Raymond Carver's "Boxes"

Essay by rjc96004College, UndergraduateB, November 1996

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Have you ever had that eerie feeling in the back of your mind that something just is not right? It is as if there is some unknown reason that a situation has a different meaning then what is obvious. This feeling is the disguised backbone of Raymond Carver's story, 'Boxes'. In this story the son seems to be experiencing this feeling as his mother decides to move again. There are gaps in the story line which shows that the son's dialog does not match up with his thoughts throughout the situation. These gaps highlight a hidden theme that associates the son's feelings about his mother moving with her death.

One of the reasons the son unconsciously believes he will never see his mother again, is because his mother mentions more than once in the story that she would like to die. These gaps in the story where the mother mentions dying in the same scenes that have to do with her moving associates her moving with her death.

One instance that she mentions dying is where she is complaining about the weather in Longview: 'I mean it, honey. I don't want to see this place again except from my coffin. I hate this g.d. place. I don't know why I moved here. I wish I could just die and get it over with' (p. 413). I do not think the son believes she really wants to die but she puts the idea of her dying in his subconscious. There is a gap at that point that is up to the reader to figure out.

The gap is widened farther in that same scene. The son remembers thinking about a man working on a power line. The man leaned out supported only by a safety belt and the son thought...