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