Communication and connection
The theme of communication and connection is explored in several ways throughout Raymond Carver's short story "A Small, Good Thing". From the beginning of the story, we notice Ann’s wish for communication and connection in her interaction with the baker. She wants him to share her joy about Scotty’s birthday, but he is “not jolly” and “abrupt”. Ann also does not have any sympathy for the baker; his attitude makes her uncomfortable, and she quickly gives up on befriending him.
The baker himself is lonely and does not have children; his work is repetitive and reminds him of his lonely life. This, in turn, makes him feel isolated and disinterested in communicating and connecting with others. The baker’s abrupt way of speaking also leads to miscommunication and misunderstanding. Unaware of Scotty’s accident, he begins to harass the Weisses with odd phone calls. After his first confrontation with Howard, the baker never once mentions a cake (he always keeps referring to it as “Scotty” and does not try to explain any further). This shows that the baker has become incapable of normal communication, pointing to the consequences of distancing oneself from human connections.
When Ann tells the baker that Scotty had died, she is honest and shows her true feelings, which enables the baker...