In the short stories, Elephant written by Raymond Carver, and the Prison written by Bernard Malamud, the characters are filled with unhappiness.

Authors Avatar by hoonstar17gmailcom (student)

In the short stories, “Elephant” written by Raymond Carver, and “the Prison” written by Bernard Malamud, the characters are filled with unhappiness. Malamud is one of the most prominent figures in Jewish American literature. Carver was an American short story writer and poet. He contributed to the revitalization of the American short story in literature during the 1980s. The central idea in both short stories are family problem and poor choices.

In the “The Prison,” the character’s unhappiness originated from his poor childhood decisions which comes from his poor childhood experience. He stole a car and is now regretting it. He is forced to marry Rosa and to work in the candy store. This makes him not enjoy his life. Also, he has no freedom to do what he likes to do. For example, he put the slot machines in the store to “supply them a few extra dollars cash.” Consequently, Rosa screamed and her father “chopped the machine apart”. Moreover, having no freedom to do something made his life miserable and boring. An example of this is when “he would wake up with the sour remembrance of the long night in the store ahead of him while everybody else was doing as he damn pleased.” As a result, “he cursed the place and Rosa, and cursed, from its beginning…” This shows his hatred for the place he works. Hence, character is unhappy from his childhood decisions.
Join now!

Similarly, in the “Elephant” the unhappiness of the main character came from his past experience but not in his childhood experience. This may have happened before he divorced with his wife. One can see when he said in his dream that “drinking that whiskey was the thing that scared me. That was the worst thing that could have happened.” This shows that his drinking problem was one of the reasons why he divorced with his wife because he might had done negative things without thinking. Furthermore, he also “smashed through the glass” with his shoe at his son. ...

This is a preview of the whole essay