Raymond Carver’s “Mine” and “Little Things” seem no different when they are only read once and the history of the author is a mystery. During that first reading it is even possible to begin to question and wonder why the short story was printed three times, with three different titles: “Mine,” “Popular Mechanics,” and finally “Little Things”. The differences are between the first and second publications “Mine” and “Popular Mechanics.” The third publication “Little Things” is different from “Popular Mechanics” in title only, which again forces you to wonder why there was the need to print the same basic story so many times. Like with many other things in life, if you take the time and learn a little about the history of the person behind the creation, the nuances will begin to define themselves. The similarities between Raymond Carver’s parents’ relationship and the relationship between him and his first wife are very interesting. Carver and his father both worked as sawmill workers and his mother and his wife both worked as waitresses and sales clerks. That is just the beginning of the similarities. Carver and his father both suffered from alcohol addiction. It is during one of those drunken times that one wonders if the scene written about took place. It is easy to question is this a work of fiction or was it an actual moment from Carver’s own life. Was he a small boy whose parents were arguing so heatedly? Or was it he himself and his wife? Or is this even a scene that has been played out many times in his life by his parents as a child and then between he and his wife as an adult.
In “Mine” the language is more descriptive and the intensity of the emotions that are being expressed can be felt more clearly. And because the wording is more vivid in this version, I believe that the short story was based on a memory from Carver’s own childhood. The first edition, I believe allows greater insight into the pain of the mother and the determination to...
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