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Gender Roles In Boys And Girls By Alice Munro

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In the story “Boys and Girls,” Alice Munro writes about a young girl narrator and her struggle over the limitations and segregation of jobs between girls and boys. Munro views how differently the jobs were between boys and girls at the time. The argument is basically said in the title. Although the narrator talks about the joy of being able to work alongside her father, she still resents how her father treats her brother better, even though she is the older sibling. The narrator’s brother named Laird, which was carefully chosen by the author, helps play an important role in the story where the young girl must face society’s unwritten rules against women.
The time period in which the story takes place in was when men and women were not seen as equals. Mothers had traditional roles, such as cooking, cleaning, sewing, child-rearing, meaning that that they were mostly left in the house, while the men had their own roles mainly outside the house. Men were the dominant figures in the household, while the women were subservient. “It was an odd thing to see my mother down at the barn. She did not often come out of the house unless it was to do something - hang out the wash or dig potatoes in the garden. She looked out of place, with her bare lumpy legs, not touched by the sun, her apron still on and damp across the stomach from the supper dishes.”
Even though the narrator was able to do more work than her younger brother, she was still only seen as a young girl and her efforts went without appreciation. "Could of fooled me," said the salesman. "I thought it was only a girl." On the other hand, Laird was allowed to go out and do things he enjoyed, because he was a boy, disregarding the fact that he was younger. “Wait till Laird gets a li...

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...to brush off his mother’s words only listen to his father.
“Boys and Girls” takes place during a time where there was no sexual equality. Men were the dominant, authoritative heads of the house whose work was outside the home. Women are expected to take of all the needs of men and the work in the home. The narrator in “Boys and Girls” tries not to become a stereotypical woman, but in the end gives into the unwritten rules of women during that time. The narrator and her brother effectively symbolize the roles of men and women in that society. The narrator is forced to do female oriented jobs, which she thoroughly hates, while her brother is allowed to do whatever he wants. Laird is the lord, being a male he is praised as being more important than the two of them, primarily for his sex, while the narrator sets into her womanly duties, a secondary stance in society.
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