The Bear Came Over the Mountain

by

Alice Munro

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The Bear Came Over the Mountain Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Fiona lives with her parents in a large house that is at once “luxurious and disorderly.” Her father is an important cardiologist while Fiona’s mother is a politically left-wing woman from Iceland. Fiona does not care about politics, which are a “joke” to her; so too are sororities, though she owns “her own little car and a pile of cashmere sweaters.” Fiona is being courted by several young men, including Grant, and while she makes fun of them all, she proposes to Grant during a day at the beach. Grant thinks she’s joking at first, but never wanting “to be away from her,” accepts, thinking to himself that “she had the spark of life.”
This introduction demonstrates how Fiona comes from a privileged and wealthy background, as well as the ironic distance with which she approaches life. The fact that Fiona proposes to Grant—and that Grant believes that she is joking—also highlights the complex gender dynamic between the two which will come into play more later in the story.
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Grant, now much older, remembers this as he and Fiona are leaving their home. Fiona notices a scuff on the floor from her shoes and cleans it up, musing while she does so about what she would wear where she is going and figuring that she will be “dressed up all the time.” Grant admires Fiona’s tasteful and stylish outfit, while also observing her long white hair, which she wears in the same style as Fiona’s mother, and remembers how this had alarmed Grant’s own small-town mother as an indication of their difference in values.
Fiona’s reaction to the scuffed floor, as well as Grant’s description of her fastidious personal appearance, acts as a symbol for Fiona’s elitism and individuality. Grant sees Fiona’s hair, in particular, as representative of her uniqueness and difference from his own practical middle-class background. Fiona’s hair connects her to her own mother and history, establishing it as a clear symbol of her identity.
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Grant then remembers how, a year ago, he had started noticing Fiona leaving yellow post-it notes around the house. While Fiona often left herself little notes, such as titles of books she wanted to read, these more recent notes were labels to help her remember what various household drawers contained. Then, Fiona forgot how to get home from town or from her walks in the woods. Fiona did not seem overly concerned about these lapses in memory, and simply wondered if she needed to take vitamins. Her mental state, however, continued to deteriorate.
At first, the lapses in Fiona’s memory don’t seem to drastically alter her personality; she has always left herself notes, and now just is leaving herself more. As her illness progresses, however, she will become less like herself.
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In one instance, Fiona thought she and Grant had only recently moved into the house in which they had lived for twelve years. They visited a doctor who was reticent about labeling the issue but acknowledged that Fiona’s memory was deteriorating. Speaking to the doctor, Grant tried to explain that Fiona has always been flighty and ironic; at first, he thought that her forgetfulness is part of a “private amusement” or a “joke.”
Fiona’s condition clearly reaches a point where Grant feels he needs to be concerned. Even so, Grant’s confusion over the severity of Fiona’s deterioration reveals just how central joking and irony are to Fiona’s personality; at first, Grant is not even sure if anything is actually wrong as he is so accustomed to Fiona engaging in “private amusements” and waiting for him to catch on.
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Fiona continued to get worse until she could no longer function on her own. Once, she disappeared from the supermarket and was picked up by the police walking down the middle of the road. She’d then asked the officers about her long-dead Russian wolfhounds Boris and Natasha. Thinking of the dogs in the present, Grant remembers how Fiona may have adopted them after finding out that she couldn’t have children, though he can not remember exactly why as he “avoided thinking about all that female apparatus.” Unsure of the timeline, however, Grant wonders if she actually adopted them after Fiona’s mother died.
Grant’s response to Boris and Natasha demonstrates both his lack of care for Fiona’s emotions—he cannot remember whether she adopted to dogs after her mother’s death or finding out that she couldn’t have children, let alone recollecting the specifics of her infertility—as well as the dismissiveness with which he treats “female” realities.
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Many people, Grant assumed, might have seen Boris and Natasha as one of Fiona’s “eccentric whims,” just as they might have viewed him in the early days of their marriage. Some of this, he acknowledges, is contributed to by the fact that Fiona’s father’s money helped secure his position as a professor of Anglo-Saxon and Nordic literature at the local university.
Grant reveals that his career is predicated on his father-in-law’s money, which enabled his hiring by the university, as well as his insecurities about why Fiona chose to marry him. Grant is clearly not originally of Fiona’s social class.
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The care facility where Fiona is moving has a rule that no one can be admitted during December, due to the high emotional strain of the holiday season. So, in January, she and Grant drive there together. On the way, Fiona reminisces about a time they went cross-country skiing in a nearby hollow. Grant wonders to himself how she can still hold such memories “so vividly” while losing aspects of basic functionality, and struggles with the desire to turn around and go home.
