Gender Roles of Boys and Girls

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Sondra Staubitz
English 102
Paper #1
March 3, 2011
“Boys and Girls” “Boys and Girls” is a coming of age story about a girl who is enjoying her life as a tomboy. The young girl, who does not want to assume traditional female gender roles and is very resistant about becoming a woman. The story “Boys and Girls” by Alice Munro explores issues of feminism, and gender roles through key elements such as characterization, symbolism, and theme. The author presents her characters through direct description and also shows them in action. In “Boys and Girls” the central character is a young girl who narrates the story about her life on a farm and about her search for gender identity. Through various episodes in the story we learn that the girl is courageous, strong, adventurous, and very imaginative. Some of those qualities are typically viewed as masculine strengths and would be normally used to describe a male character. The young girl shows this in her everyday life while helping her father take care of the foxes. Another example, every night when Laird, the girl’s younger brother, fell asleep she arranged herself tightly under the bed covers and told herself stories. According to the girl’s memories, she “rescued people from a bombed building, shot two rabid wolves, and rode a fine horse spiritedly down the main street of Jubilee” (Munro 571). Those bedtime stories presented the opportunity for heroism, boldness and self-sacrifice, speaks of the girl’s courage, all which are usually considered to be a male qualities. The girl was also learning to shoot, and although she could not hit anything yet, she practiced definitely a masculine hobby, which may have made her look manly in the eyes of the strangers. In “Boys and Girls,” freedom is symbolically represented by the family’s farm horses, and the girl’s own stories. The winter when the girl turned eleven years old, her father kept two...
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