Short Story Everything Stuck To Him By Raymond Carver

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Short Story Everything Stuck To Him By Raymond Carver

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Note on Popular Mechanics and Everything Stuck to Him by Raymond Carver

The use of passive voice in the final sentence is chilling, as it fails to assign anyone responsibility for the outcome. Additionally, the words "manner," "issue," and "was decided" have a clinical, impersonal feel, focusing again on the mechanics of the situation rather than the humans involved. But the reader won't be able to avoid noticing that if these are the mechanics we choose to employ, real people do get hurt. After all, "issue" can also be a synonym for "offspring. The struggle over a baby echoes the story of the Judgment of Solomon in the book of 1 Kings in the Bible. In this story, two women arguing over ownership of a baby bring their case to King Solomon for resolution. Solomon offers to cut the baby in half for them. The false mother agrees, but the real mother says she'd rather see her baby go to the wrong person than see it killed.

Because of this woman's selflessness, Solomon recognizes that she is the real mother and awards her custody of the child. Unfortunately, there is no selfless parent in Carver's story. At first, it appears that the father wants only a photo of the baby, but when the mother sees it, she takes it away. She doesn't want him to have even that. Angered by her taking the photo, he escalates his demands and insists on taking the actual baby. Again, he doesn't really seem to want it; he just doesn't want the mother to have it.

They even argue about whether they're hurting the baby, but they seem less concerned with the truth of their statements than with the opportunity to hurl accusations at one another. During the story, the baby changes from a person referred to as "him" to an object referred to as "it. The parents want only to win, and their definition of "winning" hinges entirely on their opponent's losing. It's a grim view of human nature, and one may wonder how King Solomon would have dealt with these two parents. Share Flipboard Email. Catherine Sustana. They haggle a little over prices and buy a TV and a bed. The drinking man tells the young girl to put a record on. When the music begins the man asks the couple to dance.

Uncomfortably, they comply. Then the drinking man dances with the young girl, and she says to him: "You must be desperate or something. She mocks the record-player and records he gave them, saying: "Will you look at this shit? A hook-handed man takes a photograph of the narrator's house from the street, then sells it to him. The narrator asks the photographer in for coffee. The manuscript version of the same title appears in Beginners A man reflects "about three years back" on his struggle to come to grips with a couple of troublesome relationships. He was surprised to see his elderly single mother kissing a man on the sofa upstairs.

He says his kids were crazy and so was his wife, Myrna, who eventually fell for another man named Ross whom she met at Alcoholics Anonymous. He remembers how his father died and suggests to Myrna that they "hug awhile" and have a "real nice supper," and she responds somewhat lukewarmly. The manuscript version titled "Where Is Everyone? Duane has been having an affair with a cleaning lady, Juanita. Duane tries to convince Holly that their love can be rekindled and reconciled but Holly does not agree. Duane is left hopelessly bemoaning the future he had envisioned with Holly.

Nancy wakes up in the middle of the night because of a noise outside. She realizes it's the open gate, and hesitantly she goes to the kitchen to smoke for a while before going out to investigate, leaving her alcoholic husband Cliff "passed out" and snoring loudly in bed. At the fence, Nancy meets her neighbor Sam, a widower, who is spreading insecticide to kill slugs which are ruining his garden. Lonely and wishing to patch up their relationship, Sam asks Nancy to tell Cliff he said hello.

Nancy says she will and goes back to bed, realizing she forgot to latch the gate shut. The manuscript version titled "Want to See Something? Les, a textbook salesman, reflects back a year ago on an incident where he met up with his father in a Sacramento airport. It's been two years since his father's divorce from his mother. While the wife was away, the father had been having an extramarital affair with a Stanley Products saleswoman. The father asks Les if everything is okay, and Les lies, saying everything is fine. A fissure seems to grow between the father and son during the uncomfortable, transient, confusing meeting. Fairly sure that his father will play a negligent to nonexistent role in his future, Les boards his flight.

