First is the way Carver uses imagery in order to give the reader a cynical impression of love in this story. The two main things that Carver uses to set the scene with imagery are the gin the four friends are drinking during their conversation and the light in the kitchen where the friends are. The gin is constant throughout the story and at first glance seems to be a lubricant for the conversation when the friends are hitting sensitive subjects. When Carver describes Terri emptying a bottle of gin and “…waggled the bottle” (Carver 659). The act of waggling the bottle gives the reader this feeling that Terri is hoping something else is there, almost as if she were saying “That’s it? That can’t be it.” And then giving up and accepting that maybe there isn’t anything more to love than what is on the surface. Then, when Mel is talking about the next bottle he says, “’Let’s finish this fucking gin…Then let’s go eat’” (Carver 664). To which everyone at the table agrees. Carver is making a connection between the gin and love here; love is the topic of conversation and the only thi...
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...s, “It just means what I said” (Carver 665). This line proves that Nick really doesn’t care either way, as long as it is convenient and suits his desires at the time. Part of Laura being easy to be with is that when Nick responds to her she doesn’t challenge him, just continues on talking about dinner.
To conclude, although Carver does talk about abuse and the usual negatives that come to mind when someone mentions love pessimistically he is cynical because people don’t understand love enough to be optimistic about it. Through imagery, tone, and characterization Carver presents his pessimistic view of love for the reader more so to give a realistic grasp of what love can be and often times is. Companionship is the third tier in the hierarchy of needs, but Carver presents a view that maybe long-term, romantic love isn’t always the companionship an individual needs.
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