Study Guide

Passion Memory and The Past

By Alice Munro

Memory and The Past

Mightn't a feeling of relief pass over you, of old confusions or obligations wiped away? (161)

Does the narrator lean toward some sort of moral lesson by asking this question? This quote gives us a pretty big hint as to why Grace has been drawn back to the Ottawa Valley after so many years away. 

Grace's memories of these parking sessions…proved to be much hazier than her memories of sitting at the Traverses' round dining table. (34)

Poor Maury, his family's dinner conversations were more memorable to Grace than their steamy moments in his car. It would be interesting to hear from Maury as an old man—how he remembers that summer and the time he spent with Grace, and whether or not he recalls those late night parking sessions either. 

Even in some of those details she must have been wrong. (170)

Maybe when we're in love, or falling in love, we interpret details in a certain way to better suit our feelings. When we look back later, we might realize things were actually quite different than we thought they were. A lot of us might feel this way about our first boyfriend or girlfriend—you know, that "what-the-heck-was-I-thinking" feeling. 

She hardly realized it was time to say good-bye. As a matter of fact she does not know to this day if those words were spoken. (301)

How does the inclusion of a spoken good-bye change Grace and Neil's final moments together? How about the absence of a good-bye? It sounds like Grace has been carrying around some unfinished business with Neil all these years after that fateful night.