Jane Austen's Emma and Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love are two stories whose settings seem to take place during the ever day lives of every day people. Emma is a novel written in comical tone about a young snobbish woman named Emma who develops into someone who is capable of feelings and love, and soon finds her destiny in marriage. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love takes place in one sitting, and is about two married couples drinking gin together, and having a talk about the nature of love. .
Both stories bring a hazy view as to what love actually means for these people. The characters in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love seem to have stronger feelings about the subject only when the alcohol seems to be kicking in. When the story came to an end there was no passion in any of the people. The Gin only seemed to make it worse. Emma seemed to define love and marriage as a social status. During her time whomever a woman married would define her class in society. It is obvious that all the characters from both stories are a bit confused as to what real love is. Of course, who really does know what it is?.
Emma's view as to what love actually was seemed to very similar to Mel's view on what it is What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Mel presents the story's central question what is love -- because like the rest of the group he is imbued with a sense of loss, of regret, of unutterable sadness, for reasons he can not quite describe. He feels instinctively that it has something to do with love, and he's right in a way; it has everything to do with passion. The little group sees in alcohol a way to inflame the passion they once felt for living, or the passion they think they should feel. Mel notes that as much as they love each other, if they were all married to someone else, it would make no difference in their lives; one empty person is as good as another.