Dementia and aging are shown to be erratic and confusing. Fiona can remember specific intimate moments with her husband, which points to the strength of their bond. Because her sense of self is still present in these moments, Grant is unable to gauge the severity of her mental deterioration. 
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Another rule at Meadowlake is that new residents cannot receive visitors for the first thirty days in order to ease their settling in. The supervisor assures Grant that “if they’re left on their own the first month they usually end up happy as clams.” Grant remembers visiting their neighbor, a bachelor farmer named Mr. Farquhar, several years prior at Meadowlake. The facility has since been renovated, but Grant cannot help from picturing Fiona in the old Meadowlake as he calls the nurses daily for updates on her.
The supervisor’s statement reveals the infantilizing and generic view with which Meadowlake views its residents, tending to refer to individuals as a collective “them” or “they.” Grant’s inability to envision Fiona in the new Meadowlake suggests that, in some ways, he remains stuck in the past that Fiona herself is forgetting.
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Grant speaks most frequently with a nurse named Kristy. Kristy lets him know that Fiona catches a cold, comparing this incident to “kids at school” getting sick, but Fiona gets better after a round of antibiotics and seems “less confused” than when she first arrived. She also starts to make friends. While he waits to visit, Grant refrains from socializing with their friends or even picking up the phone, instead skiing and quietly preparing his supper while remembering when he and Fiona shared this intimate ritual.
Kristy’s commentary on Fiona continues to establish the way that Meadowlake does not acknowledge the individuality of its residents. The comparison to schoolchildren further infantilizes the elderly and ill. This scene also further establishes the closeness between Grant and Fiona.
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One night during this period, Grant dreams that he receives a letter from the roommate of a girl with whom he once had an affair. He shows this letter to a colleague, who reacts with consternation, advising Grant to prepare Fiona. In the dream, Grant then enters a lecture hall full of young women in mourning and glaring at him, while Fiona, sitting in the front, dismisses their emotional distress, saying “oh phooey, girls that age are always going around talking about how they’ll kill themselves.”
Grant clearly does have some lingering guilt about his infidelities, which are implied here to have affected his career as a professor. Fiona’s dismissive reaction to something as severe as suicide—even in a dream—highlights her intensely flippant nature.
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When he wakes up from this dream, Grant reviews what actually happened and what was a part of his dream. While he did not really consult his colleague, he did receive such a letter (as well as the word “rat” written on his office door). He told Fiona simply that the girl had a crush on him, rather than acknowledging the affair, and Fiona responded much as she had in the dream. While Grant did not face any direct ramifications in his job, after the incident became well known, he stopped being invited to social events held by colleagues and other university professors. This motivated Grant to promise Fiona “a new life.”
Grant disparages the emotionalism of the girl’s response, again looking down upon or neglecting to take seriously the emotional reality of the women with whom he is involved. Grant does not confess his affairs to Fiona, complicating the image of a devoted and close marriage established earlier in the story. Fiona’s dismissive reaction again suggests her snobbery and flippancy.
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Grant thinks to himself that his life as a philanderer, though he disputes this label, had actually included generosity, in in the sense that he emotionally catered to the women with whom he became involved. While he acknowledges that he deceived Fiona, he wonders whether it would have been better for him to leave her instead of continuing to support her emotionally and financially.
Grant’s attitude towards his infidelities is unrepentant. He views women’s emotions with condescension, while also seeing his marriage in a traditional light. Assuming that Fiona’s needs are met if he does not leave her and caters responsibly to his career, Grant does not consider fidelity as central to his love for Fiona.
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Grant acknowledges, however, that their life had been affected by his affairs. After the incident with the girl, he retired, and the two moved to Fiona’s father’s farmhouse in Georgian Bay, which Fiona inherited after his death.
Grant’s infidelities have a wide-ranging impact on his and Fiona’s life, as they leave their social world and his career behind in order to isolate themselves in a rural farmhouse. Their financial security is again shown to be dependent on Fiona’s inheritance, underscoring that Grant is of a lower class.
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This move precipitated a “new life” for Grant and Fiona. They kept socializing to a minimum, though they did make some friends, and occupied their time skiing and working on the house. Grant stopped having affairs. Though at first he felt a sense of injustice about this change, Grant then became grateful, recognizing that it might have come just in time to salvage his marriage and ensure that he did not lose Fiona.
