“A Small, Good Thing,” and” Good People” 

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Different literacy texts vary considerably in their topics, themes, stylistic devices, and characters, among other literacy elements. What makes a literacy piece unique from others is widely influenced by various aspects of the story. Although literacy texts are amazing, some literacy may demonstrate some similarities. “A Small, Good Thing,” by Raymond Carver, and  ” Good People”  by David Foster Wallace, short stories vary considerably in terms of the content of the story, the characters, stylistic devices, and the plots of the stories. However, Carver and Wallace’s short stories share some common literacy elements.   Primarily,   the theme of separation, division, and isolation is a common theme in Carver’s and Wallace’s short stories.

The theme of division, separation, and isolation is evident in Carver’s and Wallace’s stories, as demonstrated by the various characters and events in the story. First, the two texts’ division, separation, and isolation vary considerably. Division, separation, and isolation take different forms, such as physical, social, and emotional. In ” A Small, Good Thing,” physical separation occurs during several events. First, when Scotty leaves for school, he is separated from his parents, Ann Weiss and Howard Weiss. Scotty’s separation is the first form of physical separation that seems temporal; however, due to the accident, the separation becomes permanent. Scotty is also separated from his friend when the accident happens. His friend proceeds to school while Scotty returns home. Scotty also separates physically from his parents and friend when he finally dies.

Additionally, Franklin is divided, separated, and isolated from his family when they keep waiting for his news in the hospital. He eventually dies, leading to a permanent separation and his isolation from the family. For example, when the time comes for Ann to leave the hospital, she cries, “No, no,” she says. “I can’t leave him here, no”. The themes of division, separation, and isolation elicit pain and suffering in the characters as Ann and Howard. Simultaneously, Franklin’s family experiences the same pain and suffering after losing their child. Franklin and Scotty are permanently divided and separated from their families and isolated from the living through their death.

Physical division, separation, and isolation are also featured in Baker’s life. The Baker in ” A small, Good thing” is separated from the outside world as he spends quality time alone in the bakery. This makes him lonely and anti-social. This is evident when Ann tries to initiate a conversation when making his son’s 8th birthday cake, but the Baer remains cold and is defined being melancholic. The Baker is also physically divided and separated from Ann when he tries to reach her for the cake picking. Still, after several calls, the phone went unanswered, and in the event that it was answered, the receiver seemed unaware of anything regarding Scotty’s cake.  The physical division between the Baker and Wallace depicts the role of effective communication as a unifying factor.

The Beaker is not only physically divided, separated, and isolated but also suffers social isolation. In a conversation with Wallace, the reader is made aware that Baker is a lonely man as he has no children. He is socially isolated and divided from his family. He lacks children of his own, which explains his high level of loneliness and anti-social behavior. The author describes him as not being jolly and only speaking with Ann about what was necessary. The short story indicates, “The baker was not jolly”  and continues to suggest that “She gave up trying to make friends with him” when the author refers to Ann’s plan of initiating a conversation between her and the Baker. His cold attitude and behavior push people such as Ann away, making him more socially isolated. Despite Ann starting a conversation with the Baker,  she cut it shortly after realizing that the Baker was gloomy and disinterested.

Similarly, division, separation, and isolation are also evident in  “Good People”. The ” Good People” is a short story about a young couple struggling to make an informed decision regarding an unwanted pregnancy. Lane Dean and Sheri Fisher are young and have different views regarding their pregnancy, bringing about psychological, social, religious, and emotional division, separation, and isolation. First, Lane Dean and Sheri Fisher are uncertain regarding marinating the pregnancy, which would bring about a permanent unity between Fisher and the unborn child, and terminating the fetus, which would, on the other hand, lead to permanent division. Abortion would separate, divide and isolate the unborn child from Fisher and Lean Dean, the potential parents. Additionally, aborting the unborn child would bring about the separation of the child f from the living as they will be eliminated.

Fisher and Dean are also divided on their opinion regarding the pregnancy. Dean is worried about his reputation as a  religious person with a child outside wedlock and thinks in favor of abortion. On the other hand, Fisher is worried about her pregnancy though she is not ready for the abortion. As Dean states, “was trying to say things that would get her to open and say enough back that he could see her and read her heart and know what to say to her enough back that he could see her and read her heart and know what to say to her to go through it”. Dean is psychologically separated from his girlfriend as he is sure he wants an abortion. However, his girlfriend seems uncertain about it. The variations between Dean and Fisher’s opinions on matters of aborting the unborn child bring about the tension between the two lovers, which in turn creates social and psychological division, separation, and isolation.

Division in the “Good People” is not only between individuals but also within a character. Dean is greatly divided between his religion, which cautions against sex before marriage, and abortion, which is against religious teaching. He is divided within himself and uncertain of what is a right or wrong choice. Dean imagines himself waving mechanically to an object that seems to diminish as it moves away from him like a train. The mechanic waving demonstrates Dean’s division and separation from something he desperately desired to get rid of. He also describes himself as being “two-hearted, a hypocrite”.

To some extent, he feels he is acting like a hypocrite while he wishes for an abortion to protect his reputation. He was divided regarding his religious teachings and assuming the role of a father, which was also against his morals. In this case, Dean is a tone between protecting his love relationship with Fisher and abandoning his relationship with Jesus Christ. The division, separation, and isolation within Dean bring about confusion in his life-limiting him from making an informed decision regarding the His pregnancy with Fisher. Wallace also compares division, separation, and isolation in history to frozenness. Dean’s relationship with God is associated with frozenness and a “terrible and of blackness”. This is what Dean feels after learning that Fisher is pregnant. He also describes himself as two armies facing each other, indicating that they are motionless. This symbolically defines Dean’s feelings and level of division, separation, and isolation within himself and how he relates with God.

In the short stories “A Small, Good Thing”, and  “Good People,” the theme of division, separation, and isolation dominates the plots of the stories. The author has utilized the theme differently, bringing about significant elements of the stories, including the character, character traits, and plot, as well as building on other essential themes such as the theme of communication and relationship. Division, separation, and isolation are different forms in the short stories, ranging from physical, social, emotional, and psychological. Although the theme is featured in both texts, the authors utilize different approaches in shaping it to bring the desired outcome to the audience. Division, separation, and isolation are key themes in the  “A Small, Good Thing”, and  ” Good People” short stories.

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