Alice Munro's "Boys and Girls".

Essay by moccavbUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, July 2003

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Becoming Male or Female

From birth onward, children are labeled as boys or girls and encouraged to learn sex appropriate behavior. Here we see the story of a little girl trying to find her place in life and society as she grows up stuck between two ideals to choose from. In "Boys and Girls" the character is a little girl who lives on a fox farm along with her little brother Laird and her mom. In her short story "Boys and Girls," Alice Munro uses character and point of view to show the process of gender identification and maturation in her character.

In "Boys and Girls," readers are introduced to the characters world from the very begging by reading the story form a first person view where the narrator first introduces herself and provides some background that sets the reader into her world and situation.

The gender confusion in which the protagonist lives is emphasized for 8 paragraphs where the reader finds out little from the narrators gender. As she is the older sibling, she has come to identify and imitate her father and she identifies with values and norms that usually boys are brought up to believe in. This becomes visible at first when she sets herself into stories of courage, boldness, and heroic actions, where she commits actions such as saving a school. Throughout the story, one finds the character often doing chores with her father like "carrying water" and raking cut grass into piles, instead of helping her mother in the kitchen. The characters pride in helping the father becomes even clearer as she turns "red in the face with pleasure" as her father tells a salesman that he has hired a new "man."

As we go along in the story,