(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The first-person narrator records his side of the quarrel with his bride’s family, in a household ruled by Marge’s maiden aunt Eunice. He reveals his youthful egotism in the first paragraph by proclaiming his intention to reveal the facts to the “citizens of the U.S.A.”

Though the setting and circumstances have some of the qualities of the seamier, possibly degenerate rural South popular in some southern literature, they hardly suggest any dark secrets. The two maiden aunts in their big old house, with “real columns out in front” and japonica trees lining the yard, are certainly eccentric, and Marge’s maiden aunt Olivia-Ann may be, as the narrator puts it, a “half-wit,” but the narrator himself is hardly an unbiased observer. He may overestimate the stupidity of others, because he is not overly bright himself.

The narrator reveals that he married Marge four days after meeting her—his first mistake. He does not know why, except that she is a “natural blonde,” though he can find nothing else to recommend her. Marge has “no looks, no body, and no brains whatsoever.” She soon “up and gets pregnant” (his second mistake, he says) and insists on going home to Mama—except that she does not have any Mama, only two aunts living in the country. The narrator gives up his job of clerking in the Cash ’n’ Carry and accompanies his wife to her former home.

His reception in this all-female household is not...

(The entire section is 515 words.)