Alcoholism Explored in What We essay

Download this essay in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from essay:

When Terri asks Mel is he is drunk, he becomes defensive because he realizes that something about his personality must be changing. In other words, he is getting drunk and behaving drunk but does not want to admit it and continues to drink to cover his emotions.

Perhaps the most compelling aspect of the story in relation to drinking is the fact that the characters are drinking as if it were second nature to them. They are drinking gin and it as if this is something they do every day. The gin and the water "kept going around" (Carver 170) the table and the coupes drink freely, conversing as if everything is normal. They are pouring gin into their glasses as if it is iced tea. When Terri finishes the last of the first bottle of gin, she shakes the bottle and Mel simply gets up from the table, gets another bottle of gin and they proceed. As Mel pours everyone a new glass of gin, no one stops him and no one seems to be pathetically drunk. It is worth noting, however, that Mel does get drunk and it becomes evident in his behavior. It is safe to assume that Mel is a character that Carver might have molded from his experiences with alcohol. While no one in this story gets sloppy drunk to the point that they pass out, Mel does exhibit drunken, loud, obnoxious behavior and the result of this behavior is nothing.

Mel, with all of his success, cannot answer the question that he posits for everyone in the room and this is the problem. Certainly, he attempts to describe love but the fact that he cannot relate to it is what seems to be eating away at him. He has seen love, or what he perceives to be love, in the old couple and he simply cannot relate to it. This leads him to feel a sense of regret and sadness that he cannot put into words. He knows these feelings stem from his lack of love and passion and he drinks to cover these feelings and perhaps cause him to feel better if for just a short time. In fact, the entire group is drinking to escape something. Mel and Terri are teetering on the edge of something that looks like divorce if they are not careful and Nick and Laura are just along for the ride. No one at the table is filled with a real passion -- not even the couple that is in the early stages of love. As the sun sets, the couples stay seated in silence and in darkness, wondering what to do next. With the gin gone, there seems to be no reason to do anything. Even as daylight wanes, nothing -- not even hunger motivates anyone to move from the table. This final scene illustrates the stifling affect of alcohol. They are all at least a little tipsy and they seem to have reached a stage of "zoning out" and have accomplished nothing and do not feel any better than they did when set out to have a nice evening.

Our vices can destroy us and this is the point Carver illustrates in "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." Carver's intimate experience with alcoholism allows him to provide an honest look at what the disease can do to people, despite their best efforts. Mel might be the smartest of the group but alcohol diminishes this and every other positive personality trait. While the characters in this story attempt to fill a void in their lives or simply try to have a nice time, the evening ends with everyone sitting around the table doing absolutely nothing, surrounded by darkness. This image of four drunken adults sitting around a table in the dark represents the effects of alcohol on humanity.

Works Cited

Brent, Liz. "Critical Essay on 'What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.'" Short Stories

for Students. 2001. GALE Resource Database. Information

Retrieved April 20, 2009.

Carver, Raymond. "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." Where I'm Calling

From. 1989.

Nordgen, Joe. Dictionary of Literary Biography. Volume 130: American Short-Story Writers

Since World War II." 1993. GALE Resource Database.

Information Retrieved April 20, 2009.

Rebein, Robert. Hicks,…[continue]

Cite This Essay:

"Alcoholism Explored In What We" (2009, April 21) Retrieved October 24, 2016, from

"Alcoholism Explored In What We" 21 April 2009. Web.24 October. 2016. <>

"Alcoholism Explored In What We", 21 April 2009, Accessed.24 October. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Alcoholism as a Disease Throughout

    The research results will demonstrate that alcoholism is a disease and support this notion with overwhelming evidence. Conclusion In short, alcoholism is a major problem for all countries across the world. Alcoholism destroys lives and tears many families apart. The purpose of this argumentative research paper is to demonstrate with supporting evidence that alcoholism is a disease and not a social stigma. Works Cited Foroud Tatiana, Howard J. Edenberg, and John C. Crabbe.

  • Exist Between Alcoholism as a Learned Behavior

    exist between alcoholism as a learned behavior (rather than as a condition arising from any genetic predisposition) and self-esteem. This research is based upon the assumption that there is a direct connection between self-esteem and learned behaviors: While a person's self-esteem may of course be affected by inherited conditions (such as a birth defect) it is much more likely to be affected by conditions that the person believes that

  • Sociological Approach to Reducing Alcoholism

    Moreover, even content-based restriction would be irrelevant to the competitive strength of market competitors, since they would apply across the board and to all equally. The only likely negative effect on manufacturers of alcohol products is precisely the objective that increased regulation of the content of alcohol product advertising would hope to achieve: namely, reducing the instances of new users responding to advertising and reducing the ability of manufacturers

  • Alcohol and Alcoholism Binge Drinking Exploratory

    Alcohol I began my research with an open mind. Alcohol was a huge topic, and I needed to narrow it down and come up with something meaningful to research. As I looked at the different aspects of drinking habits, one issue kept resurfacing that drew my attention. That issue was the long-term effects of drinking on the individual. I was interested in binge drinking, as well as heavy drinking sustained over

  • Business General Please List Sections According to

    Business (general) Please list sections according to instructions Exercise 1.1: Review of Research Study and Consideration of Ethical Guidelines Option 1: Stanford Prison Experiment Go to:, the official site for the Stanford Prison Experiment. What do you think the research questions were in this study? List 2 or 3 possible research questions (in question format) that may have been the focus of this experiment. What happens when you put good people in an evil place?

  • Ernest Hemingway Imitations and Departures

    Hills tells the story of a young American man and his pregnant lover waiting for the train that will take them to an abortionist. In addition to the directness of speech characteristic of Hemingway's writing, Hills explores several themes characteristic of Hemingway, to include boredom, dissatisfaction, and self-destruction as a moving paralysis. "And we could have all this," she said. 'And we could have everything and every day we

  • Turning a Narrative Into a Film

    Man of the Crowd By Edgar Allan Poe (1840) The story significantly depicts not only the preoccupation of the 17th hundred London issues and a trend brought by the progressive industrialization of time, but speaks so much relevance in our modern time as well. The epigraph which sums up the very essence of the story explains the dynamic of a human being too busy to mingle with the crowd for fear of

Read Full Essay
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved