For the Love of the Fish In the short story “The Third Thing That Killed My Father,” Raymond Carver explores the life of the town outcast. Through the observations of a young boy and his father Carver tells the story of a man caught in himself, and captures the true essence of a mans character and his conflicts. Dummy the town outcast finds himself in a struggle to protect the one thing that makes him happy, a school of black bass. Carver comes up with three major conflicts, which include man verses society, nature, and himself. When Dummy gets his fish he further distanced himself from the community. He has always been made fun of by coworkers, and because he had no one to trust this gave Dummy a pretense for digging a deeper hole into his depression.
‘Well, it made them kid Dummy, the way he was always carrying everything. Carl Lowe, Ted Shade, Johnny Wait, they were the worst kidders of the ones that kidded Dummy.” Another reasons for Dummy’s introversion was his wife. ” She was a women years younger and said to run around with Mexicans.” The lack of love at home and negative attention at work caused Dummy to shut society out. The only friends Dummy had where his fish, which he protected from the cruelties of society. He protected the fish like no one had protected him, yet he still loses them to a force that cannot be controlled or stopped. ” It blew for five days, and on the third day the river began to rise.” She’s up to fifteen feet,” my father said one evening looking over his newspaper.
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“Which is three feet over what you need to flood. Old Dummy is going to lose his darlings.” Even though, Dummy protects his fish from unwanted fisherman he cannot protect them and himself from forces of greater power, the force of nature. Another one of the conflicts in the story is Dummy’s struggle with himself. Dummy was never really loved which persuaded him to find something else to love. The fish gave him a since of awareness and control that was never found at work and in his marriage.
As long as he had the fish he was needed, and happy being apart of a community that never judged him. When Dummy lost this he lost his life, love, and sanity. “He’d changed a lot, Dummy had. He was never around any of the men anymore, not if he could help it. No one felt like joking with him either, not since he’d chased Carl Lowe with a two-by four stud after Carl tipped Dummy’s hat off. But the worst of it was that Dummy was missing from work a day or two a week on the average now, and there was some talk of his being laid off.” Dummy was angry at himself for letting people push him around, for letting his wife make a mockery of him, and for being so stupid in his mind and everyone else’s mind.
“Its Dummy,” he said. “Did in his wife with a hammer and drowned himself.” The only way Dummy could end his feelings of hopelessness was to kill both himself and his wife. Dummy didn’t solve any conflicts by killing himself and his wife. It only caused more grief and confusion. The murder and suicide only gave the town more ammunition to down the man who was very simpleminded. The only thing Dummy wanted was to be loved, understood, and needed.
Dummy felt the fish were the only ones who could give him a sense of self, and when he lost them he lost everything. The theme is very clear. One should always look deeper into a person. They shouldn’t judge and look at surfaces, but at the inner quality. Yes, it was selfish for Dummy to take the life of his wife and himself, but it was also selfish of the community to blame the incident entirely on Dummy when the whole town was at fault. What I mean is they made him an outcast, and maybe if the towns people where sensitive to his needs this would never have happened.
Love is the central theme of the two stories Lanval, by Marie De France, and The Prologue and Tale of the Wife of Bath in The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffery Chaucer. The authors have very similar opinions about the nature of love and how people react to being in love. One of the messages conveyed in both stories is the irresistible power that a woman has over a man who is in love with her. The ...
Dummy did this not only to free himself from stereotypes of the town, but also for the love of the fish.