Raymond Carvers famous short story “They’re Not Your Husband” reveals and describes how we judge and see each other. Also, how we are being under the influence of other people’s opinion all the time. The short story also includes body shaming and body judging.
The short story has two main characters. One is a man called Earl Ober and the other person is his wife Doreen. A few other characters are also mentioned.
Two guys at the coffee shop, and the other servants at the shop. First, we meet Earl. Earl comes across as a normal man. It is only until his wife Doreen is badly spoken about in front of him at the bar, she works in.
The two men talk to each other about the looks of Doreen, and how they think she is fat and chubby. One man says to the other “I’ve seen better(Page 1 Line 23)” and the other guy says, “But some jokers like their quim fat(Page 1 Line 24)”.
After this episode, Earl changes completely. He gets upset with her wife’s appearance and her weight. Earl gets influenced by the incident and suddenly tells Doreen to go on a diet. “You never said anything before(Page 3 Line 15)” Doreen says, which indicates that Earl has changed his opinion about her looks from one day to the other.
After that Earl puts his wife on the scale every day to follow her progress. At the end of the story, Earl seeks recognition from others because of Doreen’s weight loss.
He asks a man beside him to judge the looks of Doreen. He asks the man “does she look good or not? (Page 8 Line 3)”, but the man beside Earl doesn’t say a thing.
This shows that Earl is easily affected by other people’s opinion and tries to impress them at all costs. Earl makes her wife starve just to be sure no one is calling her fat and chubby.
Although Earl doesn’t seem to have bad intentions, he lets other people’s opinions control him instead of sticking to his own opinions.