How the Theme Loss/Grief is Dealt within the Story “A Small, Good Thing.”

In each story whether a short one or a long one there is a theme on which the story is developed. There could be either one or couple main themes within the story. A theme is a subject or main idea in a talk, a piece of writing or work of art. In other words, a theme is a topic that is discussed in the story or an idea that the characters could be talking about. “A Small, Good Thing” is a short story written by Raymond Carver.

In this story, the main theme is about the loss and the grief. The loss in this story refers to the loss of a child. A grief is a feeling of a great sadness, especially when someone dies.  In this story, the loss and the grief are merely connected. This theme is dealt with in the story in a way that a child accident occurred and the characters are dealing with that each one in a particular way. It is depicted through the conversation of the character and though their thoughts how they deal with the loss of their child.

Firstly, Ann and Howard are in the hospital and are dealing with the fact that their child might die. They are dealing with the possible loss. After they lost their child, they confront the grief and the things are not the same anymore. Secondly, there is another family in the hospital waiting for their child who is in the operation room. This family is in the same position as Ann and Howard. They are dealing with a possible loss of their child too. Thirdly, there is an old baker at the end of the story who has no idea how is to lose a child. All these people create a perfect picture that all humans in a certain situation have something in common, but on the other hand is that someone can understand how is to be in that position and someone can just guess.

In the story, the author depicts three situations how people are dealing with the sense of loss and grief. There are certain sentences that give a hint how the theme is dealt with in the story. Ann and Howard are the parents of the birthday boy who is knocked down by a car. The man and the woman have different ways of accepting and acting in that situation. There is a description how good was Howard’s life before the accident, but what is more interesting is the way how the author conveys his thoughts. “ So far, he had kept away from any real harm, from those forces he knew existed and that could cripple or bring down a man if the luck, went bed, if things suddenly turned.” (2131) This is the attitude that Howard has after the accident had happened. It is well described and true, which creates a kind of sympathy in those who are reading the text. When something bad happens people do feel that there is something unexplainable in their lives.

How the mother is dealing with what had happened can be concluded from the following lines. “She was afraid, and her teeth began to chatter until she tightened her jaws. She saw a big car stop in front of the hospital and someone, a woman in a long coat, get into the car. She wished she were that woman and somebody, anybody, was driving her away from here to somewhere else, a place where she would find Scotty waiting for her when she stepped out of the car, ready to say Mom and let her gather him in his arms.” (2136) The mother obviously cannot accept what had happened and the way she is dealing with the situation is that she wants to escape somewhere, where everything will be fine.

What comes next is that the child dies, which is so shocking to them. They act and deal with the grief each in different ways. The author tries in the best way to describe the situation. “He had thought to pick up some child’s things that were scattered around the living room. But instead, he sat down beside her on the sofa; push the box tone side, and leaned forward, arms between his knees. He began to weep.”(2142) From these lines, it can be concluded how the father deals with the loss of the child. He is crying. His wife, on the other hand, acts differently than him. She is so grief that she wants to kill someone. ”That bastard. I‘d like to kill him,” she said. “I’d like to shoot him and watch him kick,”(2142) from these lines it is so obvious her grief that she can not handle anymore.

In the story, another family is also mentioned, how they are waiting for their son who is in the operating room. “There was a fight where he was at. At this party. They say he was just standing and watching. Not bothering nobody. But that doesn’t mean anything these days. Now he is on the operating table. We are just hoping and praying, that is all we can do.”(2137-2138) From this line, it could be concluded that these families have something in common otherwise they will not be in a hospital. The way they deal with the accident is just hoping and praying. How the author describes this situation when Ann meets this family is so realistic and so true which gives us a hint that these people confront with a possible loss of their child.
At the end of the story, the old baker who is harassing the family by phone actually is someone who does not know what is happening. Ann is so grief that she wants to kill him. On one hand we have Ann who just lost her child, and on the other hand, we have the baker who does not have children. “He told them what it was like to be childless all these years. To repeat the days with the ovens endlessly full and endlessly empty.” From these lines, it is obvious that they can not know how he was feeling all those years as the same as he can not know how they are feeling.

The way that the author presents the event is written in a very good way because it is so hard to write on a topic about the loss and grief. That is so because different people act differently as it was shown in this story. The theme about loss and grief in the story is dealt in a way that the author by writing about the whole event and about everything that is happening gives the readers a whole insight how those people are dealing with that. Consequently, the idea that people are dealing with in the story is the main theme that creates this story. The author by telling the whole event makes a great piece of writing that touches the heart.

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