Author (Your Name)

Matt Williams, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. American Studies Program


Charles W. Bassett

Second Advisor

Margaret T. McFadden


As Robert Stone says of his friend and his friend's work, "People will always want to read him to get an insight into the life and art of the late-twentieth century America ... he will stand high" (Halpert 131), Carver's life and work started out in the "rag and bone shop of the heart" (Nesset 103). He started out telling us about the hardships and misfortunes that go along with being not only an American, but human. Carver showed us the darker side of the American experience, but with it, showed us that with time, hope can triumph. "Reaching deep, he draws out in painstaking detail the implications of a painful, collective, captivity, and if he fails to move us to action he certainly moves us. as he has moved his characters of these stories, to reflection, to inventory, and, if we are careful and lucky, to understanding" (Nesset 103). Raymond Carver was a prophet of our country's people, a voice calling for identification, communication, and at times comfort. Carver showed us the value in the small experience and the power of the struggle. Most of all, though, Raymond Carver taught us what counts: that no matter where we live, what we do, or what dream we may have, we share a flawed humanity. Carver himself put it best: "the best stories of our time, throw some light on what it is that makes us and keeps us, often against great odds, recognizably human" (Nesser 103).


Raymond Carver, Short Stories, American Dream, cultural heroes