How do the settings in “The Found Boat” parallel the stages of growth, the temptations, and crossed boundaries of the children?
In the short story, “The Found Boat” the author Alice Munro uses various writing skills to portray the various struggle five children encounter. The story is set in an imagery town called Jubilee, which is, nearby Wingham, Western Ontario which is Munro’s home town. The storyline of the short story is mainly focused on the diverse experiences that young individuals endure. Through the use of the key characters, Clayton, Frank, Carol, Bud and Eva Munro vividly illustrate the challenges that teenagers undergo emotionally (Munro 102).
The main storyline in this short story is that key character Eva likes Clayton who is a contender. These two according to the story behave similar to any other young child. Clayton says mean things concerning Eva causing an external conflict. However, Clayton does this as a game to make his friends laugh. On the other hand, Eva pretends not to care but eventually hurts her feelings. This is compared to the real world today according to the behaviors of the teenagers. Young children prefer to hurt the feelings of others since they find pleasure in the act. The plot also seems to illustrate the conflict or contrast that young children undergo through as they grow sexually. For instance, the game of “Truth and Dare” gives a chance for the children to make their own sexual wishes in a friendly manner (163). This is similar to the games played in elementary scholars who normally pick on each other.
In the story, Munro uses four main symbolic events to illustrate both internal and external experiences that young people face. The first symbol is the flood that is used to demonstrate the threat that the gender roles face especially when it comes to overflowing the traditional boundaries. Various roles in the community are based on the gender differences. This limits the job opportunities especially for the girl child in the society. The reconstruction of the boat and managing to sail down the river symbolizes the assimilation to gender roles. Although most of the characters were girls, they managed to repair the boat. In the story, Munro also uses other literary devices such as oxymoron, hope and disaster (Munro 353) to make the story lively. At the end of the story, Munro identify that the girls try to resume their lives into childhood. However, they discover that they are slowly growing into adults hence learn to behave maturely.
Munro, Alice. The Found Boat, New York: Northwest Passages, 1974. Print