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One of the aspects of “Fat,” by Raymond Carver that made an impression on me was the ways in which both the narrator and the patron of the restaurant seemed to be dehumanized by others throughout the story. The way Carver writes the descriptions of characters and their interactions seem cold and distant in a way that made me almost uncomfortable reading it the first time with no context or background provided by the author. It seems to begin from the very start of the story with the physical description of the man.

 I first notice the fingers. They look three times the size of a normal person’s fingers—long, thick, creamy fingers.

The first description of this person is one that asserts him as being abnormal.  The depiction of him carries on in the same vein for the rest of this story as the workers discuss his obesity callously as the narrator attempts to defend him at some points in the story.  The very detailed and somewhat critical description of his food consumption reminded me of people marveling at the way animals eat. Although his behavior seems to be very kind and polite it is made obvious that his defining factor is his weight, and because of that any other redeeming quality he may possess takes a background. The narrator addresses this when she says,

Rudy, he is fat, I say, but that is not the whole story.

It seems that, towards the end of their interaction, the narrator begins to feel a connection with him and the way he is immediately ridiculed because of a physical characteristic.

I think think that the connection between the characters is cemented at the end where the reader is shown the ways in which her personal agency and respect is taken away, albeit in a more severe case than the overweight man.

But right away, as soon as he turns off the light and gets into bed, Rudy begins. I turn on my back and relax some, though it is against my will. But here is the thing. When he gets on me, I suddenly feel I am fat. I feel I am terrifically fat, so fat that Rudy is a tiny thing and hardly there at all.

I interpreted this to mean that when Rudy began to violate her she felt “Fat,” in that suddenly she was reduced to objectification and debasement at the hands of someone else.


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