Response Journal for "Boys and Girls" by Alice Munro

Essay by strawberry_qteeHigh School, 11th gradeA+, December 2003

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Alice Munro's "Boys and Girls" tries to view a young girl's rite of passage into womanhood, through a limited feminist perspective. The narrator battles with conformity on a 1940's Canadian Fox Farm. As this time period was still centred on male dominance, her desire to become a powerful woman wastes away when she finally submits to the rules that society has imposed on her.

The story is written in first person narration and is seen through the eyes of a young and free-spirited girl. The themes of this story are self-discovery, stereotypes, and rebellion. To portray these themes, literary devices such as allusion, similes and situational irony were used. Allusion is present in the line "his favourite book in the world was Robinson Crusoe," as the author attempts to portray the father's inventive nature by relating it to a well-known novel. Similes can be seen in the narrator's descriptions of her environment as she states that the "snowdrifts curled around the house like sleeping whales," to bring to attention the howling of the winds.

Situational irony is evident throughout the story because the narrator despises her mother for being a woman and working in the house, but in the end, she too develops into a woman and takes on the roles of the title.

This story of inequality between the sexes appropriately opens with a detailed account of the narrator's father. The narrator describes every aspect of her father's life, including his occupation, and even his friends. Throughout this first part of the story, the narrator's mother is virtually inexistent, outside her disapproval of her husband's pelting business. The reader is left uncertain about the mother's whereabouts, but is aware that the father figure is somewhat of an idol in the narrator's mind.

As a young girl,