MEN, WOMEN AND RELATIONSHIPS IN RAYMOND CARVER"S FICTION.
The relationships between men and women are one of the major themes in Raymond Carver's fiction. His characters are often couples who try to struggle through their tormented lives with aid of alcohol. Furthermore, they are often representatives of lower social classes. Behind their misery lies a dream of a better future which is, however, never fulfilled. In addition to drinking, the issues that come up in Carver's short stories regarding relationships include the questions of social identity, trust and striving for the control of their own lives. In this essay I will try to introduce the ways in which these problems are come up in a selection of Carver's stories. I also try to compare and contrast the stories and draw parallels between them. The stories I shall use as an example are Mr Coffee and Mr. Fixit, Gazebo, Neighbors, Feathers and Preservation.
Many of the couples in the stories suffer from lack of trust in their relationships. In Mr. Coffee and Mr. Fixit the male narrator and Myrna have drifted apart; Myrna is sleeping with another man and the narrator does not really care. What is even more ironic is the fact that not only does Myrna betray her husband but also her lover Ross has a young girl "on the side". Similarly, in Gazebo Duane and Holly find a crack in their relationship because Duane is sleeping with a Mexican woman who cleans the rooms in their hotel. Both the narrator in Mr.Coffee and Holly seem to give up and accept the fact that their spouses are unfaithful, although it is not easy. Holly, especially takes Duane's affair very seriously, she even threatens to kill herself by jumping out of the window. She is extremely disappointed in her husband: "You have gone outside the marriage. It's trust you have killed". It can be asked if the ever has been trust in their relationship to begin with or is this just a result of the lack of communication between them.