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In his story’s “Gazebo” and “So Much Water So Close to Home” Raymond Carver effectively employs a strong voice in order to develop the plots and emotions of the story. Without the use of a strong and definable voice of the narrator the stories would not fall flat, but they would lose an element that makes them special and diverse. Another device that he uses to develop an interesting story is beautiful attention to detail. He does a brilliant job at becoming the character, the narrator, who is telling the story and wraps the entire story around the viewpoint of this character. He gives us intimate details that the narrator notices that maybe the other characters, or the reader may not have noticed if they were in the same situation. The excessive details, or the details that would be able to be removed from the story without really effecting the plot of the story, are important to give the reader information about the person who is noticing the details. For example, in “So Much Water So Close To Home” Carver explains little details, I notice a great stack of papers just inside the door. On the top step a fat woman in a print dress holds out a licorice stick to a little girl. Why did she notice these things? What makes them important to the development of the story?

What is particularly interesting about the story “So Much Water So Close to Home” is that he tells part of what seems to be the main plot of the story as if it is secondhand news. The main story, how the husbands dealt with the dead body they found on a camping trip, is told through the eyes of the wife of one of the men, rather than through the eyes of the men who experienced it themselves. What is great when pitting these two stories against one another is the fact that they are so incredibly different. A male narrator vs. a female narrator, a seemingly happy couple vs. a couple who’s relationship is completely crumbling, etc. Carver is not stuck in telling one “type” of story. He has a vast amount of understanding and empathy for his characters. He obviously knows the characters incredibly personally. He knows what makes them happy and sad, what their favorite food is, who they would be if they could be anyone else in the world. In order to understand the content of the story, the plot, and in order to add depth to the tension in the story, the main conflict, one has to understand how each particular character will handle that tension. Each person is different, just like each character is different. History repeats itself, many experiences are identical to one another, especially in stories. I met a boy at a party and I fell in love with him. What makes the story interesting are the little details. I am a forty year old journalist living in Los Angeles who attended a party at a big college and fell in love with a boy. It is the details that create the story, and Raymond Carver does a great job enveloping the reader in these details so that they have a full grasp on the personalities of his characters.

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