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Word Count: 718
Carver and Conflation Humans are never completely satisfied They always manage to find something about themselves-their looks their job their social status-that is substandard The discontent with ones self often arises when he compares himself to another The comparison leads to envy or jealousy and even a want to be the other person Thus is the case of Bill and Arlene Miller in Robert Carvers short story Neighbors The Millers are a middle class couple not completely satisfied with their mundane life especially when they constantly compare it to that of their neighbors Jim and Harriet Stone Carver effectively expresses his theme of mans incapability for total satisfaction by utilizing the paradox that makes a theme what it is Carver conflates the identifiable images of the Millers and the Stones with a unique and eerie exaggeration of what people do when house-sitting for their neighbors At first glance the Millers and the Stones are normal Carver introduces as well as compares the couples as follows Bill and Arlene Miller were a happy couple But they felt they alone among their circle had been passed by somehow They talked about it sometimes mostly in comparison with the lives of their neighbors Harriet and Jim Stone It seemed that the Stones lived a fuller and brighter life 63 Bill and Arlenes occupations as an unassuming bookkeeper and a mere secretary respectively do not give them the chances to be as socially active as the Stones who frequently entertain and vacation on the accord of Jims job as a salesman Within their social circle and by their comparison the Millers perceive themselves as inferior causing envy and jealousy of the Stones The couples social group is no different than that of an average persons in the sense that there is a recurrent tendency to compare The chance to explore the differences that the Millers find in their comparisons arrives when the Stones entrust their
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