English Comp. II- Literary Visions
A. Raymond Carver describes himself as â€œinclined towards brevity and intensity and hooked on writing short stories.â€ Some critics have found Carverâ€™s flat prose, arid landscape, muddled and unhappy characters, and enigmatic endings nihilistic, vapid, or pointlessly bizarre.
B. Biographical information
1. Born on May 25, 1938 in Clatskanie, Oregon
a. Received a B.A. from Humboldt State College in 1963
b. Grew up in a middle class family in Yakima, Washington
2. Literary Career
a. His first published ...view middle of the document...
Carverâ€™s constructions of masculinity are characterized by optimism and growth
IV. Writing Techniques employed by the writer
1. Carver uses unadorned language, a flatness of tone
Carver uses spare plot lines, and characters bereft of identity and affect
2. Carverâ€™s technique has been described as dirty realism
Often focused on sadness and lost in the everyday lives of ordinary people
Often focuses on lower â€“ middle class or isolated and marginalized people
Raymond Carver describes himself as â€œinclined towards brevity and intensity and hooked on writing short stories.â€
Raymond Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon in 1943 and grew up in Yakima, Washington. His father was a sawmill worker from Arkansas. His mother worked as a waitress and retail clerk. Carver was educated in local schools in Yakima, Washington. Carver continued his education at Chico State University and at Humboldt State College in Arcata, California and received his B.A. in 1963. In June of 1957, Carver married Maryann Burk, whom he had two children with. He later divorced her in 1982. Carver remarried in 1988. Six weeks later, Carver died of lung cancer. He died on August 2, 1988 at the age of 50. That same year he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
The short story Neighbors, by Raymond Carver, portrays a coupleâ€™s obsession of wanting to live the life of their neighbors Harriet and Jim Stone. â€œBill and Arlene Miller were a happy couple. But now and then they felt they alone among their circle had been passed by somehow, leaving Bill to attend his bookkeeping duties and Arlene occupied with sectorial chores. To the Millers, the Stones lived a fuller and brighter lifeâ€ (Carver, 137). Carverâ€™s characters Bill and Arlene Miller depict this sense of obsession in various ways such as Billâ€™s continual self-reflection in the Stoneâ€™s mirror, dressing in their attire, along with stealing their belongings. This fixation/desire unleashes the Millersâ€™ intimacy for one another.
Obsession is shown by Carverâ€™s character Bill, when he continually looks in the Stonesâ€™ mirror. Bill glances at himself searching for reassurance of his existence, while his sense of disappointment continues to surface. Virginia Crane points this out in the following statement. â€œOne recurring image is
that of a mirror, In the Stoneâ€™s apartment. Bill frequently turns to a mirror as if he is uncertain who he is. This dependence on a reflection to be assured of his own being is a powerful metaphor for his inner emptiness and lack of self. (Crane, 2). As the reader you feel empathy for Bill, as there are too many people among us that are never truly satisfied with who they are or what they have. The portrayal of obsession is shown through Carverâ€™s character Bill Miller. â€œAnd like the ideal holiday destination, the apartment provides an opportunity...