The manuscript version titled "The Fling" appears in Beginners On his birthday, young Scotty is walking to school when he is hit by a car and knocked unconscious. It is much shorter than "A Small, Good Thing" and ends on an ambiguous note as Scotty's mother goes home from the hospital to take a bath, which is where this version of the story gets its name. After Jerry marries, Bill senses a change in his friend. One Sunday afternoon, the two men leave their wives and Jerry's kids to go out for a drive. They play pool and drink beer at the Rec Center. On their way out, they see two women biking down the road.

Jerry proposes turning back and chatting them up. They drive ahead and wait for the women to pass. The women, when they arrive, drop their bikes and cut down a path away from the men, which doesn't really bother Bill but angers Jerry, who devises a plan to cut them off. The story ends in a surprise, with Jerry bashing Shannon and Barbara over their heads with a rock, ostensibly killing them both and proving Jerry's deep unhappiness. While there, James is perturbed by a young hippy-like couple dressed in denim who go on to ruin his fun and evening: they take the Packers' parking spot; James sees the young man cheating and confronts him but the man denies the allegation.

Later, when the young girl gets bingo, everybody but James claps. James is certain the couple will use the victory money on drugs. That night as the Packers are getting ready for bed, Edith reveals to James that she's been "bleeding" and "spotting," and she'll require medical attention. Restless and upset over his wife's sickness, James wonders why it isn't the young couple who has all the problems. At breakfast, Claire, the narrator, is shocked to learn her husband Stuart and his three buddies found the body of a girl washed up on the rivershore upon arriving in the afternoon for their yearly camping trip, as reported by the morning newspaper.

Instead of reporting the body to the police right away, the four enjoy their vacation fishing, eating, and drinking whisky as they sit by the fire. As the quartet packs up the next morning, Stuart uses a payphone to call the body into the police. Claire feels distanced from her husband and cannot stop wondering about the dead girl, whom she feels connected to. She believes Stuart and his friends could have killed her perhaps. Claire wonders why they didn't go fishing locally, why didn't they report the body quickly.

Later, after the body is identified and Stuart is at work, Claire reads the funeral plans in the newspaper and decides to attend. On her way to the funeral, a man in a pickup truck pulls her over and asks to talk to her, wants to make sure she's safe. Claustrophobic and frightened, Claire clicks her car locks shut and says she's fine. After the funeral Claire overhears a woman saying they caught the killer, but Claire is not so certain they have the right man. The story ends with Stuart making a sexual advance on Claire in the kitchen. As he reaches for her breasts, she hears water running in the sink and is reminded of the girl floating in the river. Jack Fraser tells the story of a local simpleton and outsider named Dummy who worked in the same sawmill as Jack's father Del.

Del gets Dummy to fill a pond on his land with bass, but Dummy eventually builds an electric fence around it so people stop coming by. Dummy drifts further into isolation and his wife starts going around with another man. The story ends with Dummy murdering his wife and committing suicide by drowning in his beloved pond. Del impresses upon Jack what a wrong woman can turn a man into. Later, Jack understands Dummy's plight more clearly. The manuscript version titled "Dummy" appears in Beginners Burt is unable to leave his estranged wife Vera alone. The day after Christmas, Burt comes back to Vera's house to explain away his poor, erratic behavior from the day before.

Christmas Day, Burt put too many logs in the fire which could've burned the place down. On his way out to make room for Vera's boyfriend Charlie, who is to arrive after six, Burt steals a couple pies from the kitchen counter. On the 26th Vera does not want to talk to Burt; she doesn't have the time, she has plans. Burt apologizes but Vera does not think it's very sincere. Burt notices cigarette butts that are not Vera's regular brand collected in the ashtray, "their ashtray," and feels out of place. While Vera is the bathroom the phone rings and she shouts at Burt to answer it.

It's a call for Charlie and Burt responds curtly, saying he's "not here" before leaving the phone off the hook.

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