Raymond Carver What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Summary

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In “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” the theme is love. The story is mainly based on dialogues between two couples, Mel and Terresa, and Laura and Nick. While they talked a lot, at the end of the story, they did not come up with a clear definition of love. Through symbolisms and writing style used in the story, Carver examed how difficult to define love. Raymond Carver was a minimalist writer, whose stories were written in a sparse use of language and paired down prose (Brent). That means Carver used a simple form and language in the his stories. Most readers thought nothing happened in the story, but actually Carver wrote enough for readers to understand the story. At the beginning of the story, it said “Mel McGinnis is a cardiologist, …show more content…
You were pretty safe wearing all that armor. It was all right being a knight until gunpowder and muskets and pistols came along” (Carver). Mel had a troubled marriage with his first wife. And when Terri said her violent ex-boyfriend loved her, Mel refuted it immediately with a strong tone. I can feel how his marriage had a significant influence on him. Therefore, he wanted to be a knight to protect himself. He thought people could not get hurt easily by wearing the suit of armor. Love is not always perfect, and it may hurt those involved. As Terri stated she still thought her ex-boyfriend loved her despite the abusive …show more content…
Carver was an alcoholic, but he quit drinking in 1977. Carver said in his interview “I’ll always be an alcoholic, but I’m no longer a practicing alcoholic” (Simpson, Buzbee). The conversation started when they opened the first bottle of the Gin. After finishing the first bottle, they stop talking about Terri’s ex-boyfriend. And the story of the old couple ended when they finished the second bottle. At the end of the story, Mel said they should finish the Gin and then go have dinner. The Gin served as a timer in the story (shampoo.com). As they kept drinking, the definition of love became more vague for Mel and the way Mel talked was abusive. For example, “what the fuck’s the difference” and “I go in and fuck around and fix things” (Carver). The more Mel drank, the more honest he came. In the latter part of the story, Mel talked about how his ex-wife has hurt him and
Carver’s stories were also known for “slice of life” and dirty realism, which means his stories embody and mimic our daily life activity and also reveal the harsh truth. When I read the story, I can image the scene when those two couples sat around the table and had the conversation. Those kind of conversation happens in our daily life. Carver also used a lot of repeating sentences to make the story more vivid and natural. For example, Terri said “but I love you hon”, and Mel replied “Honey, I love you” (Carver). When I read this, I feel this is a common

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