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langston hughes

In "Early Autumn," why did Mary and Bill not marry when they were young?  


Bill and Mary had been in love with each other when they were both young. When they were a couple, they used to take evening walks and talk together. They stopped speaking after "something not very important had come between them." The reader is never told exactly what broke them apart, only that it was something unimportant. By stating that it was not important, Hughes implies that Bill and Mary regretted it. Hughes also notes that Bill became bitter toward women after they parted. This implies that Mary had initiated the end of their relationship.

Years after they went their separate ways in Ohio, Bill and Mary ran into each other in New York City. They briefly stopped to chat, and found out that they both lived there. Each had married someone else. Mary had gotten married impulsively after she and Bill ended their relationship. She had three children. Bill had married a woman named Lucille and had two children.

After meeting on that autumn day, Bill and Mary exchanged pleasantries. Hughes shows Mary's sense of regret about their relationship ending because "she found herself desperately reaching back into the past." In addition, he explaina how Mary "had married a man she thought she loved." Mary knew she had loved Bill many years before. She also told Bill that she had thought of him, wondering about his life.

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