First published in the journal Antaeus in the spring of 1980, ‘‘In the Garden of the North American Martyrs’’ was later revised and became the title story of Tobias Wolff’s first collection of short stories, published in 1981. This collection of fiction helped Wolff earn a reputation as one of the most promising writers of his generation. In this and the other stories in the book, Wolff probes the details of everyday life and ordinary characters in an effort to discern the aesthetic and moral patterns beneath the surface. In this story, Mary, a college professor who has carved out a safe career for herself by never risking originality, gets an offer to interview for an opening at a prestigious college. When she realizes that her interview has been arranged ‘‘just to satisfy a rule’’ about considering female candidates, she must choose how to react. Her final performance is a speech in which she finally recovers her power to speak in her true voice.