Feed on

Over the course of the semester I’ve learned that the first line of any story is normally incredibly important, this story is no different. “My friend Mel McGinnis was talking.” Already we know that the story is going to be told from the first person perspective (the narrator being Nick), and that Mel, presumably, talks a lot. As the story continues Mel does in fact do a majority of the talking and he seems to develop into a pompous and arrogant character. The “we” in the title of the story led me to believe that a number of people would give their own interpretation of love, but before Nick and Laura can even get a word in edgewise, Mel has interrupted them in his drunken stupor. The tone of the story is mostly comical and I found myself laughing at Mel’s overbearing presence, that is until the alcohol really seemed to set in. Terri says to Mel, “Don’t talk like you’re drunk if you’re not drunk,” to which he responds, “Just shut up for once in your life.” But Carver doesn’t follow up with “Mel joked,” or “Mel said lovingly.” Earlier in the story Mel repeatedly interrupts Terri to inform her that her past relationship was abusive and dangerous. While Ed does seem to be a nutcase, I’d argue that the relationship between Terri and Mel isn’t particularly healthy either (or maybe Mel needs to take a break from the gin).

Initially I wasn’t sure what to make of the relationship between Laura and Nick, but maybe the pure fact that they are more observant than responsive speaks volumes about their love for each other. Their love is shown not in words or phrases or even in “I love you’s,” but in gestures. Nick places his hand on her thigh, he holds her and describes her as “warm,” on more than one occasion. It seems there is so much more to say from the things unsaid.

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