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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

Language and Communication Quotes Page 1

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"My God, don't be silly. That's not love and you know it," Mel said. "I don't know what you'd call it, but I sure know you wouldn't call it love."

"Say what you want to but I know it was," Terri said. "It may sound crazy to you, but it's true just the same. People are different, Mel." (6-7)

Feeling a little tense? We are, too. We can tell these two are talking about something that's important to them both, but the fact that they're disagreeing about it seems significant. Are they bickering? Bantering? Fighting whole hog?

Quote #2

I touched the back of Laura's hand. She gave me a quick smile, I picked up Laura's hand. […] I encircled the broad wrist with my fingers, and I held her. (15)

Nick's touch signals his approval at what Laura just said to Mel and Terri, about not knowing Ed well enough to judge whether he loved Terri or not. She responds with a smile, and Nick responds with another show of physical affection. These two are cute, for sure, but we can't help but wonder if their love is real love, or something else.

Quote #3

"He used to call my service at all hours and say he needed to talk to the doctor, and when I'd return the call, he'd say 'Son of a bitch, your days are numbered.' Little things like that. It was scary. I'm telling you." (27)

Mel is talking about Ed, here, and they weren't exactly bosom buddies. That's because Ed uses violence to communicate. He speaks the language of threats and fear. But according to Terri, it's all in the name of love. Maybe Ed thinks his awful behavior is justified, if it gets him a chance to win Terri back. If that's the case, this guy was more than a little delusional.

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