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Raymond Carver was an American writer of short stories of fiction. His style is recognized as being a part of an American literary movement which is called dirty realism. The definition of dirty realism is given by Buford in his explanatory introduction of Granta in 1983:

Dirty Realism is the fiction of a new generation of American authors. They write about the belly-side of contemporary life – a deserted husband, an unwed mother, a car thief, a pickpocket, a drug addict – but they write about it with a disturbing detachment, at times verging on comedy. Understated, ironic, sometimes savage, but insistently compassionate, these stories constitute a new voice in fiction.

We can see in Fat that Raymond Carver is totally in this movement. Indeed, he focuses the whole story on a scene that is told from a character point of view and that deals with an ordinary day in a waitress’ life. It especially focuses on her serving a table where a “fat man” is having dinner. We can see the dirty realism by how the attention of the reader is always focused on this man and how he is eating, what he is ordering. The narrative is told from the character’s point of view and it gives the opportunity to have observations that seem to be nothing as how much bread the fat man is eating for instance. The descriptions are also significant as they don’t give the reader any setting about where the scene takes place, how are the characters or anything but only what is the man doing and how the main character and her colleague are reacting. It’s interesting to see how we react to this kind of story that seems unusual but also insignificant. The whole point is there, writing about the insignificant to make it significant. We can see how the main character seems disgusted by this man during the whole story and in the same time how she is kind of tender towards him cause she focuses all her attention on him and not on the other people she had to deal with that day. But the most interesting in my opinion comes at the very end of the story when we can see the impact that this scene has on her. The vision of this man is actually calling her out about her own physical appearance and how she feels in her relationship. When the reader could think that there is no insight or anything in this story, it appears that it is, in fact, significant to the main character. The fact that this appears as a detail in the story is also part of the dirty realism cause it comes late in the story and it doesn’t appear as the main focus if we consider that the main one is the subject that takes the most place in it. Finally, the last point that makes this story relevant of this movement is the fact that the story is not straightly told to the reader but from the narrator who is the main character to another character who has a name but no real essence in the story. It gives the opportunity to have an oral style, with the repetition of “he says” for instance, and creates another level of reading because the story is not addressed to the reader in a first intention but to another character who doesn’t talk, doesn’t answer and is used to create another everyday life’s situation of a talk between two friends.

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