In Elizabeth Bowen's story "Summer Night," World War II is actively ongoing; however, you would hardly know this from the events in the tale. For most of Irish society, the war is far from their everyday lives, intersecting only in the form of newspaper articles and radio broadcasts describing the latest battles. The characters in the story are all preoccupied with their own lives—both the boredom they contain and the need for relief from that boredom.
The clearest example of this is the main character, Emma, who is pursuing an affair with a man who goes by Robinson. It is clear that she views her infidelity as an adventure as she drives quickly to arrive at Robinson's place. Once there, however, the "adventure" seems to lose its luster, and she becomes uncomfortable with the realities of her choice. The decor of Robinson's house—"the electric clock, the sideboard, the unlit grate, the cold of the leather chairs—put, at every moment when he did not touch her, a gulf between her and him." In this moment, it seems that Emma begins to view her "boring" life as her safe haven. As Emma gets to know him further, Robinson seems to have no interest in her so-called adventure, and so "[t]he adventure (even, the pilgrimage) died at its root, in the childish part of her mind."
In the end, the promise of relief from boredom was more disappointing than relieving for Emma, an idea that can be applied to the larger world of the story. Bowen's picture of Irish society is of people who are continuing with business as usual but desperately wish they were not.