Alice Munro’s “Boys and Girls” is a story about a girl that struggles against society’s ideas of how a girl should be, only to find her trapped in the ways of the world.
The story starts out on a farm in the 1940’s. The narrator is a woman who is telling the first person point of view of when she was a girl. The girl’s father was a fox farmer. He was a hard working, quiet man and the girl really respected him. Every winter the father killed the foxes that he raised and sold their pelts. The girl loved this time and found it seasonal, although her mother despised it.
In the beginning the girl is about nine years old. She had a younger brother named Laird with whom she shared a bedroom. At night when they would go to bed they would get scared and try to distract themselves by singing. After Laird would go to sleep the girl stayed up and told herself stories. In these stories she was a great hero. She was courageous and bold and she accomplished great feats to rescue others. Everyone adored her for being heroic. The stories always involved her riding and shooting though she couldn’t ride a horse or shoot a gun.
The girl took great pride in the fact that she helped her father with the chores on the farm. Her main chore was to water the foxes. Laird would help with a small watering can though he would usually spill most of his water. The girl would also help her father when he would cut the long grass around the fox pens. He would cut it and she would rake it up. He would then throw the grass on top of the pens to keep the sun off of the foxes. The entire fox pen was well thought out and well made. The foxes were fed horsemeat, which could be bought very cheap. When a farmer had a dying horse her father would pay for the horse and slaughter it. Her father was very ingenious with his fox farm and the girl was obviously impressed. She was proud to work with her father. One time while her father was talking to a salesman he said, “Like you to meet my new hired man.” That comment made her so happy, only to have the salesman reply that he thought it was only a girl.
While the girl loved the work outside she hated to do the ‘woman’s work’ inside. She disliked her mother for making her do it, and believed that her mother only made her do it be...
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...and her attitude to her father and his work began to change. So while the killing was underway her and her brother were picking up sticks to make a teepee out of. Suddenly there was a lot of commotion and Flora was running free. Her father told her to shut the gate. She ran to the gate and just had just enough time to close it. Instead of closing the gate she opened it wide and let the horse run free. Laird got there just in time to see her do it. When her father and Henry showed up they thought that she didn’t get there in time. They simply got the gun and the knives they used and jumped in the truck. On the way out they stopped and picked up Laird who was begging to go.
Even though the girl thought that she would be in trouble for letting the horse out she did not regret it, even though she wasn’t sure why she had done it. After everyone arrived back home they had dinner. Laird was excited and showed off the blood that he had on his arm from the horse. During dinner Laird told everyone how she had let the horse out of the gate. She began crying and her father said, “Never mind, she’s only a girl.” Finally she didn’t protest it and thought that maybe it was true.
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