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Alice Munro's Limited Feminist Approach In Conveying A Young Girl's Rite Of Passage In Her Short Story "Boys And Girls".

1257 words - 5 pages

Alice Munro's Boys and Girls attempts to use a limited feminist approach to convey a young girl's rite of passage into womanhood. Although the story has a strong viewpoint on the differences of a man and woman, the story also portrays the subtle differences emotionally between the two, often emotions that a child or adolescent cannot fight. Munro is found to use the relationship that the child shares with her mother and her father to communicate her own feelings about growing up. The approach that Munro used only sparks the readers' interest by leaving the story's end quite open-ended. The question remains is if the child chose to become what was expected of her, or did her family influence the change.Munro's short story begins with the opening line, "My father was a fox farmer." From there the author goes on to tell in detail of the child's father. His job, his friends, and even the way her father and friend affected her sleeping at nights were all laid out for the reader. Throughout the first part of the story, the girl's mother remains seemingly untouched, outside her burst of sickness towards the pelting business her husband ran. The way that Munro told the story only enhanced the portrayal of the father figure as somewhat of an idol in the girl's mind. For example, Munro is quoted, "Nevertheless I worked willingly under his eyes, and with a feeling of pride." The time that the two spent together is written in great detail and each aspect of her father's business follows the same route, while the reader is left uncertain of the whereabouts of the mother. Laird, the girl's brother, is very young in the beginning of the progression and is also unaware of his genders' taught feelings about the world. Munro showed the young boy this way to enhance the significance of the girl's growth. Laird sang with his sister at night, "Laird sang Jingle Bells, which he would sing at anytime, whether it was Christmas or not, and I sang Danny Boy." At the beginning the two shared equal traits, not being too manly to sing at night to scare away the evils that lurked, yet not being too girly to go off and assist their father with the foxes. Yet, in the end Laird had grown also from his stages of neutrality of sexes and Munro is quoted, "One night when I was singing Laird said 'You sound silly," and I went right on but the next night I did not start." Even the young brother is portrayed in a man's role towards the end of the story, only enhancing the girl's growth in the opposite direction."It was an odd 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." Munro captures the attention of her audience by beginning the middle of her story with these two lines. Flared with sexism these lines only relay the common roles that women are forced into. What is strange about these lines though is that Munro chose to use the girl to portray these feelings of female...

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