Walker Brothers Cowboy Ideas for Reports and Papers
by Alice Munro

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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. What does it mean to be "poor"? What affects does it have on a family? How does it define the way they live?

2. How realistically does the author depict rural life? Could this story have taken place in real life?

3. What is it like to live in a rural area? What might be different about one's schedule and lifestyle choices than it would be for city dwellers?

4. How does the narrator feel about her father's job as a salesman for Walker Brothers? Is she proud? How much do you know about what your father does for a living? How much do most people your age know about your parents' jobs?

5. At one point, the narrator notes that "[t]he tiny share we have of time appalls me, though my father seems to regard it with tranquility." What do you think she means by that statement, and what does it reveal about how her viewpoint differs from her father's?

6. At one point in the story, the narrator asks her father what an upstairs door on a house is for, where it leads out to nothing. The father tells her it is for sleepwalkers, and she notes, "I am offended, seeing too late that he is joking, as usual. . . . " This hints that she commonly misses what her dad considers to be jokes for her. In what other ways does Munro subtly reveal the relationships between her characters?