Different Perspectives On Love In Raymond Carver's Short Story What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
When it comes to love we all have an idea of what love should be like and what love really is. In the short story of “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” by Raymond Carver, love is discussed in terms of three couples in this story.
This story takes place in Mel and Terri’s Kitchen in Albuquerque New Mexico; they invite their friends Nick and Laura to visit them. As the couples sit around the table passing the gin they talk about their perspective on love, Mel and Terri have a more mature love while Laura and Nick’s Love is fresher in the honeymoon stage. In this short story they mention an older couples love, which would be the more ideal love.
Mel and Terry have been in their relationship for four years, which makes their relationship more mature, even though they both have their different perspective on love. Terry claims that her abusive ex boyfriend Ed loved her so much he almost killed her as she mentions in the story “He beat me up one night. He dragged me around the living room by my ankles. He kept saying, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you bitch’ (27). Mel argues with Terry saying that someone who loves would not beat her then threaten her and her husband, drink rat poison when Terry left him, and then shoot himself in the head for love. Terry is in denial with Mel saying Ed loved her in his own way but that it was love.
When they ask Laura and Nick about their opinion Laura says she did not know Ed so she does not judge on anyone else’s situation. Mel is confused on what love actually is because his love stories never add up but he believes that real love is nothing less than spiritual love, as the narrator mentions in the story. In terms of Mel and Terry’s relationship there seems to be a lot of disagreement between the two, and Mel seems to be more controlling over the relationship so to me that kind of love becomes more common over time.
Nick and Laura’s Relationship is not mentioned as much as Mel and Terry’s, but what I do know is that they are eighteen months into their relationship which they are still in their honeymoon stage of love. The way the narrator Nick describes their movements gives it away as he mentions “I touched the back of Laura’s hand. She gave me a quick smile. I picked up Laura’s hand. It was warm, the nails polished, perfectly manicured. I encircled the broad wrist with my fingers and I held her,” (27). The way Nick talks about Laura is very precise and detailed he notices so much of her and their physical interactions throughout the story, that is the kind of love that everyone wants to last forever.
Mel mentions a tragic story of an old couple maybe in their mid seventies who were involved in a bad car accident with a drunk teenage boy who ended up dying. The old couple survived the accident but they were left in critical condition, the wife being in worse condition almost did not make it through. Mel being on his job duties at the hospital would stop by to see them everyday and described them to be in casts and bandages from head to foot like we would see in the movies. Mel said the old man became so depressed and mentions “It wasn’t the accident exactly but it was because he couldn’t see her through his eye-holes. He said that was what was making him feel so bad,”(33). The Point to the story of the old couple is that it was a more of the ideal love.
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