Analysis Of Raymond Carver 's ' The Red And The Black ' Essay

Analysis Of Raymond Carver 's ' The Red And The Black ' Essay

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The characters in Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We talk About Love are all part of the submerged population group. There are no heroes in Carver’s stories like in the Lais of Marie de France, no grand adventure or crime as in Shakespeare’s Othello or Stendhal’s The Red and The Black, but a submerged group of imperfect people drunk and hungover watching their life fall apart to ruins from right underneath them. Freud, in Civilization and Its Discontents uses an analogy about the ruins of the ancient city of Rome to explain the layers of the psyche. The ruins of an ancient city allow a person to see the history and structure of the past, much like the mind which is composed of the ruins of shattered ideas and memories of childhood that we were unaware of at the time. The new is built on top of the old, creating stratified layers of history and memories, that one day may be pieced together to give a bigger picture despite the holes left in the ruins. “Except for a few gaps, he will see the wall of Aurelian almost unchanged.” (Freud 31). Much like the ruins of Rome, Carver’s characters live in the ruins of their crumbling life. The characters in Carver’s short stories, the submerged population, are slowly being covered with like the ruins of Rome. Duane and Holly in Gazebo, as well as Claire and Stuart in So Much Water So Close To Home are both in the company of one another, yet are in isolation as their life crumbles to ruins underneath their feet.
Despite being near each other, Duane and Holly are both suffering in isolation on the ruins of their love. The story of Duane and Holly takes place at a motel, which creates significant imagery because the image of the motel that has fallen into disrepair with green gunk in the...


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...tends her funeral. In passing, Claire mentions to Marnie, “We weren’t all that close, but you know.” (Carver 85). Claire remains suspicious even after the murderer has been identified. “They have friends, these killers. You can’t tell.” (Carver 87). This quote implies that Claire is still suspicious of Stuart being involved with the murder of the girl, despite the killer having been identified. Keeping in line with Carver’s style of simply ending the story with no satisfactory ending, the story ends and Claire is still trying to decide if she is suspicious of Stuart. Claire’s suspicions have begun to crack the foundation of Claire and Stuart love, leading to the inevitable ruins. Even at the end when it appears that reconciliation might be obtainable, “He says something else. But I don’t need to listen. I can’t hear a thing with so much water going.” (Carver 88).


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