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“DISTANCE” b y Raymond Carver. DISTANCE. (a brief overview).

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“DISTANCE” b y Raymond Carver

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Presentation Transcript



Raymond Carver



(a brief overview)

This short story by Raymond Carver explores the dynamic between young lovers when the boy is called upon to leave his wife and baby to hunt. He has to consider the value of being there for his family, regardless of how small of an issue (a sick baby), versus keeping his promise to go out.


The mortality and perseverance of love.

The instability of young relationships and their conflicting priorities




“But who do you really love?” When the girl asks the boy this, he responds with “you are my wife”, which signifies both a sense of entrapment and duty, a duty of love and commitment, but also vulnerability.

“If you want a family you’re going to have to choose.” (pg. 193) This describes the intrinsic value of love between a young couple. She says this to her husband to make him realize that as a father, he cannot make the same decisions as he did in the past.




Tone: Sardonic and whimsical

Importance of Title: Distance can represent both the physical distance between the couple in this story, but also the emotional distance between what they each believe and value, which is the deciding factor in many relationships.


The boy

  • His priority is meeting with his late father’s friend Carl, over staying at home with the girl and his sick baby. His priorities are skewed away from what normally would be the most important, family.
  • Impatient( because of the baby, and little sleep) when he is woken up by the baby before he leaves
  • Inconsiderate of the girl’s emotions when she is upset by the baby’s cries. It is their first child and he doesn’t understand/sympathize with the panic she feels when she thinks the baby is sick
  • Gives the girl space by leaving her after the argument instead of seeing her point of view as a worried mother to a new baby. He is narrow-minded to only his point of view.

The Girl

  • On edge, she panics when the baby won’t stop crying and believes it is because the baby is sick. She is a new mother, and is nervous about her baby’s wellbeing
  • Controlling and expectant of obedience, she gives boy an ultimatum to either stay and choose family or leave to go hunting with Carl. Sleep deprivation may be the cause of her irritability and extent of her reaction against him leaving