Analysis of the title used in Raymond Carver's Elephant

Topics: Raymond Carver, Fiction, Al-Fil Pages: 2 (753 words) Published: November 14, 2013

In his short story titled simply 'Elephant', Raymond Carver focuses on the elephant both literally and figuratively. Literally, when the author used the word elephant as the title for his short story, he made me think of the narrator in the story as hardworking because elephants are hardworking creatures. The narrator works hard to earn a living and takes his responsibilities seriously. Also, the author could have used the word elephant to bring attention to the phrase elephant in the room which means an obvious topic that everyone avoids bringing up. This short story is an accurate portrayal of symbiotic relationships in a family. People wouldn't like having to think of their family as parasites living off them and thus, nobody really likes to mention it, so the issue is left unspoken.

Raymond Carver focused on the literal meaning of the elephant by having the narrator's family members constantly look to him for support. Elephants rely on their family bonds in order to survive. The female unit of elephants has a leader called a matriarch where the entire herd of elephants rely on the matriarch to lead them. Literally, the narrator is assuming the role of the matriarch where his family members are expecting him to lead them through the hard times in their lives. A fine example of this dependency would be the narrator's brother who continues to ask for money throughout the entire story. His family's constant dependency cures the narrator's loneliness therefore he continues to submit to his family members' requests despite the toll it takes on himself. He depends on people relying on him because he does it to feel wanted, in my opinion. The narrator takes it upon him and makes it his duty to sacrifice for the sake of his family, thus reinforcing the helplessness and laziness of his other family members.

The title of 'Elephant' brings to mind the idiom 'white elephant' which basically means a valuable possession which its owner cannot dispose of and whose...
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