Raymond Carver's greater maturity of symbolism and theme in "A Small, Good Thing," as opposed to "The Bath"

Both the short stories "The Bath" by Raymond Carver and "A Small, Good Thing," are tales about sudden, tragic and meaningless death. However, while superficially the two stories may revolve around similar themes and plot devices, the longer, latter tale of "A Small, Good, Thing," is ultimately the more thematically redemptive of the two and the more mature expression of a holistic philosophy about life and healing than is the more sparse and harsher "The Bath."

The similarities between the two tales on their surface in terms of literal meaning and plot seem obvious. Beyond the concrete events that the tales tell as they unfold, both stories concern the apparently arbitrary methods by which individuals are taken away from those who care for them. A child can die right before his...
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