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A Small, Good Thing by Raymond Carver: A Review of the Literature - Essay Example

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A Small, Good Thing by Raymond Carver: A Review of the Literature

Scotty is unconscious after the hit, and taken to the hospital. The baker ends up phoning the family's house in the middle of the night (when he does his baking) that night, wondering why no one had come yet to pick up the cake. At the same time, no answers are being given to Scotty's family on why Scotty isn't waking up. The parents notice that when the doctor comes in to the hospital to check on Scotty, he is tanned and meticulously dressed, and they wonder how he could have a life outside of the hospital when they do not. Scotty ends up dying, "a one-in-a-million circumstance" (Carver, 1989). After a while, the mother finally figured out that it was the baker who had been making those late night calls all that time, and tracks him down, furious and enraged. Scotty's mother ends up unleashing all of the angst and anger and fury she could not release onto the doctors onto the baker, and the baker, who is stunned to hear about the child's death, begs forgiveness and offers the family warm delicious cinnamon rolls. "Eating is a small, good thing in a time like this" (Carver, 1989) and they are comforted.
Carver's story truly depicts instances that can happen when communication is there, or when there is instead a lack of communication altogether, and how these affect people's lives. His story earnestly captures the excruciating anguish of parents dealing with the illness and consequential loss of a child, the sense of helplessness and isolation, and the interplay with the medical professionals - who themselves do not know what is going on, but do not let the family know this. The baker is also isolated, because he is cut off from daily human contact. We also see that at the end of the story the baker is able to meet the parents' most elemental need for nourishment and comfort by giving them the warm delicious cinnamon rolls.
Communication is easily the main role played out in this particular short story. There are many different questions which can be asked of this story, the most primary ones which deal with a lack of or confused communication. What if the baker and the parents had communicated better and they had known that it was him calling late at night Perhaps then the mother would not have unleashed on him as she originally had, because she would not have felt as able to attack someone for no reason. As we see at the end of the story, the baker is sincerely apologetic and sympathetic, and so it is easily assumable that if he had have been made aware of the actual situation, not only would he not have called as he did, but he most likely would have tried to help out in some way or be of some assistance.
Could the staff at the hospital have behaved or communicated differently Should the doctor have admitted his own uncertainty If the doctor had have communicated more honestly with the parents, and let them in on the uncertainty he had already set in his mind regarding Scotty's health, would that have helped It may have been the more truthful way to go, but in reality, sometimes white lies are used as a way of communicating which actually helps in some situations. If Scotty's outcome was undoubtedly negative, and the doctor knew of this, perhaps he had ...Show more


The ways in which human beings communicate or fail to communicate with each other has a great affect on their own, as well as others' lives. This is discussed and objectified in Raymond Carver's short story entitled "A small, good thing." By addressing the story itself, and realizing and understanding the points made by the author, we can come to a clearer and more knowledgeable point of view on the subject matter…
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A Small, Good Thing by Raymond Carver: A Review of the Literature essay example
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