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Popular Mechanics Electronic Assignment

By Rachel-Blanch Apr 13, 2015 876 Words
Raymond Carver's "Popular Mechanics" is a Post-Modern story that is also categorized as Dirty Realism. This story gives readers a glimpse into the life of a contemporary couple; It is a vision that is once disheartening and, perhaps, disturbingly realistic. "Popular Mechanics" can be read as exhibiting the Post-Modern attribute of hopelessness. Through his revision of myth, specifically through his adaptation of a parable from the Bible, Carver is showing readers that love has become selfish instead of selfless. By concentrating not only on the story of King Solomon but also on the Post-Modern exploration of gratuitous length, missing punctuation, and open endings, readers are given a stark look at what it means to live in a Post-Modern era.

First, Raymond Carver's Post-Modern story demonstrates Dirty Realism in a way that many of us can relate to. When a relationship first starts its exciting and the love progresses sometimes into a family, or investments otherwise. Then, eventually, conflict and resentment take it's toll causing loss, and often painful break ups. Other times this may result in negligence of children or family members, and domestic violence. For example, the baby in "Popular Mechanics" was the one to suffer, being caught between two parents, fighting over who will take the child. Unknowingly, they hurt or at least frighten the child. The story also shows a glimpse into real issues that couples day to day can face, which also just so happens to be a common issue: parental rights. Thi s vision of failed love and child endangerment is highly disturbing, especially because we all hope for that fairy tale ending. It is also disheartening at the parable of "King Solomon" told by Jesus, being old with such an angry and dark twist to it. Instead of an ultimately caring and selfless love as the end, we instead see hatred, and selfishness. Both parents refuse to let go of the child, thus their love for the baby is less than that of winning.

Secondly, "Popular Mechanics" is the perfect example for Post-Modern hopelessness. For instance, the "King Solomon" parable ended with the baby living, because the parent saved the child only due to selfless love. The Post-Modern twist shows each parent out only for

themselves, specifically in the line that read: "The baby was red faced and screaming. In the scuffle they knocked down a flowerpot that hung behind the stove. He crowded her into the wall then, trying to break her grip, he held on to the baby and pushed with all his might." My heart sank at the thought of someone trying to rip a screaming baby from his own Mother's arms. Envisioning two people physically battling over a fragile baby was almost unbearable. The fact that neither person will give in for the sake of the child tears the hope out of the reader. The child being in danger and no one helping is evident at the loss of love. Thirdly, Raymond Carver wrote in such a manner that reflected the stylings of PostModern literature in many ways. For instance, the length of the short story was quite long, it felt as if I were watching the entire scenario play out in front of me from within two pages. Also, there is punctuation missing which can be confusing at first. For example, there's two lines that read one after the other as: "Are you crazy" and "No, but I want the baby" minus the quotation marks. If there's no quotation marks, how would one distinguish someone was even speaking? Especially since there was not many "He said" or "she said" following the spoken sentences. There's also comma's where the end of a sentence should have a period. However, of all these, the most painful to read is the open ending. It leaves the audience in a desperate anxiety, only to wonder and wish there was someone to beg to provide the end of the story. It feels sim ilar to torture, as if your on the cusp of finding out the most valuable part of all, and it is just stolen away..leaving you to your imagination. The harsh look at the reality of love gone wrong, can razzle the audience, for those who may have had similar experiences. Ultimately, PostModernism may be bleak and hopelessness, but it is also truth and everyday ugliness that you cannot deny. The best of reality is bare for us to see.

In Conclusion, "Popular Mechanics" by Carver, is an amazingly painted Post-Modern tale that goes beyond what the reader expects. It tears away all the safety nets, and leaves the

Rachel Blanch
Dr. Kenefic
Spring ENC 1102

R.Blanch Pg.1

baron truth. The Dirty Realism exposes us to possible domestic violence, Lost Love, abandonment, and inevitable heart break. Previous ways of selfless and unconditional love is now replaced by controlling pride, and selfishness. What we expect of love, no longer has its original essence. The story also demonstrates Post-Modern's unusual manner of puntuation, length short stories, and open endings. The Dirty Realism coupled with a dark tone, gave off an ominous but real look, into the life of a couple struggling to survive a relationship gone wrong.

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