Little Things (short story)

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"Little Things"
Author Raymond Carver
Country United States United States
Language English
Genre(s) Short story
Published in Where I'm Calling From: The Selected Stories
Publication date 1988

"Little Things" is a short story by Raymond Carver. It was originally title "Mine", but was first published in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love under the title "Popular Mechanics." It was then republished with the title "Little Things," in Carver's 1988 collection Where I’m Calling From: New and Selected Stories.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

"Little Things" is the story of a couple that has been having relationship issues. Raymond Carver uses ambiguity in the story to describe the situation that is going on between the married couple. Although the problems they are having are not stated specifically, it is clear that the couple is moving apart from each other. The narrator shows us the husband getting ready to leave his wife, which turns into a yelling match. The man is packing a suitcase, getting ready to leave, when he demands to take their child with him. However, the couple then argues about the child as well. The wife holds the child, and they begin to argue about who should take care of the baby. The wife does not want him to have the baby, but the husband thinks he should have it. The couple begins grasping the baby by the arms. The wife has one arm and the husband has hold of the other. Then, the baby begins crying because it is apparently in some pain, due to the actions of the couple. The husband begins forcing his wife’s hands off of the baby, her grip slips off, but she grabs the baby again harder. The wife does the same thing, and the husband grabs the child by the top of his arm underneath the shoulder. The baby was slipping from both people, but they held on harder and pulled in the opposite directions. As the couple pulled on the child from its arms, it is apparent that they harmed the baby in some way, hence the last line of the story:

“He felt the baby slipping out of his hands and he pulled back very hard. In this manner, the issue was decided."[2]


  1. ^ Dermot (25 December 2013). "Popular Mechanics - Raymond Carver". The Sitting Bee. Retrieved 24 October 2016. Originally the story was called ‘Mine’ (which can be found in Carver’s ‘Beginners’ collection) and Carver’s editor Gordon Lish changed the title to ‘Popular Mechanics.’... The story can also be found under another title (‘Little Things’) in Carver’s ‘Where I’m Calling From’ collection. 
  2. ^ Raymond Carver (1989). Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories. New York: Vintage Books. p. 152. ISBN 9780679722311. 
  • Oates, Joyce Carrol. American Gothic Tales. 1996. Print.

External links[edit]