Raymond Carver's Use Of Dark Humor

1157 Words5 Pages
Dark humor is a tool prominent in many of Raymond Carver’s stories. One can see dark humor in works such as “Careful”, “A Small Good Thing”, “Whoever was using this bed”, and to some extent “Cathedral”. Nevertheless, dark humor is often used within Carver stories without it becoming the main emphasis, though some of his subject matter remains gloomy. Several stories, however, such as “A Small Good Thing”, and “Whoever was using this bed”, use dark humor as a main feature of the plot. These two stories coincide in a number of other ways as well, but primarily around Carver’s specific implementation and use of dark humor. Both stories show a commonality in how dark humor ensues, using the objective correlative of a telephone as its main outlet.…show more content…
It is used frequently in literature, film, and other outlets of comedy, such as stand-up. In literature, it is used in a number of ways, predominantly either to explore vulgar issues, provoke serious thought, or to remind of the mortality of its characters. The main point of commonality seen between “A Small Good Thing”, and “Whoever Was Using This Bed” is this element of dark humor. “A Small Good Thing” uses dark humor in the character of the baker, who inadvertently reminds the couple, Howard and Ann, of their dying son, Scotty. In his constant calls, he asks the couple if they had forgotten their “Scotty” cake, reminding them of the tragedy they face. In “Whoever was using this bed” Carver shows dark humor in the occurrence of the drunk woman calling the couple in the middle of the night, requesting to speak to a “Bud”, which prompts a late night morbid discussion between the narrator, Jack, and his wife, Iris. Thus, in both of these short stories, Carver uses dark humor to discuss the mortality of the…show more content…
Though “A Small Good Thing” ends in an epiphany, both stories have a resolution that falls back to the implementation of dark humor. In addition, both stories are alike simply in that they have a clear resolution. Many times, Carver will simply end the story with something for the reader to interpret, and no true, fully explained, resolution. However, in “A Small Good Thing” the couple, Ann and Howard, meet the baker that was unknowingly causing them strife through his calls, and speak to him. They discuss his life and his food. In “Whoever was using this bed”, the couple, after Jack comes home from work, finally resolve their discussion, and promise never to talk of it again. When the woman calls, looking for Bud, the wife unplugs the phone, signifying the end of their uneasy and morbid topic of discussion. In “A Small Good Thing” their talk with the baker symbolizes something similar, a resolution to strife, a final security. Either way, each story provides a clear break from the dark humor plot into

More about Raymond Carver's Use Of Dark Humor

Open Document