Literature represents the culture, language and traditions of people. Literature embraces historic and cultural artifacts that can be found all over the world. It does not only introduce new world of experience, but also takes the reader through a literary journey through the books, essays, poetry and other written materials. The meaning of literature is evident in what the author says about  cultures, traditions or group of people. The most outstanding quality in literature is the unique quality of works that affect and effect change and development in the world. Raymond Carver is a writer who can only be described as one reached heights after a humble beginning. This is because he has inspired young writers and has also made considerable significant in the literary world.

Raymond Carver’s Literary Works

Poetry and short stories are forms of literature which rely on imagination, precise word choice and metaphor. Poetry uses formal properties, syllabus and rhythm. Poetry and short story have  norms that get  determined by the language and the tradition of the writer or the society. It can also be determined on the writers writings. Other proses of literature include natural science, philosophy, history law and drama. Although Raymond Carver was born in a humble background, he lived to become one of the best short story writers in the world. This paper seeks to analyze and interpret the recurring themes in the author’s work. Carver uses different writing styles and themes to parallel his characters and his own life. He also uses active motives and action skilfully in order according to Laurie Champion (Burk 24).

It is necessary to make a note that the most difficult part in literature is not writing many pages of nothing, but writing what the author means, what the author feels, what the author believes and what the author deems as compromising or influential. Carver uses these themes in a skillful way to create a beautiful and realistic world around his writing. Therefore, the writer get  faced with the task of uncovering and discovering the beauty within the literary work. Even when some people term  literature is ugly, Carver wants to show that it can  still be beautiful. This is because it brings out a plot and a setting that will interest certain individuals and bring forth change on the same. Literature should never be classified as fiction. Literature can either be written or spoken material which broadly includes creative writing, scientific writing and technical writing. On the other hand, fiction is imaginative or invention work.

Recurring Themes

The author uses extremely entertaining and inspiring themes in the short stories. These themes have many lessons. A good example of a lesson is that  it is possible to direct admiration and love outward. However, it also teaches that admiration and love can be turned inwards. In this case, admiration and love can be an inward reflection of self-improvement. Carver uses alcohol as a theme in some of his short story. This simply means that the alcoholism theme helps to reflect on the author’s drinking problem. He also uses the recovery theme. In most of his short stories, Raymond Carver describes himself through different themes as declined towards intensity and brevity. In some of his stories, the subject matter focuses on his experience with blue collar jobs where in each case he adds the themes of recovery and alcoholism. Many other writers and analysts have identified Carters themes. This is because these themes have helped to motivate and influence the writers writing skills. The other vital theme that Carver includes in the short stories is minimalism theme. The author uses this theme by shaping the prose in the story. This has been criticized by other writers as a surgical transplantation and amputation in some his work. He used this theme to unify simplicity and delight in the stories. Carver also uses the theme of breaking from confines. This theme relates to how he broke from his difficult life. This theme reflects the difficult life in which he had more hours at different jobs in order to rear his children and take care of his family. The theme also reflects many problems in his life which led him result to full time drinking.

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It is necessary to note that the writer’s life was always related to his writing career. However, most of his work focuses on loss and sadness on his everyday life. This is evident in his short story, the Call if you need me. The themes used in the story include the theme of loneliness, alienation and hope. It is necessary to note that all the characters in most of the author’s stories have at one experienced loneliness and alienation. In some of his stories, the characters are exceedingly jealous of their wives and unhappy in their everyday work. Other people also feel like they are alienated from their lives (William 54). The characters families have also experienced the feelings of alienation and loneliness. In line, “on a particular night, she got a lonely feeling, and separated from other people that she felt like life was moving-around’’. This line from the story shows that though the narrator’s wife claims that she loved her husband, there were times she did experience loneliness and alienation. In this case, loneliness and alienation are   the main problems that are facing the characters.

‘Call if you need me’ and ‘tell it straight’ are unique stories that were written in a unique way. This is because the stories are from the narrator’s point of view. This is relation to the author’s career between the periods 1966 to 1982. The writing styles and use of unique themes by Carver are proof that the author was a true postmodernist. In this case, the author’s aesthetic theories underlie his message in relation to his personal experiences. In his short story ‘what we talk about when we talk about love’, the author uses minimalism to show a new realism in humanity. In this short story, the author gains a fantastic deal of mileage in his writing by managing to reveal the characters symbolically as spiritual beings. In the short story ‘Bath’, the author uses an optimistic theory that  deepens the characterization and plot in the story. In this story, he uses events and objects as rhetorical destinies of the characters. However, in some of his short stories, the author surrenders his rhetorical control and instead uses other tightly controlled themes. In most of the short stories, Carvers themes bring out indeterminacy, flatness and an unrelated quality (Sam 102).

The other vital themes used by the  author  are the themes of preservation which can be related to the theme of entropy. This is clearly evidence from the symbolic structures used by the author which is carefully and unambiguously developed. These facts, though symbolic in nature, are not reliable and effective in use but also have a significant effect in most of the short stories.

The theory of preservation has been used in most of the Carver's short stories. These short stories include; ‘mysteries of the past’, and ‘what we talk about when we talk about love’. In the story ‘what we talk about when we talk about love’, the author develops the narratives and characters from a symbolic work structure. The characters concentrate and talk about physical suffering, revenge, drunken driving, bungled suicide and recriminations. The stories represent or bring out the fact that love ,just like ice can splash and melt depending on the position of the container. The author also uses the theory of factual symbolism in this short story to bring out shocking facts and evidence. This theory is evidence of the author’s theoretical management consistency.

In Raymond Carver’s short story ‘on writing’, the author uses a common place theory to write about common objects and places such as a stone, curtain or a character in order to bring out startling and immense power. According to the author, every beautiful or wild thing can be squeezed out from his marriage and alive which he has reflected in most of his short stories. This is evident from the important characters the author creates, the objects which the narrator  used , the metaphorical buzzard, the symbolic aviary and many other examples. The author uses these themes to detail and scope of the narrative and raises the reader’s expectations. The themes used by the author in the short stories are highly effective since the themes allow the characters to breath and live in the short stories (William 36).


Raymond Carver is an exceptional author that uses different writing styles and themes. These themes and  styles can be confusing in the beginning, but striking towards the end. This helps to attract more readers. The author uses themes such as; theory of factual symbolism, theory of preservation, theory of minimalism, theory of loneliness, theory of alienation, theory of alcoholism and the theme of breaking from confines amongst many others. These themes have not only brought a difference in the literary world but have also left a permanent mark on the history of literary works.

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