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in Contemporary American Short Fiction" "Minimalism" in Raymond Carver’s "Collectors" Name: Mathias Keller
Table of Contents I. Introduction 2 II. Setting and Point of View 3 III. Characterization of the Protagonists 5 A. The I-Narrator 5 B. Aubrey Bell 8 C. The Development of their Relation 12 IV. Unfamiliar Actions and Events 13 V. Conclusion 16 VI. Bibliography 19 A. Primary Sources 19 B. Secondary Sources 19
I. Introduction Raymond Carver’s "Collectors"1 is part of the often underrated trend2 in contemporary American short fiction which is called "Minimalism" or "New Realism". Its most significant characteristic, in contrast to "Postmodernism", is that it returns to the realistic depiction of everyday life (mimesis) in the American society. Raymond Carver can be labelled as one dominant representative of this movement and he writes in most cases about the trivialities of everyday life. Very frequently he constructs stories with a depressive and hopeless mood due to the failure of personal relationships between the protagonists. Then, alcoholism is their last refuge. Furthermore, Carver admired Hemingway and adopted some very interesting techniques from his literary idol. Indeed, the most prevailing one was Carver’s imitation of the "Iceberg-Theory"3 in his stories. Hemingway states that in a story only about 1/8, like the top of an iceberg, should be told and 7/8, the part underneath the water, should be discovered by the reader. The latter represents for Hemingway as well as for Carver the most important part of a short story. Wolfgang Iser wrote in his books on the aesthetics of reception about the analogous technique of blanks/omission.4 He states, that the main issues lie underneath the plain and fragmentary surface of narration. Accordingly, the story depends on speculations by the reader, which are intended by the author, and often a high level of previous knowledge is required to understand all circumstances and motivations of the characters. Due to the variety of speculations it can be doubted that a coherent interpretation of a text with a lot of blanks is possible. However, they certainly do create an enormous effect. In the seemingly simple low-rent tragedy "Collectors", "Carver’s most minimalistic [story],"5 a salesman for vacuum cleaners enters the house and life of the I-narrator. A multitude of
blanks and, moreover, unfamiliar events and actions contribute to a large extend to the high potential of anxiety of the story. In the following, I will first reveal the most significant blanks concerning the setting, the point of view and the two protagonists. By doing so, I will also attempt to fill them. Secondly, I will analyze what is unfamiliar in the story and how events and actions of the two characters amplify the, on the whole, uncanny situation. Finally, I will sum up the main findings of my analysis and evaluate them. II. Setting and Point of View In the beginning of the story, the unemployed I –narrator wastes his time by lying on the sofa and waiting for the postman on a rainy day. However, not the anticipated postman with a hopeful letter approaches, instead, it is the ominous vacuum cleaner salesman Aubrey Bell who draws nearer. He is supposed to present some cleaning tools for Mrs. Slater, who is said to be the wife of the I-narrator. As Aubrey Bell states it, her card was drawn in a lottery and "[she] is a winner" (C 114). According to the I-narrator "Mrs. Slater doesn’t live [there]" (Ibid.). Nevertheless, Aubrey Bell forces his way into the house and takes off his hat, coat and galoshes. [...]
Raymond Carver, "Collectors," Where I’m Calling From. New and Selected Stories (New York: Vintage Books, 1989) 113-120. All page references within the text refer to this edition. [Siglum C]
Uta Jäggle, Raymond Carvers Kurzprosa: Untersuchungen zu Formen narrativer Reduktion (Aachen: Shaker, 1999) 17. Henceforth, all quotes from secondary sources in German are translated into English.
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast (New York: 1964).
Wolfgang Iser, Die Appellstruktur der Texte: Unbestimmtheit als Wirkungsbedingung literarischer Prosa (Konstanz: Universitätsverlag, 1970). Also: Wolfgang Iser, Der Akt des Lesens: Theorie ästhetischer Wirkung (München: Fink, 1976). Arthur F. Bethea calls them in his book Technique and Sensibility in the Fiction and Poetry of Raymond Carver (New York; London: Routledge, 2002) on page 36 "indeterminate spots," which denote the same as Iser’s "Leerstellen".
G. P. Lainsbury, The Carver Chronotope: Inside the Life-World of Raymond Carver’s Fiction (New York: Routledge, 2004) 88.
Works by Raymond Carver
Carver, Raymond. All of Us: The Collected Poems. ed. William L. Stull. News York: Vintage, 2000. - - -. A New Path to the Waterfall. New York: Atlantic Monthly, 1989. - - -. At Night the Salmon Move. Santa Barbara: Capra, 1976. - - -. Call If You Need Me: The Uncollected Fiction and Otheer Prose. Ed. William L. Stull. New York: Vintage, 2001. - - -. Cathedral. New York: Knopf, 1983. - - -. Elephant and Other Stories. London: Collins Harvill, 1988. - - -. Fires. Santa Barbara: Capra, 1983; New York: Vintage, 1984; New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 1989. - - -. Furious Seasons and Other Stories. Santa Barbara: Capra, 1977. - - -. If It Please You. Northridge, CA: Lord John, 1984. - - -. In a Marine Light: Selected Poems. London: Collins Harvill, 1987. - - -. My Father's Life. Derry, NH: Babcock & Koontz, 1986. - - -. Near Klamath. Sacramento: English Club of Sacramento State College, 1968.
- - -. No Heroics, Please: Uncollected Writings. London: Collins Harvill, 1991; New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 1992. - - -. Put Yourself in My Shoes. Santa Barbara: Capra, 1974. - - -. The Pheasant. Worcester, MA: Metacom, 1982. - - -. The Stories of Raymond Carver. London: Picador, 1985. - - -. Those Days: Early Writings by Raymond CarverCarver. Elmwood, CT: Raven, 1987. - - -. Two Poems. Salisbury, MD: Scarab, 1982. - - -. Two Poems . Concord, NH: Ewert, 1986. - - -. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. New York: Knopf, 1981. - - -. Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories. New York: Atlantic Monthly, 1988; Franklin Center, PA: Franklin Library, 1988. - - -. Where Water Comes Together with Other Water. New York: Random House, 1985. - - -. Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976. - - -. Winter Insomnia. Santa Cruz: Kayak, 1970. - - -. Ultramarine. New York: Random House, 1986. Carver, Raymond with Shannon Ravenel. (Eds.) The Best American Short Stories 1986. Boston: Houghton Miflin, 1986. Carver, Raymond and Tess Gallagher. Dostoevsky: A Screenplay. Santa Barbara: Capra, 1985. Carver, Raymond and Tom Jenks. (Eds.) American Short Story Masterpieces. New York: Delacorte, 1987.
Raymond Clevie Carver, Jr. (May 25, 1938 – August 2, 1988) was an American short story writer and poet. Carver is considered a major writer of the late 20th century and also a major force in the revitalization of the short story in the 1980s.
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1 Life 2 Writing 3 Works o 3.1 Fiction 3.1.1 Collections 3.1.2 Compilations 3.1.3 Some individual stories o 3.2 Poetry 3.2.1 Collections 3.2.2 Compilations o 3.3 Screenplays o 3.4 Essays, Poems, Stories (Uncollected Works) 4 Films 5 Books about Carver 6 External links
Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, a mill town on the Columbia River, and grew up in Yakima, Washington. His father, a sawmill worker, was an alcoholic. Carver's mother worked on and off as a waitress and a retail clerk. His one brother, James Franklin Carver, was born in 1943. Carver was educated at local schools in Yakima, Washington. In his spare time he read mostly novels by Mickey Spillane or publications such as Sports Afield and Outdoor Life and
hunted and fished with friends and family. After graduating from Davis High School in 1956, Carver worked with his father at a sawmill in California. In June of 1957, aged 19, he married 16-year-old Maryann Burk. She had just graduated from a private Episcopal school for girls. His daughter, Christine La Rae, was born in December of 1957. When their second child, a boy named Vance Lindsay, was born the next year, Carver was 20. Carver supported his family by working as a janitor, sawmill laborer, delivery man, and library assistant. During their marriage, Maryann worked as a waitress, salesperson, administrative assistant, and teacher. Carver became interested in writing in California, where he had moved with his family because his wife's mother had a home in Paradise. Carver attended a creative-writing course, taught by the novelist John Gardner, who had a major influence on Carver's life and career. Carver continued his studies first at Chico State University and then at Humboldt State College in Arcata, California, where he was first published and studied with Richard Cortez Day and received his B.A. in 1963. He attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop, at the University of Iowa, for one year. Maryann graduated from San Jose State College in 1970 and taught English at Los Altos High School until 1977. In the mid-60s Carver and his family lived in Sacramento, where he worked as a night custodian at Mercy Hospital. He sat in on classes at what was then Sacramento State College including workshops with poet Dennis Schmitz. Carver's first book of poems, Near Klamath, was published in 1968 by the English Club of Sacramento State College. With his appearance in the respected "Foley collection," the impending publication of Near Klamath, and the death of his father, 1967 was a landmark year. That was also the year that he moved his family to Palo Alto, California, so that he could take a job as a textbook editor for Science Research Associates. He worked there until he was fired in 1970 for his inapproptiate writing style, too many active verbs. In the 1970s and 1980s as his writing career began to take off, Carver taught for several years at universities throughout the United States. During the years of working in different jobs, rearing children, and trying to write, Carver started to drink heavily and stated that alcohol became such a problem in his life that he more or less gave up and took to full-time drinking. In the fall semester of 1973, Carver was a teacher in the Iowa Writers' Workshop with John Cheever, but Carver stated that they did less teaching than drinking and almost no writing. The next year, after leaving Iowa City, Cheever went to a treatment center to attempt to overcome his alcoholism, but Carver continued drinking for three years. After being hospitalized three times because of his drinking (between June of 1976 and February or March of 1977), Carver began his 'second life' and stopped drinking on June 2, 1977, with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. In 1982, Carver and first wife, Maryann, were divorced. From 1979 Carver had lived with the poet Tess Gallagher whom he had met at a writers' conference in El Paso, Texas in 1978. They married in 1988 in Reno, Nevada. Six weeks later, on August 2, 1988, Carver died in Port Angeles, Washington, from lung cancer at the age of 50. In the same year, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is buried at Ocean View Cemetery in Port Angeles, Washington. As his will directed, Tess Gallagher assumed the management of his literary estate. In 2001 the novelist Chuck Kinder published Honeymooners: A Cautionary Tale, a roman à clef about his friendship with Carver in the 1970s. In 2006 Maryann Burk Carver wrote a memoir of her years with Carver: What It Used To Be Like; A Portrait of My Marriage to Raymond Carver.
Carver's career was dedicated to short stories and poetry. He described himself as "inclined toward brevity and intensity" and "hooked on writing short stories" (in the foreword of
Please". The same could probably be said of the recurring theme of alcoholism and recovery. Carver also submitted poetry to James Dickey. Will You Please Be Quiet. Anton Chekhov. and can now be found in recent collections No Heroics. "Furious Seasons" was later used as a title for a collection of stories published by Capra Press. especially Errand. The collection itself was shortlisted for the National Book Award. His editor at Esquire magazine. though it sold fewer than 5. His first collection. seems the greatest influence. His final (incomplete) collection of seven stories. Only one piece of this work has survived . Minimalism is generally seen as one of the hallmarks of Carver's work. Pritchett as influences. Please and Call If You Need Me. motivating him to write Errand.  Works  Fiction . Henry Awards for the stories 'Are These Actual Miles' (originaly titled 'What is it?') (1972). Gordon Lish. Gordon Lish instructed Carver to use five in place of fifteen. Frank O'Connor. particularly at the beginning of his career.two writers Carver was closely acquainted with . titled "The Furious Seasons".000 copies that year. Chekhov. was first published in 1976. Carver also referred to Isaac Babel. Also included in the collection are the award-winning 'A Small Good Thing'. 'Are You A Doctor?' (1975). Another stated reason for his brevity was "that the story [or poem] can be written and read in one sitting. Carver said that he saw the collection as a turning point in his career and a move towards a more mature.Where I'm Calling From. referring to a group of writers in the 1970s and 1980s that included Richard Ford. 'Put Yourself in My Shoes' (1974). one of his final stories. Henry Award in 1999.a story later selected by John Updike as one of the Best American Short Stories of the Century. His style has also been described as Dirty realism. More florid than much of his later work.where his earlier tutor John Gardner had advised Carver to use fifteen words instead of twentyfive.) During this time. a practical consideration as he juggled writing with work. Prior to his death." His first published story appeared in 1960. 'A Small. respectively. Please?. then poetry editor of Esquire. Carver had won six O. Tess Gallagher published five Carver stories posthumously in "Call If You Need Me". Good Thing' (1983). and are clearly reflective of his own life. about the Russian writer's final hours.an unpromising fragment "The Augustine Notebooks". the title story had appeared in the Best American Short Stories 1967 collection. The nature of these stories. and V. however. Carver's eventually broke with him. printed in "No Heroics. was instrumental in shaping Carver's prose in this direction . He was nominated again in 1984 for his third major-press collection Cathedral. generally perceived as Carver's best. the story strongly bore the influence of William Faulkner. These were writers who focused on the sadnesses and losses of the everyday lives of ordinary people—often lowermiddle class or isolated and marginalized people who represent Henry David Thoreau's idea of living lives of "quiet desperation. Objecting to the "surgical amputation and transplantation" of Lish's editing. one of the stories ('Kindling') won an O. S. have led to some speculation that Carver was preparing to write a novel. Carver's writing style and themes are often identified with Ernest Hemingway. Tobias Wolff .Ann Beattie. and Jayne Anne Phillips. poetic and optimistic style. a collection published in 1988—and a recipient of an honorable mention in the 2006 New York Times article citing the best works of fiction of the previous 25 years). titled Elephant in Britain (included in "Where I'm Calling From") was composed in the five years before his death. and 'Errand' (1988). and Franz Kafka." This was not simply a preference but. His subject matter was often focused on blue-collar experience. and 'Where I'm Calling From' .