Grant does not seem to feel much guilt about his affairs. However, he clearly still loves Fiona despite this behavior, valuing his marriage to her over his infidelities. Ageing and retirement, here, are linked to settling down, as the two enter a peaceful, symbiotic, and quiet shared existence.
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Grant again recalls his many affairs as he prepares to visit Fiona at Meadowlake after her first month. He feels a sense of anticipation that reminds him of the first meeting with a new lover. He buys Fiona an ostentatious bouquet, which Kristy, the nurse, notes he must have “spent a fortune on” when he arrives. Grant assesses Kristy’s appearance critically, thinking that she “looked as if she had given up on her looks in every department except her hair [...] all the puffed-up luxury of a cocktail waitress’s style, or a stripper’s, on top of such a workaday face and body.”
Grant again appears to be a doting husband, nervously buying Fiona expensive flowers. His interest in Fiona here is complicated by its evocation of his memories of the beginning of an affair, however. This subtly suggests Fiona as a new or different woman, reflecting the loss of her identity due to her dementia. Grant’s misogyny resurfaces in his calculating and derogatory assessment of Kristy’s appearance.
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Kristy shows Grant to Fiona’s room, which is devoid of personal décor. Fiona is not there, so Kristy shows Grant to the main common area, where Fiona is sitting with a group of patients playing cards. Grant notes that her face looks heavier than before. Fiona is sitting very close to one man, helping him with his cards. When Grant arrives, she greets him with friendly chatter and offers him a cup of tea. This alerts Grant to her mental state, as Fiona clearly does not remember that Grant does not drink tea. Grant comments on the man Fiona was sitting with, and she introduces him as Aubrey, whom she knew when she was a teenager from a visit to the farm. Grant realizes that Fiona has also forgotten that they lived in this farmhouse together.
The lack of décor in Fiona’s room highlights the lack of individual expression at Meadowlake. Grant’s preoccupation with physical appearance again emerges here, as he judges Fiona’s weight gain. Given that Fiona previously took such care with her appearance, however, this change also legitimately seems to signal a shift in or loss of her identity. Indeed, Fiona’s dementia is more pronounced here as she forgets key facts about her life; it is unclear whether or not she even knows who Grant is. Loss of memory is thus linked to a loss of selfhood, as Fiona is unable to reenter to close intimacy of her and Grant’s marital bond.
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 Fiona is distracted from her conversation with Grant by Aubrey, who clearly wants her to return to the table. Grant notices “a blush spotting her newly fattened face.” Fiona goes back to Aubrey and taps his hand with hers.
Aubrey and Fiona clearly have an intimate relationship, which echoes Grant’s own infidelities (though, importantly, Fiona does not know she is being unfaithful). Kristy’s obscuring of the full details of Fiona’s time at Meadowlake becomes apparent again here, as the “friend” Fiona made is shown to be romantic.
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Grant speaks to Kristy, who brushes this relationship off as normal, saying that many new patients form these kind of close attachments. She advises that Grant learn to take Fiona’s mental state—and potential memory of him— “day by day.”
Kristy’s dismissal of Fiona and Aubrey’s relationship returns to the lack of individual acknowledgement and respect with which the Meadowlake staff treat their residents.
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Grant continues to visit, but Fiona simply treats him with polite distance. Grant learns from Kristy that Aubrey does not have dementia, but rather got sick on holiday and went into a coma, resulting in some neurological damage.
Fiona no longer seems to remember that Grant is her husband at all, which is ironic given Grant’s clear devotion to her at this point in their lives. While Grant is deeply unhappy with the situation, he remains committed to visiting Fiona and ensuring her wellbeing.
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Fiona and Aubrey spend most of their time together at the card table, though they also walk to halls together or sit in the conservatory speaking to each other lovingly. When Fiona spends time with Grant Aubrey expresses his distaste through dropping his cards.
Grant’s love for Fiona becomes clearer as he continues to visit but does not interfere with or prevent Fiona’s time with Aubrey.
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Grant makes an effort to respect their relationship, reducing his visits to twice a week. Because Aubrey does not receive visitors, however, he and Fiona often disappear during this time, sometimes to their rooms, a fact about which Grant feels “a truly malignant dislike.”
Grant’s desire for Fiona to be happy even trumps the implication of a sexual component to Aubrey and Fiona’s relationship. This reveals Grant’s genuine care for Fiona, despite his own infidelities.
