“Popular Mechanics” Summary by Raymond Carver & Title Meaning

Popular Mechanics Summary Raymond Carver Title Meaning
“Popular Mechanics” Summary & Title Meaning

“Popular Mechanics” is a very short story by Raymond Carver that was first published under the title “Mine” and later as “Little Things”. It’s about a couple who’ve reached their breaking point, prompting the man to leave. As the man goes, they disagree over who should have the baby and a struggle ensues. Here’s a summary of “Popular Mechanics”, followed by a look at the title meaning.

“Popular Mechanics” Summary

It’s slushy outside and getting dark. Inside, a man is in the bedroom, hurriedly packing his suitcase. A woman says she’s glad he’s leaving. She starts crying.

She takes a picture of the baby from the bed and leaves the room. He wants the picture back.

He finishes packing, puts on his coat, and turns out the light. He goes to the living room. The woman stands in the doorway of the kitchen, holding the baby.

He wants to take the baby. She refuses. The baby starts crying. He moves toward her. She retreats into the kitchen, standing in a corner by the stove.

He grabs hold of the baby. They argue over him. The baby is screaming. They knock down a flowerpot.

He crowds her, trying to break her grip on the baby. He grips the baby under an arm and tries to pull the woman’s fingers apart.

She feels her grip loosening. As the baby slips away, she screams and grabs for the baby’s other arm. She has one wrist and leans back, pulling hard. The man also pulls very hard.

The issue is decided.

(End of “Popular Mechanics” summary)

“Popular Mechanics” Title Meaning

The “Popular Mechanics” title meaning could refer to at least two things, both related to the science and technology magazine of the same name, which explained how things work:

  • It could be explaining how divorce and separation “work”, that is, the attitude of the splitting couple and the effect it has on the children.
  • It could refer to the story’s conclusion, where it says, “In this manner, the issue was decided.” It could have been decided by the physics of gravity, which would fall under the magazine’s purview.

I hope this “Popular Mechanics” summary and look at the title meaning was helpful.