The baker

Outer characterization

The baker is an important character in Raymond Carver's short story "A Small, Good Thing". He is an older man - who does not have children and does not appear to be married. 

His outer characterization tells us that he has “a thick neck”, a “heavy waist”, and “coarse features”. The baker is also wearing a white apron. His appearance is described differently at the end of the story, according to Ann’s perception at that moment. When she confronts him, his eyes are “small, mean-looking”, his neck is ” thick with fat”. This suggests that, because of her anger towards him, Ann starts seeing the baker as excessively unpleasant.

The man is not given a name, enhancing the impression that he mostly fulfills the role of a baker, which also seems to be his only source of satisfaction in life: “He had a necessary trade. He was a baker. He was glad he wasn’t a florist. It was better to be feed...

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