What does this mean, why is it important? "Eating is a small, good thing in a time like this.”

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In "A Small, Good Thing" by minimalist Raymond Carver is a story with a message of sympathy and forgiveness and the cited line is pivotal to this lesson.

Not knowing that Ann and Howard Weiss have been at the hospital for the last three days, a baker phones them repeatedly to inform them that they have not picked up the birthday cake which they have ordered.  After the third day, their son, having been struck by a car, has died and the grief-stricken parents return home.  When the phone rings again, they think it is the man who has struck their son calling anonymously; later, however, Ann realizes it is the baker calling about the cake that they have failed to pick up.  Incensed, Ann calls the baker names and they drive to the shopping center to confront him.

When they reach the bakery, it is closed, but they go around the the back and knock when they hear a radio.  The baker opens the door, saying he is closed and asks, "What do you want at...

(The entire section contains 544 words.)

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