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Edna and Wes - the Two Main Characters in Chef’s House

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Chef’s House

Broken marriages, alcoholics and disappointments are the main themes in Raymond Carver’s short story, Chef’s House from 1983. Over the period of a summer, we get to know Wes and Edna and get an insight into their troubles and past. On a few pages, Raymond Carver succeeds in describing what life looks like when it didn’t turn out to be as you hoped for.

Edna is a single woman, who was once married to a man named Wes. They have two children but Wes became an alcoholic and they left each other. One day, Wes called Edna to get her to come to a house he had rented from his friend named Chef. Edna goes to the house and they have a lot of fun that summer. They start liking each other more and more again. One day Chef drove up to the rented house and told Edna and Wes to leave, since Chef’s daughter, Linda needed to move in. Edna tells Wes that they’ll move out and find another house, but Wes is determent to stay in this specific house because of the good memories they’ve had that summer.

Edna and Wes are the two main characters in Chef’s House
Edna is the protagonist of the story, the first-person narrator and the story is told from her perspective. Edna’s a very forgiving person, willing to give others a second chance. She gave Wes another go at their relationship (p. 1, l. 12) despite the fact that he had turned into an alcoholic and thrown his wedding ring into a peach orchard on purpose. In the beginning of the story, Edna is having a hard time making up her mind whether to renew the relationship, and it takes her an entire week. Obviously, she’s in a relationship when she decides to join Wes in the house by the beach. Edna is, of course, font of their children, but she accepts that they now have their own lives as grown up adults far west (p. 2, ll. 4-10). She’s the kind of person, who is not easily letting herself get upset. When they’re being told to leave Chef’s house, she’s telling Wes that it’s going to be alright, and that he shouldn’t worry about it (p. 2, l. 34).
Wes is a recovered alcoholic, who has just finished a relationship and would now like to resume the relationship with the mother of his children. He still loves his wife. On p. 1, ll. 32-33, he’s trying to be
the old Wes by spending time with Edna. Fishing, going to the movies, bring her daisies and a straw hat while being sober. When Wes receives the message about Edna and him having to leave the house, his whole world is falling apart, he’s about to give up everything (p. 2, ll. 30-31). Wes’s convinced that their two children don’t love him, and he wishes that he could do things all over again, and do it right for them (p. 3, ll. 19-20). But Edna is trying to convince him that their children do actually love him. This clearly shows the differences between Edna and Wes and their ways of thinking.



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