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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

Sunlight

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The afternoon sun was like a presence in the room, the spacious light of ease and generosity. We could have been anywhere, somewhere enchanted. We raised our glasses again and grinned like children who had agreed on something forbidden. (54)

Don't you just feel all warm and cozy? Don't you just want to be a part of this conversation? Shmoop definitely does. Who wouldn't want to have a conversation about love with friends, in an enchanted place.

Even though they've been talking about really heavy stuff—suicide, stalking, and other violence—these characters are sharing a moment, and the sunlight helps them do that. This might not be the most pleasant conversation, and it definitely has its awkward moments, but it is intimate.

One way people become intimate with each other is by sharing the darker, more private aspects of their lives with each other. Maybe that sunlight (and the gin, of course) helps them feel a bit more comfortable with their surroundings, a bit freer with their secrets. Light has a way of revealing things, you know.

So then this raises the question: what do you think of the complete lack of light in the story's last paragraph? What does the fact that the characters sit there in the dark without turning on the lights say about their moods?

For more on this, be sure to check out our discussion of sunlight in the "Setting" section, too.

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