Boys and Girls

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Category: English Composition

Date Submitted: 06/05/2008 04:03 PM

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The unnamed, female narrator of "Boys and Girls," by Alice Munro, begins the short story with her statement, "My father was a fox farmer." She describes his trade in fox furs and the companies he traded with, which gave the family scenic calendars that hung on their kitchen door. She tells of his method for removing the fur from the dead fox, and introduces the hired man, Henry Bailey, as well as her brother, Laird, and her mother. The narrator describes her mother's distaste for the whole pelting process. The narrator describes the overall smell of it all to be homey and comforting. She describes Henry's difficulty with his lungs, and also makes quirks about such things as his voluntary stomach growling and laughter.

The narrator tells how, strangely, they were not afraid of the outside in winter, with the snow and winds howling. Rather, they were afraid of the dark inside. She describes the inside of the room where she and her brother slept every night, and the fears they dealt with as they were trying to sleep. She tells of the rules that every child seems to have about dealing with the dark; such as, the only safe place to be was entirely in bed. They would sing songs and look at the stairwell light and out the window. Once Laird had fallen asleep, the narrator describes how she would tell stories to herself every night before going to sleep herself, involving riding and shooting.

The narrator continues to describe the world of raising foxes, now detailing the buildings that her father built for them to sleep and breed, to feed and water. It was the narrator's job to keep the water dishes filled in the summer. She tells of the names of the foxes, which they got after surviving their first year, and how she named some and how her brother named some. She details the difference between the foxes and pets - even though they had a name now; they were certainly not anybody's pets. Only her father could go in the pens, and they always acted in a very un-petlike...