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Cathedral - Raymond Carver
About the author
An American writer Raymond Carver has been writing stories on a smaller emotional scale for few years that creates same effects. Mostly his story settings contain American towns, semi-industrial, which are mostly depressed. However, his characters, working-class loners fighting for speech, from time to time find work as factory hands and waitresses, while his actions in the stories slip across the troubles of every day life and later on through some strange turn of chance or possibly a gloomy cause that in turns breakdown into unsuccessful marriages as well as shattered lives of all related to it. Similarly, mostly his stories leave his readers with shake that is similar to the beginning of a collapse (Literature: Contemporary).
Furthermore, the author of short stories has been typically a writer of strong but at the same time limited effects. He usually shapes and rotates his story material to a high degree of stylization that a reader can observe in his latest collection of stories, Cathedral.
Few critics have suggested that Raymond Carver is moving towards a better and bigger ease of style as well as kindness of feeling along with in most of his work it contains his own presence with the strong hold of his will, which is the strongest force. However, it is not like that he inflict moral or political judgments as in regard to that he is rather modest (O'Connor).
Taking about his newest collection cathedral that include a number of same stories but are however, very skilled within their narrow limits and written with a dry strength, and moving at their height; from the ordinary to the frightening (Arts and Medicine).
Furthermore, his characters however, lack a vocabulary that can let go their feelings, so they must express themselves mainly through vague gesture and wild display.
Mr. Carver portrays insufficient life that does not contain religion or politics or even culture. Also, his stories are without the coverage of class or civilization or society, and finally without the support of strong folkways or mindful rebellion. He presents the life of people who come together in the folds of society who are not awful or unwise but simply lack the capacity to comprehend the nature of their deficiency (Literature: Contemporary).
The title story Cathedral, is a beautiful piece about a blind man who inquire a friend to guide his hand in drawing a cathedral he has not seen. However, at the end of the story, the two hands moving together where one was showed by means of sight and the other not seemed to be a gesture of society. The story proved a gifted writer who struggled for a larger scope of reference, along with a better touch of shade (Irving, 1983).
Analysis of Cathedral
The story Cathedral is a short account of three people talking, and finally just two in the later stage where none of these characters said anything special or particular in the novel since there were very little happenings and questioned as to how does the story then provides affirmative imagination engagement with the rest of the world (Random House, 1984).
Initially in the beginning of Cathedral, the storyteller's wife plays a tape for her husband of a conversation between her own self and the blind man called Robert. However, the storywriter does not hear how the conversation ends arising the question as to why then this scene has been then included in the story. However, the tale includes quite a few moments in which either the blind man or the narrator comments on the statement which normally people usually and carelessly make of observing the world as similar as knowing the world (O'Connor).
Furthermore, the blind man at the end of the story asks the narrator to open his eyes, but for a some time he keeps them closed and then gave his final comment: "It's really something," that again arousing the question in a reader's mind as to why does he do this? And does his final comment provide a satisfactory ending to the story? However, the ending also leaves his readers ponders about how much more the narrator learned about himself as well as about human communication than the blind man who learned about cathedrals (Irving, 1983).
Plot, theme, settings and characters in the story
The story begins where the husband and wife in a problem marriage get a visit from the wife's close male friend who is sexually not harmful who took a train to get to their house and is blind. The story thus revolves around these two men where climax is the communion between the two men with no role of wife as she is always shown asleep but her few dialogues that slightly unfolded the action was when she asked both of men "What's going on?" (Random House, 1984).
However, when the wife's friend reached from the train station, there was a tense greeting between the two men and broke the ice at dinner and after which the two men touched and had an intense reaction to their contact. Furthermore, Cathedral did not seem to say very much about community in any a larger perspective. It seemed that a blind man and the husband of his friend shared a time of imminent and link when this blind man came to visit. In spite of this experience between two individuals where the husband overcame some of his stereotypes of a blind person or slightest tolerance in order to relate in a different way than stereotypical.
However if the author has presented a large community in this story, it may have been symbolized in a cultural sense where all the three characters over eat and drink alternating these activities for closeness. But what appeared the most in the story was that both husband and wife were not connected satisfactorily with each other where the husband badly wanted to hear both as an expression as well as from her own self of how much he had improved her life since their marriage (Irving, 1983).
Moreover, the husband appeared to be feeling uneasy about just what kind of relationship she had with her blind friend. But in the end he blocked a greater sharing with his wife by not sharing the experience he had with the blind man.
The story thus gave the readers an overall atmosphere gloomy, depressing, and heavy with estrangement. However, the author who had the objective of this story was stereotype of the handicapped that could be overcome left the larger community purpose unfocused as how to harmony the group of people in a unified group to some worthy purposes that might be beneficial to all.
Thus, the theme and story title gave his readers an aggravated and at times antagonistic narrator whose wife has invited a blind friend to spend the night as according to the narrator that his visitor's blindness trouble him and that he was not in a mood in having a blind man in his house that had surprising intensity of his prejudice as his early anger and concern appeared to be way out of proportion to the situation, as if the blind man was threatening him in any way (Tom, 1987).
However, slowly as the evening moves on, the narrator started to feel calm with the blind man, but at the same time challenges him in all sorts of ways. For instance, smoking cigarettes, drinking, and dope, and turning on the TV since being blind that person cannot see. The program was showing a documentary about cathedrals. However, the narrator tried to describe a cathedral in words but was not successful. Thus, the blind man held hand of the narrator as he draws a cathedral on a paper bag and developed experience of a successful communication that changed the narrator (Verley, 1989).
As the blind man said, "Terrific. You're doing fine. Never thought anything like this could happen in your lifetime?" The narrator then closed his eyes and drew blind, said, "So we kept on with it. His fingers rode my fingers as my hand went over the paper. It was like nothing in my life up to now" (Tom, 1987).
Few other examples from the story:
Moreover, in Cathedral, hearing and listening were treated in less optimistic terms by the author. However, characters had certainly turned their ears to others, and came away better for it. For example, "I got ears," as the blind man, said affirming, in spite of his handicap that "Learning never ends" (222).
Further on, in Cathedral as walled in by the narrator's own insecurities and prejudices, he was sadly out of touch with not only with his world and with himself, in the form of buffered by drink and pot as well as by the depressing reality, as his wife told him that he had no "friends" and thus, the narrator not unexpectedly lived in a narrow, sheltered world and due to this nature he commented when…[continue]
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Power in Cathedral and Ethics People in the position of power have the authority to influence the world around them. With this power should come responsibility. Those with the power to change the world must stand behind their actions. They have the responsibility to take ownership of their choices and they also have the implicit responsibility of bettering the lives of the people around them. In Carver's "Cathedral" and Pastan's "Ethics"