The different ways that a child comes of age is a key theme in Alice Munro’s story. Because that process is complex, Munro explores a number of different aspects of the narrator’s pre-teenage experience. Although the title implies that gender is the central dynamic, it also can refer collectively to children, thus encompassing more youthful experiences.
An effective thesis on which to base an essay will incorporate a substantial amount of evidence from the story. It is important to work outward from the text and locate the points that the author seems to emphasize. The narrator knows about farm life and, even though she does not want to participate in the slaughter, she understands that the step is inevitable. By identifying several key moments in the narrator’s changing attitudes, you can arrive at a thesis that is applicable to the entire story rather than just one aspect of it.
The narrator has felt closer to her father than to her mother because of her appreciation of the natural world, especially the horses, with which he was associated. However, coming of age requires making one’s own choices. An appropriate thesis statement would attend to those contradictions. One solid thesis statement would propose the narrator’s act of rebellion against her father as the most important point in her transition to adulthood. By freeing the condemned horses, she fulfills the idea she had arrived at: “A girl was. . . what I had to become"; that is, a person who makes her own decisions.