Love is defined in one Raymond Carver’s famous short story entitled “Beginners”. Published in 1981 it is considered a s a timeless and influential piece of modern literature as it gives love a different kind of meaning. It is a collection of short stories of people falling in love, currently in love and wanted to go out of love. The masterpiece is written in such a way that readers will think as to what extent love can make or break lives and how to deal with this four letter word that makes the world go round.
The book tackles different scenarios of love presented through series of stories which produces linkage to the meaning of the word love in the end. Though the plot revolves on a casual drinking conversation of two couples, it really does make sense in giving love different meanings. Love was illustrated in the short story in many profound ways. Characters presented in the story are different in terms of profession and personal background but they are all speaking about one thing, love. Men are from Venus and girls are from Mars as it may seem when readers try to digest the concept of Carver’s story as a whole. He gives various instances that women are desperately being submissive to men to the extent that they are being hurt and abuse just to prove how they love their partners. I say this in the case of Carl who overly abused his partner. Terri on the other hand does not mind being victimized by love. Love can kill in the case of Carl who kept on beating his partner because this is his way of showing love. Terri on the other hand is blinded by emotion that is why she let her partner hurt her thinking that it is always about love. She is so selfless to the point that part of her being anorexic is caused by too much beating to her by Carl.
Herb McGinnis on the other hand is a cardiologist that can cure the heart both literally and figuratively. He is described in the book as someone that can mend even the deepest wound caused by Carl in Terri’s life. He has his own share of sentiment about love as he continuously supports his first wife and kids. His paternal love is described by Carver in the story as an undying devotion to give even his last single penny for the sake of love and support to raise his children. Dumb as it may seem since Herb is not only givinf support to his children financially but also to his first wife’s lover as well. He cannot refuse doing it because the woman might deprive him from seeing their children.
But the love story of Laura and the narrator himself tells another aspect of love on the other hand. Since they are just newly weds and are on the early part of their relationship, the perks and joys of feeling love is still at its best. But they kept on showing persistence in proving how they value each other everyday. In order to cultivate love to the younger couple, Herb narrated the story of the elderly couple who were both injured due to a car accident. The love story of the two elderly made the Beginners a story of love well defined.
Love can be selfless or selfish, giving and forgiving, healing and forgetting. These are few of the underlying tones of the short story if we will dissect the whole concept of Beginners by Raymond Carver. It is indeed a story that is made for readers to value the meaning and live the feeling of love.
Carver, Raymond. (1981). “Beginners”