Themes in A Small, Good Thing by Raymond Carver Essay

Themes in A Small, Good Thing by Raymond Carver Essay

Length: 655 words (1.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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...


... middle of paper ...


...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.


Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

A Small, Good Thing, by Raymond Carver Essay

- The short story, "A Small, Good Thing" by Raymond Carver tells of two American parents dealing with their son's hospitalization and death as the result of a hit-and-run car accident. The insensitive actions of their local baker add to their anger and confusion, yet by the end of the story, leave them with a sense of optimism and strength. With such content, Carver runs the risk of coming across as sentimental; however, this is not the case, and the anguish of the parents and their shock at the situation is expressed with dignity and understatement....   [tags: Raymond Carver]

Better Essays
1954 words (5.6 pages)

Raymond Carver's A Small Good Thing Essay

- Raymond Carver's A Small Good Thing Raymond Carver's "A Small Good Thing," a short story that has to do with the lack of interaction and empathy between the baker, Ann and Howard, the finale where the baker is startled to find out about the child's death, asks for mercy and presents them warm cinnamon rolls telling them that "Eating is a small, good thing in a time like this" and they are comforted, reveals particular significance of the title in terms of the story's theme. Also, Raymond Carver's "Cathedral," a story that starts with an ignorant and rude narrator whose wife has called a blind friend to spend the night at their home and according to Carver, "A blind man in my house was not...   [tags: Comparative Literature Carver Small Good Essays]

Better Essays
854 words (2.4 pages)

Themes in Raymond Carver's Literature Essay

- Themes in Raymond Carver's Literature In Short Cuts, by Raymond Carver, characters experience trials and problems in their lives, whether extreme such as in " A Small, Good Thing" and "Lemonade" or nominal such as in " Vitamins". They all seem to depict these struggles as uphill battles which the characters cannot and mostly do not overcome. The characters throughout Carver's "Short Cuts" struggle through their lives in private desperation, often to ultimately realize that they are bound to the truth of who they really are, which is shown in the story "Neighbors." In "Neighbors", Bill and Arlene Miller are a couple with menial jobs who give credence to the saying "the grass is greener on...   [tags: Papers Carver Short Cuts Essays]

Better Essays
747 words (2.1 pages)

Literary Devices in Carver's Cathedral Essay

- Upon reading Raymond Carver's short story of the Cathedral one will notice the literary devices used in the short story. When analyzing the story completely, one then understands the themes, motifs, metaphors, and the overall point of the piece. This leaves the reader with an appreciation of the story and a feeling of complete satisfaction. Carver tells the story in first person of a narrator married to his wife. Problems occur when she wants a friend of hers, an old blind man, to visit for a while because his wife has died....   [tags: Raymond Carver, irony]

Better Essays
1505 words (4.3 pages)

The Elusive Nature Of Love By Raymond Carver 's `` What We Talk About Love ``

- “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” by Raymond Carver is a short story about four friends sitting around a kitchen table drinking gin and discussing their different opinions on what their definitions of love are (Carver 330). The two themes of the story are love and language. The author portrays his themes by the story’s plot, conflict, the point of view, and the characters. The theme of the story is the elusive nature of love. Throughout the story, the nature of love remains elusive. Despite the characters’ hard efforts to define it, no one can give a clear-cut definition....   [tags: Love, Meaning of life, Anton Chekhov]

Better Essays
981 words (2.8 pages)

Analysis Of Raymond Carver Jr. Essay

- Raymond Carver Jr. wrote short stories in settings that many would consider ordinary. His stories could often be described as drab, and many of them were characterized by a “zero-ending” or a cliffhanger. His stories often ended abruptly, leaving the reader with a number of unanswered questions. In his story Cathedral, the story appears to close with a “zero-ending.” However, there are many observations and inferences that can be made at the end of Cathedral that make it anything but a “zero-ending.” Carver was born in Oregon in 1938....   [tags: Raymond Carver, Fiction, Aerosmith, Thought]

Better Essays
1586 words (4.5 pages)

Cathedral by Raymond Carver Essay

- Cathedral: A Lesson for the Ages Raymond Carver’s short story, “Cathedral,” portrays a story in which many in today’s society can relate. We are introduced from the first sentence of the story to a man that seems to be perturbed and agitated. As readers, we are initially unsure to the reasoning’s behind the man’s discomfort. The man, who seems to be a direct portrayal of Raymond Carver himself, shows his ignorance by stereotyping a blind man by the name of Robert, who has come to stay with he and his wife....   [tags: Raymond Carver]

Better Essays
1102 words (3.1 pages)

Raymond Carver Neighbors Essay

- Neighbors "Neighbors is a short story written by Raymond Carver in 1988. It is from the collection of short stories "Short cuts". The short story is in brief about the married couple Bill and Arlene Miller, who lives opposite the married couple Harriet and Jim stone. Bill and Arlene constantly see themselves in the light of the Stones' happy life. Bill is a bookkeeper and Arlene is a secretary, while Jim is a salesman for a machine-parts firm. In the story the Stones are going on a business trip combined with a family trip....   [tags: Raymond Carver]

Better Essays
1976 words (5.6 pages)

Raymond Carver's Cathedral Essay

- Raymond Carver's Cathedral Raymond Carver utilizes his character of the husband, who is also the narrator, in his short story "Cathedral." From the beginning of the story the narrator has a negative personality. He lacks compassion, has a narrow mind, is detached emotionally from others, and is jealous of his wife's friendship with a blind man named Robert. He never connects with anyone emotionally until the end of this story. At the beginning of the story the husband is telling of a blind man coming to visit him and his wife....   [tags: Raymond Carver Cathedral Literature Essays]

Better Essays
1088 words (3.1 pages)

Raymond Carver's Neighbors Essay

-      In Raymond Carver’s “Neighbors” the speaker’s attention seems to be more directed on the Bill and Arlene Miller. The Millers are a married couple who were once a happy couple but as the years went along they felt grew apart. It seems as though they are too busy comparing their lives to the Harriet and Jim Stone, which are their neighbors, that they don’t have time to fix their marriage. The Stones do what married people should do and that’s “go out for dinner, or entertaining at home, or traveling about the country somewhere…(70).” The Millers are given the responsibility of looking after the Stones apartment for ten days, while they are on a pleasure trip....   [tags: Raymond Carver]

Better Essays
470 words (1.3 pages)