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Same author, same stories, different unity: a close comparative reading of a selection of stories from Raymond Carver’s What we talk about when we talk about love and beginners

Faculty Advisor




short story cycles, Raymond Carver

Abstract (summary)

This essay provides a close comparative reading of three stories from Raymond Carver’s short story cycles Beginners and What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. A working definition of short story cycles is developed and referenced in the evaluations of these stories—this definition utilizes literary scholar Gerald Lynch’s work on the sub-genre. The close comparative analyses of “Why Don’t You Dance?”, “One More Thing”, and “Gazebo” reveal that both collections meet the criteria of short story cycles, however Beginners has a stronger unity that achieved through its shared themes. This supports the argument that Carver’s editor, Gordon Lish, exchanged Carver’s unity of theme in Beginners for a weaker unity of style in What We Talk About.

Publication Information



Presented February 2-3, 2024 at the English Student Conference 2024 held at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta.

Item Type

Student Report



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