Annotated Bibliography

Bolden, Lori A. “A Review of On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss.” Counseling & Values, vol. 51, no. 3, Apr. 2007, pp. 235–237. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1002/j.2161-007X.2007.tb00081.x.

Lori Bolden has written a review On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss written by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and co-written by David Kessler. The review goes into the five stages of grief. The article also speaks on the personal aspects that both Kubler-Ross and Kessler bring to the book in the case of their own experiences with loss. The review also goes into how Kubler-Ross and Kessler go over how coping with holidays also affects things. Bolden also reviews the expectations that the five-stage model sets. Going over how critics have taken in the book and how Kubler-Ross has written that grief is different per person. Bolden essentially agrees that the five-stage model helps with those who are dealing with loss to better understand what they are going through and feeling. The article has many uses in a psychological criticism of Raymond Carver’s “A Small, Good Thing.” The review helps with showing the Kubler-Ross five-stage model that the main characters -Howard and Ann- face throughout the story. It also is a good article to delve into how Ann and Howard don’t follow the model, that they veer off from it. The article is specifically used to define the five stages of grief.

Brier, Jennifer. “‘Save Our Kids, Keep AIDS out:’ Anti-AIDS Activism and the Legacy of Community Control in Queens, New York.” Journal of Social History, vol. 39, no. 4, Oxford University Press, 2006, pp. 965–87,

In this article, Brier documents a protest movement in Queens, NY, in 1985. Parents banded together to protest children with AIDS being admitted to public schools. This article delves into how the fear spread among parents, the rhetoric they used, and how they responded to policy and public officials.

Carver, Raymond. “The Bath.” Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, no. 6, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, 1981, pp. 32–41,

Aside from stylistic changes, there are significant changes to the story in the 1983 version. Carver adds characters, adds race to characters, and includes a moment of reconciliation with the baker, Ann, and Howard after Scotty’s death.

Carver, Raymond. “A Small, Good Thing.” Ploughshares, vol. 8, no. 2/3, 1982, pp. 213–240. JSTOR, 

Conner, Berkley, et al. “Explaining Mansplaining.” Women & Language, vol. 41, no. 2, Winter 2018, pp. 143–167, EBSCOhost, ehost-live&scope=site.

“Explaining Mansplaining” by Berkley Conner and others sets out to explain the cultural construct of mansplaining. It defines what mansplaining is and how it is used to assert male dominance during interactions with women. It explains that many men mansplain to women as they feel their dominance is threatened or feel as if they will lose social status as a result of potentially being overpowered by a woman. Due to this, they feel the need to remain dominant in conversations with a woman. The article explains that there are four factors that define the construct of mansplaining. These factors include dominance from a man during an interaction, information that is incorrect from a man, information that was unsolicited by a woman, and female expertise on a topic. This article explains that mansplaining takes place in education, place of work, technology, and other settings. Conner shows how the concept of mansplaining got popularized and how the 2016 presidential election further brought the issue into the mainstream. This article also discusses gender dynamics in the communication processes and cites research about what gender tends to speak more in conversations. It addresses how even women in authoritative positions tend to get more backlash than a man when they speak. This text can be used to understand the construct of mansplaining to find the significance it has in society. Overall, this article compiles research of male to female social interactions to further explain the construct of mansplaining.

Facknitz, Mark A. R. “‘The Calm,’ ‘A Small, Good Thing,’ and ‘Cathedral:'” Raymond Carver and the Rediscovery of Human Worth.” Studies in Short Fiction, vol. 23, no. 3, 1986, pp. 287. EBSCOhost,

In an essay titled “Raymond Carver and the Rediscovery of Human Worth,” Mark Facknitz reviews Raymond Carver’s most popular works, from “The Calm” to “A Small, Good Thing.” This is done through a critical review of each work and an overarching analysis of common themes found in each, Facknitz is quick to show that he isn’t biassed toward Carver’s works. Opening with a quick introduction that summarizes the awards and accolades received by Carver, Facknitz then dives into the debate as to whether or not he’s even earned those accolades, citing either side as either claiming he’s achieved it through stellar writing and story design while the other may simply enjoy false realism and basic characters. He then takes each piece and deconstructs each scene for craft and author intent, essentially judging each story for worth as a piece of literature. His points regarding virtue in “A Small Good Thing” are very similar to mine in that he deconstructs each scene to show the underlying concepts of a couple struggling with grief.

