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Submitted By bobmiller12312312321
Words: 955
Pages: 4

For the Love of Opposites
In the short story, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver, different definitions of love’s true meaning are explored by the characters. As the sun slowly dips below the horizon, Bick and Laura, a newly married couple, listen to their older friends Mel and Terri discuss relationships veers in many directions and ideas are contradicted as the pairs attempt to define inconceivable. The drunken words reveal sober thoughts and the connotation, or the pleasing or displeasing emotional connection associated with a choice contributes to each character’s truer understanding of love. The word choices made by Carver in the dialogue between husband and wife duo Mel and Terri McGinnis, reveals more about their perceptions. Decoding the connotation of the words and phrases used to articulate Mel and Terri’s point of view can deduce the associated meaning of a word or expression in addition to its explicit or primary meaning. Identifying words as drawing a positive, negative or neutral associated can further exemplify the feelings Mel and Terri are attempting to explain. Because love is such a broadly define emotion it cannot be narrowed to a single, correct definition. However, in the characters explanations of what love means to them the words that they use to share their thoughts may express more than what lies at surface value. For instance, the style of speaking and dictation found in Mel’s tone is different than the way of speaking Terri adopts in the story. The language used to interact not only with each other but to explain deep philosophies with an audience not only poses questions about intellectual, spiritual and sensual love but suggests flaws within the characters. Mel is a cardiac surgeon but seems out of his element trying to explain the intangible whims of the heart. For this reason the reader can look to the connotation of word to better understand the author’s intent and the true inklings of the main characters. “You should have seen the way we lived in those days,” (Carver 764) Mel said of the beginning of his relationship with Terri, “we lived like fugitives.”(764).The fear and survival instinct that most likely linked Terri and Mel together early on in their acquaintance works against them in the present. “He didn’t love me the way you love me,”(764) Terri said of Ed, “but he loved me”(764) she emphasizes with distinction to show how strongly she feels about it. The way that Terri hold on the way Ed loved her, seems to draw out resentment in Mel who responds by saying “’I’m not interested in that kind of love.’”(765) The fact that he has given up ties to his ex-wife while Terri still clings to memories of a deceased lover seems to stir up envy. While Mel coped with Terri’s dangerous ex-boyfriend problem and defended her, Terri consistently the one who trespassed against them. When Terri and Mel turn their attention to the other couple in the room who have been acting as their audience, Terri comments on Laura and Nick’s relationship. “You’re making me sick…you’re still on the honeymoon”(765) she said and added “wait awhile”(765) as if to indicate bad tidings for the future. The word choices Terri makes betray a lilting, almost teasing tone that give way to a more scornful meaning. Darkness and hate have breached the topic of love and the word choices in the last few paragraphs such as “vicious”(Sparknotes) and “shame”(Sparknotes) seems to work in accordance with the evolution of love. As the gin is emptied and tongues seem tied and minds preoccupied, the sun sets and the scene closes to a “heart beating”(Wikipedia) and “human noise”(Wikipedia) as “the room went dark”(Wikipedia). From start to finish the way words are organized…