The world seems to be divided by two realms of reality and experience. There is reality and fantasy, dreaming in our sleep, experiences that we can't comprehend and handle, everyday we switch back and forth through these worlds. Raymond Carver and Denis Johnson dig into these experiences. Carver writes about humans with a set mind capacity and what happens when they are encountered with an experience that is larger than that capacity. Johnson writes about the transition of reality and something that is greater than are conception of reality, a super reality if you will. They both look at these contrasts of experiences and also look at relationships with women and how they change people in the stories.
With Carver the characters are average people that the reader can identify with easily. Some of the characters can be stupid, ignorant, or troubled with their lives. But the reader can always identify with them some how. In the story "Nobody Said Anything the main character, a boy who is skipping school, is encountered with many situations that he can't seem to grasp or handle. In the beginning of the story his parents are arguing and it really troubles him. This excerpt from the story backs this up:
I could hear them out in the kitchen. I couldn't hear what they were saying, but they were arguing. Then it got quiet and she started to cry. I elbowed George. I thought he would wake up and say something to them so they would feel guilty and stop. But George is such an *censored*. He started kicking and hollering.
"Stop gouging me, you bastard, he said, "I'm going to tell!
"You dumb chicken*censored*, I said, "Can't you wise up for one? They're fighting and Mom's crying. Listen
He listened with his head off the pillow. "I don't care, he said and turned over toward the wall and went back to sleep. George is a royal *censored*.
Now the boy hears his parents arguing and he tries to wake