Good, Wendy. “Raymond Carver’s ‘A Small Good Thing’.”

Wendy Good focuses on “A Small Good Thing” within the Cathedral collection and its theme of misunderstanding, his use of dramatic tension, and portrayal of human emotion. She says that Carver was interested in displaying a plot where “dialogue between people who aren’t listening to each other” drives the story. Good maintains that the story is not driven by action, referring to the “restrained” nature of Scotty’s accident. She believes that the dialogue is the most impactful, specifically the baker’s calls to the house. Good praises Carver’s use of movement and body language to convey emotional tension, giving the reader insight into the character’s state of mind.  She also notes Carver’s use of food as a “cultural object” and how he utilizes “the social interactions behind food and nourishment to structure his story.”. She also observes the religious connotations and symbolism of the last lines and the comfort that food brings in this context. She continues to praise Carver’s poignant style and credits it to the more powerfully emotional scenes. Good believes that an argument could be made for “A Small Good” thing being the most traumatic story within Cathedral, as it haunts the reader with its quiet and slightly ambiguous ending.

Kingston, Albert J., and Terry Lovelace. “Sexism and Reading: A Critical Review of the Literature.” Reading Research Quarterly, vol. 13, no. 1, 1977, pp. 133–161, JSTOR, 

“Sexism and Reading: A Critical Review of the Literature” by Albert Kingston and Terry Lovelace examines 78 articles that investigate sexism in text. This article looks at many different kinds of texts from children’s literature and other texts. This source analyses the different careers of men and women in literature and shows how men typically have positions of power compared to a woman. It also addresses how the different sexes are depicted. Literature typically shows men as having very productive and physically assertive behavior. They also tend to have problem-solving behavior. Women in stories typically have behavior focused on conformity or they tend to be more verbal and less physically assertive. This source also shows sexism in reading throughout history as looking at historical contexts allows for analysis of the change between the past and the present. This article not only addresses the text itself but also the illustrations within texts. This text looks at the ratio of male/female authors used in schools and finds that there should be more female authors. This text can be used to inform audiences of sexism that is prevalent in literature and help schools make a change to include more female authors in the curriculum.

McCaffery, Larry, et al. “An Interview with Raymond Carver.” Mississippi Review, vol. 14, no. 1/2, 1985, pp. 62–82. JSTOR, 

In this interview, Raymond Carver talks about his life experiences while writing, especially with alcoholism, and how he has changed his view on what kinds of stories he wants to write. His evolution as a writer and a commentator on the world is evident in the difference between these two stories, both published at different points during the AIDS epidemic.

Myers, D. G., & DeWall, C. N. (2020). Psychology in Everyday Life (Fifth ed.). Holland, Michigan: Worth.

A psychology textbook, Chapter 3 in particular is used. The Chapter is “Developing Through the Life Span.” The section that is used in the essay is “Death and Dying” pages 3-23. The section goes into how people deal with grief, that some people deal with severe grief in an unexpected death- usually when someone has an accident. It also goes over the process of grieving, that some will have a prolonged experience over others. The section delves into the sort of help provided such as therapy, self-help groups, the passing of time, and support of friends. The article also mentions that terminally ill and ‘grief-stricken’ do not go through Kubler-Ross’s five-stage model in the same way. There is also a mention of how people perceive what to feel when facing death, or rather what they expect that another person is going through than what those people actually are feeling. The section then ends about facing death with dignity and being open to it also helps people have a sense of meaningfulness. The source in particular used regarding Raymond Carver’s story, “A Small, Good Thing,” has a focus on the way parents may deal with the loss of a child. In particular how ‘acting strong’ can be something that can prolong the grieving of the parent putting up the act.

