So Much Water so Close to Home

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"Abnormality of Stuart"

In Raymond Carver's "So Much Water So Close to Home", Carver exposes to the reader that Stuart has some emotional problems. Sudden outbursts and verbal eruptions are not uncommon for Stuart, as he continuously yells at his wife throughout the story. From this I am able to infer that Stuart has a dual personality, one side being normal and the other as a disturbed person. In this analysis of Stuart, I am going to show that by the following textual clues that he is not normal and has the potential to inflect severe damage upon others around him. Sometimes body language can be more powerful than words. And in this case Stuart's subtle eye contact is strong enough to warn the reader that he is a dangerous character. The first indication of his dual personality is evident in the following incident in the park, where Stuart and Claire are discussing the murder of the young girl and it appears as if Stuart is about to strike his wife Claire. "I slap him before I realize. I raise my hand, wait a fraction of a second and then slap his cheek hard… He catches my wrist before I can strike again and raises his own hand. I crouch, waiting, and see something come into his eyes and then dart away. He drops his hand" (Carver 282). This scene marks the first time where Claire becomes suspicious of Stuart being guilty of murdering the girl. This detailed passage exposes a brief glimpse of Stuart's other side as he contemplates hitting Claire, but decides not to. He knows that Claire is becoming suspicious about his involvement with the murder and desperately wants her to believe his lies. Stuart shows signs of surpassing extreme limits to convince her, but then quickly lowers his hand, thinking better of the situation. In this situation his split second decision turned out to be a nonviolent one, but sooner or later his evil side will get the better of him and damage will be done. Just because Stuart chose not to hit her in this...
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