Please? • • • • • • "Fat" "Nobody Said Anything" "The Student's Wife" "Neighbors" "Bicycles. Muscles. Please?" From Furious Seasons • • • "Distance" "Dummy" (revised title "The Third Thing That Killed My Father Off") "So Much Water So Close to Home" From What We Talk About When We Talk About Love • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" "Why Don't You Dance?" "Viewfinder" "Mr Coffee And Mr Fixit" "Gazebo" "I Could See The Smallest Things" "Sacks" "The Bath" "Tell The Women We're Going" "After The Denim" "So Much Water So Close To Home" "The Third Thing That Killed My Father Off" "A Serious Talk" "The Calm" "Popular Mechanics" "Everything Stuck To Him" "One More Thing" From Cathedral . Please? (first published 1976) Furious Seasons (1977) What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (1981) Cathedral (1983) Elephant (1988)  Compilations • • Where I'm Calling From (1988) Short Cuts: Selected Stories (1993) . Cigarets" "Will You Please Be Quiet. Collections • • • • • Will You Please Be Quiet.(film tie-in)  Some individual stories From Will You Please Be Quiet.
Stories (1983) No Heroics. Вашингтон) — американский поэт и новеллист. Poems. Raymond Carver. Call if You Need Me was identical to No Heroics. essays. and reviews of other authors. Stories (Uncollected Works) • • • Fires: Essays. and include early fiction. Fires covers Carver's career during the period 1966–82. Good Thing" From Elephant • • • • "Boxes" "Whoever Was Using This Bed" "Blackbird Pie" "Errand"  Poetry  Collections • • • • • • Near Klamath (1968) Winter Insomnia (1970) At Night The Salmon Move (1976) Where Water Comes Together With Other Water (1985) Ultramarine (1986) A New Path To The Waterfall (1989)  Compilations • • In a Marine Light: Selected Poems (1988) All of Us: The Collected Poems (1996)  Screenplays • Dostoevsky (1985. Раймонд Карвер (англ. Порт Анжелес. Poems. Клетскени. Tess Gallagher and three found in his archives by scholar William Stull. The latter volumes were published posthumously. Please apart from the replacement of poetry in the latter with new stories. Орегон — 2 августа 1988. крупнейший мастер англоязычной короткой прозы второй половины ХХ в.• • • • • • • • "Vitamins" "Careful" "Where I'm Calling From" "Chef's House" "Fever" "Feathers" "Cathedral" "A Small. two found in Carver's desk by his last partner. with Tess Gallagher)  Essays. . 25 мая 1938. Please (1999) Call if You Need Me (2000) These books gather otherwise uncollected works.
По рассказам создан фильм Роберта Олтмена «Короткий монтаж» («Short Cuts». Чехова. А. Хемингуэя. В 18 лет женился. Хватался за любую работу. Вторично женился. довел искусство рассказа до предельного минимализма.Генри (1983 и 1988). номинация на Пулитцеровскую премию) . написан роман Марка Максвелла «Никсонкарвер» (1998). чтобы содержать семью. в университете Айовы. в различных университетах Америки. несколько раз лечился от алкоголизма. [править] Творчество и признание Считал себя наследником Э. в том числе премии О. много писал. На японский язык прозу Карвера перевел Харуки Мураками. премии журнала «Poetry» (1985). мать — официантка. лауреат нескольких литературных наград. У. Фолкнера. После первых публикаций стихов и прозы преподавал в 1970—1980-х гг. затем — в университете Гумбольдта в Калифорнии.Содержание [убрать] • • • • • • • • 1 Биография 2 Творчество и признание 3 Стихи 4 Рассказы 5 Другие произведения 6 На русском языке 7 Библиография 8 Ссылки [править] Биография Отец — рабочий на лесопилке. Please?/ Вы не будете так добры помолчать? (1976. В 1959 учился на курсах писательского мастерства у Джона Гарднера. перепробовал много тяжелых профессий. Умер от рака легких. Национальная книжная премия) Furious Seasons/ Чудовищная погода (1977) What We Talk About When We Talk About Love/ Так о чем мы говорим. 1996). Крупнейший представитель школы «грязного реализма». Бросил алкоголь в 1977 после тяжелой мозговой комы. 1993). Дебютировал рассказом «Чудовищная погода» в 1961. стал много пить. О нем самом снят телевизионный фильм «Писать и оставаться добрым» («To Write and Keep Kind». [править] Стихи • • • • • Winter Insomnia / Зимняя бессонница (1970) At Night The Salmon Move/ Лосось выплывает ночью (1976) Where Water Comes Together with Other Water/ Там. где вода встречается с водой (1985) Ultramarin/ Ультрамарин (1986) A New Path to the Waterfalls/ Новая тропа к водопаду (1989) [править] Рассказы • • • • Will You Please Be Quiet. когда говорим о любви (1981) Cathedral / Собор (1983. алкоголик.
New York: Twayne. some classifiy this prose style as minimalism. Readers are expected to take an active role in the creation of a story. М. Raymond Carver's short fiction in the history of black humor. Стихи [из разных книг] // Иностранная литература. New York: P. Runyon R. Some 1940s-era crime fiction of writers such as James M. киносценарий) [править] На русском языке • • • • • • Собор. not famous detectives or the fabulously wealthy.W. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press. 2006 Literary minimalism Literary minimalism is characterized by an economy with words and a focus on surface description. Carver M. to "choose sides" based on oblique hints and innuendo. Stull. Martin's Press. Iowa: University of Iowa Press. 1995. Generally. Carver Country: The World of Raymond Carver. Campbell E. Поезд Вы — доктор? Рассказы Рассказы [править] Библиография • • • • • • • • • • • • • Saltzman A. by Marshall Bruce Gentry and William L. 1987 (Библиотека журнала «Иностранная литература»). Minimalism & the Short Story: Raymond Carver. . Remembering Ray: A composite biography of Raymond Carver/ Ed. Athens: Ohio UP. 1988.• Elephant / Слон (1988) [править] Другие произведения • Dostoevsky /Достоевский(1985. 2005. 1990. 1991.P.Lang. Nesset K. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. by Sam Halpert. 1993. Hallett C. 1990.: Известия. Minimalist authors eschew adverbs and prefer allowing context to dictate meaning. 1995. Carroll. New York: St. The characters in minimalist stories and novels tend to be unexceptional. Halpert S. The Stories of Raymond Carver: A Critical Survey. matter-of-fact prose style to considerable effect. Carver: An oral biography. by William L. № 7. 1994. Amy Hempel. Raymond Carver: A Study of the Short Fiction. rather than reacting to directions from the author. Santa Barbara: Capra. Broomall: Chelsea House. Syracuse: Syracuse UP. Layton: Gibbs Smith.M. Understanding Raymond Carver. the short stories are "slice of life" stories. and Mary Robison. 2006. …when we talk about Raymond Carver/ Ed. Conversations with Raymond Carver/ Ed. 1999.Reading Raymond Carver. Stull and Maureen P. 1992. What it used to be like: a portrait of my marriage to Raymond Carver. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. Cain and Jim Thompson adopted a stripped-down. Raymond Carver: comprehensive research and study guide. they're average people who sell pool supplies or coach second tier athletic teams. Bloom H. 2002 Zhou J. New York: Scribner’s.
or those who are identified with minimalism during certain periods of their writing careers. and Pedro Juan Gutiérrez (1950). Richard Ford (1944). Insularity and self-enlargement in Raymond Carver's Cathedral Essays in Literature. Nesset. and William H. Sandra Cisneros. remaining on the train. everything surrounded by a wall.self-absorbed disgruntlement about life's injustices. In Cathedral appear . Tobias Wolff (1945). reneges on his promise to the boy. a man passes through the French countryside in a train. include the following: Raymond Carver." the narrator says of the man. The characters in minimalist stories and novels tend to be unexceptional. Robert Grenier. Macomb." one of Raymond Carver's bleakest stories. American poets such as Robert Creeley. Spring 1994. Amy Hempel. of course. however. Mary Robison. Meyers's tendency toward insularity is not. Meyers chooses to stay insulated in his "compartment" and. Gass). This movement is a derivation from minimalism.Another strand of literary minimalism arose in response to the meta-fiction trend of the 1960s and early 1970s (John Barth. Bret Easton Ellis. Eneas McNulty. "Now and then. and in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love we read of James Packer's cantankerous. Minimalist authors. Coover. Ernest Hemingway. Richard Ford and Alicia Erian. In Will You Be Quiet. Tobias Wolff. Dirty realism is a North American literary movement born in the 1970s-80s in which the narrative is stripped down to its fundamental features. walling out everything external to his selfish world. and Aram Saroyan are sometimes identified with their minimalist style. These writers were also spare with prose and kept a psychological distance from their subject matter. en route to a rendevous with a son he has not seen for many years. Due to a last minute change of heart. unique among the characters in Cathedral or among the characters of earlier volumes. Please? there is the paranoid self-cloistering of Slater and Arnold Breit. Bobbie Ann Mason. As minimalism. The Irish author Samuel Beckett is also known for his minimalist plays and prose. paternal obligation included. Kirk Full Text: Copyright Western Illinois University. He thought this might be a good way to live-in an old house surrounded by a wall" (Cathedral 48). "Meyers saw a farmhouse and its outbuildings. Frederick Barthelme. dirty realism is characterized by an economy with words and a focus on surface description. Authors working within the genre tend to eschew adverbs and prefer allowing context to dictate meaning. Chuck Palahniuk. Dirty realism authors include the short story writers Raymond Carver (1938-1988). Grace Paley. Department of English Spring 1994 In "The Compartment.
walling out the threatening forces in their lives even as they wall themselves in. or a vision of the awesome interior of a cathedral. in a few instances. Carver's figures seal themselves off from their worlds. more extreme versions of insularity. and in Cathedral only. if not toward insight then at least away from the destructively confining strictures of self. is to depict the "tiny. Carver draws out in various uplifting moments the momentary gratifications and near-joys characters experience when. there are in several stories equally striking instances where--pushing insularity the other way--characters attempt to throw off their entrapping nets and. however temporarily. Carver's characters expand both inwardly and outwardly and. who. we witness the rare moments of their comings out. appear to succeed. But corresponding to this new extreme of insularity. Trying to free themselves of the fetters of insecurity and addiction. damning confinements of the spirit. particularly. "de-insulation" of this kind necessarily involves the intervention of others: the coming out of a self-enclosed figure depends upon the influence of another being--a baker or a babysitter or blind man. or the warm. But since outright freedom is for many of Carver's lot as terrifying as total lack of mobility (think of Arnold Breit in "Are You a Doctor?" or Lloyd in "Careful"). the freedoms Carver's newly-liberated characters experience manifest themselves ironically as forms of enclosure. or even a fellow drunk on the road to recovery. the enclosing walls come down--when their self-preoccupations lift and they sense new freedom. they are enclosures nevertheless. where self-disenfranchisement is reflected even on the level of discourse. As one might expect further. entering unexpectedly into a character's life.other. In Cathedral. thanks to the beneficial . Engaging in what he calls a kind of writerly "opening up" of his own." More strikingly in Cathedral than before. retreating destructively into the claustrophobic inner enclosures of self. affords new perspective or awareness and guides him along. Be they a comforting memory of one's old bedroom.from a husband's self-imposed confinement to a living room in "Preservation" to another's pathetic reluctance to leave an attic garret in "Careful. such interventions and influences are mobilized in the stories through the communal gestures of language--through the exchanging of tales and through communicative transactions. a freedom they may or may not ever truly participate in at all (Interview 21)." in Cathedral it is also to go beyond depicting the suffocations and wilted spirits of characters in chains (78). where separate identities blend and collaborate rather than collide. ample and humane as those enclosures may be. Thus even as "Carver's task. fragrant reality of a bakery." as Paul Skenazy writes. As one might expect. or both. rhetorically or structurally. a process of opening up in closed-down lives that comes across in both the subjects and events of the stories and in the process of their telling.
