Mary Hood: Short Stories

The Consequences of Loneliness: Short Fiction by Carver and Hood 11th Grade

Raymond Carver’s “A Small, Good Thing” follows the story of a family that tragically loses their son in a car accident. After the son’s death the parents continually receive phone calls from the baker of their son’s birthday cake, enraging the grieving parents. Mary Hood’s “How Far She Went” portrays a young and rebellious girl fighting to escape the confines of her grandmother’s oppressive rule. When the girl takes her rebellion too far and gets into trouble, her grandmother comes to her rescue, in turn strengthening their frail relationship. In both Raymond Carver’s “A Small, Good Thing” and Mary Hood’s “How Far She Went”, the narratives' conclusions have a cathartic effect through the use of finely-coordinated literary techniques.

Varying forms of diction are employed in both of the texts as a means to mark a sudden change in the narrative. In “A Small, Good Thing”, Carver utilizes abstract diction. The baker specifically shows immense regret and asks the parents to “Forgive me, if you can.” (Carver, 9). His diction denotes his emotional distress concerning the death of Scotty and his unfortunate part in the parent’s anguish. This is emphasized when he pleads Scotty’s parents to forgive him and see that he is “...not an evil...

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