Where and when does Alice Munro's "Boys and Girls" take place?

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"Boys and Girls" is a short story by Nobel-Prize-winning author Alice Munro. The setting of the story is a fox farm in the countryside. The narrator's father raises silver foxes in pens on the farm and then kills them, skins them, and sells their pelts.

Although it is never directly stated that the farm is located in Canada, the narrator does say that her father sold pelts to Hudson's Bay Company and Montreal Fur Traders, two companies located in Canada:

"My father was a fox farmer. That is, he raised silver foxes, in pens; and in the fall and early winter, when their fur was prime, he killed them and skinned them and sold their pelts to the Hudson's Bay Company or the Montreal Fur Traders. These companies supplied us with heroic calendars to hang, one on each side of the kitchen door. Against a background of cold blue sky and black pine forests and treacherous northern rivers, plumed adventures planted the flags of England and or of France; magnificent savages bent their backs to the portage."

The narrator's description of winter also indicates that the farm is located somewhere in the north with strong winds and heavy snows:

"We were afraid at night in the winter. We were not afraid of outside though this was the time of year when snowdrifts curled around our house like sleeping whales and the wind harassed us all night, coming up from the buried fields, the frozen swamp, with its old bugbear chorus of threats and misery."

The story takes place a few weeks before Christmas. The exact year is never stated, but it is clear that the events in the story are taking place at some point after the war (most likely World War II), when many farmers were trading in their horses for farm machinery:

"After the war the farmers were buying tractors and gradually getting rid of old horses . . . that there was just no use for any more."

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The setting is a fox farm a few weeks before Christmas.

The story’s setting is significant because the story is about a girl who has to decide whether she wants to be feminine or a tomboy.  She has harder decisions to make than some other girls, because men’s work involves killing and skinning foxes.  What’s worse, they also have to kill horses to feed the foxes in the winter.  At the time of the story, this is the narrator’s main concern.

They were fed horsemeat. At this time most farmers still kept horses, and when a horse got too old to work, or broke a leg or got down and would not get up, as they sometimes did, the owner would call my father ….

Although no year is given, there is a mention that it is “after the war,” and tractors are replacing horses.    It is a period of transition for the farmers as well as the narrator.  The fox farm relies on horse meat to feed the foxes, and the best source of cheap meat is old horses, which are becoming less and less available.

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