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"Fat" by Raymond Carver

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"Fat" by Raymond Carver

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  • December 17, 2011
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Pleasantly Obese

Raymond Carver’s short story “Fat” brings the reader through a life changing moment for a waitress. The unnamed woman, who describes her encounter with an obese man to her friend Rita, is completely engaged in everything about the fat man while she waits him; his size, his appetite, and especially his hospitality towards her. Through the waitress’ thoughts, Carver repeatedly brings up the concept of obesity in his story. He allows her mind to tell the reader which parts are important to her life changing revelation and how she feels throughout different parts of the story. The theme of obesity is discussed entirely in the foreground throughout “Fat” to give the reader insight on the narrator and to bring about other themes.

The fat man’s fingers were the first attribute that the waitress notices about the man. His fingers “look here times the size of a normal person’s fingers-long, thick, creamy fingers” (147). The theme of obesity is brought out quickly in the first paragraph of the story by describing the man’s physical appearance. When the reader sees these thoughts being formulated in the waitress’ mind in this manner, they immediately connote the fat person as something of disgust. The waitress even seems displeased with the man by consistently bringing up his weight as she tells Rita her story. This is seen when she repeatedly bring up the size of the man’s fingers: “God, Rita, but those were fingers” (147). The different types of fingers end up becoming its own theme as the story progresses. The type of fingers on a person describes that person. For example, at the end of the story, the narrator defines Rita’s “dainty fingers,” while explaining her confused reaction to the story to slightly demean her character (150). She wants the reader to relate being fat to being a strong person. By describing Rita’s fingers, she links her own with fat ones, making a connection between herself and the obese man and bringing back this theme....