Alice Munro's short story, 'Boys and Girls,' has a very interesting detail written into it. The narrator's brother is named Laird, which was carefully chosen by the author. Laird is a synonym for lord, which plays a important role in a story where a young girl has society's unwritten rules forced upon her. At the time of the story, society did not consider men and women equal. The name symbolized how the male child was superior in the parents eyes and in general. Along with that, the name also symbolizes the difference between the sexes when this story took place.
The time when this story took place was a time when men and women were not equal. Mothers had traditional roles, which usually left them in the house, while men also had their roles, outside of the house. The male was the dominant figure in the house, while the woman had to be subservient.
It was an off thing to see my mother down at the barn. She did not often come out of the house unless it was to do something - hang out the wash or dig potatoes in the garden. She looked out of place, with her bare lumpy legs, not touched by the sun, her apron still on and damp across the stomach from the supper dishes.1
The narrator had problems coming to terms with the role in life that she was expected to lead. She wanted to work outside with her father doing the work that she deemed important. The mother tried to get the narrator to work inside doing work deemed appropriate for a lady, however it was not something she enjoyed. 'I hated the hot dark kitchen in the summer' (p. 530). The narrator was not considered of any consequential...