Importance of Symbolism in "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love"

1044 Words Jun 6th, 2007 5 Pages
Symbols are an essential part of daily life, since they help to express ideas without the need of a detailed explanation; traffic signs informing drivers without short paragraphs being posted in their place, facial gestures expressing feelings without having to describe them verbally, just to name a common couple. Likewise, symbols are a crucial part of a literary work, helping the author subtly incorporate concepts throughout the work. An author will deliberately incorporate a symbol into his or her literary work, which alone would mean nothing, but in context carries out a point the author is trying to make. "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" is a short story about four friends trying to find the true meaning of love, trying …show more content…
In a later part of the story, it is clear that Mel is already drunk, and he decides he wants to call his children. However, before he picks up the phone, Terri reminded Mel of his ex-wife and instantly Mel forgets about calling his children and redirects his attention to the problematic relationship with his ex-wife(Carver 770). Also, while in conversation, the characters also talked about being hungry and even considered going to a new restaurant Mel and Terri recommended. However, they never end up going to the restaurant. As a solution to the problem, Terri offers to bring some snacks to the table, but fails to follow through with her offer (Carver 768-770). These unclear decisions represent the haziness of trying to define love, how easy it is to sometimes confuse other feelings, such as lust, for love. The strongest symbol of the story is the continuation of the conversation from daylight through nighttime. Carver implemented subtle details about the lightness or darkness of the room throughout the story to demonstrate that there is no clear definition of love, and people, for the most part, are more comfortable that way. The conversation started while there was still sunlight filling up the kitchen. Naturally, light creates a comfort zone for humans, providing the ability to see surrounding situations, but in the story, that is when the complicated subject became the topic of discussion. The conversation ends

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