One of the major conflicts in Alice Munro’s short story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain” occurs towards the end of the narrative. And like most conflicts in Munro's fiction, this too is deeply nuanced: What if you have to betray your loved one in order to be faithful to them? Let us look at how this conflict unfolds.
Grant, the elderly professor and the narrator of the story, is in a deep ethical dilemma. Like a heartbroken teenager, his wife is pining for a man, except that man is not Grant. And Grant’s wife, Fiona, is not well. Suffering from dementia, she lives away from Grant in the care home Meadowlake. At Meadowlake, Fiona has all but forgotten about Grant and their 50-year-long marriage and fallen head over heels in love with Aubrey, an inmate. When Aubrey is removed from Meadowlake by his wife, Fiona sinks into a deep despair.
Fiona did not get over her sorrow. She didn’t eat at mealtimes, though she pretended to, hiding food in her napkin. She was being given a...
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