Sheila and Schwartz: The Nuances of Personal Independence

Mavis Gallant’s introduction to Home Truths quotes Boris Pasternak: “Only personal independence matters” (xi). The importance of personal independence is a driving theme in Morley Callaghan’s “One Spring Night” and “A Wedding Dress,” which respectively explores opposite ends of romantic relationships: young Sheila is on her first date with Bob, while the aging Miss Schwartz is finally getting married to Sam after fifteen years of engagement. By its very definition, a relationship is the antithesis of independence—a problem that becomes increasingly evident for Sheila and Schwartz.