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Post-1914 Prose - Raymond Carver (1938-1988) - Consider Carver's view on marriage.

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Regina Forrester 21st October, 2002. GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE Post-1914 Prose Raymond Carver (1938-1988) THE STUDENT'S WIFE THE DUCKS HOW ABOUT THIS? Consider Carver's view on marriage Marriage is defined by dictionaries as 'a formal union of a man and a woman, by which they become husband and wife'. However, books containing a list of words adjacent to their definitions do not fully define the concept of marriage. Some argue that marriage is about love and trust; others think of it as a permanent commitment between two people. In the stories with which Carver presents us in his book, Will You Please Be Quite, Please? marriage is about love, where love is not an experience of high excitement but a form of available reassurance, security and comfort. In Carver's view, love involves alleviating fear and providing the feeling of security that one is not alone. In the late stages of a marriage, mature couples tend to pay attention to the fear of loneliness, the fear that all human beings, such as their partners, are mortal which makes them feel vulnerable. In The Student's Wife, Carver presents us with his first view of marriage through a couple, Mike and Nan. Mike and Nan live in an urban area with their children. Mike and Nan are in a late stage of marriage and have grown apart from each other. ...read more.


In The Ducks, Carver presents us with his second view of marriage. In The Ducks, Carver's ideas are interpreted to us by a couple whose names are not mentioned. The couple live in a remote area and are in the later stages of marriage. Carver sets the mood by using a meteorological soundtrack: rain falling, which is repeated frequently in the story to remind us of the situation. The rain is used to symbolize time passing. In this marriage, Carver suggests that a change of scenery can make a difference. At the beginning of the story, Carver gives us a description of the meteorological conditions: 'a wind came' and 'bringing gust and rain'. He sets a gloomy scene. The setting of the story is set in the house of the main characters, 'he' and 'she'. The dialogue starts with a conversation between the couple about the 'trip to Reno'. As the story develops, the husband expresses his feelings towards his wife ('don't you feel good?'); this shows that he is highly aware of his wife's feelings. Unlike the husband in The Student's Wife, this husband is very responsive and tactile towards his wife ('he touched her hips, pinched her dress'). In this relationship, the couple have no problem with communication. The wife seeks reassurance from her husband ('kiss me bye'); she initiates physical contact without the fear of humiliation because she knows that her husband will respond to her needs. ...read more.


and would like a change from urban living. As they approach the house, where Emily spent most of her childhood, Harry feels disappointed ('nothing he really wanted'); rustic living did not level up to his expectations. Sensing Harry's disappointment, Emily reminds him of what she said before they reached the house ('I told you not to expect too much'); she tries to ease his dissatisfaction but finds that she cannot relieve his frustration. After touring the house, Emily feels Harry's discontentment and comforts him ('Harry, we just have to love each other'). She signifies that, wherever they may end up, all they have to do is to love each other in order for them to be truly happy. This marriage shows us that location is not relevant when it comes to loving a person. When Harry found that rural living was not what he wanted, Emily was there to face the consequences with him. To Carver, marriage is about a couple who are willing to be together till death parts them. He presents us with three unconventional stories suggesting different outcomes of a long-term marriage. The simplicity of Carver's semi-autobiographical stories gives us an insight into the reality of modern couples. Based on contemporary marriages, his stories are ironic compared to the stories we once read. In conclusion, marriage can be a comfort in knowing that when a person is going through pain and suffering or joy and happiness, that person is not alone. ...read more.

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