The key to the differences between husband and wife is given in Elizabeth’s realization, after her husband dies, that they had never truly been together. Instead, they had functioned in parallel, as “two isolated beings.” This point is significant in showing that they were essentially similar in personality, both being proud and independent. Walter sought fellowship in drinking on Saturday night, but that was a custom among the men. When Walter is trapped in the cave-in, his coworkers do not even notice that he did not come out of the mine, an apparent indication of his distance from them. The differences between husband and wife were largely of gender perspectives on appropriate family roles. Their marriage is actually ended by Walter’s death. While a rift had grown between them, given the social and economic organization of the time and place, it is likely that they would have remained married in order to raise their three children.