Senior Honorable Mention
Modern World Fiction
Suspense, surprise, shock, and awe are all parts of a great story, especially when intertwined together to keep the reader guessing until the last second. In Raymond Carver’s “A Small Good Thing”, the main characters go through a tragic story in which they come face to face with the vastness of the world, and the sincerity of human nature. When Scotty, the young boy who the story is centered around, is involved in an accident and hospitalized, his parents Howard and Ann, end up embarking on a journey to understand who is leaving them mysterious calls about their ailing son. Following the death of their son, Howard and Ann realize that their tormentor is a Baker with whom they placed an order for Scotty’s upcoming birthday. After confronting the Baker, Ann and Howard learn the truth behind the calls, as well as a bit of the Bakers past, allowing them to connect with the Baker on a much more human level. Personally, I enjoyed many parts of this story, especially with the twists in plot seen above, as well as the numerous hints of symbolism carried throughout the plot. Overall though, I ended up sympathizing with Ann throughout the story, especially as she lost her child- the light of her life. This changed to an extent after I read a critical review on the story. Although my overall enjoyment of the plot of “A Small Good Thing” by Raymond Carver remains unchanged, the viewpoint that I take towards the story has clearly changed towards one that sympathizes with the Baker over Ann due to a critical review by Mark Facknitz.
Somasundaram, Sai '14, "A Changed Opinion on “A Small Good Thing”" (2014). 2014 Spring Semester. 2.