Essay on Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

1355 Words Sep 30th, 2010 6 Pages
Love is undoubtedly one of the most frequently explored subjects in the literary world. Whether the focus is a confession of love, criticism of love, tale of love, or simply a tale about what love is, such literary pieces force readers to question the true meaning and value of love. Raymond Carver accomplishes this in his short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” As the unadorned setting and the personality of each character unfold, the reader realizes that Carver is making a grave comment on the existence of love. Carver utilizes strong contrast, imagery, and diction to ultimately suggest that love cannot be defined concretely and therefore cannot be defined in words, and because of this, it is better off unexplored. …show more content…
On page 178, Mel states, “…And it ought to make us feel ashamed when we talk like we know what we’re talking about when we talk about love.” In short, Mel is suggesting that none of the characters understand love, and those who think they do (Nick and Laura) are temporarily disillusioned. Additionally, Carver invalidates Nick and Laura’s comments on love by categorizing them as new fools in love, meaning that Nick’s comment about love being absolute is far from true. The contrast of the two couples relationships suggests that there are many forms and stages of love, which further disproves its absoluteness. In conclusion, the contrast of all four characters’ views questions both the existence and the verbal definition of true love. As the story unfolds further, Mel continues to lead the group’s conversation. Carver incorporates significant imagery through this drunken character. First of all, Mel speaks of his wishes to be a knight so that he could have a suit of armor, which is a form of protection. However, on page 181 Nick states, “I read somewhere that they’d fall off their horses and not be able to get up because they were too tired to stand with all that armor on them. They got trampled by their own horses sometimes.” This is an analogy in the sense that the armor represents “walls” that people put up to protect and separate themselves from others. The horse represents the creature in which the man confides the most trust, which could also represent
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