Alice Munro's "Boys and Girls".

Essay by ozonefreakUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, July 2003

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Society is often responsible for shaping individuals using rules and boundaries that deter its people's deviance. In her short story, "Boys and Girls," Alice Munro illustrates a young girl's battle against conformity while living in the 1940's on a Canadian Fox Farm. Because she was living in a time period still centered on male dominance, her longing to become a powerful woman wasted away when she obeyed the rules society embedded in her. Munro captures her struggle through the narrator's passion for following her heart in relation to the animals and her effort in resisting a hopeless fate.

As a young girl, the narrator, with her carefree attitude and strong individualism, is not aware of the constraints of her gender. Although the narrator is the main character and written in first person, she is not given a name. It enhances her lack of purpose in society since she is neither identified nor significant to other people.

Munro's decision to leave the narrator unnamed aids in the progress and worth of her persona. This young child starts off so wild and spirited the reader might identify with the narrator on a personal level. For example, as a nine year old girl, she is rambunctious, untamed and clever. At night she would create stories about herself in a world "that was recognizably [hers], yet one that presented opportunities for courage, boldness, and self-sacrifice" (335). Her existence would not be stopped by limitations, but free to experiment and discover her wildest imagination. Those dreams are represented of her attitude toward life. She didn't believe that anything could stop her because she was not yet aware of the behavior and mentality that is characteristic of being limited to do stereotypical female work.

Although she'd rather spend time with her father, her...