So Much Water So Close to Home

by Raymond Carver

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Student Question

From which point of view is "So Much Water So Close to Home" written?

Quick answer:

"So Much Water So Close to Home" is narrated from the first-person point of view, for the narrator, Claire, is a character in the story and tells it from her own perspective using first-person pronouns.

Expert Answers

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Raymond Carver's story "So Much Water So Close to Home" is written in the first-person point of view. We know this because the narrator is a character in the story and speaks directly to readers using the first-person pronoun I.

The narrator's name is Claire, and she is caught in an unsatisfying marriage. Her husband, Stuart, is quite cold and distant, unless he wants physical relations with his wife. Otherwise, they speak to each other in short phrases, and whenever Claire tries to talk to him about the girl who has been murdered (and whose body Stuart and his friends find), he cuts her off with a warning not to get him riled up.

Claire has no way to express her emotions, and we notice that her narration of the story is also quite unemotional. She simply relates what happens without going into detail about what she feels. We can infer her feelings from her actions and words, but she does not directly express them. We can, for instance, understand that when the man in the pickup truck follows her and then comes up to her car, Claire is terrified as she huddles behind locked doors and begs the man to let her go. We can also tell that Claire is appalled by the fact that her husband and his friends tied the murdered girl's body to a tree and left it there for two days while they fished. She doesn't say it, but her anger and disgust is apparent when she knocks the dishes to the floor and when she tries to avoid Stuart.

Claire probably doesn't express her emotions openly because she has had to suppress them for so long. Her husband doesn't want to hear about them. Their relationship is all about his needs and desires. Her ideas and feelings seem to matter little to him, so Claire keeps them to herself, even as she tells the story.

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