Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Student's Wife by Raymond Carver --- Analysis

The story 'The Student's Wife' by Raymond Carver is about a few hours of the ordinary life of one couple. It is very likely that the purpose of the author was to describe the routine of everyday life and relationships inside one family.

Raymond Carver chose the monotonous rhythm of this narration. He wrote, "He had been reading to her from Rilke, a poet he admired when she fell asleep with her head on his pillow." She asked the narrator to make her a little sandwich. He did nothing because he was almost asleep. When he opened his eyes he saw her watching him. He said that it is late, it's better to sleep. Eventually, as the author said, "He groaned extravagantly as he rolled out of bed."

The wife said that she had a funny little dream. She told her husband that in her dream she saw how they playfully argued about where to sit in the motorboat while they were sailing in it. She laughed, remembering, and leaned forward off the pillow.

He thought that he should say something but only replied: "That's some dream". She continued, "Do you remember that time we stayed overnight on the Tilton River, Mike? When you caught that big fish the next morning? ..."Well? Do you remember or not?" she said, patting him on the shoulder. "Mike?"

She didn't want him to sleep, and so she kept asking him new and new questions. She complained about her health, she remembered what happened many years ago. He hardly answered he thought, "I wish you'd leave me alone".

She tried not to listen to his breathing, but a sound coming from his nose became louder. She tried to regulate her breathing trying to breathe in the same rhythm. She couldn't sleep, she began to cry. She woke up, went to the children's room, pulled the covers up over her son's shoulders, went back to the living room and sat in the big chair. The sky grew whiter. The author wrote in the last line, "She put her hands out on the bed. "God.' she said. "God, will you help us, God?" she said."

The characters of the story idealized expectations of what their lives should be but it turned to the reality. The woman in the story compared the present state of her marriage with an ideal of the "perfect" weekend that they had several years ago. It became clear that she was not happy with the current state of her marriage.

Both characters in the story seemed to care about each other but readers could feel the annoyance of the husband and the desperation of the wife. When the husband fell asleep, feelings of depression for the wife increased.

Raymond Carver presented the idea of lonely individuals which could not be noticeable to others. The feeling of anxiety and desperation presented here is entirely through action. It gave the freedom for readers to think about it and to make own conclusion.

Here is the link to the text of the story:

Here is the link to the audio of the story (it was made by The Guardian):

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