Raymond Carver Neighbors

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 324
  • Published: October 25, 2007
Read full document
Text Preview
Neighbors
"Neighbors is a short story written by Raymond Carver in 1988. It is from the collection of short stories "Short cuts". The short story is in brief about the married couple Bill and Arlene Miller, who lives opposite the married couple Harriet and Jim stone. Bill and Arlene constantly see themselves in the light of the Stones' happy life. Bill is a bookkeeper and Arlene is a secretary, while Jim is a salesman for a machine-parts firm. In the story the Stones are going on a business trip combined with a family trip. Bill and Arlene are set to look after the Stones' apartment, feeding the cat, Kitty, and water their plants. In the Stones' absence Bill and Arlene show themselves from a side you normally don't experience from people – that is to say the side that shows when you are alone with yourself with the minds curiosity. The story takes place over the course of 3 days. We have an objective third party storyteller and the entire story is written in the past with a few dialogs here and there. It is chronological and we don't experience any flashbacks or flashforwards. The language isn't advanced, the sentences aren't exactly long and there aren't any complicated words. That is probably due to the fact that the story takes place in an everyday life, in an everyday life environment and also in a very normal situation (it must be said to be normal to feed the cat and water the plants, when the neighbors are away). To sum up it is not a demanding text in terms of the length or the difficulty. We don't know where the story takes place or when it takes place. We don't even know how old our main characters are. Is it even necessary? Raymond Carver gets in stories a hold on themes like alcoholism, poverty, divorce and misfortune that could be taking place anywhere in the world (although people from the west relate more to his stories). ‘ We have a short precise presentation of the two people Bill and Arlene, but they could for that matter had been anybody. They don't stand out in any way and you don't seem to get an inner connection with them through the story due to its very minimalistic form. The story is very contemporary and modern, which means that we don't need any additional background information to read and understand "Neighbors". The fact that Carver leaves most of it up to the fantasy gives the reader place to think. That is what characterizes this minimalistic way of writing and it's the very thing that gives place for imagining. The interesting thing in the story however isn't the composition or the way of writing. The story hungers to be studied in depth. In "Neighbors" Carver gets a hold on a very underlying level of the human; that is so to say the way we are when no one else is around… When Bill for the first time walks over to feed Kitty he acts completely disrespectfully towards the Stones. He lays some of Harriet's prescription pills down in his pocket and he merrily drinks some of their whisky. When he returns home he gets the feeling of having left something back. He has this feeling because he knows it is wrong to sneak around in other people's apartment and behave like it is one's own – he is therefore nervous for his action that might be tracked back to him. He omits telling his wife about it, but the question is also if there really is anything to tell? He after all didn't do anything over there… For someone who isn't satisfied with his own life it can be incredibly exciting to step into someone else's shoes… it turns out. Bill has after the Stones' departure psychologically taken over the role as Jim and that turns him on a lot: When he meets Arlene he suggests that they go to bed. You clearly sense that it isn't everyday occurrence when Carver clearly describes the awkwardness in his movements and that also being after Arlene's comment "Good God, Bill...(Page 15)." His exploration in another man's life, a man he looks up to, could also be a very sexual fantasy. His exploration of the...
tracking img