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Gender Roles in Alice Munro's Boys and Girls Essay

Project id 1002467
Subject area Biology
Document type Essay
Words 2959
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In Alice Munro's short story "Boys and Girls," that our narrator is a young farm woman on the brink of puberty who's studying what it means to be a "girl." The narrative shows the diverse gender roles of boys and girls -- especially that women are the weaker, more psychological sex -- by showing the way the adults of the story expect the kids to grow into their respective functions as a girl and a boy, and how the kids mature and ultimately start to fulfill those functions, which makes the transition from being "kids" to being "young adults." The adults in the narrative anticipate the kids to grow into the sex role that their gender has imputed to them. This is seen in many areas throughout the story, like if the narrator finds her mother talking to her father, "I heard my mom saying, 'Wait until Laird gets a little bigger, then you'll have a real help'. 'And then I can work with her more in the house''' (Munro 495), if her grandmother comes to visit and tells her all of the things women are not supposed to do, and if she's roughhousing with her small brother along with the farm hand, Henry Bailey, tells her, "that there Laird's gonna reveal you, one of these days" (Munro 497). While the narrator disagrees with all the adults, and tries to not conform to their expectations, in the conclusion of the narrative both her and her brother end up acting just as a child of the age and sex would be expected to act: the preteen woman crying with no obvious logical reason, and also the youthful boy eager to have been included with the men, and speaking about the exciting tale of slaying a horse. At the beginning of the narrative, the narrator and her brother are only "children," but at the end of this the narrator is a "woman" and Laird is a "boy"; they all have grown very d.. .

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