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Carver's Unanswered Questions

In: Novels

Submitted By alannahs
Words 750
Pages 3
Alan Nahs
ENGL 1213
TR 9-10:15
WC 730

Carver’s Unanswered Questions

In Raymond Raymond’s essay, “My Father’s Life”, published in 1984, he writes of his life growing up with an alcoholic father. Raymond’s father was a hard-worker, who moved from one physical labor job to the next. He moved his family out after him whenever he found new jobs. C.R. was an abuser as well as an alcoholic. While away working, he was hurt at a saw mill. He was soon after hospitalized in a mental institution. After his father’s death, Raymond had many unanswered questions about his father’s life which he writes about in this essay. The author’s main problem that he wishes to solve in this essay is how he resembles his father and who he is as a person. Being named after his father, Raymond already had the image that he was going to follow in his father’s footsteps. Raymond questions his dad’s life and actions especially in regards to alcoholism. When he realizes that he is beginning to have the same problem with drinking as his father, he wants to know more about his father to compare if there are more similarities.
In telling his father about his career choice to be a writer, C.R. had the dilemma of not understanding his son. He asks his son, “What are you going to write about?” (Raymond, 6) He wanted his son to write about happy memories and to leave out things that were shameful. C.R. must have started to feel guilty about his son’s life and his actions towards his family. This was after he had survived the mental hospital which gave him time to reflect upon his life. Raymond never could grasp who his father was in that hospital or what had happened to him.
The author has no idea how to solve this problem of truly understanding his father. He tries to learn more about his father by asking himself questions about pictures he has and by studying his father in these pictures. Raymond states that “each time we moved, I took the picture along” so that he could possibly figure himself out as well as his dad. (Raymond, 7) At a low point in his father’s life when he was very sick, Raymond remembers that “for a moment [he] didn’t want to recognize him”. (Raymond, 4) Raymond doesn’t understand how his father got to such a low point in his life. In trying to cope with his father’s death, Raymond writes a poem about a picture of his father. Raymond continuously analyses pictures of his father in order to know the man he was. He analyses his father’s clothes, his stance, anything he was holding, and especially his facial expressions. Raymond went about learning of his father in the wrong way. While he still had his father, he could have talked to his father, asked him any question he wanted, or spent time with him to find his unanswered questions. Raymond finally showed his emotions about his father’s death at his funeral. His father’s funeral allowed him the time to take a break in his own life and grieve. Several people, especially family members, were at the funeral and consoled both Raymond and his mother. C.R.’s extended family loved and missed him very much. Hearing people say his name and his father’s name consoled Raymond the most because it was a beautiful memory from his past which also reminded him how much his father was loved despite the troubles he had incurred. Raymond should have used these people to help relate to his father and those troubles he went through. In conclusion, Raymond spends a childhood being isolated emotionally from his alcoholic father. Being named after his father, Raymond is constantly concerned with how he and his father are similar. He spends his life trying to analyze his father in order to know himself. I can relate to the author’s problem but, through an outsider’s view. Someone extremely close to me struggles with this very same problem. He is named after his father but, doesn’t want to be anything like him. His father was never there for him and put his family through tragedy. My friend’s worst fear is turning out like his father. He has made some of the same mistakes as his father which strengthens this fear. Knowing why his father made mistakes will help ensure that he doesn’t follow the same path.…...

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