Carried Away (Short Story) Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 25 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Carried Away.
This section contains 441 words
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Carried Away (Short Story) Summary & Study Guide Description

Carried Away (Short Story) Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Carried Away (Short Story) by Alice Munro.

The following version of this story was used to create this study guide: Munro, Alice. “Carried Away.” Selected Stories. New York: Vintage Books, 1997. 356-389. Print.

The story opens in the small town of Carstairs, Alberta, Canada in 1917. Louisa is the local librarian and a permanent resident at the local hotel. One day, she receives a letter from Jack Agnew, a resident of Carstairs who is serving overseas in World War One. Louisa does not remember ever meeting him, but he writes in the letter that he is grateful for the work she has done as the new town librarian. Louisa and Jack begin a correspondence and grow more intimate. Jack eventually professes his love for Louisa and says that he fears he will be killed in combat.

The narrative shifts ahead to 1919. Louisa is having drinks with a traveling salesman named Jim Frarey in the dining room of the local hotel. Louisa tells Jim about Jack. She says that Jack returned to Carstairs after the war but made no effort to contact her. She eventually learned that he had been engaged since before the war and that he and his fiancée had become married. Louisa was deeply saddened and disappointed. Jim Frarey helps comfort and console Louisa, and they go upstairs to have sex. It is Louisa’s first time having sex.

About five years later, Jack dies in an accident at the local piano factory, where he works. The owner of the factory, Arthur Doud, gives his condolences to Jack’s widow and pays for Jack’s funeral. At the request of the widow, Arthur returns Jack’s library books to the library. He speaks with Louisa, and they form a friendship, which soon blossoms into a courtship. Arthur eventually proposes marriage to Louisa.

The narrative then moves ahead several decades. Louisa and Arthur were married until about six years ago, when Arthur died. Louisa goes to London, Ontario one day for a doctor’s appointment. After the appointment, she goes to a bus stop and happens to encounter a man who recognizes her. In a state of disorientation, she believes that the man is Jack Agnew. They converse, and only afterwards does Louisa realize that the man had actually been Jim Frarey.

The narrative then shifts to Louisa’s first arrival in Carstairs. She had been a traveling saleswoman, but her income had not been very stable. Thus, when she learned that the position of librarian had just opened in Carstairs, she applied for the job and was hired. She became a permanent guest in the hotel and looked forward to living in Carstairs.

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This section contains 441 words
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