Put Yourself in My Shoes by Charles E. May

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byJournal of the Short Story in
English
46  (Spring 2006)
Special issue: Raymond Carver

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Charles E. May

Putting yourself in the shoes of
Raymond Carver
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Electronic reference
Charles E. May, « Putting yourself in the shoes of Raymond Carver », Journal of the Short Story in English [Online], 46 | Spring 2006, Online since 01 mars 2006, Connection on 15 juin 2012. URL : /index488.html Publisher: Presses universitaires d'Angers

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Putting yourself in the shoes of Raymond Carver

Charles E. May

Putting yourself in the shoes of Raymond
Carver
: p. 31-42
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There is usually no mystery about the identity of personal pronouns in the titles of Raymond Carver’s stories. The “you” in “Why Don’t You Dance,” and the “I” in “I Could See the Smallest Things” have clear references to characters in the stories. Even the generalized “We” in “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” is based on a specific group of characters. However, in “Put Yourself in My Shoes,” neither the “you” in “Yourself” nor the “I” in “My” refers to anyone in the story. The only reference to the title in the text is uttered by the character Mr. Morgan, who, after relating an anecdote about a colleague’s affair with a student, says to Myers, a character identified as a writer: “Put yourself in the shoes of that eighteen-year-old coed who fell in love with a married man. Think about her for a moment, and then you see the possibilities for your story.” Lacking any other possible referent, the title seems to be a direct address by which Carver asks the reader to identify with him. This identification is further suggested by Carver’s response to an interviewer’s question about “Put Yourself in My Shoes”: “I think every young writer is cautioned about writing a story about a writer…. But then every writer goes ahead and writes at least one story about a writer, and that’s my story about a writer” (Conversations 61). Like most authors, Carver insists that his stories are always a mixture of “a little autobiography and a lot of imagination” (Conversations 137). The “little autobiography” component of “Put Yourself in...
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