these three books work as models of the half-playful and half-perverse clinging to a way of life that pertains to a particular fictional world they endorse, reinforcing childhood as a desirable, dynamic, and powerful transitional state.

Author Biography

Helene Staveley

Helene Staveley teaches English at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where she specializes in twentieth- and twenty-first-century Canadian fiction and in children’s literature. In a former life, she spent ten years in the Canadian children’s book industry.

Published
2013-06-14
How to Cite
Staveley, H. (2013). Figuring Transition: Play, Performance, and Mimicry in Children’s Books by Thomas King, Mordecai Richler, and Margaret Atwood. Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, 5(1). Retrieved from http://jeunessejournal.ca/index.php/yptc/article/view/172
Section
Articles