I bet when people read this story and respond to the questions being asked for responses the first thing that comes to mind is probably the ordeal that Mr. and Mrs. Weiss went through. I couldnt help but think about the part that the Baker played, even though it was small I thought it had some significance.
A Small, Good Thing is a sad story about a little boy named Scotty who gets hit in a hit-n-run, and then dies in the end. The story begins with the mother going to the bakery to pre-order her sons birthday cake and describes the baker as a person who abrupt and unfriendly. Mrs. Weiss tries to connect with the Baker on some level thinking that a man of his age who looked old enough to be her father, must have children whod gone through this special time of cakes and birthday parties. There must be that between them, she thought. (pg. 179, Carver) Mrs. Weiss ends up dismissing the Baker who was abrupt with her; the baker was all about business and nothing more.
Mrs. Weiss ends up forgetting about picking up the birthday cake due to her distress of her sons accident. Through out the story when Mr. and Mrs. Weiss come home to freshen up they receive these strange phone calls. The first phone call Mr. Weiss received and he wasnt aware that his wife ordered a cake for their sons birthday and conveys the message to the baker.
When it was Mrs. Weiss turn to come home to freshen up she experiences the strange phone call but she doesnt realize yet who is calling for she is still in shock from her sons accident. When the baker calls it is as though he is angry for not picking up the cake for he doesnt seem to make sense, at least from my stand point. Its about Scotty, yes. It has to do with Scotty, that problem. Have you forgotten about Scotty? (pg. 187, Carver) The baker could have explained himself a little better and identified himself too.
As the story escalates for the Weisss and their son ends up dying they once again encounter a phone call from the baker when they go home. This phone call from the baker was a bit bizarre, Youre Scotty, I got him ready for you, the bakers voice said. Did you forget him? (pg. 190, Carver) Mrs. Weiss just about lost it and was feeling enraged. After the Weisss receive a fourth phone call they go back and forth discussing the phone calls. Suddenly it hits Mrs. Weiss who has been calling them this whole time, the baker. Mrs. Weiss makes her husband drive her down to the bakery regardless of the time of night.
The Weisss just lost their son within a matter of hours and Mrs. Weiss was on the point of a breakdown. When the Weiss confront the baker it seems as though he realizes that he upset them and he thinks they are there to pick up a cake. Eventually Mrs. Weiss blurts out to the baker that her son died and directs all her emotions toward the baker. The baker is now dumbstruck and at a loss for the Weisss.
The baker was living in an Ordinary World just living day by day baking for a living. Im just a baker. I dont claim to be anything else. (pg. 192-193, Carver) The baker admits to the Weisss that he was a different person many years ago, which tells me he was trying to tell the Weisss that the person he is now is someone he doesnt recognize. The Call to Adventure that the baker experiences is shock. It is as though the baker was living day-to-day without any purpose. You got to understand what it comes down to is I dont know how to act anymore, it would seem. Please, (pg. 193, Carver). The baker was now waking up the clouds were clearing and he could see. The baker had lost connection with those around him.
I think the Weisss were the bakers Threshold Guardians. They tested the bakers resolve when he was confronted. The bakers real test was when he was confronted with his actions and how he handled the situation of being confronted. The baker could have shut the door in the Weisss faces or he could have handled the confrontation badly, instead he handled it with humility and asked for their forgiveness.
I think the treasure that the baker won was his compassion toward the Weisss. The baker was able to comfort the Weisss and take their minds off temporarily of their son they just lost. The baker told the Weisss stories of his loneliness, what it was like to be childless, basically stories of him sitting on the wall living day-to-day with no purpose. The baker knew nothing of the Weisss but he basically had a life he described that was total opposite in contrast to the Weisss. The baker without realizing it gave the Weisss something to ponder and to appreciate. Before the Weisss son had died they had it all, their lives had been going smoothly. -college, marriage, another year of college for the advanced degree in business, a junior partnership in an investment firm. Fatherhoodhe had kept away from any real harm (pg. 180, Carver).