"Fat" by Raymond Carver Essay

1622 Words Dec 8th, 2011 7 Pages
Pleasantly Obese

Raymond Carver’s short story “Fat” brings the reader through a life changing moment for a waitress. The unnamed woman, who describes her encounter with an obese man to her friend Rita, is completely engaged in everything about the fat man while she waits him; his size, his appetite, and especially his hospitality towards her. Through the waitress’ thoughts, Carver repeatedly brings up the concept of obesity in his story. He allows her mind to tell the reader which parts are important to her life changing revelation and how she feels throughout different parts of the story. The theme of obesity is discussed entirely in the foreground throughout “Fat” to give the reader insight on the narrator and to bring about other
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“He has this strange way of speaking…and he makes a puffing sound every so often” (147). The stereotypical noises made by an obese man are usually grunts or snorts, but those words are linked with a negative undertone. Carver broke the stereotype by turning these disgusting noises with pleasant ones such as the puff. He does this because he wants the reader to connect being fat with as many good adjectives as he can.
Carver also breaks the stereotype of how obese people eat. The customary way is to have them constantly shoveling food into their mouths, while Carver gives his character etiquette. The waitress never sees the fat man eating his food. She always places it before him and it magically disappears by the time she returns. This is one way for Carver to avoid having to describe most of the man’s eating habits. The only contact the man has with his food is with his bread, but when this happens he is only ripping it, buttering it, and putting it to the side. “Meanwhile buttering pieces of bread and putting them to the side” (148). This is a very proper way to eat, taking his time to prepare the bread rather than just shoving it down his throat. Carver is now connecting obesity with being proper. The fat man speaks about himself in a plural form by constantly referring to himself as “we” (147). Carver does this to show the reader the immensity of the man’s obesity by

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