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Discuss the relevance of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.

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clintonk18 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 7, 2012 at 6:19 PM via web

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Discuss the relevance of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 8, 2012 at 1:40 AM (Answer #1)

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There is a great deal of relevance to Carver's discussion featured in the story.  The critical element that I see which is relevant is that Carver has his characters discuss a condition of being that is far from resolved, one in which the challenge of articulation and distillation is still evident.  No one really knows how to describe what love is or to define it.  What we talk about when we talk about love is the next best thing to being able to define it.  Carver realizes this and features characters who "talk it out" in order to either get a better sense of the emotion or to simply air out their confusion and challenges that are evident.  This includes emotional pain, hurt, a sense of betrayal, as well as a struggle to understand why we feel what we feel when we are in love.  The relevance here is evident in that the same struggle and difficulties in understanding love is still there even now.  Carver renders a narrative where love is not fully known, but love is defined in operational terms that cause reflection and a sense of contemplation on the part of the reader.  It is here where I think that there is much in way of relevance to Carver's work for what we talk about when we talk about love is just about as important as what it means when we experience what it means to love.

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