A Small Good Thing Summary

1696 Words7 Pages
The short stories "Cathedral" and "A Small Good Thing" by Raymond Carver show the struggles of two American families and how the hardships brought new relationships and understanding to the families and those around them. "Cathedral" depicts the struggle to have a deeper connection not based on physical appearance. "A Small, Good Thing" shows the struggle to overcome the pain brought by the death of a loved one. Raymond Carver's texts work together to show that by accepting the help of others the characters are better able to understand their own needs and struggles.

Americans are easily blinded by their comfortable middle class lives and need to be reminded what it means to have hardships through a new perspective. In "Cathedral", the husband
…show more content…
In the story, "A Small, Good Thing", food is a recurring topic greatly affecting the couple and their relationship. Throughout the story the couple struggles to eat, often forgetting or becoming too overwhelmed by grief. Scotty, staying in the hospital unconscious, causes his parents to worry and fear leaving his bed. The mention of eating is quickly turned away several times throughout their hospital stay with the affirmation that they do not need food. The confrontation with the baker does not go as imagined and the couple ends up sharing a meal with the baker. "'You probably need to eat something,' the baker said, I hope you'll eat some of my hot rolls. You have to eat and keep going. Eating is a small, good thing in a time like this" (Carver, 1983, p. 13). The baker encourages the couple, understanding their pain and, offering helpful advice to make the grief more tolerable. Seeing the pain the family is experiencing, the baker turns off each of his machines that work to help him survive and focuses on the couple. The baker observes the fatigue and pain consuming the couple and knows they need to eat something. He selflessly gives them each hot rolls and coffee (Carver, 1983, p. 13). The couple graciously accepts his gift, realizing the importance of eating. Encouraging them to eat as much as they like, the baker puts the couple at ease and builds a new relationship with
Open Document