Who is the protagonist of "So Much Water So Close to Home"?

The protagonist of "So Much Water So Close to Home" by Raymond Carver is Claire, the narrator and wife of Stuart, one of the men who discovers the murdered girl. Claire has to come to terms with the girl's death and her own isolation, fear, and marital problems.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The protagonist in Raymond Carver's short story "So Much Water So Close to Home" is the narrator, Claire. Claire is trying to deal with her failing relationship with her husband, Stuart, and their problems are cast into sharp relief when Stuart and his fishing buddies find the body of a murdered girl on one of their trips and don't report the crime for two whole days, until they've finished their fishing.

Claire now understands how cold and distant her husband is. She connects with the murdered girl, for she often feels like she is just as much an object to her husband as the girl's body is. Claire gives him the physical relations he wants, but she seems to feel nothing. She cannot talk to her husband about the incident, or apparently about anything else, without risking getting him riled up. Their communication appears to be non-existent.

Further, Claire recalls an incident from her childhood that is all too close to what has happened to the murdered girl. The Maddox brothers killed Arlene Hubly and dumped her body in the river. The fear Claire apparently felt at the time comes back now with this new murder. She decides to go to the girl's funeral to pay her respects and possibly to find a sense of closure. On the way, though, she finds more fear as a man in a pickup truck follows her and even approaches her as she sits in her locked car. The fact that what happened to the two girls could easily happen to her is all too clear.

Claire talks to people at the funeral and learns more about the murdered girl. She also learns that the police arrested a suspect in her death, a local boy. The funeral, however, does not give Claire the resolution she seeks, for she goes home to Stuart, who once again thinks he knows exactly what she needs and forces himself on her.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial