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Raymond Carver: A Clearer View

             The year 1977 was an extraordinary year for Raymond Carver. Within twelve months Carver completely changed his life. During this time he decided to quit his life long habit of drinking, and he met the love his life. This change in his life also caused a major change in his writing. In his earlier stories Carver's characters were constantly dealing with bad relationships and alcoholism, and the stories always left the reader feeling that the characters had no hope in ever being happy. During this period of his life Carver was quoted as saying that each of his characters has a "fleeting moment where they don't want to compromise anymore. And afterwards they realize that nothing really changes (Gentry 80)." This idea of hopelessness continues prominent throughout his stories until the later writings which began in 1977, the year of his own personal life changes. .
             Carver stated in 1977 that his new found sobriety "reflects a change in my life as much as it does my writing (44)." It is obvious that many of Carver's characters are in many ways an image of Carver himself. In his early writings his characters, like Carver, were struggling with low-profile jobs, failed marriages, alcoholism, and lack of hope. The stories written after 1977 however show characters with problems, but always with the hope of moving on and having a successful life.
             Carver's early life consisted of a lot of chaos. He was married at the age of nineteen and had two children. He went through many jobs, none of which he found to be satisfying. But he and his wife were determined. "We thought we could do it all," he said in an interview, "We were poor but we thought if we kept working, if we did the right things, the right things would happen" (Gentry 123). But after years of struggling with low paying jobs, trying to support his children, and hardships in marriage, he turned away from his family and toward alcohol.

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