the narrator and J." a place where. imagine larger. Locking himself up voluntarily in "Frank Martin's drying out facility" (127). as the narrator recalls later." a wavering recoveree who lapses back into alcoholism when his summer retreat--the sanctuary of his fragile recovery-falls out from under him. this narrator (like many of Carver's narrators. Arriving at Frank Martin's dead drunk. even though." and "Careful"--situations in which men blockade themselves in ways as offensive to others as they are self-destructive--this narrator's confinement is both positive and necessary. the porch is that liminal space existing between the internal security of a cure-in-progress and the lure. more spacious enclosures--places big enough and light enough to allow the spirit room to breathe. as Frank Martin tells them. a sense that we can and often do help each other set aright our derailed lives. Up until now. he goes unnamed) has insulated himself with drink. his addiction being both a reaction to and the cause of his failing marriage. With his wet clothes. P." trying patiently and steadfastly "to figure out how to get his life back on the track" (135). P. cut off from their worlds and from themselves. Beyond the "green hill" they see from the porch. we do indeed occasionally get those lives back on track. with the buffering torpor alcohol can provide." "Preservation. Sitting on the porch with another recovering drunk. of the outer world. a man will "actually.incursion of other lives and other stories.. in "Where I'm Calling From. Beyond that--much farther north--is the "Yukon. P. exchanging one extreme state of insularity for another. he is a stronger version of Wes in "Chef's House.. he's bundled up in the manner of the two strongest figures . "Where I'm Calling From" is the story of a man coming to grips with addiction within the security of an alcohol treatment home. by and large. he takes further refuge in the story his new friend has to tell. ironically. is Jack London's house--the place where the famous author lived until "alcohol killed him" (137).. J. On the porch. In Cathedral. tragically enough. Protected yet still exposed to the chill of the outer world. Contrary to the situations of "The Compartment. London's figure is hardly insulated from the chill. that by opening up to others and to ourselves. their physical surroundings an objective correlative to the transitional state of their minds and wills. but a few of them. like J. if not the danger. characters are more insulated than ever. demonstrate through shared stories and through overtures toward human connection new and unprecedented awareness.freeze to death if he can't get a fire going" (146). It is an awareness of collective confinement.(1) It is significant that throughout most of the story Carver leaves his characters sitting where they are. are at once sheltered and vulnerable. he takes refuge from a prior refuge--one that was killing him." the fictive topos of London's "To Build a Fire.
" Frank Martin suggests a bit of recommended reading. saying. where he begins to come to terms with . torn by inner impulses. partly wild. If you want help and want to listen to what we say" (138). Like London's "animal. P. describing the second aftermath of addiction. But there was another part" (138). sitting alone and enjoying the transitional comforts of the porch. his life extinguished along with his fire. Partly civilized. Subject also to bodily complaints.'s] hands"--something that set his "legs atremble" and filled him "with sensations that were carrying him every which way" (132)--the aftermath of drinking is for both men superseded in intensity only by death. Part of me wanted help. considering present circumstances. "We have it inside if you want to read something.'s wife. this time without claiming its prize. Thinking now in retrospect. Frank Martin had taken the narrator aside. the narrator is in one sense interested in protecting himself from himself. P." he says." the narrator chooses not to think of the extreme consequences of ill-prepared exposure to the outer world. Just as love was once upon a time "something that was out of [J. by nature.in Carver's story: J. Nor does he remind himself that death entered the heart of the sanctuary only days before. unfortunately did not come off the first time. whose "big knuckles" have broken her husband's nose. in-between drinks. his retreat at Frank Martin's a gesture of attempted self-domestication that. and his friend are each in their own way overpowered by biology. we should hasten to add. P. London's man eventually freezes to death. the physical extremity of which leaves him and his friend trembling in their chairs. like Tiny. At the outset of his first visit. Their bodies--like their minds--are adjusting and compensating in the process of recovery. the fat electrician from Santa Rosa. J. hard-edged and tough and looking like a "prizefighter. the tale's sad conclusion--the fact that. wears both a "coat" and "a heavy sweater" (142). Carver's narrator fails to recall." we learn. "In-between women. Before "going inside." he says. the ultimate spasm. Frank Martin. or subconsciously omits. the narrator locates himself in his disintegration" (83). at the mercy of the elements. J. By the end of the story. And yet it is between selves. "It's about this animal that's half dog and half wolf" (137). still caught up in the war of selves. "We can help you. suffers from the "shakes" and the narrator from--an occasional "jerk in [his] shoulder". Roxy. "We're not out of the woods yet. insulate themselves however they may. the narrator is similarly divided. namely The Call of the Wild. the narrator says. "in-between homes." keeps his "sweater buttoned all the way up" (137). "I didn't know if they could help me or not. Still upset perhaps about Tiny's "seizure. which proceeds from both within and without. P." Skenazy writes of this story.
more alienated and embittered than ever by the old man's confession. senses.. and the imagination required of close listening. generally. waiting for J. P. fell into as a boy.'s story helps him do more than merely "relax. P. though it is not Frank he listens to chiefly but to J." he says early on (130). arising of the communal act of storytelling. "It's helping me to relax. Like the chimneys from which J.. for one thing. narrative transactions--if transaction has taken place at all--constitute perilous intercourse indeed.(2) For both the narrator and J. as necessary for him as telling is for J. P. "Keep talking. For this narrator. both in the pairing of their present circumstances and in the details of his friend's narration--in such odd details. P.'s story initiates through both comradery and displacement the continuation of the narrator's own story--and. a darkly insulating prison." as Arthur Saltzman observes of this story. P. Still. in fact.disintegration. of course. the well ." a secure. he seals himself off completely from his father. that there are not perils as well as benefits in transactions of discourse. "I'm listening. P. Before Cathedral. P. as the "well" J." he says (136)." as Frank Martin says. takes him away from his "own situation" even as it brings him closer to the heart of his problems." a son enclosed by his own world and concerns meets his father briefly in an airport." as in other stories in Cathedral. it represents the extent to which J. J. P. and upon hearing the story of his father's adultery (and his parents' ruined marriage). tubular enclosures associated with the family to whom he becomes attached (they run the chimney-sweeping business)--the well is a trap.. J. and begins imagining ways to reintegrate. the reassembly of the fragments of his life (147). The coming out of hardened insularity involves intensive listening. It's taking me away from my own situation" (134). if all goes well. the sharing of stories. is at once familiar and unfamiliar." the narrator says. interjecting this and like phrases throughout the story in the manner of a refrain: "You better keep talking. In "Will You Please Be Quiet. Above all he wants "to listen. to go on with his tale. Which is not to say. enclosed until very recently in a bottle.'s story. seemingly happy man comes unglued at hearing the tale of his wife's infidelity." who comes out of a psychological and physical ordeal by spilling his pent-up turmoils to a babysitter. But in "Where I'm Calling From. P." Listening. ends up making his livelihood later in life--narrow. a story she tells him herself. and for Carlyle in "Fever. P. the process of coming out involves going into the narrative of another. he has hit "the bottom" in the present trajectory of his life. involves entering imaginatively into a discourse which. rebuild. in "Sacks. Since "commiseration instigates recuperation. J. P. significantly. Carver would have us believe otherwise. His inner crisis is externalized in J. Please.
he says. Far more hopeful than the peacock in "Feathers"--one man's token of a kind of radiant bliss he'll never know--Roxy's kiss is for the narrator a token of "luck. And he's wearing this baseball cap to cover his bald head. Outside. Roxy's kiss underscores the degree to which women provide security in his life. that that line out may send him tumbling back into the hole. in a sense. With two layers of female protection. he has depended on them. thinking of his girlfriend. suggesting not only how much women are integral to his well-being but also how beneficial certain walls and enclosures have been . buffering him from the world. all right--this old guy in coveralls." leaving him outside alone). as much as he has in the past on drink. (145) Seated on "the front steps" in the chill air beyond the porch. By the end of the story he has tried calling his wife twice. The old guy and I look each other over. between civilization and wilderness. a rope down the well of his life. in his memory. he is mildly obsessed with the women in his life. still at war with himself. the dark refuges in which they find themselves (voluntarily or involuntarily) existing. he is. Torn between the warmth of stability and the chill of the outer world. "hollering" at the bottom of the well. his "line out" being (along with his willingness to reform) the telephone. coming around one morning to paint the house. He needs a shave. places they are extricated from ultimately only through the intervening efforts of others. Like J. In one of the story's last lines. P. given what we know about her drinking habits. we assume." hoping to make contact with the women in his life. awakened him and his wife in their bedroom: I push the curtain away from the window. P.'s story intersect finally in a woman's kiss. Goddamn it. the narrator is waiting for a drop-line of his own. I think. too. "go in. "Maybe I'll call her first"--suggesting. though. As a gesture. It's the landlord. seemingly. P." emphasizing more than his need for help from without. and is about to call his "girlfriend. he is still wavering in his resolve. by the kiss he gets from Roxy (before she and J. Our sense of his greatest personal security comes with his description of the time his landlord. The sun is just starting to break over the mountains. And a wave of happiness comes over me that I'm not him--that I'm me and that I'm inside this bedroom with my wife. But his coveralls are too big for him. or as he has recently on the captivating flow of J. certainly.represents literally the pitfalls of experience. Not by any means out of the woods yet. the narrator warms himself with this memory of the past-triggered. if he isn't a weird old fellow.'s narrative. with being "inside" the bedroom with his wife. this old guy in white coveralls is standing next to his ladder. so it is not surprising that his life and J. P. He associates his "happiness" then.
With a fullness and optimism unequalled in any other story. Epitomized in the gesture of Roxy's kiss. selfpreoccupations of their lives. insulating. and because the story evokes a greater sense of affirmation overall. and to complicate other lives with our own as we collaborate toward understanding. and his friend. In "A Small.to him at times. "Outside. but with problems no less serious. In this story. are simultaneously more stable and more emotionally vulnerable than J. toward liberation from the confinements that kill." recovery entails "listening. as J. in the company of a baker. in the way the story unfolds. and by a recognition of his circumstances as being as secure then as they were. and about how the narratives of others can cushion the violent unsettling such break-outs bring on. "Where I'm Calling From" embodies and dramatizes our collective tendencies to discover ourselves in the stories of others. despite its subject--the liberating aspects of attentive listening are rather more noticeable. Carver dramatizes here what William Stull calls "talk that works" (11). Carver provides here in essence an answer to the failures his characters have been subject to all along. ultimately. With its disruptions in time and narrative continuity. talk and listen with characteristically poor results. fused in a brotherly textual knit. it is a story about the way fear and worry and grief can cause people to break out of the habitual. wavering from man to man in its focus. P. skinny old man. Promoting such healthy complicity. Thus the contact the narrator makes with an old man one morning is recapitulated by his contact with a younger man years later. as before. Good Thing" we find a similar coming together of lives--rather more disparate lives. P. It is the story of a couple dealing with the loss of a child. that it is manifested even on the level of the story's structure. the intersection of their lives and stories has initiated a recuperation that may get them. however--perhaps because Ann and Howard Weiss. its central figures. the story mirrors the psychic energies of the narrator." as characters enter briefly into the lives of others through channels of verbal interaction. embodied by a laughing wife and the enveloping comforts of a warm bed. As in "Where I'm Calling From. Corresponding to ." in the form of a strange. of what lies beyond that illness and decrepitude and death. haphazardly." So crucial is this intersection. in stories in all of his books. failures of characters who. and of the consolation they find eventually. intertwining the individual threads of their stories and lives in a manner that makes them come to seem oddly inseparable. though contact is closer now since both men are "outside" and are working communally in their efforts to find ways back in. and." on the contrary. "back on the track. are reminders of toil and old age. "inside. says. there is security and leisure.
