fast approaching her adolescence, and her inability to cope at first.
the family and how she is supposed to act. The first clue that this is a problem occurs in
These include not slamming doors and keeping knees together while sitting. The girl tries
to preserve her “freedom” by slamming doors and sitting awkwardly as often as possible.
children in their household.
More evidence of this is in paragraph 12, where the girl voices her surprise at seeing
they all take place in the kitchen.
discussing the way the girl is always helping the father instead of her. She explains that
every time she turns around, the girl has run off. She made a comment that sometimes it
doesn’t even seem like there is a little girl in the family at all. This shows how
uncomfortable the mother is with having a tomboy as a daughter.
We get the impression that the girl enjoyed and took pride in defying the female
stereotype. An example of this is in paragraph 10, where she talks about her father calling
deserve the title. Her father made her feel shy and unsure of herself, and praise from him
made her very proud.
There is one major example of symbolism in this story. In paragraph 20, this is
slaughtered and fed to the foxes. The male horse is an easy-to-manage workhorse who is
very calm. The female horse would startle easy, was violent, and would kick at anyone
remember that this is a female author. Boys usually seem to have an easier transition
while girls, especially tomboys, fight and struggle to stay who they want to be, but
always eventually lose out to Mother Nature.
she is becoming. In paragraph 38, there is dialogue where she puts up a front to her
brother, Laird, as well as her father. She even sets her brother up to get in trouble
knowing that she will get scolded as well, just so she won’t have to worry about anyone
noticing her distress about watching the horse die. She doesn’t want anyone to know she
She knows by the way her father talks to her and her mother that if she starts to
“soften” and act “girlie” that he will begin to treat her differently. She isn’t sure she
wants that to happen.
The scene where she lets the horse off their property is very symbolic. I think she let
the horse out in a last futile attempt to give the horse her freedom. Even if it was
temporary, she thought it was important. She couldn’t have hers, but she could at least
In the conclusion of this story, the brother tells on her, stating that it was her fault the
at some point he was going to have to deal with the girl’s growing up. He had been
expecting it, and wrote it off with the comment, “She’s only a girl.” In the next
paragraph, she finally accepted that statement to be true, and came to terms with herself.
The fact that this story was written by a woman might make it seem a little biased to
men. Their adolescence may have been just as torturous as women perceive theirs to be.
The point of view in this story might help the opposite sex to understand some traits
the horses’ actions and the scenes between characters.