“A Small, Good Thing” a Pessimistic or Optimistic Story?

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“A small, Good Thing,” is a play that begins by narrating an event of Saturday afternoon in an American city that is not named. The story addresses some themes like connection, loss, conflict, helplessness loneliness and isolation themes which make the play to be pessimistic. This play generally portrays pessimistic after Scotty was hit by the car and got injured and taken to the hospital, some were not hopeful that the boy will heal and be well again until the report from the doctor was announced that he was dead (Ives 35). The author begins by explaining how the Weiss a mother who is very young drives to the nearest shopping center to order a cake. Her son Scotty was about to his celebrate 8th birthday which was to take place at dawn Monday. The evidence that this play is pessimistic is portrayed hence the baker who was to make the cake for the birthday is a taciturn man and the Scotty’s mother, Ann, does not take to him (Ives 36). He assures that the cake will be ready in time. In the next day when Scotty and his friend are walking to the school very early in the morning there, a misfortune strikes him. He is knocked down by a car where his friend cries but he immediately wakes up as if he was not injured. The driver assumes this drives away leaving the boy shaken. After the school, he returns home and immediately lies down on the sofa and becomes unconscious. There and then the mother rushes to organize for an ambulance to take his son to the hospital (Ives 38). In the play, the idea of segregation and speculation makes the story pessimistic. The Baker took a lot of time to make just a simple birthday cake and also no mentioned children and his wife. Most of the time he is segregated from the other people however he is the only one baker. There is also evident sense from Ann the mother and Howard the father to Scotty that they ever felt no hope for their son's healing and are ever waiting for the updates of how about of their son. The play explores how the idea of communication is portrayed and how it is lacked by the characters (Ives 45). Carver shows how the baker hangs up many times on the parents of Scott over the baking of the birthday cake that took him three days. In addition, the doctor who is in charge of Scotty is unable to update the parents about their son and does not ever tell them that Scotty will wake up. In the play, there is also evident of internal and external conflicts. This is portrayed when the baker calls the Scotty’s parents and they hang up because they had not yet paid for the cake, a clear suggestion of an external disagreement (Ives 48). Before the accident, the life of Scotty was very smooth and challenge that occurred he overcame courageously. The parents of Scotty after he died conflicted the parents of Franklin to obtain the information about how Scotty was involved in the accident because they had no hope whether they will get the clear information. In addition, the short story by Raymond Carver’s “A Small, Good Thing” it is pessimistic because loneliness is witnessed in the short story where some characters are hopeless with their life (Ives 52). Pessimistic in this short novel can be witnessed where the child is considered dead due to failures of communication. The mother is very hopeless after her child is hit by a car while she had ordered birthday for his son. She becomes very pessimistic on that issue because her only love child that she had ordered birthday cake no longer exists. This kind of pessimistic in the story still proceeds to a certain extend whereby her child is hospitalized very unconscious and issues of the cake are forgotten of which it was not the case with the mother who really loves her child (Ives 65). Pessimism still is portrayed in this story because the cake which was to be used for birthday party had not been picked which brings kind of hopeless in the short story which on real life situation reflects current life situation where people have become very pessimistic with life because they have considered life very hard after a certain situation. For instance, this case of situation has happened in the short story where even the doctor is very pessimistic with the health status of Scotty because she is not aware whether he will recover and wake up. This is kind of situation which have made many societies to remain behind because they usually fail to hope and trust on certain issues which seem challenging in their life. In addition, pessimistic is also observed in this short story because Baker who is a character in the story proves a lot of confusion and isolation which is a result of lack of hope with life (Ives 88). The interaction between the parents and the outside world in this story fail due lack of optimism which results to the pessimistic in the whole short story. In this short story, it has been realized that the man and the mother fail to talk the same language and this poor communication misleads them and makes them to be left alone. Pessimistic is also realized whereby Scotty’s parents and Franklin’s parents they emotionally connect but as a result of lack of optimism the failure becomes more dangerous. Their disagreement does not provide hope for tomorrow because they are unable to bridge the gap and talk disturbing problems (Ives 77). The presence of deep emotional connection they are stumbling blocks which prevents agreements and hope for the future. This problem has brought about big tragedies to them in life which makes them stay hopeless life.  Pessimistic in this short story can also be displayed on character development which is based on tragedy and anger driven. This will automatically create state of lack of hope for living hence at the end of the day people find themselves committing very fatal suicide to take away their life in order to evade such problems. In conclusion, Raymond Carver’s story “A Small Good Thing” is a kind of story that is used to show how people have failed to be optimistic with life to better their life. Instead, the story tries to show how people have become very pessimistic and they view life as useless thing where an individual cannot withstand difficult life issues which they face. Good examples can be drawn from this short story where there are family struggles when their only son fatally gets involved in a car accident. The parents fail to hope for anything good because they don’t imagine their son waking up.
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"A Small, Good Thing" a pessimistic or optimistic story?. (2019, Oct 10). Retrieved March 3, 2024 , from

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