Summary of Walker Brothers Cowboy by Alice Munro

This is a short summary of Walker Brothers Cowboy by Alice Munro. Hope you guys like it.

About Alica Munro:

Born in Wingham Ontario, Canada Attended University of Western Ontario. Married James Munro in 1951. Governor General's Literary Award for fiction in 1968. First Canadian (with 13 other women) named Nobel Literature Laureate.

In the 1970s Munro and her husband separated and moved to Ontario with her daughters. Given position as a writer-in-residence at the University of Western Ontario. In 1976, Munro remarried and moved to Clinton, Ontario Continued publishing award-winning fiction.

Historical Time Period

The story takes place in the 1930s.
  • Towards the end of the Great Depression in Canada.
Social Factors
  • The family faces the struggle of dropping down in the class ranking whenever their successful father loses his job.
  • The mother struggles with losing her status.
  • The family struggles to maintain their dignity.
The short story is taken from her Dance of the Happy Shades collection.

walker brothers cowboy summary

Great Depression in Canada

  • The Black Tuesday (stock market crash) was not given enough attention
  • 1933 the economy reached the bottom
  • Canada’s gross national product dropped by 43%
  • Industrial activity averaged 57% from 1925-1929

Alice Munro’s Major Works

  • Dance of the Happy Shades
  • Lives of Girl's and Women
  • Who Do You Think You Are?
  • The Moons of Jupiter
  • The Progress of Love
  • Friend of My Youth
  • The Love of a Good Woman
  • Runaway

Walker Brothers Cowboy Summary:

Walker Brothers Cowboy starts the story describing the land of Canada in the time just after World War II. The narrator describes to the reader that her family has fallen into hard times and that her mother has had to make her new school clothes due to not being able to afford new ones. Her father, Ben Jordan, has also had to take the job of a door-to-door salesman for the company Walker Brothers after his first job of selling fox skins was shut down. The narrator and her father have a rare bonding moment after taking a walk to Lake Huron where the two come together after much time of being apart from each other.

The father decides to take the narrator and her brother with him on a sales trip. When they stop at a house, the father introduces himself to a woman that recognizes him. She invites the father and the two children into her house where they meet the woman's mother. They sit and talk for a little and the adults even have a little bit to drink. The women decide to put music on and want the father to dance, but he denies her. The women invite them to dinner but he father denies since he has the children out. They then leave and head back home in silence as the sun sets.


  • She was constantly telling herself stories
  • She was very confident in herself
  • She was “looked down” on at home
  • Her first headline was “Housewife Finds Time to Write Short Stories
  • Munro felt obligated to apologize for her works
  • She never intended to be a short-story writer, she expected herself to write novels like everyone else.
  • She sets and lets her thoughts settle sometimes before writing her stories.
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