Accepting Gender Role Within Common Society: "Boys And Girls" By Alice Munro

1040 words - 4 pages

Simran Maan
The stereotype that society has established on the subject of the way males and females should behave is an important factor in the short story "Boys and Girls" by Alice Munro. Traditionally, men are taught to handle all of the jobs that require high amounts of physical strength. Women, on the other hand, are taught to do tasks that don't require much strength such as cook, clean and care for the family. This is society's stereotype. The main character in "Boys and Girls" is a young girl who has a unique perspective of the role of men and women in society. Alice Munro describes how one girl's unique individual perspective of not conforming within society undergoes a transformation because of the pressure that society exerts upon its individuals and undeniable inner human instincts.Beforehand, this girl believed that she could simply assist her father with the type of work he did on the fox farm. She would much rather help her father, as opposed to her mother, because she enjoyed the work her father did. "[She] hated the hot dark kitchen … the green blinds and the flypapers, the same old oilcloth table and the wavy mirror and the bumpy linoleum." She often "helped [her] father when he cut the long grass … her father cut with the scythe and [she] raked into piles … [she] worked willingly under his eyes, and with a feeling of pride." Her initial belief was that she did not have to help her mother, simply because she was a girl. She silently disagreed with her mother when she said "wait till Laird gets a little bigger, then you'll have a real help." The young girl didn't believe that Laird, her younger brother would ever be a real help around the farm, because she thought he would always be too weak. However, at one point in the story, Laird and his older sister were engaged in a physical fight, and to the girls surprise, even though she was older, she almost lost the fight. This instilled a small amount of fear in the girl, because "for the first time ever, [she] had to use all [her] strength against him", and she notices that he was getting bigger. When their grandmother came to stay with them, she often scolded the young girl telling her to be more ladylike. However, she instead does the opposite, believing that she can "keep [herself] free." She was positive that she would never have to change her individual perspective about a young girl's role in society. However, she unconsciously goes through some transformations that will eventually make her think otherwise.Although, initially this girl seemed interested in only masculine activities, she begins "wondering if [she] would be pretty when [she] grew up." Many young girls go through this stage. This foreshadows the inevitable change she will soon undergo. The family has two horses: Mack, an older, slower and more obedient horse and Flora, more of a wild and sometimes uncontrollable horse. Eventually Mack becomes completely...

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