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What are 6 symbols and images in the short story "Boys and Girls" by Alice Munro?

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nicoledawnn | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted September 16, 2010 at 1:43 AM via web

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What are 6 symbols and images in the short story "Boys and Girls" by Alice Munro?

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 16, 2010 at 3:13 AM (Answer #1)

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The "odor of the fox itself" (imagery pertaining to smell) is something the narrator describes as "reassuringly seasonal" and a comfort to her at night.

(Sight/Touch) Images of light and dark: the "brightly lit downstairs world," contrasted with the "stale cold air upstairs."  Light = warmth and safety; dark = cold and fear.

Further images of light and dark in her room: provide the narrator and her brother with boundaries of safety.  At night, as long as the lights are on, they are "safe."

Henry Bailey's laugh (imagery pertaining to sound): the children "admired" the sound of "whistlings and gurglings...faulty machinery of his chest."  Despite his sickness, Henry Bailey also provides a source of emotional comfort and protection.

Description of the foxes pens as "a medieval town" (sight imagery): symbolizes the safety and security her father is able to provide, both for the foxes and for her.

Description of the "hot dark kitchen in summer" (mostly sight but some sound imagery): shows that the narrator feels caged in by inherently female tasks and contrasts directly with the freedom she feels when working outside, like a man.

The fact that the narrator remains unnamed throughout the story could be symbolic of her search for an identity throughout the story.

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