Sunday, January 31, 2010

What i think about that..

When reading the short story "Fat" by Raymond Carver, one remembers all of the interactions in day-to-day life that cause one to criticize other human beings. Even if the being in general has a pleasant temperance and other agreeable characteristics, many will still focus on the things that make a person ugly to others. Some take this practice further, and gossip about the person, when the subject in question is at a safe distance. There are even those, who have a lack of self esteem or positive self-image, who find it satisfying to comment in the victims face about their physical irregularities. This practice seems to be a product of societal standards, especially those of attractiveness and beauty.
The story shows this through an overly obese man, and the telling of his interaction with a waitress. Throughout the recount, it is repeatedly mentioned how fat others think he is, and how disgusting he is to them. On the other hand, it seems that the waitress accepts his obesity, to the extent that she treats him like any other customer. Also, as her co-workers ridicule the fat man, she refuses to partake. These actions are later negated when she is fornicating with her co-worker/boy toy, and she sees herself as overly obese. This vision of hers only points out her fear of not meeting up to societies standards, and her lack of confidence.
Another point of interest is the way she recounts her tale; she happens to be overly nonchalant about it. If she is so uninterested in the memory, why tell it? This leads to the assumption that the shock of seeing her worst fear personified was quite the traumatic happening to her. However, because of another societal standard of not showing fear, she has to pass it off as an unimportant event.
There happened to be a possible explanation to the fat man's irregular eating habits. When referring to himself, the fat man would use "we". The possible explanation for this is that he thought of himself as a party of people. This would explain the gross amount of food eaten by the man. He also stated that he didn't always eat that much, so it would be safe to assume that as he gained more personalities, he had to increase his dietary habits. On a more positive note, the fact that he thought of himself as a whole group means he was never lacking company. To the fat man, he was popular, therefore, he was well-liked. This puts him on another level of self-confidence than that of the waitress and her friends. No matter where he was, or who he was with, he would mantain the same amount of self-worth as before. This is the opposite of the waitress, who had to re-examine her concept of self-worth after seeing a fat man. In conclusion, this short story, which comes off as a simple tale at first, examines the bonds between societal values and those of the individual.

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