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Gabriel's experience at the dinner party is all about the mix of past and present experience. The most important juxtaposition is at the end when he realizes that he is not really in love with his wife, but also that she is not really in love with him. The revelation that she has been thinking about him all along culminates the experience of his evening. Taken further, we find that everything about the evening is a repetition of things that have happened year after year at this annual event. His speech is uninspired because he's given it for several years. He is uninspired by the girl playing the piano, because he has heard it before. There are many elements that illustrate an inability to move on from the past, which is best represented in the title of the story.
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