The story moves from Janet's high school days in the Nebraska countryside with her learned father, to her life today.
Janet was deeply in love with Willy and excited by his confidence and uniqueness. When he asks Janet to marry him, she accepts but tells him that it couldn't happen until she completed college.
Once she left small town life in Nebraska and arrived at college, Janet had a different view. When she met a wealthy banker, Malcolm Whitman, she feels that Malcolm would give her a good life so she marries him.
A quarter of a century later, Janet seems to feel that her life didn't turn out the way she wanted and her marriage wasn't going anywhere. She remembered the excitement she felt with Willy and wanted that spark again.
Janet also feels that she doesn't particularly enjoy being a mother. She loves her daughter, Camille, but would rather be doing other things than listening to Camille's complaints and catering to her.
It is interesting to see the young Janet with ideals and goals, she appears innocent.
In the parts of the story where she is now, we see how incomplete her life has become and wonder how many other people must be in similar positions.