The story lacks the decidedly Southern color of King's later works, particularly her famous Balcony Stories (1893). Like her contemporary Kate Chopin, King was known for her depictions of Creole life. One critic referred to her stories as being "like pictures in their vivid intensity."
In contrast to her professor character, King was born into an aristocratic Southern family, though they were later impoverished by the Civil War. Her 1932 autobiography, Memories of a Southern Woman of Letters, begins:
The past is our only real possession in life. It is the one piece of property of which time cannot deprive us; it is our own in a way that nothing else in life is. It never leaves our consciousness. In a word, we are our past; we do not cling to it, it clings to us.
*For the information in this post, I turned to Grace King: A Southern Destiny (1983) by Robert Bush.