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What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love


by Raymond Carver

Character Clues

Character Analysis

Family Life

Nick and Laura seem blissfully (if shallowly) happy together. There's lots of knee touching and cheek-pecking going on.

Mel and Terri, on the other hand, have a family history that closely resembles… chaos. Mel has an ex-wife he hates, who seems to have custody of his kiddos. Terri's ex was abusive and suicidal, and she seems to have escaped by the skin of her teeth.

Mel and Terri's family life lets us know that their lives are difficult, complicated and a little bit hard, in spite of their commitment to each other.


Mel is a cardiologist. Hmm. We wonder what that could mean in a story called "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." In one way, it makes him uniquely qualified to wax poetic on matters of the heart. In another way, it makes it more than a little ironic that he, of all people, can't quite seem to figure out what love really means, no matter how hard he tries.