"he had kept away from any real harm. walls erected in the tide of catastrophe. Both Howard and his wife--like recovering alcoholics--are afflicted by the physical consequences of their dealings with an irrational.to feel each other's insides now. As the focal figure of the story. and as she realizes that she and her husband are "into something now. But they seem. his leg beginning to "tremble" as he considers the gravity of his circumstances.this new fullness of possibility. in the face of which rationality is useless. Worry insulating them as security had before." of course. but because she is afforded more interior space in the story throughout." the unnamed narrator says of Howard Weiss. she momentarily glimpses the walls around her. dictates somehow over the details of his world--has in fact allowed "forces" to insinuate themselves into the placid interior of his life. "For the first time. His insular bubble of security now on the point of bursting. Ann's teeth begin to "chatter" as fear takes her over. not necessarily because her parental (maternal) attachment to the boy is greater than Howard's. he knows. Realizing she has shut herself off to everything but her son and his condition. She felt glad to be his wife.. because it is nature--and their powerlessness in the face of it--that . as though the worry had made them transparent in a perfectly natural way" (71). they stand staring "out at the parking lot. Howard remains sealed in his "car for a minute" in the driveway. overpowering problem.. "luck" is important to Howard. hemmed in now by fear and dread. describing Ann's realization after many hours in the hospital. Similarly affected. this trouble" (68). Thus. "she felt they were together in it. Trying to "deal with the present situation in a rational manner" (62)." the narrator says. if things suddenly turned" (62). forces manifesting themselves after the initial blow in the ominous calls of the baker. P. it also causes both Ann and her husband. Their interior state of affairs is "natural. she acknowledges that she "hadn't let Howard into it. As for J. from those forces he knew existed and that could cripple or bring down a man if the luck went bad. the shape of the story itself swells out to new proportions (revised from its original form as "The Bath").'s friend. something hard" (70). his motor control is suddenly as erratic as that of Frank Martin's clients. Ann seems both more preoccupied and more sensitive than her husband. "So far. its capriciousness." If in a sense the disruptive force of calamity clarifies. to project outward as they seek respite from confinement. Thanks to a bit of bad luck." They don't "say anything. despite the intensity of her preoccupation in their days-long vigil. their secure and self-enclosed familial world is turned inside out. though he was there and needed all along. reflecting on the level of narrative the kind of psychological and spiritual expansion taking place within.
" a man's metaphorical deafness to the world is figured in the literal blockage of his ear with wax. Still. and listening." the blind man says in "Cathedral. Contrary to the situation of J. recuperative activities. however. But in other stories--in "Fever" and "Where I'm Calling From." more strikingly than ever. though here it becomes an even more compensatory one.being alone" (82). in "Vitamins. drawing through repetition special attention to the act. What was once a common refuge is suddenly no longer available to them. Thus husband and wife listen.what it was like to be childless all these years." a similar if more general kind of deafness finds its emblem in a dismembered. Ann and Howard end up in a bakery. recovery is administered to them by a speaker who cannot empathize with his listeners." the baker tells Ann and Howard. fire-distilled now by mutual concern. Good Thing. "I got ears. and his friend.. The narrative transaction occurring in the bakery is for husband and wife the "restorative measure" the doctor mistakenly diagnoses in discussing Scotty's "very deep sleep". to gaze out the window the way J. and of. he begins his tale of "loneliness. enter the baker's world--his story--to temporarily escape their own." for instance--characters indeed turn their ears to others. sparked by his power to "imagine" their grief. reconstructs memory and experience in order to reorder the disorder of his past. giving up the oppressive environment of the hospital--and a house full of painful momentoes--for a warmer. P." offering them if nothing else at least the consolation of knowing that they know what they are going to miss. dried-out human ear. Elsewhere in Cathedral. "They listened carefully. In "A Small." affirming. remarkably. a fiction-writing narrator calls himself "all ears. and come away better for it. "so I can only imagine what you must be feeling" (87). more spacious setting. P.. as someone who. by listening carefully. in "Put Yourself in My Shoes") and of the writer as listener." the narrator says.. soon they will have to readjust tensions in the marital bond that have been for years filtered by their son's presence. "I don't have any children myself. that prompts them. that "Learning never ends" (222). And yet what is crucial is not so much the substance of the stories as it is the process of the . As in "Where I'm Calling From. In "Intimacy. at the hands of the baker the Weisses are doctored as their son could not be. and his friend stare from the porch." exploring both the idea of the writer as plunderer of experience (as earlier." one of Carver's last stories. they will have to "get used to. "they listened to what the baker had to say" (88). After Scotty's death.makes them transparent. in spite of his handicap." the act of exchanging stories is also a kind of refuge. hearing and listening are treated in less optimistic terms: in "Careful.. telling and listening are beneficial. a man as ironically unlike them as anybody could be.
Walled in by his own insecurities and prejudices. "A Small." the original narrator says of Howard). as Carver says. "But I would have listened if he'd been going on about how one day he'd decided to start pitching horseshoes" (132). that he has no "friends." however. which Carver describes as "fuller and more interesting somehow" as well as "more generous. In the title story. insulated life of their host. though here it is . escaping the still unthinkable reality of their present circumstances by entering the far more stifling. "I was interested. and that as people they are not in it alone. which we have here in its revised form. Carver's "opening up" suggests further the very real extent to which style can wall an artist in--suggests how as an artist Carver. as his wife puts it. overdetermined world of "The Bath. Enveloped similarly in the baker's tale." J. like a few of his more fortunate characters. P." the revised version of this story reflects part of an "opening up in this book" which. is absent in "any other of the books" (Interview 22). he is ignorant of the serious nature of his insularity. he too is given an opportunity to emerge from the strictures of self-enclosure.'s friend says of J. not simply because he is more fully shut off than some but because. Though it is still dark outside. exchanging them not only for greater capaciousness but. is reflected in the shape of the story overall. Embodied in this "fuller" version of the story." and is the longest story Carver ever collected." The welcome light of possibility. "Cathedral. Good Thing" is two-thirds again as long as the original published version. we traverse to the indoor daylight of the bakery.'s tale. and revived by shared compassion. along with hopes if not promises of self-regeneration. it is "like daylight" inside the bakery. "The Bath. like Meyers riding away from his son on a train to nowhere. From the shadowy. Ann and Howard do "not think of leaving. where food and talk and commiseration actually do make a difference. if not redeeming characters of their miseries then consoling them at least.telling. for a new understanding of himself and his craft as well. is capable of breaking free of enclosing environments. Like many stories in Cathedral. and thus they begin a slow journey out of the darkness of grief. Good Thing" and "Where I'm Calling From." where the tiny enclosure of a bathtub provides a sole comfort for characters ("Fear made him want to take a bath. allowing them to understand that loneliness and hardship and death are part of the natural order of things." the coming out of a selfinsulated figure is more dramatic than ever before. warmed by the light and the ovens and the sweet rolls they eat. buffered by drink and pot and by the sad reality. this narrator is sadly out of touch with his world and with himself. P." As are the figures in "A Small. Ann and Howard listen. finally. we must assume.
listening to Robert's half of a taped conversation. "I waited in vain to hear my name on my wife's sweet lips" (218). left in the dark only by his handicap. he blankets her past the way he has lately blanketed his present--with insulating self-absorbency. A year earlier. the appearance of his wife's friend constitutes-at the outset. Insistent upon asserting his identity over his wife." adding. we suppose. The narrator's buried hostility. is insulated only physically." he admits (209). he is threatened abruptly from without. And as is often the case in the conversations of Carver's characters." he says. involves a continual gauging and protecting of the autocratic status of his name. relegating the rest of experience--like Robert's marriage--to a place "beyond [his] understanding" (213). sheltered world. "I made a drink and sat at the kitchen table to listen" ) he searches for himself indirectly in his wife's relationship with Robert. this blind man" he did not know (212). not the least of which is her former marriage. "Now this same blind man was coming to sleep in my house" (212). he says. Not surprisingly. this narrator lives in a narrow. unspoken communication between him and his blind guest. is rooted in the blind man's association with aspects of his wife's past and of her independent nature in general--aspects that are intimidating to him. Like J. spurred on certainly by insecurity. therefore. make for what Skenazy calls an "evening of polite antagonism between the two men" (82).'s friend. perturbed by his insensitivity. He is no ideal listener. this man's sense of a secure identity depends upon his bond with a female. . Why should he have a name?" (211). by the self-liberating results of his attempt. P. It is fitting that Robert. a subject with which he is obsessed. talk fails him. he'd been startled to hear his "own name in the mouth of [a] stranger. Simultaneously fascinated by and reluctant to hear the blind man's story ("my wife filled me in with more details than I cared to know. His muddled search for self. he refers to his wife's ex-husband only as her "officer. and yet his failure is more than made up for by the connection he finally succeeds in making. Summing up her prior life. his wife isn't about to give him the reinforcement he craves. and later adds. the invader in the house. "h blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to. His territorial impulses. Like Howard and Ann. at least--an invasion of his enclosed existence. Referring to his wife's conversation with Robert in the living room.not a story that opens him up but a more subtle nonverbal transaction--an odd. having predicated the names and stories of others under the subject of his own tyrannical yet precarious identity: he listens for purposes of self-validation. Robert. we guess. a bond he seems to need to see perpetually reinforced--though.
listen to me. What begins as an enclosing spatial configuration of his home--and present level of awareness. as Irving Howe observes. Robert listens. Go on. "I was in my house." from running a sales distributorship to traveling in Mexico to broadcasting "ham radio. the drawing of the cathedral is a "gesture of fraternity" that. "[M]ost of the communication in this story. We'll do something. Robert."(3) Curiously enough. something with interior depths as enlightening to him as bakeries and bedrooms are comforting to others. Unlike the baker and J. And a pen." he says (228). too." writes Michael Vander Weel." he says. "I know about skeletons. as expression that stops short of the effort and commonality of speech" (120).Extremely outgoing--not to mention friendly--he has done "a little of everything. establishes solid contact between the men and in turn nudges the narrator temporarily out of his self-contained world (43). Robert's handling of the situation. Get us a pen and some heavy paper. having just lost his wife." His activities. "Hey. We'll draw one together. Indeed." he says . get the stuff" (226). something that "could have been the house [he] lived in" (227). While Meyers "close[s] his . bub. we assume--gradually swells in proportion to become something far more spacious than what he started with. is dealing with grief. bring him out into the world. his eyes still tightly closed-bringing to mind the "box" he drew when he and Robert began. in reference to the joint project of the drawing. "Will you do me a favor? I got an idea. his booming voice having extended as far as Alaska and Tahiti before making its way into the narrator's home. Robert's initiative in the matter of the narrator's failings. and he serves accordingly as the extra-durable guide needed to pull his host out of his shell (though like the Weisses.--relatively restrained men--Robert is characterized by the strength of his personality. unwilling still to open his eyes. The subject of their mutual efforts--the cathedral--as a symbol represents a kind of common humanity and benevolence. it is within the walls of the cathedral that the narrator ultimately ends up. oversight). P. like the meal preceding it. finally. and having "listened" to failure. responding to the narrator's query regarding the TV). As the narrator fails to describe the image he sees on television. takes charge of the situation. suggests that verbal handicaps--and the larger problems they are symptoms of--are debilitating as blindness (stemming as they do from the willed blindness of ignorance. activated suddenly by his host's admission of verbal impotence. "I didn't feel like I was inside anything. not to mention the remedy he employs in general. suggests that handicaps are first and foremost challenges to overcome. in the process of "a-spiring. Why don't you find us some heavy paper. unlike those of his host. "comes through shared non-verbal work." he says at the end of the story. and of human patience and fortitude.
The tonal shift in the final sequence of the story--marked by a kind of mild ethereality flooding the last lines--illustrates on the rhetorical level the opening up the narrator has undergone. is yet to undergo. failing gloriously in that. this coming out is mirrored by rhetoric of the story. settles for indefinites. Please?. he watches with "admiration" as Robert eats. and." as Saltzman calls them. he clings to a miraculous glimpse of a world beyond the borders of his insular life. possessiveness. where selfishness gives way at last to self-awareness. As the walls of his resentment noticeably crack. A man obsessed with the faculty of vision ("Imagine. Just as Ann Weiss wants "her words to be her own" after the death of her child. "It was like nothing else in my life up to now. Impossibly changed. His destination--as are the destinations for all of Carver's travellers. seeking out a personal vocabulary of grief. the narrator feels momentarily "sorry for the blind man. he is "no longer inside himself." as Skenazy writes. reduced to semi-inarticulateness. feelings that he "need not name to justify" (154). no longer alone. dropping in on friends and relatives. if not quite intimate" (83). within that inner vestibule of self. "a woman who could never see herself as she was seen in the eyes of her loved one" ). "if not quite outside. ." he says earlier of Robert's wife. certainly. He experiences "depths of feeling. his sanctuary existing. and adds. who is on a journey by train. the narrator is also on a journey.eyes. he keeps his eyes fastened shut. blinding himself voluntarily to the distracting reality of his former world. Naturally. this narrator reaches for words weighty enough to fit his experience. trying to get over the loss of his wife. in the story's final sentence." alternately. that only a few enlightened characters in Cathedral experience. "It's really something." The indefiniteness of his language--he is usually a little more glib than he is here--expresses the sheer incomprehensibility of his revelation." where even more pronounced tensions of jealousy. recognizing Robert's handicap to be no impairment to his performance at the dinner table. and the fact that he registers it as such. Early on in the story. The profundity of his new awareness staggers him. one signalled by signposts in his language and played out by the events of the story he tells. The changes working in him are not unlike those "impossible changes" Ralph Wyman undergoes in "Will You Please Be Quiet. by virtue of hip. and. closed eyes. wavering between self-awareness and habitual existence in a new and newly-spacious enclosure. Like Robert. and self-preoccupation are vented finally in human contact." he says." his insulated hardness beginning to soften. to whatever encroaches on his personal life--his voluntary blindness as bad as Lloyd's deafness in its turn--the narrator of "Cathedral" finds not escape but sanctuary within self-confinement.
Still. In these stories. the narrator begins to realize just how exhilarating confinement can be. in Cathedral.whether they leave home or not--is necessarily a confining one. But it is also a destination where one's sense of shared confinement makes for heretofore-unknown freedoms. of course.(4) Enclosed in tight quarters. And quickly" (i). as Robert says. And I moved. such moments do not deny the "locked" status of the characters in general. While in rare moments we find characters transcending the fettered states of soul by means of smaller. rubbing shoulders with all kinds of people. as well as in the lighter ones. however briefly. Such momentary connections. or the darker implications of Carver's vision overall. that this is perhaps not "a good way to live. Reflecting the process of his "opening up. the stories of this volume "draw upon the American voice of loneliness and stoicism. characters connect with one another." he explains in his preface to Where I'm Calling From. "It was a different kind of story for me. with disconnectedness and alienation coming hand-in-hand as end-products of insularity. "Somehow I had found another direction I wanted to move toward. the warmth of the blind man's touch still vibrating in his hand. Carver wrote "Cathedral" on a train. or re-explorations. writing in his cabin during a transcontinental journey from Seattle to New York. no question. as in no other volume of his stories. do not reflect the tone of the book as a whole. of Carver's old familiar territory. Approaching his destination. as did perhaps the builders who toiled for years to raise the cathedrals they would never see--people who were. no connection with one's fellow travellers. bidding his host to add a touch of humanity to the drawing. heading somewhere in a hurry: the writing environment seems an appropriate one. ironically stories about people on trains--are slightly fuller explorations. it is . the native soul locked in this continent's space" (42). more expansive enclosure of society. that we are all in this together. "What's a cathedral without people?" Robert asks. and that that really is something. contrary to Meyers's observation. personal unfetterings of self." say. Most of the stories--"The Compartment" or "The Train." this having a ticket to ride and no idea where one is going. "no different than the rest of us" (224)--he begins to sense. to "put some people in there" (227). terminal self-enclosure. As Irving Howe notes. once one sees beyond the narrow enclosure of self that larger. and as a result of their connections come away changed. Carver implies. Carver suggests that life hemmed in rigidly by walls is a hard life indeed--suggests. considering the story--and the volume of stories-which was to come of that ride. reimmersions into tableaux where human proximity not only provides no real connection but also alienates." Carver is in this collection definitely going somewhere in a hurry. He begins to sense.
Raymond. We see in these stories that compassion. Introduction. In this sense the stories of Cathedral are on a par with those that Carver and Jenks praise as editors of American Short Story Masterpieces. Where I'm Calling From. [he] went to [his] desk and wrote the story 'Cathedral. --. New York: Random House. 4 This bit of information I gleaned in a conversation with Tess Gallagher. American Short Story Masterpieces. that is. 1981. Sep-Oct 1983: 21-22.and Tom Jenks. New York: Random House. 11 Sep 1983: 42-43. as "rock bottom. --. who refutes Carver's assertion in his preface to Where I'm Calling From that "[a]fter a good night's sleep. Irving. is a prerequisite not just of happiness but of survival. Saturday Review. Interview. as well as stoicism. 1st edition. and that while confinement may be the precondition of many lives there is still a good deal of freedom available within it--freedom which becomes tangible only when it is recognized for what it is." 3 For this coinage I am indebted to Lonnquist. "Stories of Our Loneliness. and his vision of an alcoholic relapse. Please? New York: McGraw-Hill. PA: Franklin Library.through our collaboration with others that we free ourselves from the slavery of self-absorption. Will You Be Quiet. Lonnquist." New York Times Book Review. stories which have. Barbara C. "Narrative Displacement and Literary Faith: Raymond Carver's Inheritance from Flannery . New York: Delacorte. -. 1988. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Cathedral. --. in which a reformed alcoholic refers to his drinking days. "the ambition of enlarging our view of ourselves and the world" (xiii)--enlarging us as readers. --. 2 See also Carver's later story "Elephant" (Where I'm Calling From). Franklin Center. 1987. NOTES 1 For a brilliant narratological and stylistic analysis of this story see Verley. both in the sense of expanding and setting us free. Howe. 1977.'" WORKS CITED Carver. 1984. as they say.
'" Journal of the Short Story in English 13 (1989): 91-102. Paul. чем в "первой": к нему пришла и заслуженная слава. Mayer. что времени остается совсем мало. Michael Vander. во "второй" своей жизни Карвер обрел много больше. Columbia: U of South Carolina P. IL: Western Illinois University. и материальное благополучие. "Life in Limbo: Raymond Carver's Fiction.вспоминал он позднее. Weele. 2 июня 1977 года Раймонд Карвер. Skenazy. Ed.его творческий потенциал не только не иссяк." Since Flannery O'Connor: Essays on the Contemporary American Short Story." Действительно. 2 августа 1988 годв он умер от рака легкого. . "Narration and Interiority in Raymond Carver's 'Where I'm Calling From. 1988. а он с того дня ни разу не выпил ни капли спиртного. 142-50. Arthur. незадолго до конца своей короткой жизни любил говорить: "Я счастливый человек. как у меня все теперь устроилось. William. самое главное. И. Каждый день я не устаю благодарить судьбу. Но даже зная свой страшный диагноз (в США врачи всегда ставят пациентов в известность о характере заболевания). День этот для Карвера был одновременно страшным и знаменательным. Claudine." . Macomb. один из самых читаемых в последние десятилетия американских писателей. блестяще реализовался в нескольких книгах . Тамара Боголепова ТРИ ЖИЗНИ РАЙМОНДА КАРВЕРА Раймонд Карвер. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission. он не уставал повторять своим друзьям и близким: "Каждый день я чувствую на себе благословение божие. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Каждый день я чувствую радостное изумление от того. и настоящая любовь. Verley." Denver Quarterly 22 (1987): 00-000. уже сравнительно известный поэт и писатель. зная. "Вторая" жизнь Карвера длилась недолго. Stull. Loren Logsdon and Charles W. всего 11 лет. 1987. после очередного запоя впал в состояние мозговой комы: "Я словно очутился на дне очень глубокого колодца. напротив." Philological Quarterly 64 (1985): 1-15.O'Connor. Understanding Raymond Carver. "Beyond Hopelessville: Another Side of Raymond Carver." Enclitic 11(0000): 00-00. но. Saltzman. "Raymond Carver and the Language of Desire." Карвер приводил при этом точную дату завершения своей "первой" жизни и начала "второй": 2 июня 1977 года. Мне удалось прожить две жизни. Врачам удалось вернуть Карвера к жизни.
Детство его прошло в Якиме (штат Вашингтон). который руководил работой писательской студии в колледже ґико в начале 60-х годов. Он много и жадно читал. с увлечением учился на писательских курсах. даже внешне не очень-то вписывался в калифорнийский стиль жизни даже внешне. поэтому Раймонду после окончания средней школы в 1956 году не удалось продолжить образования. несмотря на все неблагополучные обстоятельства калифорнийского периода.ведь этот этап его писательской судьбы был для него тяжелой. свисающей с каждого жилета или куртки. Тот же Хьюстон отмечает. когда говорим о любви" (1981). он выглядел бы совсем консервативно. где. Карвер продолжал писать и делал все. "Откуда я взываю" (1988). Карвер никогда не зачеркивал своей "первой" жизни . Только через десять лет ему удается издать первые сборники стихов: "Зимняя бессонница" (1970). как многие представители богемы Сан-Франциско: "На нем были черные брюки и белая рубашка. "Лосось выплывает ночью" (1976) и опубликовать рассказы ("Поставь себя на мое место". В Якиме отцу Карвера удалось найти место заточника пил. сосредоточена лесная и деревообрабатывающая промышленность. но очень большой школой.в Купертино вместе с женой Мэриан и двумя детьми. где были одноклассниками. "Новая тропинка к водопаду".рассказов: "Так о чем мы говорим. "Ультрамарин" (1988). Но. Раймонд Карвер родился 25 мая 1938 года в небольшом городке Клэтскени (штат Орегон) на Северо-Западе США. Но отношения в семье становились все более напряженными: возможно. широкополыми шляпами. Но. этот живописный. что Карвер одевался совсем не так. из-за несходства характеров. римскими сандалиями и кожаной бахромой. в сценарии к фильму "Достоевский". "Собор" (1983). не дававших Карверу сосредоточиться на творчестве. в поэтических сборниках "Где вода сливается с другой водою" (1985).от трудных материальных условий. мокасинами. оттого что они поженились совсем рано. говоря о полноте счастья. Очень большую роль в его биографии сыграла встреча с выдающимся американским романистом 60-70-х годов Джоном Гарднером (1933-1982). Он поселяется неподалеку от Сан-Франциско сначала в городке Арката. после окончания школы. Подобно многим американским писателям-классикам. как и во многих других городах американского Северо-Запада. . И все же Калифорния. 1974). если бы и то и другое не было сильно измято". чтобы усовершенствовать свое мастерство." вспоминает о Сан-Франциско тех лет. Доходы семьи были невелики. Калифорния с ее свободой нравов. амулетами. испытанной им в конце жизненного пути. шумный и пестрый "сумасшедший дом" Америки (вспомните известную песню "Отель Калифорния") увлекает Карвера в водоворот и хаос своей жизни. он оказался перед необходимостью зарабатывать себе на хлеб тяжелым трудом. "Улицы кишмя кишели головными повязками. терпимостью к любому проявлению эксцентричности и увлечением художественными экспериментами в годы подъема молодежного движения становится западной "Меккой" американских нонконформистов (восточной был Нью-Йорк). в которой ему пришлось учиться с самого рождения. развивали раздражительность и стремление отвлечься от повседневных забот с помощью крепких напитков. а скорее всего . похожий на "застенчивого медведя". Не отставала от него в этом и Мэриан. знавший Карвера в калифорнийский период его жизни. литератор Джим Хьюстон. возможно. Карвер с его суровой северо-западной закваской. затем . К концу 50-х годов Карвер все острее осознает в себе тягу к литературному творчеству и в 1961 году приезжает в Калифорнию. этой штаб-квартире контркультуры.
