Raymond Carver's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love"

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Raymond Carver's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love"

1.  The argument between the couples seems to be about the nature of love.  Which character's ideas make the most sense to you?  What kinds of love are discussed?  Are these demonstrated in the story?  Do you think true love is an illusion?

2.  Do you see similarities between Mel and Ed?  Do any of the characters seems aware of any similarities?  Is Mel a perceptive person?  What are his problems?  Is he in love with Terri?  How do you interpret his fantasy with the bees and Marjorie?

3.  Why does Mel seem so interested in knights?  Is this symbolic?  Are there other symbols here (light? dark? cardiologist?)?  What do you make of the last paragraph? Why does it end with beating hearts and silence?

4.  Is this story optimistic or pessimistic about true love?  Is the old couple a positive or negative example of true love?  What about Nick and Laura?  What about Ed?  Could you argue that he was in love?

from Making Literature Matter by John Schilb and John Clifford

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