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What is the theme of "Popular Mechanics" by Raymond Carver?

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Quick Answer

The themes of the short story "Popular Mechanics" by Raymond Carver is a lack of communication, separation and struggle. The tone of the story is angry and aggressive. The story is about a married couple who are separating and fighting over who should get the baby. This fight leads to a physical tugging match over the baby.

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What is the theme of "Popular Mechanics" by Raymond Carver?
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Full Answer

The story was originally published under the name "Popular Mechanics" but was later renamed "Little Things." The story begins with the man packing up to leave when he and the wife get into an argument over who is going to keep the baby. The reason for their separation is not clear, but it is not amicable. The husband and wife display a lack of communication during their argument, which quickly devolves into a physical struggle.

The final line, "In this manner, the issue was decided" is ambiguous but suggests that either the baby's arm is broken or the baby is ripped apart by the parents' struggle to keep him. The irony of the last sentence is that neither parent gets the baby, even though they were each so desperate to have him. The story foreshadows what happens to the baby when the flowerpot in the kitchen falls and breaks due to the struggle.

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