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In her book Hate ship, Friendship, Courtship, Love ship, Marriage, Alice Munro brings out the element of cheating spouses by two female characters in two short stories “The Bear Came Over the Mountains" and "The Floating Bridge”( Alice,2001).Both Fiona and Jinny cheat on their husband but, there are a few similarities and differences in both of them.
Fiona is a seventy two year old woman who has been living well with her husband for about fifty years. They have never had a history of cheating on each other even with the fact than Fiona could nit bear children. She always kept the company of two dogs that she was to take care of when her friend died. Fiona and Grant, her husband grow old in the house that Fiona’s parents left her when they died and after her dogs die she is lonely now that Grant was not always available at home.
As days go by and Fiona ages the more, she becomes weaker by the sunrise and Grant can no longer takes care of her. Grant forces to take her to Meadow Lake, a home for the aged. She is put there to get medical attention as she desperately needs it. There were no visiting in the first one month. This makes Grant has to keep away as much as he misses Fiona and is so desperate to see her. He even wakes up so early on the first day of the visit and arrives at Meadow Lake before the visiting hours. Within the month, Fiona makes friends with Aubrey, an old man who was living to the home of the aged by his wife so that the wife could have time to rest.
The friendship between Fiona and Aubrey blossoms and they feel like part of each other. Grant worries but Kristy, a friendly nurse at Meadow Lake assures her that Fiona is a lovely lady and that Aubrey was a gentle man they would not do such a thing. Grant is satisfied, but he still feels like Fiona is actually diverting her attention to Aubrey more than to him. This takes him by surprise, but he still is comfortable.
The affection of Fiona to Aubrey becomes stronger that they can not get off each other. Fiona undergoes many emotional and physical changes, but she does not even notice. She changes her clothing style and even has her long blond hair that she love so much. When Grant asks her about it, she says “I did not even miss it”.
Then there comes this day when Grant comes to visit Fiona at Meadow Lake. He neither finds her at the entertainment room nor her favorite sitting place. He asks Kristy where he might find her, and he gets the information that he might find her in her room. He goes there and, but Aubrey is also there. He dresses well in a jacket and ties that Grant thinks he is to see his lawyer to make funeral arrangements. He only comes to realize that Aubrey is to go back home, and his wife Mariah has come to pick him. This leaves Fiona sad as she had developed a love and affection for Aubrey.
Fiona asks Grant if he could request the nurses to at least let Aubrey stay because grant seemed influential, but Grant says he would not be of Grant help. Fiona is in devastating state by this and spends the rest of her time in her bed sad and lonely. This ruins their marriage further that Grant no longer considers mentioning their marriage. Fiona cheated on Grant emotionally but unintentionally.
Jinny on the other had is forty two years and married to Neal. Neal had jus joined a group of young offenders also called “Yo-yos” and Jinny had planned to leave him. She was bat the bus station, but the bus did not show up. Therefore, she regrettable had to go home back to Neal who was not as enthusiastic to see her as she would have expected. Neal is not always there for her and his habit draws Jinny away. This is her main temptation to cheat on her husband.
She does not know if her husband Neal still has feelings for her or not she says “Her feelings might become of no importance to anybody but herself” (Alice, 2001).When she gets back, she continues to stay with Neal. Their marriage is sad and full of drama. Neil gets Helen to take care of them, and they develop a rather good friendship that makes life on their side lighten up a little bit.
A white hair woman Addie Norton who is a friend of Neal tells Jinny that she had a feeling for Neal. Jinny goes to a function with her husband, Helen and Matty. They are there till late and through a limited means of getting home. Helen and Jinny get tired of waiting, and they decide to go home. Jinny does not drive anymore she ends up going with Ricky whose was also at the function and was heading the same direction. They get to the bridge with Ricky and its getting dark.
Ricky gets out of the car and asks Jinny to come out too. They stare at the water, and the sky; they have a quiet and romantic moment. Ricky holds her closely towards him.. They end up kissing, and they both enjoy it. Jinny has thing warm feeling of embrace that she had not felt for a long while with her husband Neal. Ricky tells Jinny that was the first time he kissed a married woman and Jinny replies that he is going to do that some more. This simply means that they are into each other, and they will have more romantic moments together this signifies the start of her cheating.
In both instances, the two women cheat on their husbands. Fiona does cheat emotionally and Jinny cheat physically. They end up with the people they cheated with rather than their husbands. Both Fiona and Jinny cheat out of emotional attachment to other people. The difference is that Grant did not emotionally leave Fiona like Neal did to Jinny.
The main reason why Jinny cheated was because her husband Neal was more attached to his gang than to her. He no longer gave her the attention she needed and deserved. She did this knowingly as a flash of thought about Neal crossed her mind. Fiona cheated unknowingly. She had lost her memory and could neither remember her husband nor her marriage clearly. She spent a lot of her time with Aubrey, and she helps him recover a lot. The new attachment makes her develop the love and affection that eventually leads to the cheating.
By the end, cheating is still cheating, and both parties end up with mixed emotions. This is because as Jinny kisses Ricky, she thinks of her husband Neal. When Mariah finally agrees to let Grand take her husband to seen Fiona. It clearly shows that Fiona lightens up from her sad mood and is extremely happy to see him at the end of the story. She is happy to be with the man that she emotionally cheated on her husband, while Jinny still thinks of her husband despite the fact that they have being emotionally apart from each other for a long time.