What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Essay

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” is a collection of short stories by Raymond Carver that follow four friends who are unable to verbalize and communicate about what love really is, indicating its elusive nation. The book includes a short story by the same title as its cover name. Although the book discusses a fairly simple concept, it has inspired many artists to name their novels similarly; these titles include “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”, “What We Talk About When We Talk About God”, and “What We Talk About When We Talk About War”.

According to the online literary review blog, “The Typists Pen”, “The story has several themes, from separation and loss to control and power” (Typists Pen, 2012). In addition, the concept of elusiveness of love is reiterated throughout. Whenever one of the characters has something to say, they usually do not speak as succinctly as they believe they will. Although this is due in part to the amount of alcohol that the characters regularly consume, it is unlikely that they would be able to verbalize their feelings and deep opinions even if they were sober. In a sense, Carver’s story is a dark account of the importance of the ability to communicate.

Furthermore, in “An Analysis of Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”, Katherine Bernardo discusses how the individual characters actually try to conceptualize love. Mel believes “real love [is] nothing less than spiritual love”, Terri insists the opposite, and Ed is more optimistic about this. It is interesting to observe that each character’s opinion or ideal of love is directly tied in to their personality and function within the story.

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