What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

The Opinion Of 5 People About Love In Raymond Carver’s Love Novel

November 2, 2020 by Essay Writer

The text offers a background check on Raymond Carver’s personal life, focusing on the nature of his love life and how it affected him psychologically. In the initial pieces of the text, the author associates his heavy smoking and drinking as the outcome of his divorced life.

First Impression

What We Talk about When We Talk about Love, part of a series of stories (and the main story) in the novel that is also given the same title. Upon reading the first parts of the text, one does not fail to encounter the elusive nature of love, in spite of the numerous efforts of the characters to define it. As such, there the impression of love being persistent and assumes many forms as revealed by the characters in the text, for instance, there is a couple who survived death while travelling by car, and the story assumes a confusing direction when in towards the end, the man is unable to spend time with his wife or even see her. In the much references and the iconic title story, the author manages to establish a reputation as one of the most successful and celebrated short-story authors in United States history. He is a haunting meditation on loss, love, and companionship, as one struggle to find his way in the dark (Carver 301). The gentleman is called McGinnis and he is in his middle 40s and is a cardiologist who is married to Terri or Teresa, whom they reside within Albuquerque.


The story revolves around four friends, including Laura, Nick, Mel, and Teresa, and the setting is in Mel’s homestead, around a circular table that is filled with ice and placed at the center of the room. There is a bottle full of gin inside. Mel is described as rangy and tall with soft hair that is also curly. On the other hand, Teresa is Mel’s second wife and is slim with an attractive face, brown hair, and dark eyes. Laura and Nick are their friends, while the former is 38 years old and plays the role of the narrator; the latter is 35 and works as a legal secretary.

The characters start to indulge in conversations about love. Teresa has gone through an abusive relationship that is derived from the love of his former boyfriend, Ed. Accordingly, he “loved her so much to the point that he tried to kill her.” He dragged her around the living room and beat her up such that he injured her ankles. Despite all that Terri told him, Mel refused to agree that Ed was driven by pure love.


There are a lot of symbols used in the story, for instance, the scorching afternoon sun represented a presence in the room, the generosity and spacious light that ushers in ease. Secondly, the heart symbolizes love. The central question is whether the audience could get clinched further because the title is not scribbled in a young adult. Thirdly, gin is used as a clock in this story because Ed’s story comes to an end when the first bottle of gin is exhausted. What is more, the story of the elderly couple comes to a halt when the second bottle of gin is finished (310).


What We Talk about When We Talk about Love offers numerous descriptions of love from the points of views of five people, including Mel, Teresa, Ed, Nick, and Laura. Before Teresa met Mel, she underwent a series of abuses under her former relationship and shares with the rest. Mel thinks that she has not yet been shown true love and strives to do so.

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The Modern World: Carvers’ What We Talk About When We Talk About Love And Alexie’s Indian Education

November 2, 2020 by Essay Writer

Contemporary World: Alexie and Carver

The contemporary world in which we live in has drastically changed over time. Today, to survive you must believe in yourself. What I mean by believing in yourself is understand your strengths and weaknesses, fight for what you love, be vocal when appropriate, and don’t ever let life stop you because your confused. While reading Alexie’s’ Indian Education and Carvers’ What We Talk About When We Talk About Love I learned a lot about everyday life struggles. These stories reflect today’s modern life and just how much of an impact you have on yourself.

In my opinion, todays state of the contemporary world and survival is all based on yourself and how far you can go. To survive you cannot let another person judge you or determine what you can and cannot do. In Alexie’s’ Indian Education, the author explains the unfair and terrible education system that was set up for the Indians. They were unable to be who they wanted to be due the automatic group they were separated in which suggest they would not succeed. In the second grade, the narrator talks about the setbacks the teachers were trying to cause because he was a different religion. “She sent a letter home with me that told my parents to either cut my braids or keep me home.” (Alexie p89) Throughout his school years he was constantly bullied but he knew he was different and did not allow anyone to take that from him. In the twelfth grade “I walk down the aisle, valedictorian of this farm town high school.” (Alexie p93) Despite everything he was facing, he did not allow anyone to determine his future.

Many people face traumatic experiences because they aren’t looked upon as what society thinks is “normal”. But to survive in today’s world you must beat all odds and show and prove for your religion, race, ethnicity, gender, or whatever category you stand for. Another important characteristic you need is openness. You must be open to new things, to communication, to learn, to understand, to love. Which brings me to Carver’s story What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. In this story, there are two couples who each have a different idea of what love is. One woman whose name is Terri had a very traumatic love experience in her first marriage. She was constantly abused physically and mentally. She believed because her ex-husband committed suicide for her and always told her “I love you” that it was real love. “He was willing to die for it. He did die for it.” (Carver) Her current husband Mel did not believe it was real love. He explains how you can love multiple people and then sometime later hate them, so he questions if it was really love. Just as Alexie supports in his statement “But I was saying goodbye to my tribe, to all the Indian girls and women I might have loved.” (p91) Meanwhile the second couple had been together for a short period of time so Mel explained they were in the “honeymoon” (Carver) phase of their marriage. This story reflects the contemporary world we live in today because love is controversial. There aren’t any two people who share the same kind of love. To love, you must be open and willing. Also, never let anyone tell you that what you feel is real is fake. Only you can determine and get through each day with a special someone because of what you feel!

During my research, I came across article named Survival Skills for the 21st Century by Jason Bedford. In this article, he explains and explores four survival skills everyone needs in order to succeed. They were patience, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity. Bedford’s article reflects the two stories I spoke about above because in each story the characters showed signs of these skills. In Indian Education, Alexie was faced with so much bullying and stereotyping but he kept his patience because he knew he was no different than anyone else. In Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, critical thinking plays a huge underlying effect in their decisions of what love is. “In today’s multifaceted world, sometimes it appears as if there is no one right answer for any question.” (Bedford) There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to love, and knowing yourself.

To conclude, to survive in today’s contemporary world it isn’t about your wealth, materialistic things, or even hunting and gathering like thousands of years ago. To survive today, you must understand yourself and your surroundings. Alexie and Carver’s stories reflect some characteristics needed to succeed.

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