A Love Mess: When One Is Not Enough
In the short stories “The Bear Came Over the Mountain” by Alice Munro and “Hockey Night in Canada” by Diane Schoemperlen, one encounters two couples with relationship problems. These problems result in cheating (either physical or in terms of emotional loyalty), which is the consequence of dissatisfaction with regulated life, unfulfilled emotional needs, and also of physical lust. When one compares the two couples, several parallels can be drawn but also some differences can be established. In both relationships, Grant and Fiona’s as well as in Ted and Violet’s, those who commit real cheating are the men. Grant and Ted both cheat on their spouses with younger women (except that Grant’s Jacqui is about the same age as Fiona, but she is only one among many), which indicates that one of the reasons for infidelity is physical lust. Even though Grant first says that when “meeting with a new woman[,] [t]he feeling was not precisely sexual,” he admits that “[l]ater, when the meetings had become routine, that was all it was.” The main difference between Grant and Ted is that Grant cheats on Fiona with several women, whereas Ted cheats on Violet only with one. Grant was unfaithful to Fiona due to his restlessness and boredom with everyday life. Not that he did not love her – “[h]e had never stopped making love to Fiona [...][,] had not stayed away from her for a single night,” had never intended to leave her – only the other women “brought into his office, into his regulated, satisfactory life, the great surprising bloom of their mature female compliance, their tremulous hope of approval.” In contrast, Ted cheats on his wife because he is neglected by Violet, since she has never really loved him, thinking “Sonny was [her] own true love.” As far as Fiona and Violet are concerned, they are not as innocent either. They both cheat on their husbands in terms of emotional fidelity – Fiona with Aubrey and Violet with...
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