Study Questions for C.L. Moore's "Vintage Season" [1946]

"Vintage Season" conforms to the address to tensions between the rural and urban that we saw illustrated in some of the cover art viewed during our initial class meeting, mainly because of the story's setting in a seemingly peaceful small town and the contrast of the behaviors and values of the town to those of the seemingly more sophisticated and refined "foreigners." Here are a few issues to consider while reviewing the story:

  1. How does the relationship between Oliver Wilson and Kleph function to develop a conflict or thematic concern? What do we finally come to understand about the contrasting values of the foreigners and Wilson through that relationship?
  2. Early in the story, Wilson seems unrefined, even sort of a hayseed--for lack of a better term--in comparison to Omerie, Kleph, and Klia, and later to Hollia and Hara. By the story's end, how do your evaluations of the foreigners and Wilson change? Are the time travelers actually more sophisticated and refined than he?
  3. In what ways does Moore take advantage of standard time travel notions here to provoke our understanding of the time travelers' rather cold, dispassionate behaviors? That is, is there an idea about time travel and its effects here that later leads to narratives like Back to the Future?
  4. What devices does Moore use in an attempt to maintain reader interest? That is, if you felt compelled to complete the story, what provoked your interest in continuing to read?