Historical Criticism In Boys And Girls By Alice Munro

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The story that I had presented for my oral presentation in Task 1 is ‘Boys and Girls’ is a by Alice Munro. This simple short story is about a young girl’s resistance to womanhood in a society infested with gender roles and stereotypes but have to accept the gender stereotyping in the end of the story. The story takes place in the 1940s on a fox farm outside of Jubilee, Ontario. The relevant theories of literary criticisms that can be applied to the ‘Boys and Girls’ short story are historical criticism and mostly feminism criticism.
The justification of choosing historical criticism to critique this short story is because this story is based on the setting of Boys and Girls which is at a fox farm outside of Jubilee, Ontario, Canada and the
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Phrabakar and K. Venkat Satish (2011) said that, “Alice Munro is a forthright feminist fiction writer who uses the short story form as a medium to portray the sad conditions of women living in the landscape of small town, Ontario, Canada where she has been brought up and her stories voice woman’s feeling towards society from feminist perspective”. So, ‘Boys and Girls’ short story highlighted the issue of feminism the most in which at that time, society did not consider men and women are at the same level. In this story, the narrator is unnamed while his little brother is named Laird which means ‘land owner’. The name symbolized how the male child was superior in the parent’s eyes and in general. Along with that, the name also symbolizes the difference between the sexes when this story took place. The time when this story took place was a time when women were viewed as second class citizens. Mothers had traditional roles, which usually left them in the house, while men also had their roles, outside of the…show more content…
This proved when the narrator’s mother always tried to get the narrator to do work that appropriate for a lady instead of outside work, however it was not something that she enjoyed. The narrator also was not considered of real helper to her father because she was a female. This proved when her father introduced the narrator as ‘his new hired hand’ to a salesman, he replied, “I thought it was only a girl” (line 76, paragraph 10).This shows how the society view girl as ‘just a girl’ at that time and it means that their roles are not really significant in the society. As being said by Alexander Pope (1688-1744), “Most women have no character at all.” (Bressler, C.E., 2011). Next, from the statement “wait till Laird gets a little bigger, then you’ll have a real help” (line 94, paragraph 12), it shows that, even though the narrator had done more work than her younger brother, she was still under appreciated and her helps seem unimportant for her father. On the other hand, Laird was able to go out and do the things that he enjoyed. When Flora, one of their horses, runs away Laird joined his father and be his assistant to re-capture the horse, while the narrator must stay at home. Munro also shows the dominance of males in the society of that time when Laird went home after succeed killed Flora, his mother told him to go change his shirt and wash the blood
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