Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 256
The narrator is a woman who is exploring Sarajevo with her professor. They're having an affair. She believes that she's in love with him throughout the story even though he is critical of her at times. She thinks of his wife and how she'll come out the winner because she has more in common him and is younger and more attractive. She's competitive with her sister and ultimately decides to leave the Professor, goes home, and finishes her program of study.
Professor Piper is the man the narrator is having an affair with. He's supervising her thesis on morality and duty in the early Greek states. He's been married for 24 years and has children with his wife. He's grumpy and condescending. He's 46.
Mrs. Piper is Professor Piper's wife. The narrator believes that she knows her husband is trying to choose between them and that they're traveling together. She is a swim coach and enjoys television.
Clare is the narrator's sister. She's 23. She finished her degree early and married a professor of economics at Harvard. She encourages the narrator's affair. She's a good cook and the narrator is competitive with her, even though the narrator believes she's stopped trying to compete with her.
The two waiters in Sarajevo are men serving food to the narrator and the Professor. One is young and attractive. The other is old and appears the judge the narrator. Looking at them makes her realize she shouldn't be with her much-older professor. She leaves him to go home right there at the restaurant.
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