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What I Talk About When I Talk About Carver

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  1. Introduction
  2. Raymond Carver's portrayal of a minimalist world
  3. Carver's uses of a combination of ambiguity and familiarity
    1. The girl: As passive as the language used to describe her
    2. The giving away of material possessions
    3. His 'enriched privation'
    4. The man in the story
  4. The characters in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
  5. The alienation effect, deriving from Roberto Brecht
  6. Conclusion

Some might insist that Raymond Carver's short stories prove hopelessly post-modern?and that may be. However, his work remains the first that ever pulled me out of the writing into a deep pondering of the reality he creates in junction with the kind of people that compose the society in which I live. For the first time in my reading career, I became a collaborator?.

[...] She eventually stops talking about the yard sale because she cannot reach a conclusion that she senses she should. By no longer mentioning it, she relegates the incident to the back-shelf of her mind. Instead, she tells her friends, old guy gave it to us. And all these crappy records. Will you look at this (p. 10). She minimizes the experience because she does not quite know what to make of it. The story ends there because teetering on the brink of understanding something abstract cannot instigate concrete changes. [...]


[...] My realization comes in the form of the alienation effect, deriving from Roberto Brecht, meaning that Carver has created a critical distance from what I am reading. This is a means of arriving at collaboration between author and reader. DeBord claims, spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images? (DeBord Carver's story allows us to eaves drop on a typical social relation of friends sharing drinks and conversation around a table. Here, people and love are expressed as breakable, replaceable, and even exchangeable commodities. [...]

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