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In private desperation Raymond Carvers characters struggle through their lives knowing with occasional clarity that the good life they had once hoped would be achieved through hard work will not come about In many ways Carvers life was the model for all of his characters Married to Maryann Burk on June 7th 1957 at nineteen and having two children by October of 1958 the Carvers life was decided for years to come Early on Carver felt along with his wife that hard work would take care of nearly everything We thought we could do it all he said in one interview We were poor but we thought that if we kept working if we did the right things the right things would happen Gentry 123 Somewhere in the middle of this life of dead end jobs and child raising he realized very much like one of his characters that things would not change He recounts one of the strongest of these moments in his essay on writing influences Fires On a Saturday afternoon in the early 1960s when Carver was a student at the University of Iowa he was doing chores and taking care of their two children Christine and Vance The children were with some of their friends at a birthday party Carver was not sure--he often admitted to having a very poor memory He was at the laundromat washing clothes and at this point in the essay waiting for a dryer When and if one of the dryers ever stopped I planned to rush over to it with my shopping basket of damp clothes Understand Id been hanging around in the Laundromat for thirty minutes or so with this basketful of clothes waiting my chance Id already missed out on a couple of dryers--somebodyd gotten there first I was getting frantic even if I could get my clothes into a dryer it would still be another hour or more before the clothes would
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