This conflict, frighteningly similar and all-too-real to many, builds tension in a unique way that allows it to stand in an arena of it's own. The conflict of the story gradually builds through the children, which represent the parents in a way. Male versus female conflict exhibited through offspring, parallels the conflict between the parents, Irene and Walter. The crisis comes when Irene leaves Walter and he is alone with only memories.
The setting is also of great significance to the story as it contrasts and relates to characters. The picnic takes place in a family area, a park. Park implies purity, cleanliness, nature, communication, self-realization etc. and Walter, a man who cannot get his life together contrasts this setting. On the other hand, William, the religious son relates well to the setting. The contrast sets the stage for the true irony of the story: after the family argument of religion and the readers learning of William and Walter's contrast, one cannot help but notice the irony in that in Walter is seeking a priest for guidance. [continues]
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