According to van Gorp , a short story is a single-episode narrative with a limited number of characters. The descriptions of the setting and the character's evolutions are restricted. The writer focuses his attention on one character in an everyday situation, which implies an essential event. The story begins in medias res and has an abrupt and surprising ending. Raymond Carver is a real short story writer because "Fat" fully confirms this definition.
The waitress and the obese customer are the main characters in the story, whereas the nine other characters are less important. Carver describes an absolutely normal situation but it is going to change the life of the I-narrator. The arrival of the obese customer can be seen as the essential event: the waitress gains a clear insight into her emotional life thanks to him. The setting is restricted to a restaurant, Rita's place and the waitress" home and they are briefly described. The waitress is the only character who changes during the story, she is the only round character. Carver throws the reader into the middle of the scene and the ending leaves room for discussion.
2. "Fat" : a typical Carver story?.
Carver is a minimalist writer and that's why "Fat" is written in an easy and colloquial language. According to Mrs Chapman , minimalism inverts itself in the stripping away of unnecessary language that might interfere with the audience's own interpretation. As a consequence the sentences are short and Carver uses no complex metaphors:.
I feel depressed. (p69) .
Here is what I tell her. (p64).
As Mrs Chapman has suggested, Carver prefers the first person narrative to an omniscient narrative voice. This allows Carver to step back from the story and have less of an interpretive influence. Carver doesn't guide the reader in what they should think of the short story. At the same time it gives a greater sense of realism to the story because it seems as if Carver has no control over the characters.