What We Talk About, When We Talk About Love

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Intoxicated Love
In Raymond Carver’s short story, “What We Talk About, When We Talk About love,” two couples begin a conversation on the topic about love over a full evening of drinking gin. (As the conversation goes on, the couples continue to drink until there is no more gin left.) Carver uses the bright sun and drinking, as symbolisms throughout the story to illustrate the theme. (The consumption of alcohol has the power to affect one's own thoughts and opinions on a topic that does not have an explicit definition.) Carver begins the story in the early evening while the sun is still bright. He specifically introduces one of the characters, Mel, who is mentioned to be a cardiologist and fascinatingly, has plenty to say about love. Once the evening starts, while the sun still bright and the gin being passed around the table, they begin to talk about love. As the couples keep drinking, one couple, Mel and Terrie try to interpret their own meaning of love. Mel, being married twice already thought “real love was nothing less than spiritual love” (pg1). His idea on love was different than Terrie’s. From her past experience, she believes her ex-abusive boyfriend loved her so much he tried to kill her. Evidently, the two have complete opposite opinions on what love is and they begin to argue back and forth about Terrie’s perspective on love, concluding if having an abusive relationship is real love or not. As they become more intoxicated, their thoughts and opinions on love develop confusion. The other couple does not have much to say other than expressing their thoughts on love by being affectionate towards each other. Everyone at the table continues to drink gin in order to complete their talk about love. However, the gin creates complex meanings of love between both couples. Carver conveyed in the beginning of the story, “the sunlight filled the kitchen from the big window behind the sink” (pg1). The sun, being part of the setting, symbolizes the uncertainty and...
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