Boys And Girls Munro

Powerful Essays
Topics: Gender role
Alice Munro grew up on a small farm which provided her with a firsthand view of the imagery she would come to use in her writing. One story with a small farm family is “Boys and Girls.” It is an initiation story of a young girl at conflict with the gender roles placed upon her. At a time when gender roles were being challenged, Munro writes about a fox farmer’s daughter. The girl wants to help her father, but that is a man’s work. Munro’s own father was a fox farmer turned foundry worker turned turkey farmer (Rasporich 3). She knew of the life style the common farm family and found a way to write about the struggle of a girl within it. Her father is thankful for any help he receives around the farm, but the girl’s mother would like help in …show more content…
Helping her father with the foxes, denying her mother help in the house, and freeing a horse from an inevitable death are examples found within the story of free will being expressed by the narrator. Following the boys, she helps with her father with her brother. She says “brother… and I… watched” (Munro 145). Her normal behavior reflects not a need to fit in where society wants her to belong, but she puts herself on her own path, filling her life with unconventional means of fulfillment. She works with the boys, showing her freedom at the beginning of the story. The narrator’s mother worked in the house, watching her daughter break social norms. Work in the house, though, “seemed … endless, dreary and peculiarly depressing” (Munro 148) to the daughter. Her mother “was plotting now to get [her] to stay in the house more” (Munro 149). The narrator resists her mother’s want for her to give in to social norms and give up her free will and reacts in increasing opposition to society as the story progresses. A last effort to keep her free will is found when she releases a horse from her captivators who would have the horse killed. Flora is a horse who has become too much of a burden to keep for the family. She is being brought out to be shot when she broke away. The narrator is the only one who can prevent her escape by closing the gate, but she does not close …show more content…
Munro lived her early life similarly to the narrator of her story, drawing on personal experience to add depth and character to the story. Her firsthand experience builds the story into an initiation tale that has the realistic view many stories lack. The narrator of Munro’s story fights with conventional female gender roles that her family and society try to prescribe to her. The transition from being able to perform tasks around the farm with the girl’s father to being in the regular role of a female is instigated in many ways, some obvious, and others that are not obvious. The story shows a personal connection to Munro, as the conflict between social standards and individual freedom is emphasized through the depiction of the narrator’s rebellious acts of free will result in punishment from her family and society and change her view of the world to produce conformity to the female gender roles present in the

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