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Raymond carver wrote the short story called the bath and later rewrote it in a version that he referred to it as a small, good thing. He provides the same story in the two short stories. In the short story, an automobile hits a young boy named Scotty, and he goes to hospital for treatment. Carver does not mention his condition in the bath, but a small, good thing reveals that he died. A small, good thing begins on a Saturday evening in an unknown American city. A young mother named Weiss goes to the shopping center for a chocolate cake for her son Scotty who has his eighth birthday on the coming Monday. The author develops the short story that progresses in a systematic manner. This paper looks at the literature piece a small, good thing.
The baker that Weiss sought his services was a taciturn man. Weiss wanted him to bake the chocolate cake for her son. The baker promises Weiss that she could collect the cake on Monday morning. On Monday morning, Scotty and his friend walk to school. He steps off the curb at an intersection where a car knocks him down. Raymond carver introduces us to several small and good things worth in the sad story where a young couple deals with the tragic accident that slowly kills their son, Scotty. Caver explores the mistake that human beings do by taking loved ones and strangers for granted.
He states that people make mistakes when they pass over other people as if they do not matter at all. They generalize the feelings of others without realizing that they have made mistakes. For instance the person, who knocked Scotty with a car, went away as if he had done nothing. He did not care to know the feelings of Scotty. Weiss also shows this when she went to the bakery she thinks that the baker does not treat her as she expected. She assumes that the baker has grown old enough to have children who have gone through the special time of cakes and birthday parties (Kleppe and Miltner 150).
The author has applied a careful choice of words that convey his argument well. For instance, the words he chose when describing the mother of Scotty brought her real being out. We also find out that the baker has had a lonely life and had never heard the giggles and coos from his own children. The author has depicted the baker as an uncaring and an inconsiderate person. Small things like food play an essential role in the lives of people. Scotty has his birthday coming, and a cake would play a significant role in his life. This makes the father and mother of Scotty confront the baker for his actions.
The baker has baked many cakes for other children but has never baked a cake for his own child. Perhaps this forms the reason why the baker has become an inconsiderate man. Despite the fact that the baker does not make assumptions towards other people, he takes them for granted. The mother to Scotty becomes shocked when the baker explains her actions to her. She realizes that she became harsh to him for no reason. The baker, on the other hand, realized that he had a mistake and requests Weiss and her husband to get inside the shop so that they can talk.
When a car knocked Scotty down, he became unconscious and was rushed to hospital. His parents go to the hospital where they seek to know why Scotty cannot wake up but cannot get answers. Doctor Francis reassures them that Scotty will wake up, and everything will be fine. The author presents a conflicting kind of life between the parents of the boy and doctor Francis. Doctor Francis comes into the hospital to check Scotty looking tanned. He has a beautiful life outside hospital that which Weiss and her husband do not have. They change turns to take a break from the hospital. They have confusion because they do not know if their child will wake up. The baker makes the issue more complicated for Weiss and her husband when he torments them with the night calls. This makes it worse for them because they cannot even remember that they had ordered a cake for their son.
Scotty dies in hospital and his parents become frustrated and sad. They feel pain for their loss because they lost their son on his birthday. When they went home, Ann realized that the baker had been calling them. She confronts him, enraged. She pours her anger and frustration on the baker. The baker becomes surprised of the death of Scotty and begs for forgiveness. He offers them delicious cinnamon rolls that comfort them. He tells them that eating could be a small but a good thing at a time like the one they faced. Carver tries as much as possible to show that small things that people take for granted help in many ways. All along the story, people assume small things that turn out to be essential. He presents circumstances where people behave in a rather reckless manner that costs them and others later (Bethea 157).
The short story explores three temporalities that the parents to Scotty engage themselves in, as their child, Scotty, lies unconscious in a comma towards his death. In the first temporal depiction, people harness time for their human desire. Parents waited purposefully for their child to wake up having the waiting room as their symbolic space. Once the temporal markers prove insufficient, they begin to wait beyond measurable time in the parking lot outside the hospital window.
The short story by Raymond carver a small, good thing has many temporal markers. This depicts itself not only in time but also in hours. As the father to Scotty drives home, from the hospital, his interior monologue of the accident that happened to his son traverses the past perfect and the future tense. He does this to retrace the events that had happened and put them in a way that would help predict the recovery of his son. However, when he reached home the call from the baker captures the irony of Howard trying to catch time for his own desire. In the story, the time cannot be reversed. When he called the hospital to know the condition of his son, he remained the same asleep a nothing had changed.
Despite the fact that people had tried to change the condition of Scotty in the hospital, the time that nothing happened in the hospital room where the child slept determined the narrative. The hospital room that the child lay unconscious allegorizes the time the parents waited. Their consciousness remained with the child in his sleep to the extent that they could not remember that they had ordered a cake for him even after the baker called several times. The room makes personal, temporal consciousness literal in its preciseness. The time comes without a human dimension. It does not care what human beings do to make the child wake up. He sleeps on the bed as time progresses. The assurance that comes from the doctor that the child will get up serves as a prophetic irony that indicates the need put in the frame of time as it progresses.
