Analysis Of So Much Water So Close To Home

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In his short story “So Much Water So Close to Home,” Raymond Carver criticizes the lack of sensitivity society has in regards to the power imbalances between men and women by depicting domestic discord and a community’s response to violence that specifically targets women. The reader is introduced to gendered modes of experiencing the world since the story is told from the wife’s perspective instead of her husband’s. Carver’s narrative choice to frame the story from the perspective of Claire, places the reader into Claire’s shoes to piece together how small instances create her overall psychological turmoil. Claire’s relationship with Stuart perpetuates the demise of her psychological health since she feels uncomfortable to explicitly …show more content…
Over a phone call Claire explicitly states her thoughts surrounding Susan in the last sentence of the story saying, “[f]or God’s sake, Stuart, she was only a child” (193). After this declaration Carver ends the story, leaving the reader without Stuart’s response to Claire’s act of defiance. This ambiguity for the reader, highlights the same questioning Claire probably has. It must be noted however, that Claire does not explicitly tell Stuart the emotional violence he has put her through or try and end it. The failure on her part adds to Carver’s overall criticism of how women of any age can be unfairly abused by men and will be taken advantage of if they are not aware of themselves at all times. In the newspaper, Susan’s body is expected to be “eighteen to twenty-four years of age” (177). At the age of 18 and beyond, a person is deemed an adult, but Claire labels her as a “child.” From the facts of the case with the green car, Claire probably assumed Susan’s youth and naivety caused her death. Claire’s reasoning for this statement protecting Susan and not blaming her for the situation, demonstrates her empathy as a fellow woman and a mother. When Claire returns home from the funeral service and is alone with Stuart, she feels that something has happened to her son Dean. Her senses have heightened not only for her safety but also her son’s as she continually questions Stuart, “[w]here is he?” (191). Seeing the emotional strife Susan’s friends and family had to experience, Claire fears the possibility of facing the same reality with her own child since she has just witnessed man’s capabilities of taking advantage of women and the younger population. Overall, Carver portrays the terrible reality of domestic violence that Claire has to live with, since she is unable to predict the actions of her husband and is afraid to upset

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