Year of Study in Programme: Fifth
Supervisor: Dr Laura Gimeno
Area/Topic of Research: Twentieth-Century American Literature
Title/Provisional Title of Thesis: “I’d Like to Go Back Home”: The Breakdown of Intimacy in the Stories of Raymond Carver
Short Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is to suggest that the stories of Raymond Carver foresee and adeptly portray the contemporary breakdown of intimacy in the Western world, more specifically the United States. Intimacy here is understood as the junction of love and domesticity. I am interested in exploring how the different characters that dwell in Carver’s stories use the spaces they occupy to communicate to others, especially in the context of romantic relationships. The aim is to study how domesticity informs the language of love in Carver’s stories, suggesting that the home has become heterotopic (following Michel Foucault’s theory), or a non-place (following Marc Augé’s theory) and slowly lost its connotations of security and comfort, thus making it increasingly difficult for intimacy to thrive. In order to explore these concepts, I will analyze a selection of stories from Carver’s four major collections, namely Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (1976), What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (1981), Cathedral (1983) and Elephant (1988).