A Small, Good Thing Criticism

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From its first publication in Cathedral in 1983, “A Small, Good Thing” was recognized by reviewers and critics as one of Carver's outstanding stories. In the New York Times Book Review, Irving Howe compares it to the earlier version of the story entitled “The Bath.” He feels that teachers of creative writing who consider the earlier version superior, because of its tautness, cryptic nature, and symbolism, are wrong: “The second version, though less tidy and glittering, reaches more deeply into a human situation and transforms the baker from an abstract 'evil force' into a flawed human creature.”

In the New Republic, Dorothy Wickenden singled out “A Small, Good Thing” as one of the best stories in the collection. She coupled it with the story “Cathedral,” describing them both as “astute, even complex, psychological dramas.” But she also criticized both stories for showing signs of sentimentality, and she...

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This section contains 262 words
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Buy the A Small, Good Thing Study Guide
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