Physical setting

Raymond Carver’s short story “Jerry and Molly and Sam” takes place in America, specifically in Sacramento, the capital city of the state of California where Al and his family live. References to Aerojet and its intention to lay off employees (p. 116, ll. 14-15) allow us to place the story in a more exact timeframe. Aerojet was an American rocket and missile propulsion manufacturer, which went through a dramatic reduction of personnel after the Second World War, but then recovered and started hiring again in the 1960’s. It is possible that the story takes place before the 1960’s. Also, we know that the story takes place in the middle of summer (p. 116, l. 13).

The action starts at Al’s house and ends in Yolo County, a neighboring area where Al abandons the dog and where Suzy afterward walks away from him. Other important locations are Jill’s apartment and Dupee’s, the bar where Al stops after he gets rid of Suzy (p. 121, l. 33). Other places are also mentioned: “Chico, Red Bluff, Tacoma, Portland - where he'd met Betty - Yakima . . . Toppenish, where he was born and went to high school.” (p. 121, ll. 8-9). These are all different places Al has a connection to, indicating that his life is not very rooted.

The story begins on a Sunday morning and then continues into the evening and night. Then it starts again the next evening, when Al returns home, presumably from work. The story ends at night: “It was dark now, hard to see” (p. 127, l. 31).  

Social setting

The short story “Jerry and Molly and Sam” has a ...

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