Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Raymond Carver's A Small, Good Thing. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
A Small, Good Thing: Introduction
A Small, Good Thing: Plot Summary
A Small, Good Thing: Detailed Summary & Analysis
A Small, Good Thing: Themes
A Small, Good Thing: Quotes
A Small, Good Thing: Characters
A Small, Good Thing: Symbols
A Small, Good Thing: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Raymond Carver
Historical Context of A Small, Good Thing
Other Books Related to A Small, Good Thing
- Full Title: A Small, Good Thing
- When Written: 1980
- When Published: The story was initially published in an edited form as “The Bath” in 1981. It later appeared in the short story collection Cathedral as “A Small, Good Thing” in 1983.
- Literary Period: Minimalism
- Genre: Short Story
- Setting: Mid-20th-century U.S.
- Climax: Scotty dies suddenly after being in a coma for days.
- Point of View: Third-Person
Extra Credit for A Small, Good Thing
Unedited. After Carver’s death, his wife published the collection Beginners, which presented many of his stories in their original, unedited form. These versions show how Carver’s editor, Gordon Lish, made significant changes to Carver’s stories, converting them from much longer and more verbose pieces to the famously minimal style of Carver’s earlier collections.
For Tess. Carver married the poet Tess Gallagher only six weeks before he died in 1988. Carver’s poem “For Tess,” presumably about Gallagher, appeared in Poetry in 1985.