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One day, Grant sees Fiona wheeling Aubrey outside. He registers that she is wearing a “silly” wool hat and a jacket that looks like something worn by “local women at the supermarket.” He wonders if the Meadowlake workers do not bother to sort out the wardrobes of the female residents. More alarming to Grant, however, is the fact that the staff have cut off Fiona’s trademark long hair. When he asks her about the haircut, Fiona remarks with surprise, stating that she did not notice it.
Fiona’s loss of individuality is expressed through the change in her personal appearance. She no longer is “dressed up” in her tasteful attire, but clad in unfashionable clothes that, Grant implies, are worn by women of a lower social class. Even more definitive is the loss of Fiona’s long hair, which, for Grant, represents her difference from the majority of women he knows, as well as a connection to her own past.
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Grant flashes back to his teaching career. At the beginning, he remembers, he gets “the regular sort” of students (i.e. male), but soon married women start to go back to school in order to “enrich their lives.” Women join his courses, for example, if they have a Scandinavian background or enjoy historical novels about the Nordic or Anglo-Saxon eras which Grant specializes in. The relationships they form with their professors, Grant muses, often are part of this “enrichment,” as many start to have affairs. While Grant speaks to many of these women harshly, some, he thinks, are attracted to his tone and continue to visit his office.
This passage offers a hint at the larger context of the story by alluding to the demographic changes experiences by universities during the liberalization of the 1960s and 1970s in North America. Grant’s response to these changes—to look down on the motives of the women in his classes and to speak harshly to them—again alludes to his misogyny.
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Grant’s first lover, one of these women, is named Jacqui Adams. She is the opposite of Fiona in both appearance and personality. Their affair lasts a year, until her husband’s transfer. While Jacqui writes him letters after her move, Grant quickly loses interest, repelled by the intensity of her emotions for him. He is also distracted, because now, women are starting to join the university as undergraduates, and Grant begins to sleep with students, stating “young girls with long hair and sandalled feet were coming into his office and all but declaring themselves ready for sex.”
Grant seems to use his affairs to seek the opposite of Fiona; he continues, however, to look down on any effusive emotion while respecting Fiona’s restraint. His fixation on the “young girls” with whom he might have sex shows how he interprets all of his relationships with women through a sexualized lens.
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The arrival of young women at the university and the larger shifting attitudes towards sex taking place in the sixties creates a great deal of drama at Grant’s university. “Scandals burst wide open” and some of Grant’s colleagues receive reprisals and firings, though this does not stop the new sexual openness between academics themselves as well as their students.
The 1960s cultural context of this story is shown to have had social ramifications in Grant’s world, opening up the possibility for affairs on a new level which most of Grant’s colleagues take advantage of. Fidelity, for most of Grant’s community, is not honored.
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While it seems to Grant that most people in his social world are involved in this sexual revolution, he acknowledges that Fiona remained disinterested in it. However, as a result of his affairs, Grant begins to feel more confident in himself and more appreciative of his life.
Grant’s self-interested neglect of Fiona’s preferences again comes across here. While he knows that Fiona would prefer not to be involved in the sexual scandals of the university, this does not stop him pursuing affairs because of the personal benefits he experiences. Grant’s insecurity about his marriage to Fiona due to her assumption of certain traditional roles, such as her marriage proposal and financial resources, is thus tempered by his ability to have affairs with women who are different, but, to his mind, less than, Fiona.
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On his next visit to Meadowlake, Grant brings Fiona a book of watercolors illustrating Iceland, as she had developed a recent interest in the country. He finds her and Aubrey distracted and distressed, however, as Aubrey is leaving Meadowlake to go home, as Aubrey’s wife has returned from her vacation in Florida. Fiona comforts Aubrey, who is crying, using affectionate phrases such as “dear heart” which Grant had not heard her use before, and asks Grant to intervene. Grant asks Kristy if he should stay. Kristy asks, “What for? She’s not sick, you know.” When Grant clarifies that he thinks he might need to keep her company, Kristy assures him that “they have to get over these things on their own,” so he leaves, seeing a woman he assumes is Aubrey’s wife in the parking lot.
Fiona continues to behave differently, comforting Aubrey with language that is different to her traditional way of speaking. This loss of individuality is compounded by the nurse Kristy, who cannot even fathom why Grant might want to stay and comfort Fiona. Grant’s willingness to do so, however, emphasizes his devotion to his wife.
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Although Kristy says that Fiona will recover from her grief, she does not, refusing to eat or get out of bed. After the staff start to talk about putting her on a walker or moving her to a more intensive care section of Meadowlake, Grant decides to visit Aubrey’s wife and see if he can negotiate a visit.
