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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

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Analysis

Literary Devices in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory


"What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" is set entirely in the Albuquerque apartment of Mel and Terri McGinnis. It takes places over the course of an afternoon, in late summer or early fall. N...

Narrator Point of View

Meet Nick. He's our narrator. We say he's peripheral, or on the sidelines, because, although this is his story, he's not the main character in it—Mel is. Mel, Nick's best friend, is the one doing...


This is serious stuff, folks, and it's as real as it gets. We've got two families (in the form of married couples) grappling with love in all its messy glory. Back stories of abusive relationships...


In the words of Raymond Carver,Tone is a very hard thing to talk about objectively, but I feel that a writer's tone is his signature, not just the way he crafts his stories. I can tell you what my...

Writing Style

Readers immediately notice that this story is made up of big chunks of dialogue with almost no description or commentary from our dear narrator, Nick. When it comes to interpreting, we readers are...

What's Up With the Title?

This longish title does a nice job of describing the story – a story in which two married couples sit around drinking gin and talking about… wait for it… love. That sounds pleasant enough, bu...

What's Up With the Ending?

The ending has even less action than the rest of the story. The sun sets. The conversation stops. Terri says she'll get Laura some cheese and crackers, but she stays put in her chair. The bottle of...

Plot Analysis

Gin and Tonics and LoveTwo couples are drinking and talking about love. In fact, in many ways, this is the beginning, the middle, and the end of Raymond Carver's story. The characters never move fr...


Carver received boatloads of honors and awards in his short lifetime, including one of the "first Mildred and Harold Strauss Living Awards, nominations for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer...

Steaminess Rating

There is some hand-holding and a smooch or two, but nothing that will steam up your windows.

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