Толстого-новеллиста. Поэтому известие о трагической гибели Джона Гарднера в 1982 году для Карвера. Минималисты тяготели к ясности смысла. Во многом благодаря Гарднеру к Карверу пришла любовь к русской литературе . ссорах между супругами. как это всегда бывает с большими художниками. Рассказы Карвера в оригинале . лаконизму и даже скупости выразительных средств. литературный соратник и вдова Раймонда Карвера. написанный Карвером для своего." . развившимся в музыке. Сюжеты карверовских рассказов. дорожных происшествиях или распродаже ставшего ненужным домашнего скарба. которое он испытывает. . "Хороший литературный учитель. о чувстве внутреннего родства. чьи имена были мне незнакомы: о Конраде. Действительно.Именно Гарднер познакомил начинающего новеллиста Карвера с именами и произведениями многих великих мастеров этого жанра: "На занятиях он всегда упоминал о писателях.и прибавлял. .справедливо замечает талантливая американская поэтесса Тэсс Галлахер. предельная сдержанность художественной палитры Карвера. живописи и литературе с конца 70-х годов. . как и для многих других писателей его поколения. к которому относили Карвера другие критики. масштаб и суть их творчества трудно измерить с помощью тех или иных терминов. сама тайна произведений Карвера остается нетронутой.тоже не отличаются особой занимательностью или оригинальностью. Потому так часто рецензенты и литературные обозреватели в США и других странах определяли творчество Карвера термином "минимализм". Гарднер не патронировал начинающего автора. немногословные зарисовки обыденной жизни. к отказу от всякого рода декоративности. Сам Карвер не раз говорил о своем восхищении мастерством ґехова. а не "изъясняться с представителями основной массы населения этой страны". Но. что Гарднер и был для него как раз таким учителем. повествующих о самых заурядных житейских делах: семейных радостях или. где даны краткие.превосходный источник американской разговорной лексики для тех. Краткие реплики. которыми обмениваются его персонажи.говорил он. .это рассказ о смерти ґехова. последнего же. стало тяжелым ударом: "Я тоскую о нем больше. имея в виду его сходство с художественным течением." . что делал Карвер. но сумел дать ему необходимые советы и внушить веру в его писательское призвание.любил повторять Карвер. но особенно заметный интерес вызывало у него то.еще одного течения 70-80-х годов. и особенно к ґехову. Последний рассказ "Поручение". одного из любимых писателей Карвера. ґехове. которое принадлежало ґехову в творческой жизни американского писателя.кстати. кто хотел бы научиться беседовать. вернувшись с похорон Гарднера. сборника. критики почти всегда сравнивают с рассказами ґехова. Вероятно. читая ґехова или о нем.к творчеству Тургенева. состоят из самых ходовых слов и выражений в речи современных американцев. напротив. Рассказы Карвера. переезде из одного города в другой. Портер. "Как бы ни пытались это делать. а самого Карвера нередко называют "американским ґеховым". Проза Карвера с первой же фразы поражает простотой и отсутствием какой бы то ни было замысловатости.вспоминал Раймонд Карвер. как и произведениям "неореализма" (просьба не путать с итальянским неореализмом 1950-х годов) или же "грязного реализма" . впрочем. предпочитая нечто подобное знаменитому "телеграфному стилю" Хемингуэя ."как твоя литературная совесть. сосредоточенность на житейской прозе делают его творчество близким манере "минималистов". Гарднер внимательно относился ко всему написанному слушателями студии. чем могу выразить словами." . Бабеле." . это еще одно свидетельство того огромного значения. потере работы." .
Рассказы Карвера зовут людей к размышлению об общих бедах и неурядицах. публикующихся в настоящем издании: "Кое-что напоследок". и более всего . простые. внимательным и добрым выражением лица. одной из четырех. что знает его. Отвечать на них каждый читатель будет по-своему. Вглядываясь в обычную жизнь людей с более чем скромным достатком.В самом деле. и о том. недосказанностью и загадочностью не меньше. которая даже при таком потрясении. что подтекст прозы Карвера. О чем хотел поведать нам Карвер в новелле "Ванна". Вновь и вновь фиксируя эти опасные проявления рутинного существования. что никакая катастрофа не может остановить течения жизни? Этот рассказ о несчастном случае. Раймонд Карвер." И Лакэн перевел книгу заново. "Как же много воды вокруг". умеющий подметить и страшное. Этот путь вовсе не представляется писателю ясным и очевидным. и у Хемингуэя. формальность контактов даже между самыми близкими людьми (как в рассказах. "Скажи женщинам . о которых повествует Карвер.меньше всего позиция судьи или "ликующего нигилиста".мы идем" из того же сборника и новеллы. как и у ґехова. неисчерпаем. что когда он увидел фотографию писателя с характерным для него серьезным. когда говорим о любви?". что совершил непростительную ошибку: "Я перевел его книгу в ироническом тоне. как переживали это несчастье его родители. все равно влияет на поведение любящих его родителей. кого называют "черными юмористами". изданные в разные годы). хотя о необходимости решения социальных проблем на основе более радикальных и продуманных . Он умеет передать озабоченность теми симптомами духовного неблагополучия. которые читатель сможет прочесть на страницах этого альманаха? О хрупкости человеческой. чем самый закрученный детектив. так хорошо знакому ему самому. вовсе не стремится "обличить".особенно для тех. вошедшие в другие книги. Карвер вовсе не бесстрастен. а человек на фотографии никогда бы не поставил себя выше своих персонажей. Позиция Карвера-повествователя . признавался. завораживают своей глубиной. и смешное. который произошел с мальчиком по дороге в школу в день его рождения. к поискам пути выхода из духовного кризиса и депрессии. он понял. которая оказывается под угрозой даже от сравнительно "легкого" столкновения с движущимся автотранспортом? О силе инерции повседневного существования. Во всяком случае. особенно детской. "разоблачить" или сразить своих персонажей убийственной иронией. "ґто не танцуете?" и в некоторых других из того же сборника "Так о чем мы говорим. что Карвер.потому. усиливающееся отчуждение и одиночество. как тяжелая мозговая травма сынишки. потому что у каждого из нас . хотя и пристрастным его тоже не назовешь. Франсуа Лакэн. но и потому еще. потому за внешней невозмутимостью и видимой сдержанностью интонации угадывается тревога. по выражению Гарднера. горечь или сочувствие. которые он называл "эрозией" человеческих отношений: распад семейных связей. открывающая дорогу цинизму и насилию (рассказы "О чем мы говорим. рождает много вопросов. когда говорим о любви"). он явно не склонен искать выход в сфере социальных потрясений.свой опыт и своя реакция на происходящее в жизни. жизни. столь хароактерной для литературы постмодернизма . Скорее он ощущает себя одним из тех. будничные истории и отношения. о ком рассказывает. подобно своим предшественникам. один из переводчиков прозы Карвера на французский язык. атрофия чувств и вялость эмоциональных реакций. не торопится подсказать нам один единственный верный ответ и вряд ли сам уверен. заставляя их вновь и вновь мечтать о горячей ванне для себя как о главном жизненном удовольствии (что и вправду весьма типично для американцев)? Или речь идет о том.
"К нему все пристало" (сборник "О чем мы говорим. вырастает убежденность в нетленности таких ценностей. как прежде . могут устремляться душой к самым высоким идеалам. на этом не завершится. отупляющей стереотипности бытовых условий. которое вновит в его творчество "особенно яркие проблески надежды. которое. густых лесов и чистых горных рек Северо-Запада." Это заметно в рассказах "Видоискатель".программ оздоровления экономических и общественных отношений. В создании последней. впервые показанный по седьмому каналу телевидения США осенью 1993 года. Название этого фильма как нельзя более точно определяет суть творческого кредо Раймонда Карвера. принимала большое участие Тэсс Гэллахер. Слава Карвера растет и за пределами Соединенных Штатов. словно величественный храм.Зверева. когда говорим о любви"). "Лихорадка" и особенно . где из шелухи повседневности.среди них. когда говорим о любви" и "Откуда я взываю". намечается кроме того и еще одно средство лечения эрозии человеческих отношений. где люди. собравшись вместе. которые быстро разошлись тиражом в полмиллиона экземпляров .цифра для "не самой читающей страны" огромная. как и всякий большой художник. Его произведения переведены более чем на двадцать языков. только в одном издательстве "Вантэдж"вышли десять книг его рассказов и стихов. "О чем мы говорим.и на русский. Одна за другой появились книги отзывов и воспоминаний о Карвере: "Когда мы говорим о Карвере" под редакцией Сэма Халперта (1991) и "Вспоминая Рэя: коллективная биография" (редакторы Уильям Стэл и Морин Кэррол. В рассказах Карвера. взаимопонимание. чья смерть хоть и была безвременной.М. Нынешняя публикация четырех рассказов Раймонда Карвера в переводе Ивана Ющенко. Герои прозы Карвера впервые появились и на киноэкранах: в 1993 году вышел большой трехчасовой фильм известного режиссера Роберта Олтмана "Срезая Углы" (Short Cuts)."Собор" из одноименного сборника. "добрый гений" его "второй жизни". беспросветной разобщенности.в подготовке к печати поздних произведений Карвера. посвященных современной американской словесности. в том числе . . в том же году завоевавший приз "За лучший фильм" на кинофестивале в Венеции. что настоящий писатель. чем в годы пребывания у власти республиканцев во главе с Рейганом. когда в серии "Библиотека "Иностранной литературы"" вышел сборник рассказов "Собор" под редакцией А. Особенно популярны были сборники "О чем мы говорим. когда он был похоронен на тихом кладбище маленького городка Порт-Анжелес в штате Вашингтон. После того августовского дня в 1988 году.продолжение этого приятного знакомства. Творчество Карвера изучается на уроках литературы в школах. первая на Дальнем Востоке . как любовь. последний авторы литературных обзоров окрестили "величайшим хитом Карвера". в 1987 году. составляет непременную часть университетских курсов. не смогла прервать его писательской биографии. Потому. будем надеяться. 1993) . куда вместе со своей второй женой Тэсс Гэллахер он вернулся в начале 80-х годов и где был так счастлив среди зеленых полей. "Третья жизнь" замечательного американского писателя ХХ века Раймонда Карвера у него на родине полнокровна и разнообразна. помощь в беде и радость сопричастности самому чуду бытия. живет в созданных им творениях. "Писать и оставаться добрым" назывался документальный телефильм режиссера Джин Уокиншо о Карвере. он охотно говорил и писал в конце жизни. каким бы сложным и грустным оно порой ни было. созданных в это время. Первое знакомство отечественного читателя с карверовской прозой состоялось за год до его смерти. когда говорим о любви".
а в 1985 году вышел первый сборник стихов . Да и сам Карвер воспринимал Хемингуэя как своего учителя.поэта. чем многие из нас» . Стихи Карвер начал писать гораздо раньше. увидеть точный срез обыденной жизни в ее критический.«Там.американский поэт и новеллист. мечтавшего «создавать мир из слов».в «Библиотеке журнала «Иностранная литература» вышел сборник его рассказов «Собор». считая. Галвея. к драмам и «скучным историям» повседневной жизни. он самостоятельно выбивался в люди. Поступив в Калифорнийский университет. что этот человек пережил больше. Составитель и автор предисловия . его умение задеть читателя за живое. что того и другого писателя роднит внимание к маленькому человеку. Чья она? Теда Хьюза.писал критик журнала «Нью-Йорк тайм». «Его стихи. оператором на бензоколонке.работал рассыльным. С великим русским классиком сравнивали Карвера и американские критики. А еще он не раз говорил о своем внутреннем сродстве с Чеховым. «растревожить его». . еще при жизни «американского Чехова». переломный момент». тонкий психологизм молодого автора. За первым сборником последовали другие. Известный романист поддержал в самом начале пути талантливого дебютанта.таково суждение обозревателя журнала «Поэтри». . . . . В этом номере журнала мы впервые представляем русскому читателю Карвера . Карверу ставили в заслугу возрождение интереса к короткому рассказу в англоязычной литературе.это очищенные. Первый же сборник рассказов «Не будете ли вы так добры помолчать?» (1976) принес Карверу заслуженный успех. Произведения Карвера переведены на двадцать языков. Карвер посещал и писательские курсы. Реймонд Карвер родился в штате Орегон.Алексей Зверев. прошел суровую жизненную школу . чем рассказы. которыми руководил Джон Гарднер. в семье лесоруба. Но первое его стихотворение увидело свет только в 1984 году. отфильтрованные.сразу же удостоенный премии журнала «Поэтри». его творчество отмечено на родине писателя многими литературными премиями.Опубликовано в журнале: «Иностранная литература» 2005. «Читаешь стихи Карвера и понимаешь. более концентрированные версии его рассказов. автор четырех сборников стихов и нескольких сборников рассказов. ночным сторожем. Рецензенты отмечали скупость и точность языковых средств. санитаром в больнице. Моя ворона На дерево под моим окном села ворона. а также «любовь к недоговоренности». бросив всего лишь мимолетный взгляд. даже называли самым значительным со времен Хемингуэя мастером этого жанра. они позволяют нам. Первое знакомство русского читателя с одним из самых тонких мастеров американской прозы состоялось в 1987 году. где вода встречается с водою». №7 Реймонд Карвер От редакции Реймонд Карвер (1938-1988) .
