What are the main characters in the story "Boys and Girls" by Alice Munro?

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rareynolds's profile pic

rareynolds | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Boys and Girls is a story about growing up on farm, but it is also a story about gender, and how the way ideas about gender can determine identity.The story is told from the point of view of the girl, who has no name, and whose experience on the farm forms the basis for the story. So the narrator is the main character.

Other characters include:

  • Her father, who seems to have an unspoken appreciation for her work on the farm even though she is a girl, but who nevertheless devalues her because of her gender at the end of the story;
  • Her mother, who resents her preference for working outside and tries to undermine her independence by getting her to help with domestic work;
  • Her younger brother, Laird, who will supplant her position on the farm when he grows. Her relationship with Laird is quite complex: in a way, Laird is the only person she can be completely truthful with, but at the same time Laird is too little to really understand and clearly her enemy, in that he will take over her work (and effectively erase her identity).
  • Henry Bailey, the farmhand. Henry is a “typical male” in that he (perhaps unwittingly) devalues the narrator, teasing her with the bag of dead foxes (meant to be a joke, but also not funny), or about Laird’s growing strength (also not funny), and generally just going along with the unspoken assumption that the men do all the “real work” on the farm.
  • Mack and Flo, the horses, can be considered characters as well; Mack, the docile workhorse, is compared to a old slave; when he is shot he is going “to the place where the good darkies go,” another of Bailey’s unfunny jokes. Flo, on the other hand, the spirited mare, is more akin to the sort of person the narrator would like to be, in that she dares to attempt to escape.
morrol's profile pic

morrol | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

The first main character in the story "Boys and Girls" by Alice Munro is the narrator. While she does not have a name, she is a youthful vibrant voice throughout the story.

The other main character in the story is Henry Bailey. Bailey works as a farmhand on the families farm. He is raw, and earthy, and adored by the children.

swagg26's profile pic

swagg26 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Don't you think that the horses, Mack and Flora play as one of the key characters because the story is reflected on them.

Near the end of the story when Flora ran away it caused the conflict.

The main character is clearly the unnamed narrator. She is unnamed to further prove the point of unfair gender restrictions. While the female has no name her younger brother is given the name Laird (synonym for lord)

deppy's profile pic

deppy | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

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I don't think Bailey is a main character, as he adds nothing to the story and the theme. The first main character is the unamed young girl, that is the narrator of the story. I believe the father and mother are round characters too, as they affect theis daughter's perspective upon gender roles.

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