"Between what we know and what we do not know": Alice Munro's 'Walker Brothers Cowboy'
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Narratives of growing-up or coming-of-age, which have traditionally been referred to as Bildungsromane have particularly appealed to and inspired women writers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Especially for women writers of minority and ethnic groups from former European colonies the Bildungsroman has transformed into a discursive tool to deconstruct imperialism and resist discriminations of race, class and sex, and to articulate multiple problems relating to the understanding of their identity. Such fictions by women seem to claim that women's experience of life and reality are different from that of men. Even as the experiences of the girl child are different from those of boys, literary representation of experiences of certain events in life as catalytic in the development of a child growing up in a particular culture, community, and family, are in my opinion, to certain extent similar irrespective of the gender of the writer or the protagonist. In this regard this paper shall focus on Alice Munro's short story 'Walker Brothers Cowboy' (1968) as a narrative of growing up of a female protagonist, not into a gendered being but a more mature individual in relationship with her immediate family and society. At the same time this essay shall also discuss the psychological development of the narrator's father as perceived by his daughter through memory and narrative, which will emphasize on human relationships as primarily determining an individual's identity and selfhood.