The Bath

“The Bath” by Raymond Carver is a shorter version of the author’s short story “A Small, Good Thing”, which appeared in 1981 in the collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. The two versions share many features, in terms of plot, characters, and themes, although they also have significant differences.

Just like “A Small, Good Thing”, the short story “The Bath” begins with a woman ordering a cake for her son Scotty’s eighth birthday. Like in “A Small, Good Thing”, the baker is described as an unsociable character, who does not want to engage in friendly conversation with his customers. The plot structure follows several of the important points in “A Small, Good Thing”, such as Scotty’s accident on his birthday, his parents’ stay at the hospital ...

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