The story revolves around Myra and her husband Oswald, who return to their home in Illinois to visit their relatives. Myra was an outgoing ambitious woman, who didn’t obey her uncle and eloped with her boyfriend, and then ran away with him to New York City. In eloping, Myra gave up all claims to her inheritance from the wealthy uncle who had brough her up. But Oswald was a promising man and soon he got a good job and good money for it. They were happy – Myra got everything she wanted, she made friends with different people, and everybody liked her.
Successful husband and fashionable wife – a perfect marriage, from the first sight, but it was not. Myra was too jealous and Oswald loved her too much to reproach her, he never thought about himself, he did everything to make Myra happy, and she didn’t appreciate it. And when Oswald lost his job they had to move to the poor accommodation, Myra felt ill and could not walk. She blamed her husband in all their problems and wished to stay with her uncle and not having married him. But Oswald didn’t accuse her – she was ill and exhausted that is why she thought so.
He remembered the days when she was herself and they were happy. Life was hard for her, but also it was glorious too; she was absolutely unreasonable when she was jealous but he wasn’t mad at her, because he knew that he would rather be “clawed” by her than petted by another woman. And when Myra has gone before her death he was inconsolable, when he heard that the police were looking for a woman who was out of her head, he was frightened. But it wasn’t Myra.
She was found wrapped in her blankets, leaning against the cedar trunk, facing the sea. Her head had fallen forward; the ebony crucifix was in her hands. She must have died peacefully and painlessly. After her death Oswald had gone to Alaska and soon died there. That is how the story ends.
The narrator of the story – young girl Nellie, was a friend of Myra. They met when she was 15 and she was found of that charming woman who was always kind and friendly. But Nellie also saw that Myra was double-faced person, imperious and unreasonable towards her husband. Nevertheless, she always treasured their friendship and liked to spend time with her. She listened to her stories about life, love, and friends and, of course, money, and it was a mystery for her how a person could be so contradictive as Myra was.
This woman was smart but she considered education boring, she loved her husband but called him her mortal enemy. The only thing this woman loved and appreciated was nature, she liked to watch a dawn, and there was every reason to believe she had lived to see the dawn – she has lost everything she loved – her youth, money, good friend, ability to walk, but no one could take away dawns. It was a forgiving time for her; maybe that is why she died looking at the Pacific at dawn – she was looking for forgiveness.