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Carvers Realism From Fires Essay

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How does Carver create precision of reality with his characters, focusing on Fires?

When looking at the works of Raymond Carver, one can feel a sense of autobiography, that the characters in his stories are struggling against the same circumstances that Carver himself once struggled through. How true this is, is marginal to say the least, for Carver tells us in Fires that anything from a phone call to living in a seedy apartment in Jerusalem for four months is cause to influence his writing.

But taking this as subject of influence for his stories, one must then look at his characters, who at times more than closely resemble a certain element of Carver himself in a certain situation that Carver has since been in. The essence of the
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I’d already missed out on a couple of dryers- somebody‘d gotten there first. I was getting frantic..... even if I could get my clothes into the dryer it would still be another hour or more before the clothes would dry..... Finally a dryer came to a stop and I was right there when it did..... This woman put her hand into the machine and took hold of some items of clothing. But they weren’t dry enough, she decided. She closed the door and put two more dimes into the machine..... I remember thinking at that moment, amid the feeling of helpless frustration that had me close to tears, that nothing..... could possibly be as important to me..... as the fact that I had two children. And that I would always have them and always find myself in this position of unrelieved responsibility and permanent distraction. (Fires, pp. 32, 33)

This sort of epiphany is what Carver deals with in almost all his stories- the daily responsibilities of life weighing down on one’s shoulders when nothing is certain, not one’s marriage, one’s sobriety, not even a dryer to finish drying the clothes. “ Almost all the characters in my stories come to the point where they realise that compromise, giving in, plays a major role in their lives,'; Carver said. “ Then one single moment of revelation disrupts the pattern of their daily lives. It’s a fleeting moment during which they don’t
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