Images of Freedom and Confinement in Boys and Girls

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Many of the images and events in "Boys and Girls" have to do with freedom or the lack of it. The narrator defines freedom in a number of situations. In this story, the male world represents freedom while the female world represents confinement. In the narrator's perspective, her mother was confined to the kitchen of their house and "never came out unless it was to hang out the wash or dig potatoes." On the contrary, …

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…and ran into the barnyard: "It was exciting to see her finally running, whinnying, and prancing like a horse in a Western movie." When the narrator's father asked her to close the gate to prevent Flora from escaping, she instinctively left the gate open as if it was her unconscious acceptance of the uselessness of her own desire for complete freedom: "I didn't make any decision to do this, it was just what I did."