Okay, not always: some opinions remain solidly rooted. Like this one: “Men earning pittance salaries always married young. It was not an opinion, my mother said. It was a statistic.”
Various opinions (and statistics!) draw attention to the different experiences of women of different generations, and well as to the different experiences of people of different classes.
Sylvie’s father, for instance, often meets his cousin Gustav for dinner, sometimes even in their old neighbourhood, but they “knew the difference between a sentimental excursion and a good meal”. And Sylvie’s mother chats with Claudine in the kitchen, who is the same age as Sylvie, but has been trained in cooking and serving, and is “informed about all the roads and corners of life”.
There are multiple ways of crossing the bridge presented here. At one point in the story, Sylvie’s father catches a glimpse of the Church of St. Augustin out of a window. Such a seemingly innocuous detail.
Even in this instance, Mavis Gallant is informing readers about a salient detail. One which not only frames her father’s view, but situates Sylvie’s experience for us later: “I had never been inside a Protestant church before. It was spare and bare and somehow useful-looking, like a large broom closet.”
There are limited ways to credibly resolve a story which hinges on a marriage proposal. What makes this story stand out is not its resolution, but a single moment within that resolution—a single moment which contains both celebration and resignation, right as Sylvie steps off the bridge into just one of those states.