Raymond Carver’s characters are the normal average blue collared workingman. They lead a normal life, just simply going through the motions of everyday life. There is nothing special about each of Carver’s characters they mindlessly go through life without any drive. Carver’s characters communication play a huge part in forming their existence. Communication in Carver’s characters are emphasized in “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” “Boxes,” and “A Small Good Thing.” These stories show the results of the characters communication, and show how it directly impacts their lives.
In “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” Mel and Terri’s communication shows how they really feel about each other. When Mel begins talking Terri always interrupts to voice her opinion, or add more information, Mel becomes agitated. Mel gets angry and asks Terri to “just shut up for once” (479). As the story progresses the tension between Mel and Terri continues to escalate. With every interruption Terri makes to Mel’s stories, Mel’s frustration reaches a point where Terri’s solution to fixing his anger is for Mel to “take a pill” (483). This shows Mel and Terri’s relationship, there is no real true love. They do not share any form of a real relationship, no comfort, no kindness, no consoling of any kind. The struggle of communication between the couple results in a battle to find true love.
As “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” progresses, the story slowly becomes darker and darker. As the conversation becomes darker the story setting itself also becomes darker and dimmer. When the story first starts, the light is in the kitchen and creates a warm and happy environ...
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...ch character has. When there is no or little communication the hope along with the light diminishes from their lives. When Carver’s characters communicate it creates a beacon of hope and light in their lives.
Carver, Raymond. “Boxes.” Where I’m Calling From. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1998. 409-24. Print.
---. “A Small, Good Thing.” Kennedy and Gioia. 270-86.
---. “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” Kennedy and Gioia. 475-83.
Gearhart, Michael Wm. “Breaking the Ties That Bind: Inarticulation in the Fiction of Raymond Carver.” Studies in Short Fiction. 26.4 (1989): 439-46. Literature Researcher Center. Web. 14 April 2014.
Kennedy, X.J and Dana Gioai, eds. An Introduction to Fiction. 11th ed. New York: Longman, 2002. Print.
Saltzman, Arthur. “Carver’s Characterization.” Kennedy and Gioia. 490-91.
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