Plot” Little Things” is the story of a couple that has been having some marital problems. Raymond Carver uses ambiguity in the story to describe the situation that is going on between the married couple. Although the problems they are having are not stated specifically, it is clear that the couple is moving apart from each other. The narrator shows us the husband getting ready to leave his wife, which turns into a yelling match. The man is packing a suitcase, getting ready to leave, when he demands to take their child with him. However, the couple then argues about the child as well. The wife holds the child, and they begin to argue about who should take care of the baby. The wife does not want him to have the baby, but the husband thinks he should have it. The couple begins grasping the baby by the arms. The wife has one arm, and the husband with the other. Then, the baby begins crying because it is apparently in some pain, due to the actions of the couple. The husband begins forcing his wife’s hands off of the baby, her grip slips off, but she grabs the baby again harder. The wife does the same thing, and the husband grabs the child by the top of his arm underneath the shoulder. The baby was slipping from both people, but they held on harder and pulled in the opposite directions. As the couple pulled on the child from its arms, it is apparent that they harmed the baby in some way, hence the last line of the story: ” He felt the baby slipping out of his hands and he pulled back very hard. In this manner, the issue was decided.” Man/Husbandunnamed male packing his suitcase and preparring to leave. Carver does not give names to the individuals because it gives readers a chance to relate better to the story since they can put their own names to it. Woman/Wifewife (or girlfriend) looks on and fights for the baby. Carver does not give names to the individuals because it gives readers a chance to relate better to the story since they can put their own names to it. Childunamed / ungendered child caught in fight. The baby is the broken relationship and every child that has been through a broken home can relate to it. Also, the baby can be anything that is fought over in a relationshipSettingSome house, winter timePoint of Viewthird person by an unnamed narratorSymbolism ObjectsCarver also uses symbolism when both parents are fighting over the baby. The flowerpot in the kitchen falls to the ground and breaks. Though it is only mentioned in one sentence, it acts as foreshadowing for what will happen later in the story as both parents are pulling on the baby. Though it is not expressly said by the narrator and it is open to interpretation, it may be a case that as both parents are pulling on the baby, they break the baby’s arm. If this is the case then the baby’s broken arm would mirror the relationship (between the parents) which also appears to be broken (or over). Symbolism Weather and LightThe opening line of the story is also interesting. Carver opens the story by telling the reader ‘Early that day the weather turned and the snow was melting into dirty water.’ This opening sentence is important because it acts as symbolism. Snow is white and usually in literature white would symbolize or represent some sort of purity or cleanliness. It is possible that Carver may be suggesting to the reader, through symbolism, that what was once a healthy, loving relationship between the couple has been tainted in some way. Lighting also plays a significant part in the setting of the story. Very early on the reader is aware that it is getting dark not only outside but inside as well. In some ways the lack of light (or the darkness) acts as foreshadowing within the story, something that becomes clearer to the reader as we see both parents struggling with the baby. Theme” Separation, Conflict, Struggle – In ” Popular Mechanics,” Raymond Carver starts to develop the theme right off with the snow melting into dirty water; he foreshadows their through snow because it is white and consider pure, but the dirty water represents the darkness that is to come in their relationship. Carver also uses diction along the lines of dark and slushed which give the story a negative feeling. Within a few lines a reading it becomes evident that the relationship between the couple is falling apart. The man has decided to pack up and leave due to the condition of the relationship. The woman also uses the words son of a bitch which shows her anger towards the man.” StyleCarver also uses short sentences throughout the story which gives an emphasis to the finality of the relationship between both characters. Whatever has caused the end of the relationship between both characters, it becomes clear to the reader that there is no going back or there will be no resolution between the two of them. The use of short sentences also helps or assists in raising the tension in the story. Another interesting thing about Carver’s language usage is his use of the word ‘little’ in the story. It is used at the beginning of the story when the narrator is describing the streaks running down the shoulder high window. It is also used later when the wife ‘stood in the doorway of the little kitchen, holding the baby.’ Its usage is important as Carver may be suggesting to the reader that the house is too small for three people (the couple and the baby) and that it was inevitable that the couple’s relationship would come to an end. What is also interesting or possibly symbolic is that Carver may be using the symbolism of the house (being too small) to suggest that the relationship between both parents will never grow. Tone and Styleanger and aggression with irony. Irony – The title of the story may also be important. Originally the story was called ‘Mine’ (which can be found in Carver’s ‘Beginners’ collection) and Carver’s editor Gordon Lish changed the title to ‘Popular Mechanics.’ There is a magazine called ‘Popular Mechanics’ which is a how-to style magazine and it is possible that by changing the title of the story, Lish was attempting to introduce irony into the story. Which he may have succeeded in doing as it becomes clear to the reader (after reading the story) that neither parent appears to know how to run or keep a family together. The story can also be found under another title (‘Little Things’) in Carver’s ‘Where I’m Calling From’ collection. It may also be a case that Carver by originally calling the story ‘Mine’ was highlighting to the reader that even though the parents are separating from each other, rather than considering the baby to be part of both their lives (ours) they are thinking about themselves (me or mine) and attempting to achieve their own goals (both parents want the baby). It is also possible that Carver is using the lack of light in the story (again) to suggest, at least symbolically, that both parents are in the dark as to the affects that their fighting has on the baby till it becomes too late. ONPOPULAR MECHANICS – RAYMOND CARVER SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUFOR ONLY$13. 90/PAGEOrder Now
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