Raymond Carver American Literature Analysis
Carver’s first two collections of short stories shocked readers with their violence and puzzled them with their laconic, Chekhovian style. Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? contains twenty-two stories that provide stark images of lives lived in quiet desperation. In many of the stories in this collection, the characters are thrown out of their everyday routines and caught in situations in which they feel helpless and estranged.
Whereas the stories in Carver’s first important collection are relatively drained of imagery and recall the style of Ernest Hemingway, the stories in his second major collection, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, are even more radically sparing in their language; indeed, they are so minimal that they seem mere dehumanized patterns with no life in them at all. Whatever theme they may have is embodied in the bare outlines of sometimes shocking, sometimes trivial events and in the spare and reticent dialogue of the characters, who seem utterly unable to articulate the nature of their isolation. Characters often have no names or only first names and are so briefly described that they seem to have no physical presence at all.
The lyricism of Carver’s style lies in a “will to style” in which reality is stripped of its physicality and exists only in the hard, bare outlines of the event. Carver’s stories have more of the ambience of dream than of everyday reality. They are unconcerned...
(The entire section is 3732 words.)
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