My Father’s Life -Raymond Carver Summary In “My Father’s Life,” Raymond Carver highlights his profound encounters with his father which affected his life in a huge way. Throughout, the author has stated those various moments in his life in depth where he could relate to his father and feel the closest to him. The father’s relation with his mother was very strained and complicated. It seemed like Raymond was the only one who could relate to his father to closely and his love for him was unparalleled.
It’s fair to say that Clevie, being the father, surely cared about his son and strived hard throughout his life in pursuit of making it big in the world. The author vaguely describes the father’s journey through his life. Though the father surely had issues like alcoholism, it didn’t seem to affect his goal of keeping his family in a better place and providing more for them. The father’s failure to deliver in doing so made him lose his existence in the world and led to alcoholism and made his life and health miserable.
Raymond knew his father wasn’t perfect but never let that come in his way to care for him. Considering the ‘Oedipus’ theory where the son would be attached to his mother more than the father, it wasn’t the case in Raymond’s family. The author mentions about his mother in a way that would seem like he wasn’t as close to the mother than the father. Towards the end, it was clear to the father that his end was near and was inevitable.
Even with so many issues in his social life, towards the end, when they started living in Chesterfield, when Raymond’s mother wept acknowledging his father’s condition his father ‘put his arm around her shoulder and patted her vaguely’ no matter how dysfunctional their family did seem, they cared of each other as the father realized why his wife was crying. When the father dies, it has a huge impact on the author’s life as he weeps and realizes he has to learn and move on