Popular Mechanics

According to ChuckIII.com the adage goes ???Say what you mean and mean what you say,??? however, symbolism plays an important role in literature. In Raymond Carver??™s ???Popular Mechanics,??? the setting described in the first paragraph prepares the reader for a dark, uncomfortable story. “Early that day the weather turned and the snow was melting into dirty water.” (Paragraph 1) All of these elements in the setting outside the house are used as symbols for something inside the house. This shows that something good or pure, “snow” or relationship, is turning into something ugly, “dirty water” or separation, and it is happening fast, “early that day.”
This paragraph gives very little detail of the house, but enough to get a mental picture. In the line, ???dirty water,??? is a symbol for the breakdown of the relationship of the man and woman. The house is small, shown by the description of a “little shoulder-high window.” The story later gives another description that the house is small in paragraph eleven, “She stood in the doorway of the little kitchen, holding the baby.” The little kitchen is most likely inside a little house. Although the reader never specified that the house was little, it gives the audience small details about the house being little.
While the couple were fighting, they knock down a flower pot. The breaking of the flower pot is very symbolic. The flower pot symbolized the falling down and breaking up of the family just like the breaking of the baby. While the couple were fighting over the baby as well, this symbolized as breaking up the family.
During the fight, ???She caught the baby around the wrist and leaned back…..He felt the baby slipping out of his hands and he pulled back very hard??? (Paragraph 8). The pulling of the baby symbolizes the pulling apart of the family. The endless pulling of the baby shows the resistance of both the man and woman they give in the relationship.
In this short story, Carver uses details as symbols to represent the effects of the situation on the man, woman, and baby??™s life.

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