Personal Attirity In Alice Munro's Boys And Girls

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In finding personal integrity courage is a double edged blade, as it can sustain integrity in certain circumstances and drive an individual further away in others. In Alice Munro’s short story “Boys and Girls” the main character begins by developing a sense of personal integrity without external influence, but soon loses sight of herself as pressure from both herself and her society outpace her aspirations. As she grows older the values she placed in feats of daring is interchanged with misplaced rebellion as she attempts to fight her expectations and role in her family. Though she has courage in abundance for an untested child, the constant reproach and patronizing attitude of the people around her restricts her ability to flourish. In this text Munro suggests that well-employed courage is needed to sustain an already developed integrity, though it must act with some source of external support to succeed.

In the beginning the girl finds integrity within courage, allowing her to search untested for these qualities in her mundane life. She dreams of acts of heroism at night, such as shooting “two rabid wolves who were menacing the school yard”. During the day she directs her focus to her father’s foxes, finding herself fascinated with their faces, “drawn exquisitely sharp in pure hostility, and their golden eyes”. Her interest in these fantastical creatures stems from her heroic aspirations. When assisting her father when tending to the foxes she finds pride in her work,

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