1. What does Harvard represent and the course of study Mira selected?
Harvard represents a fresh start for Mira after her divorce from Norm. The course of study that she chose represents her lifelong ambition of being a teacher.
After fifteen years of miserable marriage to a man who had promised her safety but actually gave her little more than a servant's job, Mira was more than ready to live life on her own terms. Following encouragement from one of her female friends, she returns to college and finishes her undergraduate degree.
After this, and after putting her disastrous marriage behind her, acceptance to Harvard represents the start of a new life, the reclaiming of Mira's much-prized independence and the pursuit of a lifelong dream. Initially, however, Harvard also represents a new batch of struggles, as she is alone in a new environment, lacking the self-confidence that her marriage took from her and uncertain of how to make friends or find her place in campus life. However, she soon becomes part of a group of women who understand exactly what it means to fight for one's place in a male-dominated world.
Mira hopes that the course that she has chosen to study, a Ph.D. in English Literature, will help her make her long-held goal of becoming a teacher a reality. However, since there were no university positions available for a woman of her age, she winds up having to settle for teaching at a junior college.