Samah Syed
Miles Tittle
March 28, 2017
Rites of Passage into Adulthood through Boys & Girls
Alice Munro brings forth a narrative about a young girl's resistance to womanhood in the society that has been affected by the gender roles and stereotypes. The story, ‘Boys & Girls', takes place in the 1940s, within a fox farm, just outside Jubilee, Ontario in Canada. At this same period, women were viewed as basically second-class citizens but the narrator fights back this view CITATION Jęd16 \l 1033 (Burszta). Through the narrator of the short story ‘Boys & Girls', the subject relative to the profound unfairness of the sex-role stereotyping, and the effect this possesses on the rites of passage into adulthood is presented.
The author, Alice Munro, shows vividly the many difficulties and opportunities linked to the rite of passage for a child into adulthood considering the life and activities of a very young narrator together with her brother. As the life of the narrator evolves, we have a clear picture of the issue related to the widespread stereotyping when it comes to sex-roles and just how the society has been unfair in handling it. These negative effects of gender inequality have also many vast effects on the transition into adulthood as also seen in the story. The protagonist within the story, who has no name, is seen to go through some extreme and vastly ineffective initiation into adulthood. The author brings forth a proposal that gender stereotyping, relationships, and losing innocence are major players in the controversial growth and passage of individuals into adulthood. Whether it is about the present or past, there has always been the issue on gender roles within the society CITATION Gol90 \l 1033 (Goldman). Actually in quite a number of homes; it is actually considered a woman's responsibility to take care of the home. This will be including the cleaning up of the house, preparation of meals, raising and having the children well taken care of as well as ensuring the husband is well taken care of. Despite the intensity of gender roles shifting over the years, it is somewhat crazy that it still exists in even the very elite societies.
From the narrative, we can clearly see the different traditional roles that were specified within the society. There were even the different names that were crafted within the society as children were being named from their birth. The invention of unnamed character by Munro was an act of symbolizing lack of identity in comparison to her younger brother. The younger brother was given the name Laird, a name that is synonym for ‘Lord'. Such names were being given out by the narrator to bring forth the understanding of how the male child was considered to be superior to the girl child CITATION Mun83 \l 1033 (Munro). The society did not view men and women to be equal in any way that is why even from a young age, the names given to both genders depicted some sort of boundary or rather a difference in superiority. The name ‘Laird' symbolized just how important the male child was to their parents. The father to the girl was a fox farmer, he raised the foxes and at the time their fur was mature enough, he skinned the foxes and sold their pelts at a profit. As she grew up, she struggled to get the father's attention as she started enjoying as she helped him work with the foxes. "My father did not talk to me unless it was about the job we were doing … Nevertheless I worked willingly under his eyes, and with a feeling of pride." CITATION Mun83 \l 1033 (Munro) This made her lose the interest in helping her mother in the kitchen. She dreaded the thought of working in the kitchen with her mother. This led to a consequent loss of respect for her mother's roe within the household. She described her mother's chores as endless as compared to what the father did outside. This very open fight against the society's womanly roles and chores shows the vivid desire from the narrator to be more than just a girl. The narrator describes her mother's life