Analysis Of Raymond Carver 's The Bath Essay

Analysis Of Raymond Carver 's The Bath Essay

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Raymond Carver’s The Bath is a revised version of his early work of A Small, Good Thing. In his two pieces of the short story, the length of the story significantly varied as The Bath is a lot shorter. Moreover, his former work has more detailed emotional expressions while The Bath lacks communications and leaves to the reader a suspenseful ending. The story begins in a third person view with a mother has her son’s birthday cake made to order at a bakery. Then his son is hit by a car when crossing the road. The mother and father come to hospital and exchange words from the doctor. Finally, the story ends with an unfinished ending which doesn’t show any sign of boy’s fate but a strange phone call that says the son’s name. There are several things about this short story that particularly stands out among all the other short stories. It’s intentional use of lacking communication, use of suspenseful settings and the theme of conflict.
First of all, Carver shows the lack of communication when the mother is at the bakery store ordering her son’s birthday cake. Carver used a lot of description of the objects in the scene and the action of the bakery and the mother instead of a dialogue between the two. Carver tries to bring out the personality of the characters through detailed descriptions. The baker “listened thoughtfully”(Carver) when the mother is talking about her son while he “kept wiping his hands”(Carver) and his “eyes examining”(Carver) the mother. Words like thoughtfully and examine show that the baker is responsible and serious-minded, and the description of his hands wiping shows that the baker is someone that will get the job done. Through these descriptions of the baker’s actions, Carver brings out the personality of a sob...


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...tremely short to the extent which baker speaks in broken sentences. The baker says “the cake, sixteen dollars”(Carver) and “don’t hand me that”(Carver) when the father is totally confused. The baker’s weird sentences are almost in a threatening tone to the reader so that they create terrifying atmosphere. The baker says in the end “Scotty, it’s about Scotty”(Carver), which is definitely terrifying under the context that the boy has been in a coma for several days in the hospital. Carver leaves the ending suspenseful without any explanation to the incidence, just like a horror movie would do, to let the sense of fear hover in the reader’s mind.
To conclude, by cutting out communication intentionally, adding suspenseful settings and introducing a surprising horror ending, Carver successfully makes the story alive so that readers feel they are in the story themselves.

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