Boys And Girls Summary

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Alice Munro’s short story, Boys and Girls, is set on a fox farm, and centers around the fox farmer’s daughter, who remains unnamed throughout the story. She narrates her life on this farm in an almost callous way, telling of the foxes raised only to be killed and skinned for profit. The author characterizes her in such a way, however, that the brutality of skinning foxes and animals becomes normal, as well as a necessary part of the story and her life. The story on its own seems bleak and slow moving, but this allows focus onto the growth that the main character undergoes. As she develops as a character, her perspective of the world around her begins to change, simultaneously altering the reader’s view of the situation. Even regardless of the plot or the setting, the marked change in character is the focal impact of this short story. As the story begins, the desire of the narrator is clearly evident. Though she is described as a young girl being raised by her mother to can peaches and mend clothing, her heart is set on working for her father. She describes her everyday life in it’s jolting reality of smelling dead fox pelts, and raking long grass as well as other rough chores, but she describes them with reverence, rather than disgust. She recounts the smell of blood and animal fat as “reassuringly seasonal, like the smell of oranges and pine needles(138).” She only wants to please her father, and doesn’t want to get trapped into working for her mother inside the home.
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