Near the end of "Boys and Girls" the narrator chooses to open the gate to let Flora escape. What are the similarities between the narrator and Flora that would have motivated the narrator to release her?
The narrator in the story is the girl who helped her father as a “farm hand” and sister to Laird. She started off enjoying outdoor farm activities like feeding the silver foxes, which her father kept for their fur. This outdoorsy nature of the narrator brought conflict between her and her mother. Her mother needed her for house chores but she preferred working with her father. The mother hoped that her daughter would get in touch with her feminine side when she grows older. On one occasion, she witnessed the shooting of one of the horses by her father to provide food for the foxes. After this event she changed her perception of her father.
Flora was the mare that the girl allowed to escape. On that day, Flora was to be slaughtered but the mare managed to breakaway. The father asked her daughter to close the gate that Flora was heading for, but instead the daughter opened the gate wider, disobeying her father’s instructions. Flora managed to escape from the farm but she was later found, slaughtered and fed to the foxes.
The girl and the mare both yearned for their freedom and worked towards it. The two were also similar in their lively nature. The narrator saw herself in the mare that was trying to escape from the slaughter, just like she was trying to escape from social expectations. This motivated the girl to let Flora escape as it signified her own attempts to escape the social expectations.