Study Guide

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Love

By Raymond Carver


"What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" is about what we talk about when we talk about love. Be honest; you saw that one coming, right? But here's the thing: as the story shows us, what we talk about when we talk about love isn't quite what we might expect. Our main characters talk about car accidents, gin, domestic abuse, bees, and of course, cheese and crackers. What would love be without cheese and crackers? Love, it seems, is messier, darker, and way more complicated than your average greeting card.

Questions About Love

  1. What do you think Mel means by "spiritual love" (3)? Is that for another person? For God?
  2. What do you think: did Ed love Terri? Does Terri still feel love for Ed? Or is it something else?
  3. Okay, Shmoopers. Here comes the big guy: what is your definition of love? Do you think the story comes up with its own definition of love? If so, what is it?

Chew on This

Laura and Nick haven't been together long enough to know if their love is real. It's just like Terri says: they're in the honeymoon phase.

Mel and Terri don't actually love each other. They're just fond of each other, and very very loyal.

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