“Children, I said to her. For the first little while, they not exactly human, you don't find?”
Nalo Hopkinson

Saturday, March 17, 2012

52 Stories and Poems Preservation By Raymond Carver

Raymond Carver (1938-1988)

Raymond Carver was the son a sawmill worker and a waitress. He attended several colleges before graduating with a B.A. from Humboldt State College in 1962.  Carver was an alcoholic, went bankrupt twice, and through it all continued to write.  Married twice, he had two children from his first marriage.  Carver died from lung cancer at the age of fifty.

Cathedral was published in 1983, but is still very applicable today considering the present economy and our humanity.  Carver, best known for writing concise, deceptively simple, powerful prose, was also an accomplished poet. "The short story Preservation" is a part of the collection Cathedral.

To preserve is the act of stopping something valuable and perishable from spoiling, going bad, deteriorating, or becoming worthless. As human beings some of what we try to preserve is our food, health, our families, ourselves, and our culture.

In "Preservation" a working class man is fired due to a slow down at work.  He has difficulty finding another job.  As a result, he becomes depressed and spends most of his time on the couch watching television.

The story is told totally from the point of view of his wife Sandy.  Sandy never names her husband in her thoughts. She is afraid and puzzled by her husband's reaction to losing his job.  She does not understand why he sleeps on the couch instead of with her.  Sandy is afraid he will never get up, that he is slowly decomposing.  She does understand she does not want to go down with him.  It is called self-preservation.

Read the story to see if you have a different point of view than mine.  While you're at it, why don't you just read the whole amazing damn book?  It is available at your local library, used bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

Another great Carver story : "Vitamins"

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