What We Talk About When We Talk About Love By Raymond Carver Analysis

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A seventy-five year experiment conducted by Harvard researchers ended with the conclusion that love is all that truly matters in life, showing that happiness revolved solely on love or searching for it. Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” focuses on four character’s different opinions of what love is and their journey in searching for the true meaning, some of the characters denying this human impulse to thrive in this ‘true love’ concept. Carver’s use of symbolism truly forms the backbone of this literary piece. Although the dialogue provides much knowledge of what the characters are feeling, Carver’s practice of symbolism dissects the true emotion of the piece by aligning separate and deeper meanings to inanimate …show more content…
The four friends gather around Mel and Terri’s table, starting the day off in a light and comfortable conversation, “Sunlight filled the kitchen from the big window behind the sink.” (Carver, pg. 386), giving a false impression that the remainder of the literary piece would be a light and enjoyable conversation amongst friends. Carver uses sunlight continuously in the story as a false hope for the group of friends, “The afternoon was like a presence in this room, the light of ease and generosity.” (Carver, pg. 389), but as the sunlight descends, the false hope is gone and leaves the group of friends to face their true feelings and emotions. Carver uses this symbolism as a tool for the reader to see between the lines, not to rely solely on what is given at face value. He suggests that not everything is as it seems, and that, especially in the case of “What We Talk About”, some things have deeper and alternative meanings than what they originally imply (Reading Raymond Carver). Nick finally observes at the end of the conversation that this ‘light’ they were basking in previously had faded on them, “The light was draining out of the room, going back through the window where it had come from.”(Carver, pg. 394), completely abandoning them when they needed it the most. At this point, Mel and Terri have lost hope in each other, the conversation they hold draining their love for each other and creating a tense environment. The sunlight failed them, but Carver’s use of it as a symbol for time and hope created a new outlook on the story itself and proved to be critical to the literary

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