Most of the stories from Raymond Carver share the same topic, alcoholism.
But there are two particular stories “Chef’s House” and “Where I’m Calling From” that have certain similarities and differences. In “House” Edna agrees to reunite with her alcoholic husband, Wes, for one summer to share a friend’s beach house. During the summer Wes refrains from drinking, to enjoy the summer. When Chef returns, requiring Edna and Wes to leave, everything changes again. In “Calling,” we meet two patients of an alcoholic facility who share their experiences in life.In fact, “House” and “Calling” differ in the setting of the stories, but are similar because they both have friends who were or are alcoholic and also because the addiction to alcohol has ruined their lives. First, the stories differ in the setting.
On one hand, in “House,” the story takes place during the summer in a beach house. The main character Wes calls Edna to ask her to spend the summer with him after their separation caused by Wes’s alcoholic problem.Wes would not take a no for an answer therefore he uses the weather to captivate Edna: “Edna, you can see the ocean from the window. You can smell the salt in the air (qtd. In Carver 27) In contrast, in “Calling,” the story takes place at an alcoholic rehabilitation facility during the period between Christmas and New Years day. As a consequence, the dry out facility is a place of isolation and sadness. For most part of the story, the narrator sits on the front porch with a fellow patient named J.
P. hom he has just met and has never stayed at the facility before. The narrator notes and implies that the weather is too cold: “J. P. and I get out of the chairs and to go inside. It’s starting to get too cold…We can see our breath drifting out from as we talk” (qtd. in Carver 140).
However, there are also similarities between “House” and “Calling. ” For example both main characters of each story have or have had alcoholic friends. In “House,” Wes rents a beach house from a recovered alcoholic named Chef.The narrator notes” “On Tuesday nights, Wes and Chef would go to what they call his “don’t drink meetings” Chef would pick him up in his car at the door and drive him home afterward (qtd. In Carver 28). Likewise, in “Calling,” the narrator establishes a friendship with a fellow alcoholic J. P.
The narrator listens to J. P. ’s stories about the trauma he has experienced at age twelve when he fell down a dry well and waited for his father to rescue him. Encouraged by the narrator, J. P. tells him the story of his stormy relationship with Roxy, his wife, and his early ndicators of alcoholism. Furthermore, another similarity between “House” and “Calling,” is that alcohol has ruined the main character’s lives.
In ‘House,” Wes has moved back to his wife and has recovered his happiness, or at least that is what he thinks. Now Chef asks him to move out of the house. Wes feels he cannot stay sober outside the house. Wes wishes he could do it over again, and do it right this time because his kids don’t love him and they won’t understand. Wes hasn’t found the peace he needs and won’t find it outside Chef’s house.In “Calling,” the narrator is divorced and doesn’t want to talk to his girlfriend. The narrator spends New Years day at the dry out facility.
He wants to call his wife to wishes her happy New Year, and then he will call his girlfriend. But that’s it. He hopes somebody could share the special holidays with him instead he is by himself. Therefore, “House” and “Calling” differ in the setting of the stories, but are similar because they both have friends who were or are alcoholic and also because the addiction to alcohol has ruined their lives.Although these two stories are fictional and feature ongoing themes of loss and disillusionment, set against a backdrop of drinking, Carver’s own life is profoundly reflected in his fiction, and he himself struggled with alcoholism. Alcoholism is a big problem that affects people from all over the world. That is why is so important to help those who are in the same position as these characters and give them help to overcome this problem.
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