X. Toole's "Million $$$ Baby" and the connection of the Weisses and the baker in Raymond Carver's "A Small, Good Thing."
The characters of Frankie Dunn and the baker both find themselves making a moral choice. For Frankie, he must choose whether to act upon Maggie's request for euthanasia. Maggie first won his respect by through her own dedication to boxing, the sport that he loves; through the rise and collapse of her career, Frankie has come to view her like a daughter. Frankie's initial hesitation in training Maggie hinged around his dislike of seeing a woman get hurt, and it is this chivalrous instinct that gnaws at him when Maggie becomes quadriplegic and suicidal. The baker also has a moral foundation for his actions: he comments working that 2/3 of his day is spent working in the bakery. He has every right to expect payment for his work but perhaps not the right to seek restitution in the manner that he does. When the baker is informed of the child's death, he is appropriately chagrinned to have made the harassing phone calls. With what little humanity he is able to salvage, the baker offers the Weiss couple food, observing that "Eating is a small, good thing in a time like this." (Carver 88). By this he acknowledges that some things in life cannot be changed, but can only be endured. Food will comfort and sustain the body, giving it the strength to continue. ...Show more