Linguistic construction of gendered lives in Alice Munro’s “Boys and Girls”


  • Hatice Sezgi Sarac Durgun Akdeniz University
  • Kıvılcım Uzun Alanya Alaaddin Keykubat University
  • Arda Arikan Akdeniz University



Sex-typing, Discourse, Speech Act Theory, Gender Schema Theory


In Alice Munro’s short story “Boys and Girls,” society’s involvement in creating gendered lives is narrated by an eleven-year-old girl. To provide a linguistic analysis of her psychosexual development shaped by her family, in this study, all utterances are analyzed by employing a theoretical framework composed of Austin’s (1962) Speech Act Theory and Lipsitz Bem’s (1981) Gender Schema Theory. Analysis of the utterances postulates that the family’s stereotypical and value-ridden statements affect the child’s understanding of the making of a woman as the narrator’s psychosexual development occurs under the influence of sex-typed individuals who mainly use implicit performatives primarily marked as verdictive utterances. Hence, the narrator’s immediate social environment exerts their authority and power through specific linguistic constructions, as exemplified in the forceful use of the verdictives.


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