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Settings of boys and girls

            In virtually every story ever written, the setting in which a story is placed can significantly alter how the plot is interpreted. The setting can be used to setup future conflicts and can even foreshadow the climax. Authors must choose their setting extremely carefully, or their plot could be misinterpreted. In "Boys and Girls" Alice Munro conquers the difficulty of creating a perfect setting for her story. Set in a wilderness area the story "Boys and Girls" uses this scenery to express the images of manhood and survival. This demonstrates why the sex of the girl's character was not revealed until almost halfway into the story. It was thought the character was a male because of the setting used in the play. Seeing the character in the wilderness, and doing traditionally male type activities installs the notion that she is a male. This assumption that men belong outdoors, and women belong inside the house is one of the themes that is repeated by Munro throughout the story. Munro uses superb imagery to accurately visualize the world in which the characters live. Describing the process of skinning the foxes can almost cause stomachs to turn, "There was the smell little clotted webs of blood vessels, the bubbles of fat; the smell of blood and animal fat penetrated all parts of the house. (p.83)" This type of imagery which relates to the setting plays a pivotal part in relaying the plot of the story. Munro uses setting to create two alternate worlds in the story. The outside world and indoors, "We were not afraid of outside though snowdrifts curled around our house We were afraid of inside. (p.83)" The children feel free outside. Inside they were trapped, yet outside they could roam and explore. The children also felt useful outside, "my father said, 'Like to have you meet my new hired man.' I turned away red in the face with pleasure. (p.85)" The two worlds in the story, indoors and outdoors, are imaginary boundaries, yet the characters are placed in each world to separate their differences.

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