All the predictions that the doctors made about the condition of Scotty rendered the time measurable. All of the people who made the predictions subjected the time to human desire especially towards the desire of the parents of Scotty. However, as the story goes on time runs as his parents wait, as doctors come, and go.
The movement in and out of the room where Scotty lies by the doctors, parents, nurses, and lab technicians depict time as immeasurable. No one knows exactly at what time the child will wake up from his comma. They have to hope and wish that Scotty will wake up soon. The soon in which they hope has no definition. All of those who make the movements perform temporal increments that the destination only knows. They hope that the world of the child reels back to a living reality.
The laconic brevity that the doctor expresses in his sentences while talking to the parents makes them relieved about the condition of their child. The doctor also shows the immeasurable time when he tells the parents that their child could be better and that the child would wake up soon. When the father of Scotty goes home, he reaffirms the uncertainty of the doctor about Scotty when he permutes that he is, he should be, and he could be. The comma has removed the child from the realm that a conscious person can see. The first version of the story, the bath, implies the mysterious significance of the bath that Ann and Howard had when they changed places in the hospital to go home. No one can tell about time because people cannot predict when the child will wake up. In the bakery, the eight candles and the cake that stands there in debt signify the time that no longer passes together with the usage of the verb to be which signifies that Scotty would have entered age eight (Bethea 158).
Just like involuntary memory, the waiting that people engage in comes through the renunciation of shallow consciousness of time. The parents and the other people who wait for the child to wake up have an unclear consciousness about the time that the child will wake up from his unconsciousness. At some point, this fact makes Ann say that maybe the boy could wake up if she went away and avoid sitting there every second. She considers that maybe if she withdraws her presence in the hospital her son would wake up. Howard and Ann get into an intimate dimension of waiting marked by passage of measurable of time and loss of hope where they expect their child would wake up in the next few minutes, which turns to hours and to an unknown time.
Carver brings a quotidian world that creates an experience of waiting beyond the dimensions of measurable time happening around the hospital the home of Howard and his family and the bakery. Carver used the darkness outside the hospital window to indicate an indifferent detached and immeasurable existence. Darkness indicates a certain kind of stillness that one where people do not know what to do in the circumstance they find themselves. Scotty`s parents decide to wait hoping that their child would wake up because they do not have any choice. They expect that the doctors and nurses in the hospital can do something to quicken the time their child would wake up, but it does not help. The doctors too have no option.
All they can do involves carrying out regular checks on the child to ensure that his condition remains stable and wait for him to wake up. However, as time goes on, the child does not wake, and they have to wait despite the time that the child would take to get out of comma. All people concerned about the present condition have nothing that they can do to change the situation. They depend on time in expectation that something desirable would happen in no time. However, time seems to be blind and uncontrollable. It moves while the condition of the boy remains static (Zhou 15).
The cars that drive in and out of the parking lot represent a generic time that moves without minding anything that happens in the environment. In the perspective of Ann, the cars that come and go out of the parking lot appear anonymous performing a procession of lights. These events show the emptiness and despair that Ann experiences in the time that she waits for her son to wake up. She displays a kind of unresponsiveness to what happens around her because of despair and expectations she has towards the condition of her son.
As Ann gazed out of the hospital window, she shows the extent of her desperation caused by the condition of her son. She saw a big car stop at the front of the hospital then a woman entered the car in a long coat. She wished that she could have taken the place of the woman at that time, and someone could drive her away where she could find Scotty waiting for her. She wishes for a reversal of what happens in the hospital so that she changes roles with Scotty. She imagines of that scenario that would change the situation she find herself so that the waiting ends. Her wish becomes a pre-linguistic and pre-temporal dimension to collapse the time between her and her son into one without a bifurcated mother and child, death and life and a time where no one could wait for the other.
The baker also experienced an immeasurable time in the bakery when he called Weiss several times and they did not pick up the phone. The baker waited for a time that Weiss could pick up the phone so that he would ask why they had not taken the cake they ordered. The baker does not know what has happened, and he has to wait until they pick up the phone so that they can satisfy his curiosity.
Small but good things help to comfort people in unpleasant situations in the story. When the doctor tells Howard and his wife that their son will wake up, it helps them to continue, hoping for the best despite the fact that they do not know what will happen. The time they take to go home and take shower helps get them out of the desperation they face. The environmental change gets them think of other things other than the condition of their child. The birthday cake that Ann had gone to order for her child for his birthday would make him happy despite the fact that it was a small thing. The baker apologized for his mistakes when Ann confronted him for his mistakes. He instead offers them warm cinnamon as a way of comforting them. This makes them calm down. Despite the fact that the baker did not care about the feelings of other people, he receives the news of the death of Scotty with shock and shows compassion to Ann and Howard. His compassion helps Ann and Howard calm down from lose (McCracke and Semel 6).
Raymond cover tried as much to bring a story that depicts different viewpoints of the pain that comes when parents lose their children at a time they do not expect it to happen. He creates an environment where time becomes immeasurable leaving people to hope for something desirable to happen. Many small things bring joy to the lives of many people. However, people ignore them. They include experiences, people or objects. Carver has used several things and people, such as the birthday cake, the baker, cinnamon and doctors to show that they matter in life. The sad story where a couple loses their child on his birthday becomes complicated by way of time.