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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 327

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There are two main characters in the short story "So Much Water So Close to Home" by Raymond Carver, as well as some auxiliary characters who are either mentioned or briefly introduced.


The first character of importance in the text is Claire. She acts as the narrator of the tale, and the events follow her actions. She is a wife and mother, and she has grown suspicious of her husband's actions. As the two have become distant through time, she worries about his actions and his honesty towards her.

The first instance she shows concern over in the text is simply her husband's enjoyment of the dinner she has prepared for him—an innocuous thing, but his potential dishonesty about it belies his true nature, in her opinion. She becomes obsessed with the story of the dead woman and even goes to the woman's funeral, despite not knowing her, doing whatever she can to glean more information. In the end, however, her loneliness catches up with her, and she shares an intimate moment with her husband in spite of her suspicions about him.


Claire's husband, Stuart, is the second main character. While away on a fishing trip, he and his friends find a dead body, which they don't immediately report and instead decide to tether to a nearby tree. This behavior is very suspicious. He is callous and rude towards Claire and vehemently maintains his innocence, even in the absence of substantial proof that would help his case. His adamant protests that he had nothing to do with the woman's death lead him into an anger that makes him seem more suspect in the matter.

Additional Characters

Additional characters include Stuart's fishing buddies, Mel, Vern, and Gordon, who may be accessories to the crime. Additionally, the couple's son, Dean, is never present but is mentioned in the story. Marnie, Claire's hairdresser, makes a brief appearance, discussing the dead woman while Claire has her nails done.