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Remind yourself of the passage in 'Neighbors' from 'In the morning he had Arlene call in for him...' to the end of the story. Discuss the significance of this to the story as a whole.

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Introduction

Remind yourself of the passage in 'Neighbors' from 'In the morning he had Arlene call in for him...' to the end of the story. Discuss the significance of this to the story as a whole. In the course of your answer: * Look closely at the effects of the writing; * Comment on how this passage relates to the test's methods and concerns This extract is placed after Bill's second visit to the Stone's apartment. Carver's view on women is very interesting in Short Cuts. The way that Bill gets Arlene to "call in for him" in the morning suggests that women are there to serve men or are somehow below men. This theme is carried out throughout the book in many different situations. Bill "[tries] to start a book" which shows how obsessed he has become with the Stone's apartment. At first it seems as though Bill is merely a voyeur in their vacated house, but this quote suggests that he has in fact lost interest in his own life. ...read more.

Middle

Firstly, he is looking out on the world, observing it, whilst he remains in the Stone's apartment. He feels that there is a link between him and the world, but the Stone's apartment acts as a firewall that he can remain behind. Secondly, Bill and Arlene are both accused by each other for spending unnecessary amounts of time in the Stone's apartment. This quote is an example of Carver's minimalist technique, the way he has simple stated "for a long time", we only realize exactly how long this is further on in the story when Bill is told that he was actually in the apartment for substantially longer than he thought. Bill is affected so much by the apartment that he looses his hunger. He is so anxious to get back to the apartment. In a way he has swapped positions with the Stones in a sense that he now feels a little awkward in his own home, perhaps not feeling his creature comforts as strongly as he may have before. ...read more.

Conclusion

This techniques gives the impression that the Stone's do not want to mention their names because it suggests that they are familiar to them, or maybe separate to them, whereas this less personal title of "they" means that it could be referring to anyone. The point here is that the Stones are both trying to forget about the people and personalities of their neighbors, and live their lives. The final part of the story explains how they accidentally leave the key inside the apartment and are now locked out. They are both very melodramatic about the situation. The simple solution is clear yet it is never mentioned. They assume that because they don't have one set of keys they cannot get in, or that the door is an indestructible barrier between them and the apartment. This thrill again acts as a trigger as "her breathing was hard, expectant". The final sentence is a very effective ending. They "[brace] themselves" against the wind. They feel that the wind symbolizes the outside world, and they have to brace themselves because they have locked something, a part of them, inside the apartment. They have nothing other to hold onto but each other. ...read more.

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