WHERE I’M CALLING FROM
“Chef’s house” and “Where I’m calling from”
Reading through Carver’s collection of Short Stories, I can see plenty of common aspects between several stories at a time. Inspired by his own life experiences, the writer shares fictional stories that enables the reader to follow the event of his life. Throughout his life, Carver experienced alcoholism, recovery, and marriage trouble. He takes his readers through events in his life, some tragic and some joyous. Two stories that Carver wrote, Chef’s House and Where I’m Calling From, are written in a way that show an abundance of carver’s common techniques. Multiple areas of his life are displayed through both works but his struggle with alcoholism is the most prominent of all common aspects between the two stories. In both the stories, he shares the common idea of alcoholism and gives the reader a true picture of the ups and downs that come with the life of an alcoholic.
In Where I’m Calling From, Carver writes “He began stopping off after work for drinks before he went home to have more drinks. Then he began missing some dinners. He just wouldn’t show up.”(…). In this quote, JP is telling the narrator how he became an alcoholic. Despite the fact that this quote seems very literal without deeper meaning, Carver includes it for a reason. Carver starts this phrase out kind of slow with telling the reader that JP would sometimes stop off at a bar after work. Then he moves delicately onto the fact that JP started missing dinners and eventually just stopped showing up. In slower progression, Carver writes a sort of metaphor for alcoholism. Alcoholism starts out slowly then it begins to consume one part of your life, then another, until it affects every aspect of one’s life. This quote relates also to the story Chef’s House because the character Wes was experiencing the same kind of slow addiction with alcoholism. Both characters JP and Wes know what it is like to hit rock bottom and lose control of their life.
In the short story of the Chef’s House, alcoholism is shown through the point of view of Wes’s wife, Edna. Carver Writes, “I want you to try and be the Wes I used to know. The old Wes. The Wes I married. Wes began to cry.”(…) This statement from Edna shows that the people around Wes were noticing a change in his character. Carver uses this to create an empathetic connection between both Edna and the reader and Edna and Wes. He wants the reader to feel sorry for Edna and also for Wes. The empathy the reader experiences for Edna comes from Edna losing the man she fell in love with and her desperation in asking him to be that man once again. Loss is not an easy thing to experience and yet, its a common life experience. The empathy for Wes comes from him realizing that his alcoholism has gotten the best of him. Between both Edna and Wes, they connect with each other because they both are in the midst of losing one another. All of this relates to the fact that Wes became an alcoholic. The quote describes how alcoholism can alter one’s character and personality ultimately resulting in the feeling of loss from family and friends. This correlates to the idea of Where I’m Calling From because JP was experiencing a similar disconnect and loss of respect between his wife and him. In their relationship, the arguments are much more aggressive. JP and Roxy started to become involved in physical fights as JP’s alcoholism progressed. Eventually, the relationship was damaged enough, their marriage was on the brink of falling apart. Alcoholism affects the character of oneself, the risk of not having clear judgment when interacting with the ones we love could cost us everything.
Another stage of life when a person experiences alcoholism is when one seeks out help for the opportunity to recovery or change. Carver writes in his story of the Chef’s House, “Other nights, Wes would go to what he called his Don’t Drink meetings. Chef