Society's Gender Expectations

Society's Gender Expectations

  • Submitted By: Umberto
  • Date Submitted: 03/07/2010 4:59 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 669
  • Page: 3
  • Views: 605

Alice Munro’s “Boys and Girls” is a short story about a girl that lives on a farm with her father, mother and brother. The father is a fox farmer, meaning he raises foxes and eventually kills them for their fur. The girl (who is unnamed) helps her father with various chores. In this story, Munro shows how a female’s role is defined by society. The author develops this theme through social settings, physical settings and conflict.

The social settings in this story are very old fashioned, some would say stereotypical. An example of the context is that the man would go out and work, while the woman would stay home and cook. Men were the strict and firm ones, while women were more open and cheerful: “My father did not talk to me unless it was about the job we were doing. In this he was quite different from my mother, who if she was feeling cheerful, would tell me all sorts of things” (156) The girl in the story does work meant for a man, which is why the mother says “Wait till Laird gets a little bigger, then you’ll have a real help” (157). Women/girls were basically meant to do things and act a certain way. When the girl’s grandmother tells her “Girls don’t slam doors like that.” “Girls keep their knees together” (159) she is trying to make her conform to society. This is the way society defines gender social settings.

The social settings in this story are reflected in the physical settings. In this story the father’s place or domain if you will, is the barn. The women’s place is the house/kitchen. “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...She looked out of place” (157) clearly confirms the above statement. The mother was in charge of chores inside the house, while the father outside in the barn. In the beginning of the story when the girl is more of a tom boy, she thinks “that work in the house was endless, dreary and peculiarly depressing; work done out of doors, and in my...

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