Let Smile

Smile! Confessions of a Fiitness!

A Small Good Thing.

on October 29, 2013

Raymond Carver’s, A Small, Good Thing is a strong story about a patient trusting the doctor’s opinion. The plot revolves around misunderstandings about a birthday cake which was left and unpaid at the bakery by a mother after her son, Scotty, was involved in a hit and run accident on his birthday. Carver bases his story on the idea of failed communication between doctors and patients as well as the baker and his costumers. His interest is the dialogue between people who are not listening to each other. Carver builds misunderstandings and develops a series of nuisance from the baker to the family. In addition, the parent’s confusion at the hospital is also one example. Carver repeats trigger words such as “operate” to convey the stress and sense of disconnection.

“There were no pleasantries between them, just the minimum exchange of words, the necessary information ” (376).

“The child was in the hospital with a mild concussion and suffering from shock. There’d been vomiting, and his lungs taken in fluid which needed pumping out that afternoon” (378).

“We’ll know some more in a couple of hours, after the results of a few more test are in” (382).

“It’s not a coma yet, not exactly, the doctor said. I wouldn’t want to call it coma” (383).

“What’s that? Ann said. A Scan? she stood between this new doctor and the bed. I thought you’d already taken all your X-rays” (385).

“Dr. Francis came again that afternoon and examined the body once more and then left after telling them he was coming along and could wake up at any minute now” (386).

“Dr. Francis was shaken. I can’t tell you how badly I feel. I ‘m so very sorry, I can’t tell you” (396).

Dr. Francis asked to Scotty parent “Is there anything else I can do for the moment” (397).

“No, no, she said. I can’t leave hime here no. she heard herself say that and thought how unfair it was that the only word that came out were the sort of words used on TV shows” (397).

“My son’s dead, she said with a cold, even finality. He was hit by a car Monday morning. We’ve been with him until he died.” (403)

“I don’t have any children myself, so I can only imagine what you be feeling. All I can say to you now is that I’m sorry. Forgive me, if you can” (404).

“I hope you’ll eat some of my hot rolls. You have to eat and keep going. Eating is a small, good thing in a time like this” (404).

“They listened carefully. Although they were tired and in anguish, they listened to what the baker had to say. They nodded when the baker began to speak of loneliness, and of the sense of doubt and limitation that had come to him in his middle years” (405).

“They talked on into the early morning, the high pale cast of light in the windows, and they did not think of leaving” (405).


One response to “A Small Good Thing.

  1. Jodi C. says:

    A concise and useful summary of the main themes in the story!

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