Fiona’s intense mourning demonstrates both the significance that Aubrey has for her and the gulf between Meadowlake’s approach to treatment and Grant’s consideration of Fiona’s emotional state. Kristy interprets Fiona’s grief as part of her decay, discussing putting her on a walker, rather than considering the emotional reasons for Fiona’s refusal to get out of bed. This medicalization of dementia and aging is thus linked not just to a loss of individuality but also to a neglect of the feelings of the elderly.
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Grant remembers the neighborhood as a place where their friends had moved with young children, and notices that some young families still live there, though some houses are more run down. Aubrey’s house, though, is well-kept. Aubrey’s wife, Marian, assumes that Grant is there with a grievance about Aubrey and Fiona’s relationship, and treats him coldly. Once Grant clarifies that he does not have any issues on this front, however, Marian invites him in. Grant looks at Marian’s “trim waist and wide buttocks,” judging her makeup and her wrinkles.
This neighborhood symbolizes the different between the story’s two couples—Grant and Fiona vs. Aubrey and Marian. On the one hand, the neighborhood is lower-middle class and suburban, while Grant and Fiona live in an old restored farmhouse. On the other, the neighborhood symbolizes the move made by families with children and corresponding aspirations, which Grant and Fiona were never able to achieve. Grant’s assessment of Marian continues the trend of his misogynist, cold sexualization of the women with whom he interacts.
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Grant notices the care that Marian has taken with the home, conveyed by the living room’s curtains, matching sofa and carpet, and various ornaments. He reflects that Fiona would have scorned this type of interior design, preferring simpler and bright rooms; in particular she had a joking “word for those sort of swooping curtains.”
The contrast that Grant notes between Marian’s interior decorating and Fiona’s tastes, symbolized by the reference to the curtains, hints at his attraction to her, as, like Jacqui Adams, Marian is clearly the opposite of Fiona.
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Grant and Marian share a cup of coffee in the kitchen. Grant compliments the coffeemaker, seeking a point of connection, which Marian states was a gift from her and Aubrey’s son. She expresses dissatisfaction with her son’s lack of involvement with Aubrey’s care and the fact that he rarely visits them, despite having time for holidays in places like Hawaii.
Marian’s complaints continue to both solidify her lower middle-class identity and to highlight the difference between her everyday concerns and Grant and Fiona’s detached irony.
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Grant uses this topic to try and steer the conversation towards Fiona, asking if Marian wouldn’t mind bringing Aubrey back to Meadowlake to visit her. He also offers to provide transportation, if Marian doesn’t have the time, though he surprises himself when he offers this.
Grant’s devotion to Fiona’s happiness becomes apparent again here, as he surprises himself by the lengths to which he is willing to go in order to try to make Fiona happy.
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Marian serves him homemade ginger cookies while Grant poses this question, then says no, stating that she doesn’t want to upset or confuse Aubrey through this change in his routine, as well as the inconvenience for her. Grant repeats his offer to take Aubrey himself, which Marian also rejects, saying that Grant wouldn’t know how to take care of him. Marian gets a cigarette and offers Grant one, telling him that she has “quit quitting.” Grant remembers quitting when he started his affair with Jacqui. He wonders if Marian has so many wrinkles because she smokes, musing on the contrast between her aged skin and “youthfully full and uptilted breasts.” He sees this contradiction as typical for women of Marian’s age, whereas Fiona “kept [her] beauty whole, though shadowy,” though Grant acknowledges he might simply have this perception because he knew Fiona when she was young.
This scene aligns cheating with cigarettes, for Grant, as a kind of crutch or addiction that helps him deal with life’s stresses despite being unhealthy. Grant’s assessment of Marian continues to be heavily sexualized, though he compares her manner of aging to Fiona, again setting Fiona apart from what he sees as the norm.
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Grant asks if Marian ever considered putting Aubrey in Meadowlake full-time. When Marian says no, he assumes this is out of a sense of nobility. She quickly corrects him, however, explaining that it makes more sense for Aubrey to live with her until she can get both their pensions, in order to hold on to the house. She explains that Aubrey was actually fired (and accused of owing his company money) before he got sick, and that the illness at least helped them evade his debts. Marian comments that Grant must think she is “a mercenary type of person,” which he denies.
The impact of Grant and Fiona’s wealth on their lives is discussed most openly at this point in the story, as Grant does not even think about the costs of Meadowlake when he asks Marian why she doesn’t place Aubrey there full-time. This reveals the deep gap between their classes.
