Neuron’s reason to leave the narrator unnamed could possibly be a symbol that the female protagonist is without a defined identity or the prospect of power. This is juxtaposed by the name of her younger brother Laird; a name that means “lord” and implies that he, by advantage of his gender alone, Is raised with promise of power and authority over others. Laird and the narrator share a bedroom. After Laird would go to sleep she stayed up and told herself stories In which she was a great hero.
She dreamed she was courageous and bold and she accomplished great feats to rescue there. Growing up, the narrator loves to help her father outside with the foxes, rather than to aid her mother with “dreary and peculiarly depressing” work done in the kitchen. Her family does not support her in this, with her mother even remarking “It’s not like I had a girl in the family at all. ” She sees her mother as her enemy because she is forced to be used in the house. However, helping her father with farm work is seen by her parents as only necessary until Laird Is old enough to help.
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The contrast between the pride she feels working or her father, and what she sees as the boring chores of her mother, illustrate an arising Internal struggle between what Is expected of the narrator, and what she wants to do. In the stories she tells herself before sleeping, she thinks of herself doing courageous and bold deeds, though In reality she Is neither able to do these things, or given the opportunity to do so. This does not deter her though, as she still enjoys work with her father more than her mother.
She does not want to accept the strict gender roles of a boy or a girl, and wants to herself to not be limited and do hat makes her happy. As the narrator gets older, the differences between boys and girls become more clear and conflicting to her. When working with her father one day, a salesman stops by. Her father Introduces her as the “new hired hand” but the salesman comments, “l thought It was only a girl. ” She is seen as Inferior In her work by her mother who thinks that she Is not fulfilling her woman’s role. When Laird and the narrator are play fighting on day, the mother says “that there Lards goanna show you, one of these days! This demonstrates how the narrator is seen as second rate to her brother, and rotating is told that she isn’t acting the way girls should. She resists this view by continuing the actions her grandmother objected to. After she witnessed her father killing Mack, she felt “… A little ashamed and there was a new wariness, a sense of holding off, in my attitude to my father and his work. ” She thought it was too easy for her father to shoot the horse and too different from watching him pelt the foxes. Her utilization of her father shifted then and she feels that she could not do the same in his situation.
The narrator sees this her father’s duties as necessary from working on a farm so long, but her inability to stomach this kind of work discourages her. After witnessing the father shooting Mack, Laird is at first surprised but seems to be largely unaffected. This is shown later by his volunteering to go with the father and Henry to catch Flora. Laird is accepted as a man after this as he comes back covered in blood, while the protagonist is left at home even though she is older, because she is Just a girl. The stories she puts herself in change after releasing Flora.
Instead of rescuing others from danger, someone loud rescue her and she would think of what kind of dress she was wearing and whether or not she looked pretty. When the protagonist says: “The word girl had formerly seemed to me innocent and unburdened, like the word child; now it appeared that it was no such thing. A girl was not, as I had supposed, simply what I was; It was what I had to become. ” The narrator is explaining what she thinks the difference is in freedom between boys and girls are. She feels as though a girl in the eyes of society is not the way she wants to be, but it is forced upon her anyway.
It is as if she does not want to become a girl by reason of all the changes she will have to live with. She feels as though she is not young and innocent anymore, but that she has to become something more than that. For instance, she will have to work inside the house, such as cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry, compared to the work she use to do out in the yard for her father. When her father dismissively says “She’s only a girl,” she knows it even in her heart that it is true. The narrator loses the respect of the father and she will probably no anger be helping outside anymore.
When all is said and done, she knows what is expected of her now, and stops resisting her gender roles. She will have to take on the responsibilities that go with this role. The protagonist had different ideas than what society had outlined for her. In the pursuit of who she was, the unfair prejudices of women limited her. The roles society outlines for both men and women are necessary Jobs. When these roles are repelled and the self-preservation of one’s own identity is pursued, society is frequently the dominant force.