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Carver and Chopin: Tales of Love analyzed

In this assignment you will read two stories that deal with the theme of love. Kate Chopin wrote at the end of the 19th century and created nontraditional female characters that react to their culturally stifling lives in unexpected ways.
In the other story, Raymond Carver, who wrote during the 1960's and 70's, presents a conversation between two modern married couples. There is no narrator to provide interpretation, nor an omniscient point of view, which leaves gaps in understanding and allows you as the reader to evaluate the four personalities yourself, deciding which character has the clearer understanding of true love.

1. Read Desiree's Baby" by Kate Chopin. Write three paragraphs considering the following:
Does Armand really love Desiree? Can love conquer all, even racial bias? When our culture tells us we are not allowed to love a certain person, are we able to break free from our heritage? Or is there danger in disregarding our cultural norms for love? Could this story happen this way today or are we passed the rules our cultures inflict on us regarding love?
Use quotes from the story, with MLA citations, to support your ideas.

2. Read "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" by Raymond Carver. Write three paragraphs considering the following:
Notice Carver's skill in capturing the realities of everyday conversation through his dialogue. His main character, Mel, feels that love is something spiritual. Terri, his wife, tells a story of love as something more passionate, but violent, while the whole conversation revolves around the question of whether or not true love really exists. Think of your own definition of true love. Can you describe it? Is it everywhere or is it rare? Is it simple or complicated? Which of the characters in the story do you agree with and which do you disagree with?
Use quotes from the story, with MLA citations, to support your ideas.

Solution Preview

1. Read "Desiree's Baby" by Kate Chopin. Write three paragraphs considering the following:
Does Armand really love Desiree? Can love conquer all, even racial bias? When our culture tells us we are not allowed to love a certain person, are we able to break free from our heritage? Or is there danger in disregarding our cultural norms for love? Could this story happen this way today or are we passed the rules our cultures inflict on us regarding love?
Use quotes from the story, with MLA citations, to support your ideas.
Please iinsert additional quotes from the story that appealed to you to support your own opinions when you add them to this suggested beginning.

Armand does not really love Desiree. He fell in "love" with her when he saw her, and wanted her so much that he was willing to overlook the fact that she came with uncertain parentage, and was raised by his neighbors as their daughter. He felt that she was what he wanted, as long as he thought that she was a white lady. When their child was born, he did not at first recognize that there was visible evidence that the child was of mixed, Negro blood. Someone told him, which accounted for his abrupt change of heart towards Desiree, whom he blamed for the "taint" upon their child. At that belief, that Desiree was the one who bore the curse of mixed blood, his "love" deserted him, and Desiree was shunned.

Yes, love can conquer all, even racial bias, IF BOTH PARTIES make the same commitment to love anyway, regardless of the barriers or problems they encounter. If only one party is committed to the relationship, it will end. This is the case in this short story. Desiree continued to love - Armand did not. Armand was, of course, just as free before that evil person told him his child was of mixed blood to love Desiree as he was after he was told. Remember the story said when he first "saw" her: "The passion that awoke in him that day, when he saw her at the gate, swept along like an avalanche, or like a prairie fire, or like anything that drives ...

Solution Summary

Raymond Carver's story What We Talk About When We Talk About Love and Kate Chopin's tale Desiree's Baby both address the theme of love. These themes are discussed as they are presented and portrayed in each short story.

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