Gender Discrimination In Boys And Girls By Alice Munro

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The protagonist in Alice Munro’s short story ‘Boys and Girls’ is about a young girl whose life is characterized by gender roles set by the society during the 20th century. Munro specifically does not give the protagonist a name within the story to indicate that she is an individual without identity or any power of her own, whereas her brother, a boy, is given the name Laird (The Gender Conflict in Munro’s “Boys and Girls”). Discrimination is further emphasized when the protagonist’s father praises his daughter to the salesman whose surprised reply was “I thought it was only a girl” (Munro, "Boys and Girls"). This gender discrimination affects the relationship the young girl has with her father as she tries to “imitate and identify herself to …show more content…
Polonius’s actions reveal that he is protective over Ophelia and, Ophelia is equally obedient to her father’s commands. Polonius does in fact set a nature of being too controlling of his daughter. Her father ridicules her as immature and naïve when Ophelia confides to him about her relationship with Hamlet. Even though Polonius shows scornful behaviour towards, Ophelia attempts to defend her relationship though with extreme politeness and respect for her father. Not only is Polonius protective of his daughter but also he is also incredibly concerned about his reputation in court. He believes that the relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet will allow the society to look at him with a degrading perception, and commands Ophelia to lose contact with Hamlet (Thread: Polonius and Ophelia, Literature Network). Ophelia herself is willing to sacrifice her love for Prince Hamlet to sustain her father’s patriarchal position above her affairs. (What’s the Relationship, Yahoo! Answers). She proves her dependency on men on telling her how to behave by giving into Polonius’s plan to spy on Hamlet (Hamlet Character List, SparkNotes). Even though Polonius is quite dominant, harsh and controlling, Ophelia never tries to rebel against him. “When Polonius dies, she becomes very forlorn and becomes a catalyst to madness” (What’s the Relationship, Yahoo!

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