Schweizer, Harold. “On Waiting and Hoping in Raymond Carver’s ‘A Small, Good Thing.’” At The Interface/Probing the Boundaries, vol. 55, Jan. 2009, pp. 7–20, EBSCOhost,

Harold Schweizer’s article starts with an abstract of Carver’s short story “A Small, Good Thing,” and then proceeds to have four main points of elaboration where he discusses what he takes away from the story and why he thinks it’s important.  The four points that Schweizer’s article focuses on are the Introduction, the Waiting Room, the Parking Lot, and the Cathedral.  Schweizer’s Introduction section covers the time in the short story before the boy goes to the hospital; it also uses several supporting texts to help make his point.  The second part of Schweizer’s article is the Waiting Room, this section covers the boy’s early stay in the hospital as well as the parents’ trips back home and the mysterious caller.  The third main section of the article called the Parking Lot, further covers the boy’s coma and but also elaborates on how the mother feels and has a more psychological feel.  The fourth and final section of Schweizer’s article is the Cathedral; this section focuses on the events after the boy’s death. Schweizer’s article is very clearly marked into five sections, those being the Abstract and then the four main body sections, and each section is well defined on its particular focus from the story and is easy enough to keep track of when reading. While the third main section of Schweizer’s article may be more psychological, I still see promise in the other sections as well as a few possible talking points from the third that I might be able to use in my essay.

Taub, Gadi. “On Small, Good Things: Raymond Carver’s Modest Existentialism.” Raritan, vol. 22, no. 2, 2002, pp. 102–119.

“On Small, Good Things: Raymond Carver’s Modest Existentialism” by Gabi Taub focuses on existentialist philosophies that proliferate both Raymond Carver’s “Small, Good Things” and what it means for his work. Taub also contends that with this lens he’s separated from many of his literary colleagues in the message, as instead of viewing characters for self-affirmation and self-worth, he attempts to simply portray them as unique individuals. This difference in character focus also changes how the story is told, as instead of viewing a character’s past or present with the intent to analyze it or prove some political point, Carver simply shows the life of a character without any commentary or projected beliefs onto them. It’s through this that we see the foundations of existentialism being sewn little moments, like when the baker feeds the parents after the death of their child, are what reconnect those characters back to life. This is what holds more value to him than most of his fellow writers at the time would place in it, as that existentialism plays a large role in not only his personal values but also what he treasures in a story as both reader and author.

Trevor, Douglas. “Stories We Love: ‘A Small, Good Thing’ by Raymond Carver.” Fiction Writers Review, 27 May 2013,

Trevor reviews and responds to Carver’s “A Small, Good Thing,” with an analytical eye, more as a fellow writer, than as a reader. He notes the arcs and plot points and themes that might have been used had anyone else been writing the short fiction. Trevor notes that Carver has used some but modified them in unexpected and different ways. For example, “delimit initially the scope of loss that the story explores” by connecting characters who have no direct connection to Scotty. Trevor also stipulates that the baker is a “reader” as well in the story and that the virtue of the narrative makes him a better character. Trevor believes that “A Small Good Thing” in terms of overarching story and characters is Carver’s biggest story. He states that “A Small Good Thing” is less about death and more about people’s efforts to relate to others with similar experiences. What Trevor is most interested in is that Carver uses a more expansive field to tell his story of loss. Trevor also focuses on how Carver uses his characters and what they might embody, loving the story for displaying how much more a short story can be.

Wolff, Cynthia Griffin. “A Mirror for Men: Stereotypes of Women in Literature.” The Massachusetts Review, vol. 13, no. 1/2, 1972, pp. 205–218, JSTOR,

Cynthia Griffin Wolff’s “A Mirror for Men: Stereotypes of Women in Literature” takes a look at common stereotypes of women in literature. She covers how literature often reflects social attitudes towards women and how these attitudes are primary from a masculine or male presence. She shows that this often leads to the devaluation of women, female hobbies, and female concerns. This piece covers how in society there is a large number of masculine problems and in literature stereotypes of female characters are portrayed in such a way to respond to masculine needs. Furthermore, Wolff explains that in literature there is a tradition of women being portrayed as emotional. Since woman are portrayed this way, they are seen as “purely emotional” and that they lack rationality. Wolff explains that the characterization reinforces the stereotype of them being helpless. She then uses examples from several novels and stories to back up her claims. She also addresses the stereotypes of women in literature that happen in different periods. This reflects the certain values of society during these times. This text might be used to inform others how gendered stereotypes are prevalent in literature. It may also be used to critically analyze female characterization in ­­stories. Overall, she shows that female characters are developed in order to meet the masculine needs which assert that women are living in a man’s world.


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Beginnings and Endings: A Critical Edition Copyright © 2021 by Liza Long is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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