Essay on Pessimistic: Narrative and Nan

Submitted By KodyRaf
Words: 1089
Pages: 5

Prompt: Will you please be quiet please? Is a pessimistic book. It presents problems without offering any solutions

As many of the characters in will you please be quiet please? Contemplate whether they feel pessimistic or optimistic, Raymond Carver (the author) explores the idea that his book is constantly presenting issues between the characters in which a struggle to find solutions is present. Carver intends for the reader to fill in the ‘textual gaps’ as to whether what they may believe happens in the collection of stories, and this dictates whether the reader may see the book as pessimistic or not. In the Student’s wife, Carver identifies what (arguably) is the only story in the book in which we see a clearly pessimistic story which explores the relationship of a couple who seem to be in a descending marriage. While this is seen to be highly pessimistic, Carver also explores, in different stories, the complete opposite in which there seems to be hope in finding resolutions to some of the problems in which is presented as we tend to see that Carver does not judge his characters and emphasises with both sides.

In the student’s wife, we first see the story to be narrated by in the third person by an unnamed narrator, however it does appear that the view of the narrator matches that of the main protagonist, Nan. Nan is married to Mike. A relationship in both couples are struggling to find similar interests to present them with an open door to revive what seems long gone, their relationship. In the beginning of the story, we see that Mike and Nan seem to be a happy couple, “He kept looking at her, leaning on his elbow.” Carver uses this, as the reader may identify when a person is looking at someone and leaning on their elbow, it seems to be a very positive feeling. But as the story progressed, and Nan started becoming needy, “Make me a little sandwich of something, Mike.” And this is where the story begins to alternate into the pessimistic story we see. “He did nothing and he said nothing.” This shows the change in which Mike feels towards Nan, from leaning on his elbow watching her, to completely ignoring her. Carver shows that Mike feels happy with Nan, up till the point in which she becomes needy and Mike tries to withdraw himself from her as she does this. As the book progresses, we see the shift of withdrawal from Mike increase, and Nan lives in complete denial of this until Mike, who has been frustrated up till this point, address Nan by saying “I wish you’d leave me alone”. And this becomes the major point in which Nan can no longer live in denial of how her relationship is. Carver intends to allow the audience to believe this as we don’t see any straight-forward answers from Mike towards Nan, and this shows Mike to have had enough and cannot put up with it any longer. In order to show the complete loss of hope, Carver chooses to end the chapter, “God… God, will you help us, God?” this is said by Nan. Although Mike and Nan do not seem like a religious couple, Nan chooses to pray to god for help as a last resort. Carver shows the desperation in which Nan has for any hope of reviving her relationship.

In contrast, in other stories such as “Fat”, we see the opposite in which there seems to be some hope in finding a solution to the problems. In Fat, we see the story being narrated in the first person by an unnamed woman the story begins with the reader being told about a conversation that the narrator had with her friend Rita. The narrator is a waitress and she is telling Rita about an obese man who came into her diner one day. The unnamed waitress and her Husband, Rudy, seem to have quiet an odd relationship, although not in comparison with Mike and Nan, Rudy and the unnamed narrator seem to be at the point in which their relationship have started becoming similar to Mike and Nans. As they are both home, Rudy starts to have…