The play has a strong sense of dramatic irony, a feeling produced in audience members when they are led to believe that one situation will unfold, while in reality, the opposite becomes true. At the end of the play, the audience, like the characters, is struck with the bitter irony of the main characters' wasted lives. All three of them—Robert, Ruth, and Andy—have gotten the exact opposite of what they wanted. Andy ran away from his farming dreams, thinking it would be worse to stay and witness his brother and Ruth together. Ruth wanted a happy marriage with a man she loved, but as she notes to Andy at the end, "You see I'd found out I'd made a mistake about Rob soon after we were married—when it was too late."