In this complex and cinematic short story, Carla tries to escape her husband (Clark) with the help of her older neighbor (Sylvia, who is a widow). “Runaway” explores questions of self-definition and of unequal power dynamics within relationships.
Sentences Worth Studying
- “Carla heard the car coming before it topped the little rise in the road that around here they called a hill” (3).
- “There was no way to avoid the puddles in the path or tall soaked grass alongside it, or the wild carrot which had recently come into flower” (15-16).
- “Back home, having left the note in the mailbox, Sylvia cleaned up the dishes that were still on the table, washed and polished the omelette pan, threw the blue napkins and tablecloth in the laundry basket, and opened the windows. She did this with a confusing sense of regret and irritation” (29).
- “There was enough of a wind blowing to lift the roadside grass, the flowering weeds, out of their drenched clumps. Summer clouds, not rain clouds, were scudding across the sky. The whole countryside was changing, shaking itself loose, into the true brightness of a July day” (31).
- “She recalled now how the sun was coming up behind them, how she looked at Clark’s hands on the wheel, the dark hairs on his competent forearms, and breathed in the smell of the inside of the truck, a smell of oil and metal, tools and horse barns. The old air of the fall morning blew in through the truck’s rusted seams. It was the sort of vehicle that nobody in her family ever rode in, that scarcely ever appeared on the streets where they lived” (32).
- “The fog was there tonight, had been there all this while. But now at one point there was a change. The fog had thickened, taken on a separate shape, transformed itself into something spiky and radiant. First a live dandelion ball, tumbling forward, then condensing itself into an unearthly sort of animal, pure white, hell-bent, something like a giant unicorn, rushing at them” (39).