Gender and Identity in Raymond Carver's so Much Water, so Close to Home

1088 Words Dec 11th, 2006 5 Pages
Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. We've all heard the saying, but what does it mean? We are different, that goes without saying. As evidenced in Raymond Carver's "So Much Water, So Close to Home", men and women differ on many key issues of morality, perception, and judgment. The two do have something in common, believe it or not, and that is the expectation of the opposite gender to communicate, think, and react in the exact way they do. Hence, frustration. Not with themselves, God forbid the two ever see a situation from each other's point of view. The frustration is with the opposite gender, over something that for the most part, they cannot help. As we have seen time and time again and as Carver proves, it's in our blood. What …show more content…
Men as a whole are known to be less compassionate and sensitive than women. The example used in the story is of course an extreme case- in reality even the most masculine of characters would not likely leave a dead body in the river close by for days and even wash their dishes next to it without calling on the proper authorities to help. What does it mean to be a woman? In "So Much Water, So Close to Home", the narrator Claire is portrayed as an average woman. She has a hard working husband and a young son. All of the women in the story, excluding the dead one, are shown as very compassionate people. They are sensitive and caring to the needs of other people, even to those they do not personally know. When Claire's husband Stuart returns home from his annual fishing trip, he tells her about how he and his friends found the woman's body in the river. Not before having a cold beer, sex with Claire, and a good night's sleep, however. Claire cannot comprehend how in the world her husband could have done this. The fact that Stuart had found a body and waited several days to report it is bad enough, but for him to come home and carry on as if it had never happened is unimaginable to Claire. She even considers the possibility that it was her husband who raped and killed the innocent young woman. She later realizes, however, that her husband did not commit that particular crime. Claire thinks that her husband's inaction was a crime in itself. Claire sees this inability

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