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The Many Sides Of Dr. Melvin R. Mc Ginnis

1889 words - 8 pages

Raymond Carver's short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” leaves the reader feeling as if they have sat down at the table with a bottle of Gin and experienced first hand the effects of alcoholism and depression. In the original version of this story the “Beginners” Carver carefully crafts the many sides of an alcoholic personality developing strong knowable characters. The fundamental personalities are left fairly intact from the original version. It should be noted that the feelings that the reader are left with are due at least partially to the severe editing of the “Beginners” done by his editor and friend Gordon Lish. With this collaboration Carvers personal struggles still shine through but his intent of hope and recover from alcoholism were left mostly on the chopping block. Through many interviews and articles Raymond Carver make clear his personal struggles with alcoholism and how it has had an effect on his writing. INTERVIEWER: Where do your stories come from, then? I'm especially asking about the stories that have something to do with drinking. Carver: “At the very least it's referential. Stories long or short don't just come out of thin air.” (The Paris Review) The inner dialog and downward spiral of an alcoholic is experienced through the interaction between these personalities while discussing the topic of love. JA: I noticed recently you're using cliches in your characterizations, and I wonder if you're just observing, or recording the way a mind works. RC: It's there for a purpose; it's working for me, I think, not against me. Or at least I hope and assume this is the case!
Nick is the narrator and observer of the story. The only information about him is that he is Mels best friend, Laura's husband and he is 38 years old. He speaks only rarely and has few interactions these brief moments provides clarity, rationality and protective elements to the story. His personality type is one that allows you to stay focused on the bigger picture and not get lost in the inner dialog as demonstrated in his first words when he is speaking to Mel, “You’d have to know the particulars. But I think what you’re saying is that love is an absolute.” When the flow of the derailed Nick is the one who brings it back on track and pushes it forward with pointed questions and observations. INTERVIEWER: How bad did the drinking get? CARVER: It's very painful to think about some of the things that happened back then. I made a wasteland out of everything I touched. But I might add that towards the end of the drinking there wasn't much left anyway. But specific things? Let's just say, on occasion, the police were involved and emergency rooms and courtrooms. At one point in the story Nick points out the Mel the failings of his logic by telling him that sometimes you will suffocate in a protective suit of armor. Nick has a good grasp on what's going on inside of Mel but there is little he can say or do to change it. The...

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