“Boys”

3 Responses to ““Boys””

  1. Ebony Edwards-Ellis Says:

    I feel that the author made some unusual choices in telling this tale. For one, he doesn’t name any of the characters. In fact, he continually refers to the protagonists as “boys” even though well over half the sotry deals with their adolescence and adulthood. Even at the end of the story he refers to them as “boys, no longer boys” instead of “men”.

    He also uses a lot of repetition. For example, the phrase “enter(s)the house” is used *60* times. The fact that he mentions the house so many times tells me that the house serves a symbolic purpose in the story. However, I was not sure what it meant.

    I also think the author is indirectly critiquing patriarchy in the family. In the first paragraph, the author refers to the “ideas of boys (ideas leaden, reductive, inflexible)”. Although the boys “[trail] after their father like he is the Second Goddamned Coming of Christ Goddamned Almighty”, they seem to take little interest in their female family members. Until the sister becomes ill, the brother only interact with her with the intention of tormenting her. (Burying her dolls, trying to manipulate her into eating disgusting things, exposing themselves to her, etc.) The fact that the author doesn’t report that the boys received any type of punishment for their actions toward their sister indicates that their parents assumed a “boys will be boys” attitude. They also don’t seem to feel a strong bond to their mother. The mother is only mentioned about five times throughout the story. When she is mentioned she is playing the traditional motherly role–preparing food, relaying important information about the family, serving as their confidant. After the father dies, the author doesn’t mention her again.

    I feel that the author is also delineating how rigid adherence to patriarchal sex roles can harm boys and men. The boys joke with their dying sister and begin abusing drugs and alcohol to cope with their worry. When the sister dies, the author reports that they are “embarrassed, silent…[and] angry.”

    After the boys reunite after going off to college, they don’t hug, choosing instead to shake hands with each other, consequently denying themselves affection. They “argue bitterly about politics” as other “subjects are no longer discussed.” At one point one brother threatens to “beat the shit” out of each other. They also seem to become estranged from each other; one brother wants to talk about the sister and their misadventures as children, the other “avoids all mention of that time.” The brothers never seem to have heart-to-heart talks.

  2. leba cohen Says:

    My first reaction when i finished reading it was that it was really long, yet it only felt that way because it was wtitten in one long paragraph.
    The fact that the boys names were never mentioned, kind of portrayed the fact that “these boys” were put out there to show the audience and the readers what many boys are like. One of those things were how they were always joking and bothering their younger sister.
    Another thing which struck me was that the two boys were almost always together, almost as if they were one person, which got me thinking. Perhaps these two boys weren’t really boys at all.What if they were our minds. one boy represents our concious mind, while the other boy represents our subconcious mind…and so the times when they were fighting, was really a person trying to make up their mind between right and wrong. Being that only one action can be taken the other one is left to die, which is what i thought the death in the story was referring to.

  3. Faith Nwodo Says:

    The story immediately gets one’s attention by the way it went on and on with just one paragraph. it was kind of hard to concerntrate at the beginning when i was reading it.This story takes its reader on a journey of the stages of boys childhood and their transition to adulthood. The author illustrates how carefree the boys were with certain situation like that of their sick sister “Boys enter the house and tell their completely bald sister jokes about baldness”. i find this hard to believe because i don’t think should be this be that heartless to sense their environment and know what and what not to say.


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