1986 by Raymond Carver TALKING ABOUT THE PROCEDURES OF RAYMOND CARVER Ricardo Sobreira1 To win? To lose? What for. I will begin by briefly examining some information about the author’s biography as well as some aspects of his work and its aesthetic procedures: Raymond Carver is acknowledged by the literary critics as one of the most inventive postmodern writers. Она посидела пару минут.ворона. Raymond Carver [1938 – 1988] The aim of this essay is to discuss and analyze some strategies used by the late American writer Raymond Carver in his short story “A Small. in which a little conflict is “fought” and. as in his famous short stories “So Much Water So Close To Home”. They take part in quick and almost abrupt stories. he did not concede any space to language ornamentation or figures of speech. (Далее см. Basically. бумажную версию)  © 1984. then. Good Thing”. they unpredictably end. . 1985. His characters are antiheroic.Фроста. Поточила о ветку клюв и Улетела из моей жизни. “What We Talk About When We 1 Ricardo Sobreira is a Brazilian student and an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher at CCAA – Centro de Cultura Anglo-americana. the usage of several elements and images and also the unusual focalization as a kind of aesthetic dialog with the cinematographic language. stark and destitute of sentimentality. one of the most important English schools in Brazil. What contributes to this achievement is the minimalist structure of the narrative. His writing is straightforward. Лорки? Одна из Гомеровых птиц плотоядных? Нет. as an innovatory manner of expanding the suspense of the story. emblematic and depressed people. if the world will forget us anyway. Которая так и не пригодилась Никому из поэтов. Пастернака. Просто .
Therefore. Though the language used in “The Bath” is more straightforward. according to what I have already pointed out. absolving the baker from his nonfigurative condition of “evil force” and transforming him into a man devastated by his personal flop. Good Thing In one of his most important short stories. even laconic and filled with symbolic images. etc. One of these previous versions. the fear of the death. deals more deeply with the question of the human situation. he intensifies his humanist realism. drives to a bakery and orders a cake. a very impolite man. permanently locked in individual spheres. a young and joyful mother. But before turning to a closer examination of that. Good Thing”. another version of this story had been published in the book “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” and it is entitled “The Bath”. This story deals with subject matters intrinsically related to our human condition and our contingencies like. It is interesting the fact that. as well as dwells on the importance and the meaning of affection. “A Small. reproaching them because they did not pick the cake. makes phone calls to the Weiss. Raymond Carver creates characters and situations that are almost schematic. “The Bath” is shorter because. as it dwells on the anguished feelings. the baker. “A Small. and says. the telephone is ringing and when she answers it. Scotty. on the other hand. who at the ending of the story reveals all his bitterness . Ann comes to know that the phone calls had being made by the rude baker.Talk About Love”. “Eating is a small. the dog. the father. the baker. the parents get really scared and even think that the man who keeps phoning them is the same “psychopath” who knocked over Scotty. The characters of “A Small. generating. was awarded a few prizes. above all. Raymond Carver was able to create psychologically rich characters in a very accurate way. Ann and Howard Weiss. and. as he is an evil entity. a lurid and gloomy atmosphere. the other characters are just referred to as the boy. “Where I’m Calling From”. A good example of it being Ann Weiss. Nevertheless. he serves them some of his delicious rolls. Then they rebuke him so fiercely that he realizes how cruel his acts were. we must remember some of the facts and tensions present in the story: Ann Weiss. writes down her order and her phone number. Good Thing” represent the so-called North-American working class. So the angry and frightened parents stop by the bakery and tell the baker they could not pick the cake because Scotty had died. Howard. Good Thing” encompassed in the collections “Where I’m Calling From” and “Short Cuts” is a revision of two previous attempts. but now he was just a baker. He feels so sorry that he asks them to forgive him and says that he used to be a different kind of human being years ago. the sensation of powerlessness before the violence. the cruelty and the incommunicability of the human being. The version of the short story “A Small. she hears a voice say: “It’s ready”. the businessman. just to cite a few. the author did not seem to explore all the dramatic potentialities of the narrative. Talking about A Small. Only after Scotty’s death. These characters seem to be undefined. “Tell The Women We’re Going”. After that. “The Bath”. But before the party can be celebrated. it ends when Ann gets home for the first time after Scotty’s accident. producing a more complex portrayal of his characters. thus. Then the baker. go immediately to the hospital and powerlessly watch him die. is knocked down by a car. Ann. the housewife. Except for the mother. Meanwhile. good thing in a time like this” (404). her husband. the birthday boy. the expanded version. The characters of “The Bath” are unnamed. As the baker does not tell them who he really is. If in “The Bath”. “A Small Good Thing” represents a phase of aesthetic maturity in the style of the writer. for instance. Good Thing”. in “A Small Good Thing”. His parents. it focalizes more intensively the human brutality and uncertainty. of communion among the people in these chaotic days we have been living. what turns the narrative into something sketchy and impersonal. but in it.
Good Thing” are a result of the extreme incommunicability the characters experience. looks healthier and healthier every day. the despair of his parents increases because the boy does not come to consciousness and the doctors and nurses seem to be incapable or unwilling to talk to Ann and Howard about the real situation of the kid. The fragmentation of the reality and. the voice says: .. the reader’s) attention to the subject of the personality of the boy. what they find is the total disregard for human beings. It can be exemplified by the following fragment. when she answers it. Thus. she hears the phone ring and. is a considerable incommunicability: In the beginning of the story. as well as among the people of the real world nowadays. and hears his friend ask “what it felt like to be hit by a car” (378). he calls the other characters’ (and.” the young woman said. without even saying a word to the parents.. the resentment triggered by such unsociability is also implicit in the attitude of a nurse who enters Scotty’s room and. where the progress and the triumph seem to be the only acceptable parameter. “That” is a word that is syntactically used to refer to something or someone that is away from the speaker. the baker. the woman precariously explains: “Doctor’s orders. Dr. but she gives up soon in face of his extreme rudeness. just another meaningless thing to the structure of the health system. consequently. just the minimum exchange of words. I draw” (386) The usage of the demonstrative pronoun “that” by the nurse in her statement promote the disembodiment of the human being. feeling a little dizzy. is the only one who interrogates the problem of Scotty’s existence because he sets off the process of reification of the characters and their relationships. all the conflicts in “A Small. and he gives laconic answers every time he is asked about the child’s condition: Howard waited. (376) After the moment when Scotty is run over. The predominant feeling among the characters of “A Small. (383) Therefore. the failures during the communication process are the main factors that trigger the hostility depicted in the story: right after the moment Scotty is hit by a car. yes”. They say draw that one.because of his frustration in a country like the United States.” the doctor said and glanced over at the boy once more. and depicts an almost palpable drama played by the blue-collar class. There were no pleasantries between them. the mother tries to be gentle to the baker. This hypothesis becomes evident in the following fragment of the narrative in which Ann leaves the hospital and. “I do what I’m told. I don’t want to call it a coma. for example. “No. the life of the child is slowly fading away. which also serves as a concept to the minimalist aesthetic: The baker was not jolly. But while he seems to be trying to humanize and “revitalize” Scotty. “He’s just in a very deep sleep (. feeling so guilty in an “obscure way” for what happened to her son. the baker. though in an atrocious manner. it is clear that this specific character. Ironically. When asked by the parents. the submission of a man to the capitalist system. subsequently. By doing so. Good Thing”. I’d say that for certain. she implies that Scotty is just another patient. starts to draw off blood from the child’s arm. in opposition to his patient. Although Carver was not an effusively politicized writer. Metonymically through the birthday cake.) He’s out of any real danger. the necessary information. In an institution that is supposed to protect lives. Francis. He looked at the doctor. symbolizes in an almost Kafkaesque manner. he stands up.
he’s on the operation table. Whenever the doctor comes and examines the comatose boy. and. as well as in the whole minimalist artistic production. Tried to kill him. Therefore. the baker acts like a destabilizing entity in the story.” the man’s voice said. a wicked being that intrudes on the most unexpected moments of the story to stir up their panic and. yes. (392) Given the happenings of the text and the tension experienced by the characters. in cuts that recall the cinematographic language. Then he hung up. Have you forgotten about Scotty?” the man said. spatiality. As Ann and Howard are too perturbed by their child’s condition and the fact that they do not know who is making the phone calls contributes to a sort of disembodiment of the mysterious man who keeps tormenting them on the other side of the line. help the reader to develop clearer notions of temporality. (402) Another expedient that contributes to the increasing sensation of anguish and uncertainty in the text is related to the author’s capacity of condensing words. objects. Good Thing”. make them blame themselves for having neglected the boy. of precisely removing the excessive elements of the dialogs so that what is left is just the minimum. though innocent. This narrative device is known as anticlimax because it delays the ending of the central story. the insertion of narrative “ramifications” parallel to the main plot. At this party. Somebody cut him. Good Thing” is the inclusion of the drama experienced by a Negro family that is waiting for their son who is in the operation table. was hurt by an external agent. Thus. that is. the baker proceeds as an evil force. postponing and causing a greater expectation for the conclusion of the short story.“Scotty. His detailed descriptions of locations. that problem. “It’s about Scotty. their stories had gone through similar ruptures: He said. There was a fight where he was at. Ann tries really hard to get answers from him. just the essential amount of information that is needed to the (in)comprehension of the message. The narrator also uses another narrative procedure: the focalization of unusual elements that are very useful in order to compose the scenes. “Our Franklin. and to form a monstrous image of the baker: He looked at them and rolled his tongue behind his teeth. requires that the reader/observer/listener of this kind of art develop a high level of understanding and also a vast capacity of interaction and reconfiguration of the symbolic and aesthetic elements provided by the artist along his or her . What contributes to the generation of the anticlimax in “A Small. The conciseness of Carver when dealing with words and sentiments detectable in “A Small. Ann realizes that those people were “in the same kind of waiting she was in” (391) because Franklin. for instance. it is interesting to mention the fact that Franklin does not survive the surgery and dies — what can be interpreted as an anticipation of Scotty’s tragedy. their actions. When asked about the boy’s recovery. from the sober work of Sol LeWitt to the succinct music of Suzanne Vega. dislocate the reader’s attention to additional narrative elements. above all. what really worries the parents instead of comforting them. but the words he uses to explain Scotty’s condition are so limited that make her feel even more frightened and confused. characters. just like Scotty was. the black boy in the operation table. They say he was just standing and watching. the nurses also provide minimal answers like “stable” or “his signs are good”. the narrator. (390-391) And besides this little parallel drama be rather analogous to the central story line. It has to do with Scotty. Not bothering nobody. Such moments of tenseness appear randomly in the text through the utilization of some strategies to expand the suspense like. indirectly. But that don’t mean nothing these days”.
and that is why they suggest much wider human dimensions. If you want it. which represents the sacrifice. trying to make ends meet” (402) 2 WOOD.. too. lucky — he knew that (. She stared at him fiercely. the simple act of answering the phone and not hearing a voice on the other side of the line sounds like an overwhelming catastrophe. Although these artistic artifacts are conceptually simple.) I work night and day in here. his life had gone smoothly and to his satisfaction (. symbolizes a stereotypical woman.) So far. the ordinary themes of quotidian life are stylistically structured. Her incapacity of dealing with the situation is so palpable that she even mentally advises a girl she met in the hospital not to have children in order to avoid such suffering: “Don’t have children.. that’s okay.) He was happy and. from those forces he knew existed and that could cripple or bring down a man if the luck went bad. her fear. but nevertheless.work. the crisis and the fatal human collapse is implicit between the lines of the carefully constructed discourse of the author. In “A Small. Stories Full Of Edges And Silences. Carver's silences.) “Lady. larger than either of these men. There was a deep burning inside her. they have an enormous perceptive density.. (. I work sixteen hours a day in this place to earn a living.2 Analyzing the characters is also something crucial in order to understand the text. a good deal of the unsayable gets said”. Good Thing”.com/books/01/01/21/specials/carver-wood.” she told the girl’s image as she entered the front door of the hospital. so far. don’t. if you don’t. he searches for some relief in the memories of his serene and successful past. The violence is repressed in the silence. (402) The automatism of the social roles and the sensation of powerlessness of the character reach such a dramatic level that Ann does not seem to be able to stand her current situation and then she escapes totally from her reality. (379) However. Books.” He looked at them and rolled his tongue behind his teeth (. As he talks.nytimes.” (393-394) The father also goes through similar alienation. His life had been apparently full of satisfaction until the day that brusque rupture happened and forced him to face a completely new reality: Until now. Good Thing” and in other stories written by Raymond Carver. what is surprising in “A Small. <http://www. an anger that made her feel larger than herself. he makes clear that he acted according to his survival instinct.html> . Only after her son’s death.... Therefore.. her uncertainty. Ann Weiss. “For God’s sake. for example. if we compare it to “The Bath” are the conversational rhythms of the baker. okay. but given the circumstances. a young mother whose actions are somewhat automatic. if things suddenly turned. she starts to get rid of her behavioral automatism and then she demonstrates her anger: She clenched her fists. Howard tries an inverse kind of flight: by means of his flashbacks.. he had kept away from any real harm. 26/04/1981. Michael. She shows all her motherly sweetness. she seems incapable of fighting against her own alienation. I have to get back to work. choosing the violence and the cruelty as a form of expression. Michael Wood once wrote in “The New York Times” that “in Mr. foreshadowing herself and Scotty running away to a safer territory. The New York Times. as a way of manifesting all his unhappiness: “It cost me time and money to make that cake.
