22 January 2019
“Coming of Age”
Our society constructed in a way that expects men and women to comfort certain social roles creating gender inequalities. This creates controversy between male and females around the world and uncertainty while growing up. These values and rules have been passed from the older generations to the newer generations creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of what the role of male and female should be in our society and other societies in the world. Today, even though people have tried to equalize the roles of male and female, we still have the same issue which creates confusion and frustration within the newer generations as they often feel obligated to follow certain patterns and morals created by the society we live, to be accepted and consider “normal.” I remember that when I was a child, I was gender socialized by my parents. The thought me about “the way” a girl should behave and the norms and values that I needed to follow to be accepted and admired by society. This issue created a conflict within myself because it was challenging for me to understand who I was and how to balance “the self” with what is considering to be normal and acceptable. In the stories about coming of age “Boys and Girls” by Alice Munro and “A & P” by John Updike, the authors portray and support the theme: The rebellion against authority that expects people to conform to the rules and values of the older generations and society.
In the Story “Boys and Girls” Munro’s theme implies the rebellion against authority and the rules and values that have been passed from the older generations and society which also closely relates to the story “A & P” as Updike portraits the same theme through the story. “Boys and Girls” is narrated from the first-person point of view and tells a coming of age story in which the narrator recalls her life as a kid. She lives in Canada in the mid 20th century with her family on a fox farm, and different gender roles characterize her life. In this story, she portraits the struggle against society’s idea of how a girl should be and behave finding herself trapped in the ways of the world. In a relationship with “A & P,” the story is also narrated from the first-person point of view. The narrator is Sammy, a 19-year-old cashier at the A & P store. In the story, Sammy also seems to struggle in the modern world’s society as he works in a store and is expected to behave in a certain way that conforms authority and society. These give us an idea of how closely related these stories are. In fact, in the story “Boys and Girls” Munro uses several traditional symbols. For example, the horses representing freedom and independence with which the girl identifies but at the same time this feeling is killed because the “inside” domestic world is stifling while the “outside” world of nature is harsh. Munro’s tone is ironic. At first, the narrator has dreams about...