Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Respect for Our Humanity: 180° of Difference For purposes of this assignment I have selected the Raymond Carver stories "So Much Water So Close To Home" and "The Third Thing That Killed My Father Off". The wife in the first story and the father in the second both undergo change when placed in situations which cause them to consider the value and dignity of human life. These reactions are called forth by interaction with other characters, the wife being affected by her husband and the father by his friend.

In the first story we see how an uncommunicative man who is so selfish and morally devoid that he causes his wife to undergo three distinct stages of emotion (empathy, anger, complacency). She eventually succumbs to her husband's benightedness in the context of their marital relationship.

The second story examines how a man's moral conflict, as demonstrated by his introspection and consciousness of guilt, can be equally ruinous.

The father's belief system is shattered after a series of circumstances culminate with his friend's suicide. He endures a transition from being supportive and compassionate to being shaken, overwhelmed and guilt-ridden.

These two stories demonstrate the extremes that can be reached on a person's own moral compass. The husband in "So Much Water So Close To Home" is so lacking morally, that in a criminal context, he might be considered sociopathic. He would seem not to possess the least bit of understanding for the concept of decency and feeling toward his fellow human being. On the contrary, the father/friend in "The Third Thing That Killed My Father Off" is condemned by an overabundance of concern for people, to a point that his internalization consumes him, destroying his relationship with his son.

The wife in "So Much Water So Close To Home" is...