The Bath by Raymond Carver is the short story of a birthday party that goes terribly wrong. Or, to be more exact, never actually takes place. Scotty has an accident on the exact day of his birthday: “At an intersection, without looking, the birthday boy stepped off the curb, and was promptly knocked down by a car.” The boy is later taken to the hospital, where he lies in a deep sleep, while his parents fear the worst.
Until the very end of the story, the main characters are almost always referred to as “the mother / the woman,” “the boy / the child,” “the husband / the father / the man.” Actually, we never get to know the father’s name. The story is written in simple, plain, and repetitive narrative with very few adjectives.
What happens in the end and why the short story is entitled The Bath, you’ll have to find out by yourself by reading the story.
Raymond Carver was an American poet and short story writer who was born in 1938. He died in 1988.