Skip to main content

POPULAR MECHANICS - Raymond Carver (1938-1988)


Popular Mechanics, a very short story by Raymond Carver. It was included in Carver's 1981 collection called "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" and later appeared under the title "Little Things" in his 1988 collection, "Where I'm Calling From.

The story describes an argument between a man and a woman that rapidly escalates into a physical struggle over their baby. The man, woman, and baby don't even have names, which emphasizes their role as universal archetypes (prototypes). They could be anyone; they are everyone.

The word "mechanics" shows that this is a story about the process of disagreeing more than it is about the outcome of those disagreements. Nowhere is this more evident than in the final line of the story: "In this manner, the issue was decided.


It’s slushy outside and getting dark. Inside, a man is in the bedroom, hurriedly packing his suitcase. A woman says she's glad he's leaving. She starts crying. She takes a picture of the baby from the bed and leaves the room. He wants the picture back. He finishes packing, puts on his coat, and turns out the light. He goes to the living room. The woman stands in the doorway of the kitchen, holding the baby.

He wants to take the baby. She refuses. The baby starts crying. He moves toward her. She retreats into the kitchen, standing in a corner by the stove. He grabs hold of the baby. They argue over him. The baby is screaming. They knock down a flowerpot. He crowds her, trying to break her grip on the baby. He grips the baby under an arm and tries to pull the woman's fingers apart. She feels her grip loosening. As the baby slips away, she screams and grabs for the baby's other arm. She has one wrist and leans back. The man pulls very hard.

The issue gets decided.

What happens to the baby? This is the main point of speculation in the story. It is not certain what happens to the baby. The two likely possibilities are:

  • The baby gets injured or is killed either from a fall or the pulling.


Popular posts from this blog

BBS First Year English Question Paper with Possible Answers (TU 2021)

PROFESSIONS FOR WOMEN - Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

Summary : Virginia Adeline Woolf (1882-1941) was an English novelist and essayist, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century. She was one of the leaders in the literary movement of modernism.  The speech of  Professions for Women  was given in 1931 to the Women’s Service League by Virginia Woolf. It was also included in  Death of a Moth  and  Other Essays  in 1942. Throughout the speech, Virginia Woolf brings forward a problem that is still relevant today:  gender inequality .   Woolf’s main point in this essay was to bring awareness to the phantoms (illusions) and obstacles women face in their jobs. Woolf argues that women must overcome special obstacles to become successful in their careers. She describes two hazards she thinks all women who aspire to professional life must overcome: their tendency to sacrifice their own interests to those of others and their reluctance (hesitancy) to challenge conservative male attitudes .  She starts her

The Etiquette of Freedom - Gary Snyder

  In his essay " The Etiquette of Freedom ," Gary Snyder explores the concept of freedom in relation to nature and culture. He argues that freedom is not simply the absence of constraints (restrictions), but rather the ability to live in harmony with the natural world. This requires a deep understanding of the environment and a willingness to respect its limits. Snyder begins by defining the terms " wild " and " culture ." He argues that " wild " does not mean " untamed " or " uncivilised ," but rather " self-organizing ." A wild system is one that is able to maintain its own equilibrium (balance) without the intervention of humans. Culture, on the other hand, is a human-made system that is designed to meet our needs. Snyder then goes on to discuss the relationship between freedom and culture. He argues that our culture has become increasingly alienated from nature and that this has led to a loss of freedom. We have