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Careful Story by Raymond Carver

The short story ‘Careful’ written by Raymond Carver, is a story about a guy, named Lloyd. The writer tells the story of Lloyd whose life has shattered after his separation from his partner Inez. Raymond used different symbolism for the reader to notice and analyze. By looking at the surroundings of Lloyd, it appears that his life is falling apart, but he is not do anything to change it. The reader comes to know about his abysmal state through his room. He lives in the attic. The room is small and really has nothing fancy or beautiful that would suggest that Lloyd is an aesthete. The writer employed various symbolism, for instance, the story tells that Lloyd has a constant wax in his ears, and either he is oblivious to it or he does not really care and indifferent about it. The symbolism of television in his room. Lloyd puts on the television and sits in front of it all day long. But he does not watch it and listens to it. The volume of his TV is always very low, which suggests that there is a lack of communication in the story. Furthermore, Lloyd is an alcoholic. He has a drinking problem, which is apparent because no one in their right mind would get up in the morning and start drinking alcohol. The reader comes to know about this fact very early in the story when the writer narrates that he woke up had a few doughnuts and a glass of champagne.

The TV of Lloyd, with low volume, suggests that Lloyd does not pay attention what goes around in his surroundings. His small refrigerator has nothing in it except a few doughnuts and cheap champagne. By reading the story, it seems that Lloyd was not always an alcoholic, rather he just became one. The one thing the alcoholic does not accept is that cheap alcohol is one of the signs of being an alcoholic. The wax inside Lloyd’s ears suggests that he has a problem with listening to people. The fact that he does not remove it indicates that he is not willing to change the way he lives. The morning when his wife, Inez comes to talk to him, Lloyd does not seem to listen to her and after a while excuses her to go to the bathroom, where he is hiding his champagne. He does not want to face the reality or maybe he has some idea of what Inez is going to say and it is not a good news for him. The need for Lloyd to go to the bathroom suggests that he has a drinking problem and he hears what he wants to hear.

When reading the story, there is a simple observation that the writer uses a lot of verbs pertinent to communication, for example, talk, hear or listen. As a matter of fact, the summary of the story’s first lines is that “a lot of talking”. The communication theme is apparent also with the fact that he does not want to talk to his landlady. He is not even aware that whether she is alive or not. There is no telephone in his room and the only communication he wants in his life is with the television, which is also not a two-way communication medium. Then there is also the theme which involves passing the time. There are numerous ways to refer to the killing of time. For instance, the story tells that Inez comes to his room at 11’oclock, and when she leaves, it is 3 in the afternoon. Even though Lloyd is aware of the passing of the day, but he has become too stubborn to change the way he lives. The fact the reader comes to know about this is when Inez leaves, Lloyd puts on his pajamas and went to bed. Even after cleaning of his ears, which should indicate that Lloyd would come to his senses and realize what he is doing is wrong. But he does not change and in the end, he drinks straight from the bottle, which he did not drink before. This indicates that he has gone deeper into the abyss.



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