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The author immediately directs our attention not to the narrator, but to the character Mel right at the beginning. Indeed, a majority of the story, while told in the first person, is more from the other characters rather than Nick the narrator. The story is structured in the way where there are more dialogue than details of action and description. What little description there is are meant to give us a small picture of what the setting is. In this story however, Carver shows us the setting isn’t important and would rather we zero in on the characters. The dialogue is important not just for characterization, but for plot, something that may not work in other stories but works in this one. The first line “My friend Mel McGinnis is talking” therefore, is insignificant at first, but it does show that Carver wants us to know that the narrator isn’t much of a central character, the others are.

Terri is shown to be a rather odd character, who still believes that her previous husband loves her through his abuse of her. Mel, on the other hand, is more realistic and points out that that is not love. I love the foil between the two different characters because one doesn’t understand a healthy love while the other knows that love shouldn’t be abusive. This is actually a fairly simple point in the story, but adds much to the characterization of both Terri and Mel. I also think Carver uses Nick the narrator as some kind of bridge between us the reader and the other characters. At the same time, Nick is also a character as much as Terri, Mel, and Laura because he is given the task of being the reader’s looking glass.

The usage of dialogue in this story gives us insight into the history of the character more than what the characters are going through at the present. More than likely, us readers would be more interested in the past of these people because if the author chooses to write them as they are in the present, then it would be boring, flat, and dull. Within the dialogues are actually mini-stories in themselves, such as Terri’s previous boyfriend/husband and Mel’s situation with the elderly couple. Yet, all of these stories are something about love, so the entire story can be called a love story, but not in the conventional way.

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