Eating is a small. and they did not think of leaving. for a little while. The exhausting schedule of work causes a person to become “robotized”. and love. They ate what they could (.” the baker said. I don’t think (. is knocked over. after Scotty’s sacrifice. Carver’s prose.. start to articulate those feelings that were petrified until then. You have to eat and keep going. And finally. and. “I hope you’ll eat some of my hot rolls. All his cruelty is due to his exaggerated materialism. it would seem”. Other problem that contributes to the baker’s hostility seems to be his childlessness: Although they were tired and in anguish. From this moment on. Association After the argument. The Anticlimax Anticipation . He told them what it was like to be childless all these years.) They talked on into the early morning. there is a brief communion among them. The three characters (Ann.“God alone knows how sorry [I am].. like Czech author Franz Kafka and. The Suspense Scotty does not wake up. Good Thing” by Raymond Carver follows the narrative structural scheme below: Initial situation A happy couple (Howard and Ann) plans to celebrate their Rupture Scotty. forgiveness.) You got to understand what it comes down to is I don’t know how to act anymore. This winds up by leading them to isolation and making them lose their affection. pale cast of light in the windows. if I ever was (.” (404) [Howard and Ann] listened to him. the parents forgive the baker. good thing in a time like this. (405) Carver also displayed his accuracy when he created an unexpected ending to his short story: the sensations of incommunicability and reification are transformed into something positive. I don’t claim to be anything else.) But I’m not any longer. and of the sense of doubt and limitation that had come to him in his middle years.. Howard and the baker). after pulling up a fierce argument. We live in a material world where the commercial relations are favored in detriment of feelings like fraternity.. Listen to me. They nodded when the baker began to speak of loneliness. reminds the discourse of other great writers who preceded him and highly influenced his work. in which the food and the dawn of a new day reaches a great symbolism. Maybe once.) I’m not an evil man. we believe that communication and understanding are the key to bind again those abysses that tear the people apart. they listened to what the baker had to say. “You probably need to eat something. exactly because it suggests a critique of the social and economical system. maybe years ago. Russian writer Anton Chekhov (whom Carver once confessed he was very fond of).. I’m just a baker. the birthday boy. (405) “A Small... I was a different kind of human being (. Ending Sacrifice Scotty dies too. The parents are afflicted by the baker’s phone calls. above all. To repeat the days with the ovens endlessly full and endlessly empty. he recovers the sense of humanity he said he had lost a long time ago because of his overwhelming routine of work.. the high. (404) When the baker becomes conscious of the perverse acts he practiced.
INCOMMUNICABILITY >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>COMMUNION Due to his development as a writer represented by his stories such as “A Small. the black boy. three of them sit around the table and eat. every time we talk about Raymond Carver we talk about a tragic. Raymond Carver began to be compared since then to important writers like Sherwood Anderson and Ernest Hemmingway. challenging. But. dies. Mr. . eight-year-old child’s birthday. undergoing a surgery Franklin. However. who refused this label because he thought it was too simple to define his work. Good Thing” and “Cathedral”. Many people doubted the existence of Minimalism. astoundingly beautiful mosaic — the life. whatever it is. Ann meets an AfroAmerican family whose son was hurt in birthday party a party and he is is canceled. Carver and his work were misinterpreted since the beginning. even Carver himself. Some critics who classified his art as depressive and freezing attacked him.
Major Themes. 1989.org/carver. New York. Francisco J. this lack of location.php? path=comunicacoes/raymond. Hiromi. pp. 1989. Random House.br/collii/main. 2005 Raymond Carver (1938-1988) Contributing Editor: Paul Jones Classroom Issues and Strategies Carver has been quoted as saying that his stories could happen anywhere.htm&frame=false&image=true> 10/01/2002. El realismo <http://maruska. Trying To Understand Carver’s Revisions.faijales. although they do exist in Carver stories. For example. if they have jobs. Where I’m Calling From – New And Selected Stories. I recommend the Larry McCaffery and Sinda Gregory interview found in Raymond Carver: A Study of the Short Fiction or in Alive and Writing: Interviews with American Authors of the 1980s as sources for rich Carver quotes and his own insights into the stories and the writing process.htm> 09/09/2002." However. Additionally. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. say. © 1989 by the estate of Raymond Carver © Максим Калинин.com. CRIADO. CARVER. Carver cites Isaac Babel's dictum. That is pretty much true.soria. You might ask: Where is this story set and in what year? How old are the characters? How does this affect your reading of the story? Does this lack diminish the story? Would it have been a better story if we knew it had been set in. and even time can be used to start a classroom discussion. Sobre o que falamos quando falamos de <http://www. 1995. Ricardo." as one of his own guiding principles. HASHIMOTO.º 5. and Personal Issues . are not too heavily at play in "A Small. Even the issues of class (most of Carver's characters. Carver. pesimista de Raymond Raymond Carver. Raymond. Historical Perspectives. SOBREIRA. Japan. Good Thing. are marginally employed). they are so contemporary that they require almost no background material or preparation for reading and understanding by an American audience. In: Tokai English Review. "No iron can pierce the heart with such force as a period put in just the right place. Raymond. N. Random House. New York. 113-147. Cleveland in May 1978? How would this story be read by readers outside of Carver's culture? Would it be understood differently in France or in Cameroon? The questions can draw the class toward a discussion of style in literature and to one of the major issues for Carver: What constitutes a good story? To bring Carver himself into the classroom. Tokio.Bibliography: CARVER. Перевод. class. Rodriguez.
but he didn't pass judgment on those who like "The Bath" best. such as the death of a loved one. or Artistic Conventions You would definitely want to talk about "minimalism" in fiction. issues of loss and of alcoholism are a part of the larger issue. Have the students first read the brief (ten-page) story "The Bath." Carver was at first the most influential practitioner of minimalism. Contrasts. The style has become so pervasive that students may just assume that this pared-down method of storytelling is simply how one writes fiction. All along the way his work also appeared in small literary magazines. You might consider teaching Carver and Hemingway and perhaps Donald Barthelme together. Luckily. David Bellamy called Carver "the most influential stylist since Donald Barthelme. Connections Anton Chekhov. Carver's stories can be used to show both the power of the so-called minimalist approach and its limits. routine lives can come close to experiencing insight and epiphany under pressure of intruding mysteries. and despairing to experience the philosophical questions of meaning into which they have been thrust." Students need not be textual critics to talk about the choices that Carver has made in the various versions of his stories. a writer who repudiated the style. and then. or richness or precision of statement. through the rewriting of his earlier stories. Significant Form. more expansive period will allow the students to participate in the intense debate about style." which was the earlier version of "A Small. though sophisticated. His defenders say that Carver characters demonstrate that people living marginal. Some say that Carver's characters are too ordinary. Comparisons. Style. The last two differ only in title. at least for the ones who like to use their imaginations. for example. Good Thing" from Carver's later. reading audience. "Popular Mechanics" (What We Talk About When We Talk About Love). . for those who appreciated experimental literature as well as for a general." He was writing for writers. Good Thing. then entering into a discussion of the bare bones style of each. Contrasting and comparing "The Bath" and "A Small." John Barth counters with this definition of a minimalist aesthetic: "[its] cardinal principle is that artistic effect may be enhanced by a radical economy of artistic means. Frederick Barthelme writes that as a minimalist "you're leaving room for the readers." "The Bath" is an excellent example of what minimalism does well and can be more terrifying and unsettling than anything by Stephen King. but there are significant differences in "Mine. The seemingly simple pared-down style of writing follows straight through to Carver. which is the isolation and terror of people when a total breakdown of survival systems is at hand. Franz Kafka. Another useful approach for showing the nuances of revision at work in Carver's writing is to look at a few other versions of his stories. Original Audience Carver's stories were published in most of the important slick magazines of the seventies and eighties including Esquire and The New Yorker. and "Little Things" (Where I'm Calling From). underperceptive. and Ernest Hemingway are the obvious influences on Carver's work. even where such parsimony compromises other values: completeness. Carver preferred the second version. A particularly illustrative case is a short-short-story of under five hundred words that has been known as "Mine" (Furious Seasons). The near-inarticulateness of his characters in the face of this terror and loss is significant and has been a major point of contention among his critics.In many of Carver's stories.
New York: Random House Audio Publishers. Marshall Bruce and William L. New York: Vintage Books. The following book of photographs helps show the locations for several of Carver's stories: Adelman. and sense of narrative. "In magazines. 1990. Runyon. "A Small. and I came down on the side of fiction. His poetry can also be compared to that of James Wright. Ewing. 1988. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press. Fires: Essays. 1983. Stull. although only the following early tape is available: Ray Carver Reads Three Short Stories. It was the right choice for me. I had to make a choice. Arthur M. "Popular Mechanics" and "The Bath. Santa Barbara: Capra Press. Poems. Stories. particularly with respect to the class of people from which the poems and stories are drawn. New York: Vintage Books. Gentry. "Introduction" by Tess Gallagher." In Furious Seasons and Other Stories. Carver Country: The World of Raymond Carver. Bibliography The following collections by Carver include stories mentioned above: "Mine. Saltzman. 1982. 1992. 1977." In Where I'm Calling from: New and Selected Stories. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press." Carver's poetry has been compared to that of William Carlos Williams. 1990. He said (in a Paris Review interview with Mona Simpson). Critical books on Carver are as follows: Campbell. "Little Things. New York: Scribner. Reading Raymond Carver. New York: Twayne. 1992. 1988. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press. Raymond. . I always turned to poems first before I read the stories. although I see many obvious differences in their approach. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. sense of the line. which is especially true in the case of Carver.Another way to consider Carver's style is to remember that he began writing poetry before he tried fiction and continued writing and publishing poetry throughout his career. Carver talks about his writing and the writing of others in the following books: Carver. Bob. Conversations with Raymond Carver. Finally. I find it always helpful to hear the author read his stories. Read by Peter Riegert. Columbia: American Audio Prose Library. Good Thing" can be found on tape (but not read by Carver) in the following: Where I'm Calling From. Raymond Carver: A Study of the Short Fiction. Randolph." In What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. 1984. Understanding Raymond Carver. 1989.
from The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Berkeley Art Museum + Pacific Film Archive Teaching "Cathedral" Teaching Raymond Carver. Contributing Editor: Paul Jones Pairing "Cathedral" with Tess Gallagher's "Rain Flooding Your Campfire" .Raymond Carver 1938-1989 Carver Interview Carver Articles "The Narrowed Voice: Minimalism and Raymond Carver" "Carver's Vision" by Phillip Carson "A Subtle Spectacle: Televisual Culture in the Short Stories of Raymond Carver" "Cathedral" Articles "Insularity and Self-Enlargement in Raymond Carver's 'Cathedral'" Fine Art Connection "Minimalism: Then and Now" by Constance Lewallen.
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