“Popular Mechanics”: Why Less Allows More Typically a story begins with an exposition, which introduces the characters, setting and plot. In the short story “Popular Mechanics” by Raymond Carver, the exposition is excluded. The story begins with a short rise in action, moves quickly to the climax and totally omits the resolution. Carver uses third person objective narration to reveal the actions and the dialogue between a man and a woman. The narrator gives very little descriptive details, never revealing the characters’ thoughts or their motivation. This allows the reader the freedom to interpret and develop their own opinions of the setting, plot, and characters of the story. This also stimulates the reader to be an active reader—to think about what is read, to ask questions, and to respond to the authors’ style of writing.
Firstly, the narrator gives little detail throughout the whole story. The greatest amount of detail is given in the first paragraph where the narrator describes the weather. This description sets the tone and mood of the events that follow. Giving the impression that a cold, wet, miserable evening was in
the making. “But it was getting dark on the inside too” (265), this foreshadowing reveals that not only was the day coming to an end, but something else was about to end. Carver leaves further development of the setting to the imagination of the reader. It could take place in any century or in any city, state, or country. There have been male-female relationships since the beginning of time, in every corner of the world. The story is universal and timeless. This lack of detail allows readers to develop a setting that fits with their lifestyle.
Secondly, there is not an obvious exposition to give the reader exact information as to who, what, where, when or why. On the initial reading of the story the plot appears to be, simply, about a m...