Raymond Carver Notes to Study

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Fat by Raymond Carver
This story illustrates my own confusion about theme and plot. The physical actions of taking his order and bringing him his food elicit information in the story which I may be confusing with plot. For example: She brings him his soup and he has completely finished his large salad and two slices of bread. So we learn he eats a lot of food and quickly (which is why he is fat). As she moves between table and kitchen our storyteller defends the fat man to her colleagues. This shows us that she feels sympathy and warmly towards the fat man. So the question I have is whether plot is the physical action of bringing food (which moves the story forward) or the interspersed actions of defending the man, sharing her own inability to gain weight that occurs because she needs to serve the food. Or is every action in this story part of the plot? Clearly, the woman's reference to being fat may be suggesting pregnancy, as she feels fat during sex and then immediately intuits that her life is going to change.

The story climax seems to be when she confesses she can't gain weight. That is the point at which the story shifts from being about a fat man to being about our protagonist. Each Carver story seems to be a moment in time without actions. But he truly takes the every day and wrings meaning or poignancy from it. I'm still not sure which.

In the opening story of the Raymond Carver short story collection, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please, we have Fat  and the theme of choice, control and obesity. Narrated in the first person by an unnamed woman the story begins with the reader being told of a conversation that the narrator had with her friend Rita. The narrator is a waitress and she is telling Rita about an obese man who came into her diner one day. The first thing the narrator noticed about the man was his long, thick, creamy fingers. This image of the fingers is important because the narrator, on several occasions, uses the man’s fingers to...
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