Raymond Carver is the author of two parallel stories, “The Bath” and “A Small Good Thing”. Both of these stories have similarities and differences. “The Bath” is a more nonspecific story lacking names for the characters or a resolute ending, while “A Small Good Thing” has both names and an ending with a feeling of conclusiveness.
The first major similarity, obviously, is the fact that the basic plots are the same. There is a family made up of a mother, a father and a son. When both stories begin, it is a Saturday afternoon before the Monday of the son’s birthday. The mother is ordering a cake to be made for a party they are having for the boy, who’s name is Scotty. It then jumps ahead to the day of Scotty’s birthday, where an accident takes place. He is walking to school, and is hit by a car. As a result, he winds up in the hospital.
In both stories, the mother character has many similarities. In the beginning of both stories, she carefully selects a cake she knows her son will love and tells the baker to put his name in green icing on it. After the accident, as would be expected, she spends a vast majority of her time by the boy’s bedside. She also voices concerns to the child’s doctor when he tries to convince her that everything is fine and her son will be ok. In each version, she finally agrees to go home, and while looking for the elevator, bumps into a couple whose son is also in the hospital. She also gets home to take a bath and change her clothes, and receives an upsetting phone call.
The father has many similarities in each of his characters as well. In both the stories, he comes from his office to the hospital upon hearing of his son’s accident. He, along with is wife, sit at their son’s bedside for hours. Eventually he goes home to take a bath, and answers a phone call from the bakery where the mother has ordered Scotty’s birthday cake. He had been unaware that his wife ...