Analysis of Raymond Carver’s Short Stories ‘Mine’ & ‘Little Things’
The word genre is derived from the French word kind or class. Genre is a term which is used to identify a form of literature. It is widely used in rhetoric, literary theory, media theory and linguistics (Chandler). It is an elaborative classing system. There are different kinds of Genre but the one used in this story is a narrative short story (Genre Types).
Essay is a short piece of writing, a literary device for saying almost everything. It can be literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, etc. This short story can be categorized as a dialogue essay.
Both the stories narrate the incidence of a fight between a husband and a wife. The reason for the discontentment is not mentioned in the story but it clearly describes the argumentative dialogues of the husband and the wife (Chandler). The arguments take hype when both start fighting for the possession of their little baby. The story starts with an angry quarrel as the man prepares to walk out of his house leaving his wife and trying to snatch his baby from the wife. Their hatred for each other demonstrates itself as a physical struggle over their baby, with each parent pulling on an arm until the baby is seriously injured (Chandler).
The story ‘Little Things’ is more descriptive and describes the situation more clearly. The story ‘Mine’ leaves on the reader to decide certain things i.e. the reader has to make guesses after reading the story and arrive on conclusions. The second story, appealed me the most as it describes the situation in the story in a much better way and helps the reader to understand it very clearly (McDermott).
The version ‘Little Things’ is better than the version ‘Mine’ because it is more elaborative and descriptive. It describes the emotions of the husband, wife and the baby more deeply than the version ‘Mine’. This version clearly describes the happenings in the story and the conversations between the husband the wife (McDermott). There are a few word alterations, omissions and paragraphing changes in the version ‘Little Things’, but the focus is on the beginning and ending paragraphs where the most important changes occur, which strengthen the story. It explains the emotional attachment of the parents with the baby and their fight because of this emotional relationship (McDermott).
The Reader’s response theory can be applied for the version ‘Mine’, in which the reader has to find out the conclusion and analyze the situation, thus it requires more constructive participation form the reader. But it does not describe the situation clearly, which is a big shortcoming of this version (McDermott). The version ‘Mine’ focuses on the sun and the revised version on weather, which is much broader and enables the reader to make more affiliations. It arouses the humanistic element by evoking expressions such as under the weather or heavy weather that are used to describe health in emotional agitation (McDermott)
The omission of whose chubby face gazed up at them from the picture on the table is a vast improvement, as shifting the emphasis from the baby to the picture of the baby was a great mistake in the version ‘Mine’. The scuffle is over the baby and not on the picture; the shift causes a loss of momentum. In the last sentence also, shifting to passive expression strengthens the meaning (McDermott). This is a subtle change, but modifying they decide the issue to the issue was decidedshows the lack of control the parents have, as they are not deciding anything.
Based on the above discussion, following thesis can be stated:
The two short stories entitled ‘Mine’ and ‘Little Things’ written by Raymond Carver consist of narrative genre and can be termed as ‘Dialogue essays’. The version ‘Little Things’ is more appealing than the version ‘Mine’ (McDermott).
The two versions of the same story entitled ‘Mine’ & ‘Little Things’ describe the situations prevailing between the husband and the wife, while they are having a feud for the possession of the baby. The version ‘Little Things’ is considered to be more impressive as it is more elaborative and descriptive and describes the whole situation more clearly. It gives a better understanding of the story to the reader. It shows a clear picture of the emotions of both the husband and the wife for their baby (McDermott).
‘Mine’ reflects the dramatic action of the story. This title is so explicit in representing the action, as the parents’ fight for the baby reminds of how children fight for their possession. On the other hand, the title ‘Little Things’ is a commentary on the character of the parents for putting such selfish needs (wining possession) ahead of the baby’s welfare. Thus, ‘Little Things’ is an improved version of ‘Mine’ (Chandler).
Genre Types. 2007. http://www.falmouth.k12.ma.us/uploads/File/balancedliteracy/Genre%20Types.doc
Chandler, Daniel. 2002. An Introduction to Genre Theory http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/intgenre/intgenre1.html
McDermott, Steven J. Feb 2004. Storyglossia: The Art of Short Stories. http://www.storyglossia.com/blog/archives/2004_02_08_archive.html