“Boys and Girls” is a short story, by Alice Munro, which illustrates a tremendous growing period into womanhood, for a young girl living on a fox farm in Canada, post World War II. The young girl slowly comes to discover her ability to control her destiny and her influences on the world. The events that took place over the course of the story helped in many ways to shape her future. From these events one can map the Protagonist’s future. The events that were drawn within the story provided the Protagonist with a foundation to become an admirable woman.
Throughout the story there are several aspects of the Protagonist’s character that play a major role in the shaping of her future. During her childhood she often demonstrates a sense of fear when she is sent to her bedroom. “We were afraid of the inside, the room were we slept (pg. 549).” She is intimidated by her personal space because she does not have control over it. Later, she gains control by adding lace to her side of the room; symbolically adding personality to herself and slipping into womanhood. When she felt uncomfortable she exercised her imagination, to psychologically regain control over the confusion in her life. Her subconscious effort to control confusing times were carried on to her later years as she was constantly put in difficult situations, which helped her to adjust quickly to change during adulthood. The dreams she created changed when she began to place emphasis on her appearance-that which she could control, other than past dreams of heroism that seemed so distant from reality. The Protagonist filled her childhood with much pride and maintained a consistent focused upon the activities that filled her childhood. She relished working at the side of her father, taking immense pride in every aspect of her assigned duties. She proclaimed, “I worked willingly under his eyes, and with a feeling of pride (pg. 551)” Once after her father introduced her to a feed sales man as “my new hired man (pg. 551),” the Protagonist was flooded with pride as she “turned away and raked furiously, red in the face with pleasure (pg. 551).” In her later years her pride helped her to assemble strong self-confidence she used in her years of growing. Passion and depth were characteristics that impacted her future as a woman. Her passion and depth was revealed early on in the story ...
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...uide boys and girls through a difficult transition period. During her childhood she loved to have influence upon her younger brother. Her need to influence carried on to her adulthood. Story telling was an essential part of her class. It was her conscious way of helping her students to deal with the confusing and threatening world around them. As a child her imagination was a comfort zone for her. She provided her students with that atmosphere. As a child she dreamed of a different world, on she described as “On that presented opportunities for courage, boldness and self sacrifice (pg 550).” Teaching was an ideal job for the protagonist to attain as it allowed her to remain influential and child like.
“Boys and Girls” describes a major turning point in a girl’s life, turning down a path towards womanhood. Her childhood fears of the dark and fears of being less than a perfect worker to her father and her control of her brother slowly dissolve. Her decision to free the terrified horse highlights her pivotal journey into adulthood. And her ability to cry with sensitivity over her decision of freedom, demonstrates the acute sensitivity of a woman.
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