They’re Not Your Husband

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“They’re Not Your Husband” is a short story by Raymond Carver, where he writes about the man named Earl Ober, who is an unemployed salesman, with his wife (Doreen) working as a waitress, at a 24-hour coffee shop. After a night of drinking as he usually does he goes to see the place where his wife works. Here he is treated like a nuisance by his wife. Two men start talking about his wife’s weight and this bothers Earl greatly. He decides to let Doreen know that she (he) has a problem with her weight. After this incident she tries to go on a diet but she ends up not eating at all and not looking healthy. He continues to pressure her, so she would keep dieting. He ends up in the coffee shop again and tries to “sell” her to a man sitting next to him. The story ends abruptly; with Doreen telling everybody that he is a salesman. The total lack of benevolence between husband and wife are clearly seen straight away: “What are you doing here? Doreen said when she saw him sitting there” and later she says: “Don’t talk to me now. I’m busy.” Earl is very embarrassed when two men in business suits start talking about his wife’s weight. He then sits quietly and hopes the two men won’t see the connection between him and his wife, and that is also the reason for him not saying goodbye to his wife. It almost seems like he acquires the point of view the two unidentified men have. The troubles of Doreen and Earl’s relationship are also made clear by this fact, because this clearly shows that if he hasn’t noticed the extra pounds, then he obviously haven’t been looking. Earl has been living his life completely blind and detached, so detached that he has no visible love for his wife. When he finally wakes up and sees his wife for what she really is, he sees her through the eyes of two strangers. Throughout the story Carver shows how dysfunctional the entire family is and how
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