Raymond Carver's "Boxes" Essay

1299 words - 6 pages

Have you ever had that eerie feeling in the back of your mind that something just is not right? It is as if there is some unknown reason that a situation has a different meaning then what is obvious. This feeling is the disguised backbone of Raymond Carver's story, 'Boxes'. In this story the son seems to be experiencing this feeling as his mother decides to move again. There are gaps in the story line which shows that the son's dialog does not match up with his thoughts throughout the situation. These gaps highlight a hidden theme that associates the son's feelings about his mother moving with her death.One of the reasons the son unconsciously believes he will never see his mother again, is ...view middle of the document...

This gap in the story is important because the son is thinking about how that man working on the pole could easily die if his safety belt does not hold. At this point he also has unmentionable thoughts about his mother. Because of this gap, the reader can assume that these thoughts concern his mother dying. Because his mother mentions death, he starts thinking about her dying which continues through the rest of the story.There were apparent gaps again later in the story when her son becomes upset when discussing her moving and his mother says: 'I wish I could die and get out of everyone's way'. (p. 421) Again she brings up the topic of her dying. We do not know why he was upset or exactly why she wants to die but we find it is connected to her moving back to California. What is also important is that she says this in response to him getting upset. If for some reason he never saw her again, it would stay with his conscious that she had felt this way because of his actions.At the last dinner that the son eats with his mother, it really hits him that she is leaving. He realizes he cannot stop her and that this may be the last time he sees her: 'I understand that after she leaves I'm probably never going to see her again' (p. 421). This passage opens up the son's mind to us because if he believed that she was just moving then he would not be convinced that he would never see her again. The gap caused by this passage shows that the son thinks he will never see her again even though she is supposedly just moving.The son is convinced by the scene where his mother leaves: 'Two days later, early in the morning. I say good-bye to mother for what may be the last time' (p. 422). For the son, this is a very powerful moment. It is like watching someone die, without being able to do anything about it. His mother has made up her mind and he cannot do anything to change it. It is not as if he consciously knows he will never see her again; in that case he could tell her why she can not leave. It is just an awful gut feeling.This gut feeling is less obvious in other scenes of the story which make it more important....

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