• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The View of Gender through Setting and Language In Boys and Girls by Alice Munro

Extracts from this document...


Howard Wang Mr. O Hagen IB English 20 May 28th, 2010 The View of Gender through Setting and Language In "Boys and Girls" by Alice Munro In the short story "Boys and Girls" by Alice Munro the view of gender is very important. Even the Title "Boys and Girls" greatly suggests that the story has something to do with gender. In the story "Boys and Girls" Munro uses the setting and figurative language to make the unnamed narrator appear to be a boy in the beginning. The different views on gender in the story are also achieved through contrasting diction and figurative language. Eventually this leads to the shocking climax when the unnamed narrator is revealed to be a girl. And in the narrator's progression from the role of a male into the role of a female and by the different views of gender by the characters Munro displays the unfairness of gender stereotypes. In "Boys and Girls" the story begins with a description of the setting. The narrator tells how her father was a fox farmer, killed foxes and skinned them to sell to the Hudson's Bay Company. It is through the detailed descriptions of the setting through the narrator's perspective that leads to the early assumption that she is a boy. In the first paragraph the narrator says "These companies supplied us with heroic calendars to hang, against a background of cold blue sky and black pine forests and treacherous northern rivers, plumed adventurers planted the flags of England or of France; magnificent savages bent their backs to the portage"(97). ...read more.


She remarks that "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, she looked out of place, with her bare lumpy legs, not touched by the sun, her apron still on and damp across the stomach from the supper dishes" (101). There is huge contrast between the role of the woman and the role of the man in the household. The woman in the household which is the mother rarely comes outside and always works inside the house while the man in the household which is the father is always working outside. Because of this huge contrast between the different work of the man and the woman and the narrator working with her father instead of the mother it once again solidifies the idea that the narrator is a boy in the readers mind. In the setting working inside the house seems to be a confinement which the narrator tries to escape while working outside is seen as very important and the narrator at first believes that she needs to be outside working with her father and not trapped inside the house. The Narrator says that "It seemed to me that work in the house was endless, dreary and peculiarly depressing; work done out of doors, and in my father's service; was ritualistically important" (102). ...read more.


The daydreams which she had near the beginning of the story and the daydreams which she has near the end represent the male and female gender, the male gender being strong and courageous whiles the female gender being beautiful and weak. The narrator slowly becomes a "girl" which she didn't want to become before. In the first half of the story where the author has the illusion that the narrator is a boy it is shown that the narrator could help out and do work that men could do even thought she is a girl but because of the constant expectations from everyone for her to act weak and feminine she fell into that gender stereotype and became her definition of a "girl". To further demonstrate the narrator becoming weak, soft and stereotypically feminine is at the end of the story when laird says matter of factly "she's crying" (111) and the father replies with "Never mind, she's only a girl"(111). The narrator describes the fathers tone as "[speaking] with resignation, even good humour, the words which dismissed [her] for good" (111). In "Boys and Girls" by Alice Munro the unfairness of gender stereotypes is shown through different perspectives on gender combined with setting and language. The setting and language in the story is used to show that the narrator is capable of doing a man's work but she is confined to the stereotype of a girl because of the expectations from everyone that she acts that way because she is a girl, which highlights the unfairness of gender stereotypes. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. The literary works Master Harold and the Boys and boy and egg illustrate clearly ...

    Hally, the main character of Athol Fugard�s "Master Harold and the Boys" feels confined by the social surroundings in which he is inserted: both his family and the culture to which he belongs. Even though he has the tools to face these problems, he prefers to avoid them and therefore escape his reality.

  2. Points of View

    Because this modernized world sees water as an everyday part of life, the role and necessity for women starts to diminish. In this stanza we see that the reference to women is no longer there as it was in the first stanza, conveying that in this modernized world women do

  1. A Critical Study of The History Boys. My personal response to The History Boys ...

    The apparent paradox of Hector suggests he does not approve of a Thatcheristic approach to education as just results and exams, but he wishes for knowledge to impinge and assist in one's life, and to continue learning for the sake of one's betterment.

  2. How are the plot, point of view, tone, setting, and theme of the First ...

    make one up to surround the isolated event with a beginning and and end, thereby giving what we call a meaning human action. In other words, there has to be a story maker if there is to be a story.

  1. How and to what effect does the use of language empower Higgins and ...

    But, they obviously fail to do so because of their attitudes towards the lower classes. Higgins fails to realize something that MacArthur states: "Higgins has not the smallest inkling of what all this drilling and training has cost Eliza herself, or how hard she has tried to learn.

  2. The effect of historical allusions in the History Boys

    We see this more clearly illustrated when Irwin says that ?they [Poland] knew something was up?. In this scene, we are also presented with allusions to Churchill becoming Prime Minister and General Montgomery taking charge over the Eight Army. In Dakin?s essay, he talks about how on the day that

  1. Effect of PTSD in Dave Eggers A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

    Lacking consistency and decisiveness towards any decision is a way for Eggers to release the tension that has been building internally. On the other hand, Eggers writes about himself in the novel, knowing well that what he writes is a representation of himself and his thoughts.

  2. "Wine of Astonishments" Describe the kind of person Eva is and consider Earl Lovelaces ...

    She is the one who also understand Bee the most and explains his behavior to the audience and even to his children. Neither Bolo nor Bee can effectively fill the role as the narrator because they do not have the wealth of information that Eva has at her disposal.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work