This short story by Raymond Carver is one of the most shocking ones I have ever read. Belive or not, the story hooks your attention from the first line but once you are onto it, you really feel the pressure of an uncomfortable situation. On and on you expect a negative conclusion and every clue you get, it makes you feel more pessimistic about the end of it. (I know it all sounds extremely confusing, but I don't want to make it more obvious).
There is no room for imagination in the story, except for the doctor's explanations about the actual situation of his patient; there is no space for anything different from realism either. Every situation shows as it is; as though every scene had been recorded with a camera.
In my opinion, the story is no more than raw criticism against materialistic society and the narrow views of consumerism. The baker, for example, may endlessly go on and on, day after day making his muffins and cakes, but he would not care about anything else except for his money.
Whatever it is, please have a look at Mr. Carver's biography. It is as interesting as his own literature. If you have the chance, please read this short story.
Thursday, 5 April 2012
I wondered if he would remember me and I inquired in the most rude manner I could have imagined. I stared at him and immediately after that, he seemed to have a vague memory of myself. We greeted each other even thugh he could scarcely identify me with one of his former studets. I acknowledged how much I admired him at that time and told him I still kept a copy of each, his grammar and idioms books - the latter of which I probably acquired in a second hand book shop - and he made a few questions to me. As soon as he knew I was teaching, he stated we were colleagues, the mere fact of his declaring this, made me feel uncomfortable and ashamed as it is long ago that I knew I would never be as wise or intelligent as my teachers were.
The reason why I said books choose people is because the dramatic line within the book portraits a critical period of American History which resembles the one we are living in Europe now. The poor or middle class NY society of the early 1930s become an excellent background to tell us the story of a divorced mother and her two children and how their struggle for the Amerian dream ends up in deep frustration.
Apparently, the younger brother, who is seven years old when the story is happening, becomes the omniscient narrator when he grows old. The whole story turns around an anecdote happening to their mother, who at that time was appointed by President Roosvelt's office to make an sculpture of his head.
False and great expectations about the future, poverty and mediocrity, lack of means and money, hypocrisy and sour criticism to Amerian way of life are the main topics in the story. So, you could discribe this fine piece of writing as realistic as you feel all these places and characters really existing. The author really describes every feature in the characters' personalities and every single spot in this narrow geography of him, which in spite of this, makes you feel as though you could visit every room or call on every person or house he talks about.
I'll stop here for fear that I might write longer than I should. It is only about 60 pages long and it is worth spending one or two afternoons reading it. Hope you enjoy if you happen to come across a copy of the story. It was my pleasure to find my former teacher anyway.