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Grant is depressed by his conversation with Marian, which reminds Grant of his mother and the small-town world in which he grew up, exemplified by their “money first” attitude. He wonders if Marian sees him and his quest to ensure Fiona’s happiness as out of touch with reality due to their relative wealth, thinking that she must see him as “a silly person [...] protected by some fluke from the truth about life. A person who didn’t have to worry about holding on to his house and could go around dreaming up the fine generous schemes that he believed would make another person happy.” Grant muses that he would probably have married someone like Marian—who, he thinks, must have been a “small-town flirt” when she was young—if he had “stayed back where he belonged.”
This paragraph offers a significant summarization of Grant’s worldview. He sees Marian as exemplary of a certain type of person— “practical people,” such as his mother and the other residents of his hometown—to which Fiona stands in contrast. While Grant recognizes how unrealistic his approach is in light of Marian’s financial considerations, he also sees that his background keeps him very close to this worldview. Grant’s love for Fiona is thus clearly connected to the opportunities she afforded him to ascend beyond his humble beginnings.
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Grant acknowledges that Marian must have had some hopes of a better life when she married Aubrey, with his white-collar job, and wonders if she is disappointed with her life. He does not afford her too much empathy, however, quickly criticizing these “practical people” for their financially-based calculations about life.
Despite sympathizing with Marian and feeling like he can understand her, Grant still looks down on her approach to life. In particular, he condemns her focus on money above all else.
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When Grant returns home, he has two voicemails from Marian asking him to attend a singles dance with her. While she clarifies that she understands that neither of them is really single, she adds that she thought it would be a nice activity. Grant is intrigued, wondering what had changed in Marian’s mind to make her call him. He begins to fantasize about Marian’s experience of the situation, feeling satisfied that he had brought out her vulnerability. He feels like “anything is possible,” even imagining that he could convince her to bring Aubrey to meet Fiona.
While Grant personally enjoys Marian’s call and experiences an echo of the “wellbeing” that his past affairs made him feel, one of his first thoughts is still of how he can turn the situation to Fiona’s advantage. Again, he demonstrates his commitment to his wife despite his infidelities.
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Grant continues to imagine Marian waiting for him to call, calculating the distance of his drive, before he reminds himself that Marian is too sensible to wait by the phone for him. The phone rings again, and Grant does not pick up, but listens to Marian’s third message. She had heard the phone ring while she was downstairs, and was wondering if Grant had called.
Grant’s enjoyment of Marian’s call is based in his appreciation of her vulnerability. Grant’s tendencies toward infidelity are thus rooted in a need to feel a masculinized power over a woman, a feeling that Grant could not experience with Fiona.
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While drinking, Grant remembers that the word for the curtains that Fiona mocked by Marian decorated her house with is “drapes.” He remembers her ginger cookies and coffee mugs on a ceramic tree, thinking that Grant’s mother would have admired the “high-gloss exactness and practicality” of Marian’s home. He then fantasizes about her cleavage, almost forcing himself to think of Marian in a sexual light as he drunkenly returns her call.
While fantasizing about Marian’s interest in him, Grant begins to feel more sympathetic with her approach to life, symbolized by her “drapes” and the other elements of her personal taste. This shows that, beyond the power dynamic, part of Grant seeks a more familiar class dynamic or social world in his extramarital affairs despite the benefits he gains from the elevation of his class status through his marriage to Fiona. 
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Later, Grant visits Fiona at Meadowlake again. He notes that she is wearing a short dress, which Fiona also comments on, seemingly aware that she is not dressed in her own clothes. Grant tells her that he has brought Aubrey to visit her. Fiona does not remember Aubrey. Instead, she hugs Grant and thanks him for visiting her, saying that he could have driven away and left her in Meadowlake. Grant holds Fiona and responds, “not a chance.”
Grant’s ability to bring Aubrey seems to indicate that he is now having an affair with Marian, an entanglement that he has nonetheless used to try to make Fiona happy. Fiona’s clothes again represent the status of her individuality. This time, she recognizes that she is not wearing her own dress, showing that she is having a good day in which she has more memories. She also remembers that Grant is her husband and thanks him for staying with her, a statement which, in its light ambiguity, could be extrapolated to their marriage as a whole. Grant holds Fiona and puts his face to her hair—that mark of her individual identity—and tells her that he would never leave her, reiterating his commitment and their bond despite his (apparently continued) philandering.
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