Boys are boys and girls are girls. Boys do boy things and girls do girl things. Fair right? This is the world society has created for us. They have created a world in which men and women are significantly catorgized into seperate roles simply based on gender. Alice Munro successfully illustrated and delivered this thought in her short story, Boys and Girls.
The selection is narrarated by a young girl, who is also the main character in the story. Her and her younger brother Laird have grown up on a fox farm which their father ran. The mother had little interest in the duties that follwed fox farming, and was seen a fit wife for that reason. She took care of the household chores as the father did the outside**. As i countinued reading i noticed the young girl in the story was to be nameless. This proves her lack of identy as well as how insignificant she was seen to be. Her brother Laird, and even the hired helper Henry were named, making a point that the males in the story were seen superior to the girl. Though all odds were against the young girl, as she lie in her bed at night she built a world in which she was faced with extreme challanges and dangers that her world never presented her with. The girl was always the herione in her stories that took place in a world thay was, as she said, "recognizably mine, yet one that presented opportunities for courage, boldness and self-sacrifice, as mine never did." Ultimately the girl wanted to live in a world where she was needed and important.
While the girl was young, she was allowed to help her father with the chores outside the house such as raking the grass and helping feed the fox's. The young girl took pride in these duties that her father trusted her to do for him. Though doing chores wouldnt seem to have much meaning in an emotional was, the young girl was really seeking attention from her father, and this was her way of getting** it. Being young and innocent, the simple dutys the girl was given were of much help, they were very overlooked and seen as insignificant in the big picture. The child carried huge responsiblitly in her chores, and she did not see them as any less helpful than what her father did as his own chores. Though it all seemed fine and dandy to the young child now, as she listened in on her mother and father's conversation her mother stated "I can use her more in the house...It's not like I had a girl in the house at all.". Of course this worried the girl. She knew exactly what her mother meant by those words, but she had no intention of changing her ways. Her mother and father had just the opposite plan.
Growing older, the young girls chores she loved doing with her father were becoming more and more of an issue as time went on. Though she still did them well, her strengths were very much being compared to a boys ability. She did not like this. Along with that, her mother was not getthing the household help that was expected of a daughter. She did not see it fit for her daughter to be doing the 'mens' chores, and leave her to do all the work for herself. The mother tried to get her daughter to work inside with her but as soon as she was done she'd always run right back outside to the place she adored. The girl "hated the hot dark kitchen in the summer", but her usual duties were soon to be abolished. The daughter was no longer considered of any consequential help to her father, simply because she was female. Could of fooled me, said the salesman. I thought it was only a girl. Even though the daughter really could do more work than her younger brother, she was still under appreciated. Wait till Laird gets a little bigger, then youll have a real help. She would truly never be good enough to do mens work.
There is a time and place where the young girls whole life flashes before her. Flora, one of the horses the family has (strictly used for fox meat), escapes from the barn. The gate is the only thing that will stop Flora from breaking free and it is wide open. As directed by her father the young girl runs towards the gate to shut it just as her father told her to. She begins to close he gate but at the last minute "Instead of shutting the gate, I opened it as wide as I could. I did not make any decision to do this, it was just what I did. Flora never slowed down; she galloped straight past me.". The gate symbolyzies the young girls freedom. She has opened it wide, kind of like her last chance to break free from everything she has been fighting against. Flora represented the young girl, and for that split second the horse took the free rein she was given and indulged that moment. That moment had the potential to change everything. That moment was a chance for the girl to become exactly who she wanted to be But she couldnt. She could never be anything more than a girl.
Never more than a girl. That was the harsh reality of the young girls life. While reading Boys and Girls you think in the end, she will finally prove that she is her own person. Who SHE wants to be. Her character is strong and determined; completely fearless. The spunk she keeps the whole story leads you to beleive if anyone can prove the world wrong, it's her. But even she can not fight the ways of society. The reassurance in her status was stated after her father was informed about her letting Flora free. Ashamed, the girl began to cry at the dinner table, and as a last final blow her father says "Never mind..She's only a girl.". She accepts failure and realizes that is what she is meant to do.