Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “Will You Please Be Quiet, Please” by Raymond Carver. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it.

Presentation of the text

Title: “Will You Please Be Quiet, Please” (1976)
Author: Raymond Carver
Genre: Short story

Raymond Carver (1938-1988) was an American short-story writer and poet who is considered to be one of America's greatest writers. The short story “Will You Please Be Quiet, Please”  was published in 1976 in his first major collection of short stories with the same name, for which he was nominated for the National Book Award.


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Ralph's reactions after Marian's confession are similar to those of someone who has experienced a trauma, such as: difficulty in focusing: “The man is going to play something, Ralph thought, as if making a momentous discovery”; crying for no reason: “One of the windows he looked through had sinks and pipe joints scattered around on a table, and this too brought tears to his eyes”, and feeling sick at the slightest reminder of the traumatic event: “then he realized rum! And he thought he would faint.”

After leaving the house, Ralph seems to favor going to places where he would meet men, and appears to be unsettled by the presence of women: “Ralph saw the woman toss her hair as she got into the car: He had never seen anything so frightening.”  The scene could also unsettle him because it reminds him of Marian getting into the car with Mitchell Anderson, suggesting that he now sees all women as potential cheaters. 



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Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?

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