So Much Water So Close to Home

by Raymond Carver

Start Free Trial

Student Question

How does Carver's "So Much Water So Close to Home" reveal the characters' thoughts and personalities?

Expert Answers

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

The story “So Much Water So Close To Home” by Raymond Carver provides deliberately sparse details about a crime and the supposed perpetrator or perpetrators of the crime. The story is told from the first-person perspective of Claire, whose husband Stuart, when hiking with three friends. On this trip, they find a murder victim.  There are two main ways in which the author lets the reader into the thoughts and feelings of his characters: by their speech and by their actions.

The first glimpse the reader gets of what a character might be thinking is at the opening scene of the story, where Stuart and Claire interact. Stuart is in an unreasonably angry mood, giving the impression that he has something to hide. Claire, on the other hand, gives the impression that she is suspicious because of the questions she asks her husband and the way she looks at him. One might also interpret this “look” as her husband’s guilty conscious that sees an expression that might not truly be intended.

Throughout the story, Stuart’s temper and Claire’s furtive behavior gives the reader glimpses into what they are thinking.  The author uses these devices in favor of direct or indirect characterization; in other words, he shows the reader what the characters are thinking by what they do and say rather than explaining it to the reader.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial