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Ingrained within the American identity is a restless soul that is never content to be defined with the same terms for a long time. Nevertheless the things Americans appreciate stay the same, evidenced by the names that they try so difficult to achieve--husband, wife, mother, father. These titles signify who Americans are as far as what they are. They are the roles that give Americans purpose and meaning. The defining aspect of Raymond Carver's short story, "A Small, very good Thing," is the simple fact that its characters are American. "A Small, very good Thing" was initially published in 1981 as "The Toilet" at Carver's next major book, What we Talk About When we speak About Love, before reappearing two years later in Cathedral, revised and longer. The second version includes a new ending that brings more closed than its predecessor but completely alters the meaning of the story, painting the conflict in a brand new light, creating a tone which saturates the story like a coloured filter over a lens; nonetheless, exactly what the new ending offers most is deeper insight into the identity of the characters included--who they are, what they expect, what they are afraid of, and what's the power to cure them. Like the characters in his tales, Carver was no stranger to regret. Produced in 1938 and raised in the Northwest, Carver was a standard blue-collar American, working odd jobs to support a wife and two daughters, doing his very best to handle the frustrations and struggles of their working ("Raymond Carver"). He was reputed to be self-centered, an alcoholic with violent tendencies, and ambitious to the point of sacrificing his marriage and family because of its fame he sought (Yardley). Dying at age fifty from cancer, he lived the harsh fact of the American Dre...