English Literature (no specific topic)

onversation and his impression of the other characters and their observable behavior: his wife Fran, his friend Bob, Bob’s wife Olla, their baby Harold and their exotic pet peacock Joey. However, a deeper study makes one realize that, just as much of Carver’s story remains untold, Jack’s narration leaves much unsaid to his audience. Jack is the antithesis of what one expects in a normally effective narrator: openness and a frank discourse on the unfolding narrative. Although he is the narrator, Jack, as a character, is uncommunicative, acquiescent and lacking in initiative.
Jack’s character is enveloped by silence. His relationship with Fran is marred by his inability to communicate his feelings. The diversions of his married life, before the dinner, are confined to activities which require no talking – watching television or going to the movies. This silence only intensifies after the visit to Bud’s. Although, as the narrator, he says, “I couldn’t wait to be alone with Fran to tell her what I was feeling” (page 264), he admits later that “We don’t talk about it. What’s to say?” (page 265). As a narrator, he makes it obvious that he is often critical of Fran. He disagrees with her stand “Why do we need other people?” (Carver, page 252) as he values his friendship with Bob. But his habit of silence extends to his friend also and makes him “careful with what I say to him” (page 265). Although Fran’s tirade against the car race program on television, and her overt attention to the plaster-of-Paris teeth, are distasteful to him, he remains silent and does not reprimand her. Jack, the character, only admits “I thought about those plastic teeth” (page 259), whereas Jack, the narrator, provides a lurid description of the teeth. Likewise, the peacock makes a strong impression on him, but he confines himself to a laconic “‘Goddamn’ —There was nothing else to say” (page 254). Here again, the narrator indulges in effusive