An Analysis on the Similarities and Differences in Raymond Carver's“A Small Good Thing” and “The Bath”

An Analysis on the Similarities and Differences in Raymond Carver's“A Small Good Thing” and “The Bath”

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In Raymond Carver's 'The Bath' and rewritten version of the story entitled 'A Small, Good Thing', the author tells the same tale in different ways, and to different ends, creating variegated experiences for the reader. Both stories have the same central plot and a majority of details remain the same, but the effects that the stories have upon the reader is significantly different. The greatest character difference is found in the role of the Baker, and his interaction with the other characters. The sparse details, language and sentence structure of 'The Bath' provide a sharp contrast emotionally and artistically to 'A Small Good Thing'. In many ways, 'The Bath' proves to have a more emotional impact because of all that it doesn't say; it's sparse, minimalist storytelling gives the impression of numbed shock and muted reactions. The descriptive storytelling of 'A Small Good Thing' goes deeper into the development of the characters and although it tells more story, it ends on a note of hopefulness, instead of fear or desperation. Each story has it's own magic that weave it's a powerful. When compared to each other the true masterpiece of each story is best revealed.
Both stories open with the same happy task; a mother is choosing a birthday cake for her son, Scotty. In 'The Bath' we are given details of appearance of the cake and a detailed description of the baker, but no real insight into the inner thoughts of the characters. In 'A Small Good Thing' we are treated to the mother's thoughts on the baker and her reflection on what commonalities they may have. She finds herself disliking the baker, “He made her feel uncomfortable, and she didn't like that...She gave up trying to make friends with him” (Carver ) In each versi...


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... words, and they had better be the right ones, with the punctuation in the right places.” n each of these stories, Carver makes those words take reader to the same scene twice and end up in a new place each time. He is a master wordsmith and the uniqueness that is 'The Bath' and 'A Small Good Thing' is a masterpiece.



Works Cited
Carver, Raymond. "A Small Good Thing, by Raymond Carver." University at Buffalo- Wings Central Campus Web Server. Web. 01 Dec. 2010. .

Carver, Raymond. "Carversite: Raymond Carver Quotations (on Reading, Writing and Rewriting)." Carversite: Raymond Carver. Web. 01 Dec. 2010. .

Carver, Raymond. "The Bath." Writer's Presence: a Pool of Readings. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009. 919-25. Print.

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