Study Guide

Maury Travers in Passion

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Maury Travers

Nice Guys Finish Last

Poor Maury. On top of sharing a name with the trashy talk show everyone loves to hate, he gets the cold shoulder from the girl he's dating, and loses his older brother in a car crash. This was definitely not a good summer for him.

Munro sums up Maury in four sweet, simple words:

Scared, fierce, innocent, determined. (16)

Maury's a glowing bundle of goodness surrounded by a lot of confusion, despair, and quiet desperation—which isn't to say there aren't any other "good" characters, or that Maury doesn't have any faults.

Munro's stories are very "real" in the sense that no one can easily be described as definitively good or bad. Everyone kind of stumbles along and tries to do their best, and occasionally they find ways to be graceful.

A Simple Kind of Life

You could argue that it's Maury, not Grace, who more often appears graceful. Maybe that's just because of that "scared, fierce, innocent, determined" label. In Maury's case these adjectives describe a child-like quality, something that is reinforced in his actions: He doesn't take Grace to a bar, he doesn't push or take over when it comes to having sex, even though Grace is willing and believes her willingness is apparent, he shows up at the hospital to drive Grace back and is left waiting in the parking lot.

These qualities are also reinforced in how others perceive him. "Maury is a sterling character," says Mrs. Travers. "He will be a dear uncomplicated man" (72).

Maury's not "deep" like his older brother, Neil, and maybe that's why he's uncomplicated. Maybe it's because he doesn't think about that pervasive thing that Neil thinks about, that thing that causes Neil to drink himself into distraction. Maybe the idea of some things being irredeemably sad doesn't register for Maury, which might be hard to relate to if you're someone who does tend towards the deep unfathomable caves of ocean bear side of the life spectrum.

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