Recent history boldly notes the protests and political unrest surrounding the Vietnam Conflict during the 1960s and 70s. However, equally important in this era are the women who pushed for gender role reevaluation and publicly rebelled against the established social norm of a woman's "place." Although Alice Munro may not have been burning her bra on the courthouse steps, threads of a feminist influence can be found in "Boys and Girls." Munro's main character, a girl probably modeled after Munro's own childhood experiences on an Ontario farm, faces her awakening body and the challenge of developing her social identity in a man's world. "The girl," an unnamed character, acts as a universal symbol for the initiation of a girl into womanhood. Through first-person narrative, Munro shoes the girl's views of her budding femininity and social identity by describing the girl's conceptions of her parents' work, her parallel to the wild mare Flora, and the "mysterious alterations" (Munro 474) in her personal nightly stories.
As if to forsake her femininity and forego a life of confinement and housework, the girl reveres her father's work and condemns her mother's duties. The sum of the girl's respect seems to lie with her father, as is evident in her reference to his work outdoors as "ritualistically important" (468). On the other hand, while the girl recognizes that her mother is busy, she still considers her mother's "work in the house [to be] [·] endless, dreary and peculiarly depressing" (468). The division between her parents' tasks is especially apparent in the girl's reaction to her mother's presence at the barn. She feels threatened by her...
... middle of paper ...
...hether this quantifies complete acceptance with the girl, however, is not solidified by Munro due to the final sentence: "Maybe it was true" (475).
Through opinion, comparison, and imagination Munro details the girl's journey from a rebellious tomboy to a slowly blooming woman. The characteristics so endearing to the girl's developing identity, such as her assistance in Flora's escape and her unwillingness [comment13] to easily submit to the social constraints of life as a woman, also lend themselves to her universality as a representative to initiation to femininity. Munro's own personal views of femininity arguably color this work, "Boys and Girls."
Munro, Alice. "Boys and Girls." The Norton Introduction to Literature. Eds. Carl E. Bain, Jerome Beaty and J. Paul Hunter. 6th ed. New York: Norton, 1995. 465-75.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Unequal socioeconomic gender standing occurs when females were considered less superior than males. It is shown as women’s responsibilities differ from men. Women stays indoors to do chores and maintain the house, whereas men go out to do work to provide for the family. Even though both work equally as hard to contribute to the household, women’s domestic tasks are considered insignificant compared to men. These gender roles separated a division between male and female. Alice Munro’s “Boys and Girls” explores traditional gender roles through characters such as the female protagonist’s lack of identity, the female protagonist’s desire to rebel against female household roles in order to work o... [tags: Gender, Gender role, Woman, Female]
1207 words (3.4 pages)
- Father is outside, in the sun, sacrificing his body and energy in order to attain a comfortable living for his family. Mother is watching Father through the kitchen window as she chops carrots for tonight’s stew. Suddenly, she meets the eyes of her daughter, walking gently through the grass, being careful not to tear her dress. Playfully chasing after the girl is a young boy with scruffy hair who will one day, join his father under the beating sun. This scene highlights the gender roles that humans have duplicated generation after generation.... [tags: Gender role, Short story, Woman, Role]
1158 words (3.3 pages)
- “Boys and Girls” by Alice Munro (Journal) “Boys and Girls” is an interesting story and it was an easy short story to read and understand how the narrator was feeling, because I can almost relate it to my own life. This short story is about a young girl’s struggle to adulthood in a society with gender roles and stereotypes. The story took place in the 1940s on a fox farm outside of Jubilee, Ontario, Canada. During this time, women were viewed as second class citizens, but the narrator was not going to accept this position without a fight.... [tags: Gender, Gender role, Family, Short story]
1974 words (5.6 pages)
- The bond between a human and an animal can be exceptionally strong, even if the two have only just interacted once. To some, this is akin to “love at first sight”. These types of connections have been important in stories as a means to represent the shared symbolic bond of a character with another being. This connection is obvious in Alice Munro’s short story “Boys and Girls” between the narrator and the horse, Flora. Therefore, it makes absolute sense as to why the girl would let Flora, a horse that is ultimately going to die anyways, free.... [tags: Gender role, Woman, Role, Short story]
982 words (2.8 pages)
- As a newborn a gender is assigned, this gender being what you will be brought up as until you decide you want to bend the rules and change the roles, once more children realize they do not need to conform to the roles they develop a sense of love, confidence, and understanding for themselves and others. In Alice Munro’s “Boys and Girls” the theme of gender is an anchor that gives the story a deeper meaning and gives the reader insight on stereotyping and gender assignment among children. The genders are what develop the main character, her assumed gender or lack of show how she grows and acts throughout the story.... [tags: Gender, Gender role, Heteronormativity, Role]
1433 words (4.1 pages)
- In Alice Munro’s “Boys and Girls,” there is a time line in a young girl’s life when she leaves childhood and its freedoms behind to become a woman. The story depicts hardships in which the protagonist and her younger brother, Laird, experience in order to find their own rite of passage. The main character, who is nameless, faces difficulties and implications on her way to womanhood because of gender stereotyping. Initially, she tries to prevent her initiation into womanhood by resisting her parent’s efforts to make her more “lady-like”.... [tags: Boys and Girls, Alice Munro]
1071 words (3.1 pages)
- In the story, 'Boys and Girls', the major theme is gender stereotypes. Through the narrator, the unfairness of sex-role stereotyping, and the negative consequences and effects this has on her passage into adulthood is presented. Also, the narrator is telling us that gender stereotyping, relationships, and a loss of innocence play an extreme role in the growing and passing into adulthood for many young children including herself. By gender stereotyping, the story is saying that there will be bad consequences on young child- ren.... [tags: Boys and Girls Alice Munro]
721 words (2.1 pages)
- The Importance of Gender in Boys and Girls Since the beginning of time, gender roles have existed in society. Women were assigned the tasks of child-care and food preparation. Men performed most activities that required physical strength. As society progressed, the role of women did not. Although less emphasis is placed on gender roles today, gender roles still exist. In 1968, Alice Munro wrote, "Boys and Girls" to address the confusion that gender roles may cause in a modern society. "Boys and Girls" is a coming-of-age story about a young girl who is enjoying her tomboy years and is defiant about becoming a woman. The theme in "Boys and Girls" is this transition from the childhood... [tags: Boys and Girls Alice Munro]
3414 words (9.8 pages)
- In her story, Boys and Girls, Alice Munro depicts the hardships and successes of the rite of passage into adulthood through her portrayal of a young narrator and her brother. Through the narrator, the subject of the profound unfairness of sex-role stereotyping, and the effect this has on the rites of passage into adulthood is presented. The protagonist in Munro's story, unidentified by a name, goes through an extreme and radical initiation into adulthood, similar to that of her younger brother.... [tags: Boys and Girls Alice Munro]
1113 words (3.2 pages)
- Ambition—the desire to achieve, will to succeed. Every character is defined by his dreams, his goals, and his passions. As individuals, we are confronted with social codes and implications that cause us to revolt and break free from the grasp of uniformity. Oftentimes dreams and ambitions clash with the unwritten laws of civilization. In Willa Cather’s short fiction “Paul’s Case” and Alice Munro’s “Boys and Girls”, the protagonists challenge expectations and rebel against settings governed by uniformity and gender-specific roles.... [tags: Boys and Girls Alice Munro]
1031 words (2.9 pages)