Alice Munro’s short story “Boys and Girls” is a coming-of-age tale that centers on the narrator’s experience growing up in a rural, conservative community in Canada during the 1940s. The story chronicles the narrator’s struggle to find her place within the strict gender roles that are imposed upon her.
The story opens with the narrator, a young girl, helping her father with his work in their fox farm. The girl is not allowed to enter into the pen with the male foxes, as her father believes it is not proper for girls to be around such animals. The girl is resentful of this restriction, and she longs to be able to work with her father in the same way that her brother does.
The girl’s mother dies when she is just a child, and she is raised by her father and grandmother. The death of her mother has a profound impact on the girl, and she feels that she must take on the role of female caretaker in the household. She begins to learn the traditional feminine skills of cooking and cleaning, and she assumes the responsibility of looking after her younger brother.
As the girl grows older, she becomes increasingly aware of the differences between boys and girls. She comes to understand that boys are afforded more freedom and opportunity than girls, and this realization leads to a feeling of resentment towards her own gender. The girl longs to escape the confines of her small town and pursue a life that is not defined by her gender.
The story concludes with the girl leaving home to attend university. She is finally able to pursue her own interests and dreams, free from the restrictions of her small town upbringing. The story ends on a note of hope, as the girl looks to the future with optimism and possibility.
The protagonist in Alice Munro’s “Boys and Girls” is a young woman who battles against society’s ideas of what a female should be, only to realize that she has been trapped in the world’s customs. The narrative begins on a farm in the 1940s. A woman telling the first-person point of view recounts her childhood years. The girl’s father was a fox farmer. He was a hardworking, quiet guy whose daughter greatly admired him. Every winter, after killing his own foxes and fashioning their pelts, the father
The girl had an older brother named Laird. Laird was considered the “boy” of the family and was given more responsibility than the girl. The girl felt this was unfair and wanted to be treated like her brother. She did not want to be relegated to doing women’s work around the house like her mother and grandmother. The girl believed that if she worked as hard as her brother, she would be able to do anything he could do.
One day, while the father and Laird were out hunting, the girl asked her mother if she could go with them next time. Her mother told her that it wasn’t proper for a girl to go hunting and that she needed to learn her place in the world. The girl was angry and decided she would run away and go live with the Indians. She packed a bag and started to walk out the door when her mother stopped her. Her mother told her that if she left, she would never come back. The girl didn’t want to listen and ran away anyway.
She made it to the edge of the woods before she realized she had no idea where she was going or what she would do when she got there. She turned around and went back home. When she got home, her father was very angry with her. He told her that she needed to learn her place in the world and that girls were not meant to do things like boys. The girl was heartbroken and realized that her father was right. She would never be able to do things like her brother because she was a girl.
The story ends with the woman narrator reflecting on her life as a woman. She says that she has been able to do many things that her father said she could never do, but she has also been trapped by her gender. She can never escape the fact that she is a woman and that society will always see her as such. Boys and Girls is a story about the struggles of growing up, learning one’s place in the world, and coming to terms with who you are.
The girl is nine years old in the beginning. She shared a bedroom with her younger brother Laird. They would become frightened and try to divert their attention by singing at night. The young girl stayed up after Laird went to sleep and told herself stories, becoming a great hero in the process. For being courageous and bold, she was adored by everyone. Her tales usually involved riding or shooting; however, she could not ride a horse or shoot a gun.
The girl’s father was a fox farmer. He raised silver foxes to sell their fur. The girl liked to help her father with the animals. One day when she was helping him, she got bitten by one of the foxes. Her father had to shoot the fox and she was very upset.
The girl’s mother did not work outside the home. She stayed at home and took care of the house and children. The girl’s mother wanted her to be a lady and taught her how to sew and cook. The girl’s father wanted her to be more like him and taught her how to work with the animals.
The family had a hired hand named Flora who did all the outdoor work. The girl was fascinated by Flora and wanted to be just like her. She wanted to wear coveralls and have calluses on her hands from working.
One day, when the girl was about twelve years old, she was helping her father in the barn when she had an accident with a pitchfork. The pitchfork went through her foot and she had to go to the hospital. While she was in the hospital she had to stay in bed for a long time. She was bored and frustrated because she couldn’t do anything.
When she finally got out of the hospital, she was excited to go back to school. However, when she got there she realized that she had missed a lot and was behind. She was also different than the other girls now because she had been through a lot.
The girl graduated from high school and went to college. She studied literature and wanted to be a writer. After college, she got married and had children. She tried to write but she couldn’t seem to find the time.
Later in life, the girl looks back on her childhood and reflects on how things have changed. She remembers how hard her parents worked and how they didn’t have much money. She also remembers how different life was for her and her brother compared to their children. They had more freedom and less responsibility.
The girl wonders if things would have been different if she had been born a boy. She thinks about how her father wanted her to be more like him and do things that boys do. She wonders if she would have been happier if she had been born a boy.
In the end, the girl reflects on how her life has turned out. She is happy with her family and her children. She is also proud of her accomplishments as a writer. Even though she sometimes wishes she had been born a boy, she knows that she is happy with the life she has lived.