Early Autumn is an interesting short story about two people who loved each other but went their separate ways due to a minor disagreement. There could be multiple explanations of why they separated. Mary and Bill seem like two different people. Upon meeting again after a few years, everything seems different.
In the beginning of the story Bill and Mary are in love but because of a disagreement didn't speak with each other. Mary went off and married another man, which left Bill bitter. Years later they meet and it seems as if there is uneasiness between them. Most likely because of the way everything between them ended so suddenly. Each of them speaks of their families and jobs. Mary seems to be disappointed when she hears about Bill's wife and children. They both invite each other over for dinner with their families, but caught up in their conversation, forget to give out their addresses.
This leaves everything unresolved, the way it was after they had separated when they were younger.
Mary seems like the type of person that holds on to the past. It doesn't seem like she has moved on completely from her previous relationship with Bill. In the story, it states that she is "ÃÂdesperately reaching back into the past'. Maybe she realized after she married another man, that she still loved Bill. They may have also split up because of their age differences. Mary may have thought she was too old for Bill and therefore, too mature for him also. At the very end of the story it states that Mary forgot to tell Bill that she named her youngest boy after him. I think Colley 2 this represents that Mary doesn't want to forget Bill. She wants him to be a part of her life forever and by naming her son after him, she can always have something to remember him by. It seems as though Bill had a big impact on her life.
For Bill on the other hand, I think he got over Mary much easier than she got over him. The reason I think this is because Mary broke his heart. Also, Bill may have gotten over Mary faster because he might not have really been in love. He was young at the time. While discussing their families Bill doesn't seem to be as upset as Mary when she tells him of her three children and husband. Bill knows when to move on, even if Mary used to be a big part of his life.
The setting also has an effect on the story. They run into each other at Washington Square. I'm assuming this is a pretty big place with lots of people everywhere. It must be pure coincidence that they have run into each other among all of the people there. I also think that the temperature and time of day have an effect. It's cold and nearly sunset. It was probably this way the last time they saw each other and how everything ended: cold and desolate.