Themes in A Small, Good Thing by Raymond Carver Essay

Themes in A Small, Good Thing by Raymond Carver Essay

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A formalist perspective focuses on important elements to a story like plot, theme, symbol, characterization, and metaphor. “A Small, Good Thing” is an interesting story that you can understand the main points, but goes into more detail when analyzed. This story has an important plot, theme, and symbols behind it that actually make the story what it is. The author Raymond Carver exposes the reader to feel connected with the story because it can relate to all of our lives.
Isolation and collectedness is an important theme throughout the whole story. These themes might seem contradictory, but the point of the story is to show how everyone is separate from each other and somehow attempt to connect in our aloneness. Isolation is easy to find in the story. For example, while Howard is driving home, he has thoughts of how he never really had to deal with negative forces in his life. This gives a sense that Howard never needed to connect with anyone but his wife and son. In addition, when Ann goes to order the cake for her son’s birthday she cannot understand why the baker seems so disrespectful and distant. Ann wonders why the baker wouldn’t treat her son’s birthday as a special day.
Isolation continues throughout the story and begins to be more prominent. For example, the driver from the hit and run, who leaves the scene, is never mentioned again throughout the story. From this Ann and Howard have a limited perception that they can never really get rid of. Also, another example that influences the theme is when the men on the elevator are speaking another language. This gave me a sense that the author was trying to suggest that we as humans cannot understand each other. With that being said Ann feels this separation when she meets fr...

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...ting is a small, good thing in a time like this” which is what the title of the story is suggesting. It suggests that we as people are connected in our smallness and in our lack of control. It is impossible to take total control of our lives and to even know someone. However, the attempts we make are the “small, good things” carver was talking about and implemented into the story.
Tragedy, isolation and Connectedness all are important themes in the story that make up the plot. Without a true understanding of Carver’s points that he tries to make, we as a reader can miss out, or misinterpret the meaning. Looking at this short story in the formalist perspective helps shine a light in the direction I believe the author wanted us to see. From the guy in the hit and run all the way to doctor and baker we see how carver isolated characters and then brought them together.

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