Walker Brothers Cowboy Topics for Further Study
by Alice Munro

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Topics for Further Study

(Short Stories for Students)

This story was written in the 1960s, but takes place in the 1930s. How do you think Munro’s perception of her childhood years may have affected the writing of the story? Do you find this story to present a sentimentalized version of an impoverished childhood? Or does the story strike you as realistic?

Find out more about how the Great Depression affected Canadians. In light of your research, to what extent do you think what happens to the narrator’s family—and the family dynamics—is an accurate portrayal?

The 1960s, when this story was written, is generally regarded as a period epitomized by the challenging of societal norms. In that sense, the 1960s were very different from the 1950s. How do you think typical readers of the 1950s and 1960s might have reacted differently to this story?

The narrator notices that Nora is a Catholic, and the father makes up a song about Baptists. How important do you think religion is in the society in which the narrator lives? Explain your answer.

The narrator’s father seems to get along better with Nora than he does with his wife. What do you think might have broken up their relationship? Do you think he would have ultimately been happier with a wife like Nora? Why or why not?

Although the narrator includes many details, with the exception of the mother, she never states how the characters are feeling. How do you think the father views his life and his familial relationships? How do you think the narrator views her family and the changes they have recently gone through?