In her short story “A Fortunate Mistake,” Lucy Maud Montgomery conveys the individual perspectives of three main characters. The author’s primary methods of doing so are dialogue and narration. Dialogue enables her to present the individual character’s ideas as they verbalize and discuss them. Throughout the story, Montgomery uses third-person omniscient point of view, which allows her to reveal the unspoken thoughts of all the characters. She sometimes presents those thoughts as monologues within the narrative.
The three characters share numerous similarities: they live in the same town, are about the same age, and attend the same elite school. Although their race is not stated, the context suggests that they are all white. However, the differences among them are as significant as the similarities.
In many ways, Nan and Maude Wallace are the most alike. As they are sisters, they share the same socioeconomic status; the family seems to be upper-class. The narrator reveals a contrast with Florrie Hamilton, who comes from a working-class family, as her father works in a factory. Nevertheless—as is often the case with real-life sisters—there are obvious distinctions between Nan’s and Maude’s perspectives. These differences in regard to Florrie are conveyed through the dialogue between them as the story begins. Maude is sympathetic to the other girls’ not inviting Florrie to an upcoming picnic, while Nan disagrees with this exclusion:
“Is she [Florrie] going to the picnic?" asked Nan indifferently.
"No. She wasn't asked. Of course, I don't suppose she expected to be. She knows she isn't in our set.”
"She ought to have been asked to the picnic all the same," said Nan shortly. "She is in our class if she isn't in our set.”
In fact, Nan—who is laid up with an injured ankle—feels so strongly that she decides to invite Florrie to their home.
In the narrative that follows, the scene shifts from the Wallaces’ home to the street, where Florrie is walking. The narrator reveals the girl’s hurt feelings regarding the picnic:
She did feel hurt—much more keenly than she would acknowledge even to herself. It was not that she cared about the picnic itself…. But to be left out when every other girl in the school was invited! Florrie's lip quivered as she thought of it.
Later, when Florrie receives Nan’s invitation, her perspective is presented as a silent monologue, placed in quotation marks:
"Shall I go?" she thought. "Yes, I will. I dare say Nan has asked me just out of pity because I was not invited to the picnic. But even so it was sweet of her.”