Raymond Carver

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Compare the writing styles of Raymond Carver and Ernest Hemingway.

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Both Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Carver are minimalist writers who use simple, declarative sentences and ordinary words and who leave much of the meaning in their stories unsaid, below the surface. Carver was forty years younger than Hemingway and began publishing his work in the year of Hemingway's death. He was particularly influenced by the style of Hemingway's early short stories and employs the same devices of symbolism and omission, as well as often leaving the endings open, as Hemingway does.

While Hemingway's characters are often cosmopolitan, wealthy, and comparatively idle, Carver confined himself mainly to the harsh existences of the American working class. Carver's stories also revolve around smaller incidents and decisions in the lives of these people than is the case in a typical Hemingway story, where the ultimate issue, as in "A Day's Wait" or "Hills Like White Elephants," may well be a matter of life and death.

While Hemingway was also a novelist, Carver specialized in the short story. It might be said that Carver used the techniques developed by Hemingway to explore the lives of a smaller set of characters in a narrower range of situations, though perhaps at a greater depth.

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