What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

by

Raymond Carver

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Marjorie (Mel’s ex-wife) Character Analysis

Mel was married to Marjorie before his relationship with Terri. Marjorie currently lives with her boyfriend and her and Mel’s children, all of whom Mel supports through his alimony and child support payments. Although Mel waxes poetic about how much he used to love Marjorie, he also resents having to give her money and wishes that she would either get remarried or die. Mel openly fantasizes about unleashing a hive of bees into her house to sting her to death, an image that complicates Mel’s professed opinion that love and violence are entirely separate.

Marjorie (Mel’s ex-wife) Quotes in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

The What We Talk About When We Talk About Love quotes below are all either spoken by Marjorie (Mel’s ex-wife) or refer to Marjorie (Mel’s ex-wife). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Nature of Love Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Library of America edition of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love published in 2009.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Quotes

“But sometimes I have a hard time accounting for the fact that I must have loved my first wife too. But I did, I know I did. So I suppose I am like Terri in that regard. Terri and Ed.” He thought about it and then he went on. “There was a time when I thought I loved my first wife more than life itself. But now I hate her guts. I do. How do you explain that? What happened to that love? What happened to it, is what I’d like to know. I wish someone could tell me. Then there’s Ed. Okay, we’re back to Ed. He loves Terri so much he tries to kill her and he winds up killing himself.”

Page Number: 315
Explanation and Analysis:

“There isn’t a day goes by that Mel doesn’t say he wishes she’d get married again. Or else die,” Terri said. “For one thing,” Terri said, “she’s bankrupting us. Mel says it’s just to spite him that she won’t get married again. She has a boyfriend who lives with her and the kids, so Mel is supporting the boyfriend too.”

“She’s allergic to bees,” Mel said. “If I’m not praying she’ll get married again, I’m praying she’ll get herself stung to death by a swarm of Ricking bees.”

“Shame on you,” Laura said.

“Bzzzzzzz,” Mel said, turning his fingers into bees and buzzing them at Terri’s throat. Then he let his hands drop all the way to his sides.

Related Characters: Terri (speaker), Mel McGinnis (speaker), Laura (speaker), Marjorie (Mel’s ex-wife), Nick
Page Number: 321
Explanation and Analysis:
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What We Talk About When We Talk About Love PDF

Marjorie (Mel’s ex-wife) Character Timeline in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

The timeline below shows where the character Marjorie (Mel’s ex-wife) appears in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
The Nature of Love Theme Icon
The Failure of Language Theme Icon
...and emotionally. But he struggles with how to reconcile the love he had for his ex-wife, or that of Terri and Ed—he wonders where that love has gone. Mel points out... (full context)
The Failure of Language Theme Icon
...the others mind if he calls his children. Terri asks what he’ll do if his ex-wife, Marjorie, answers the phone, reminding him that he’ll only feel worse if he talks to... (full context)
Love and Violence Theme Icon
Terri shares that Mel constantly talks about how he wishes Marjorie would either remarry or die, since Mel’s alimony payments to her are bankrupting them. Marjorie... (full context)