2 Dec 2009

Research: The stories of Raymond Carver

These stories, I think, helped to better understand the feeling of uncanny.

‘The Idea’
The strangeness and the feeling of a dream-like comes from, I suppose, the very bizarre story telling. There are few strange events happening repeatedly, which, to my mind, are interesting for the reader, ( the mysterious appearance of the girl or the aunts) and still the author keeps on driving our attention to well known, keeps on describing both the interesting event and the boring familiar (eating habits for instance) in a very detailed way. Thus the unexpected and exposed to us melds with the daily routine we are well used to . I think this gives the feeling of uncanny…

‘The Neighbours’
Everything seems completely fine, just a story of a daily routine, but the fact that the character experiences everything in somebody’s else house changes the whole perception of the situation. The idea that someone consciously would want to try and experience other’s life brings a cold feeling. And the ending was hard for me to catch.

‘The Father’
That was chilling to read. Everything in the story seemed perfectly normal: a newborn baby raising feelings of curiosity ‘Who does he look like?’ And the conversation they’re having, but then the ending that gave shivers. The scene – a father giving his back to the rest of character, a almost crying girls and a grandmother still, continuing to watch the baby. . A expressionless and white face of the father, the overall mood of the females around the basket

The Overall View:
All three stories raise a feelings of the daily routine and cosiness. The situations are well known. But there’s those episodes or details that keep on reminding ‘this is not correct’. Giving the very strange feeling of ‘alien’ and cold.
And there’s no spookiness (like when reading ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’) , Just a calm and cold understanding of something alien interfering with the familiar that gives cold feeling.


  1. Again - your analysis is spot on! Not everyone 'takes' to these stories because they are not complete narratives, and yet they are rich and deep, like lakes mistaken for puddles... I love Carver's stories - he is a master of understatement: Less is more! :-)

  2. The storys were interesting and even the more interesting after Sigmund Freud's essay. As if it was a clerar example of the theory being applied.