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The fact that smoke obscures vision even for the sighted is of course important; the cigarettes being smoked not only make Robert more like the unnamed narrator, but they also make the narrator more like the bind Robert by reducing this narrator's vision, though not in an extreme way.
The smoke that uncurls between these two characters later in the story is even more effective at bringing them together. The trio of Robert, wife, and narrator turn from alcohol and tobacco to cannabis when the narrator rolls two joints to smoke and engages Robert in his first try of the substance. It is under the influence of this drug, and perhaps of Robert's presence and spirit, that a true transformation takes place both between Robert and the narrator and within the narrator himself. The two go from watching (or listening to) a television show about cathedrals to drawing one together…… [Read More]
An Analysis of Theme and Plot in Carver's "Cathedral"
Raymond Carver states that by the mid-1960s he had tired of reading and writing "long narrative fiction" ("On riting" 46). Shorter fiction, he found, was more immediate. Flannery O'Connor states a similar idea in The Habit of Being: for her, the novel was a literary medium that could bog down all of one's creative powers. Turning to a short story was a way of escape: "My novel is at an impasse. In fact it has been at one for as long as I can remember. Before Christmas I couldn't stand it any longer so I began a short story. It's like escaping from the penitentiary" (O'Connor 127). This mode of thought may help us to understand why Carver turned to composing shorter works of fiction like "Cathedral," a work that acts as a brief glimpse into how one man's…… [Read More]
Raymond Carver, "Cathedral"
Raymond Carver's short story "Cathedral" is narrated in the first person by the unnamed protagonist, and tells a deceptively simple story: the narrator's wife (also unnamed) has invited her former employer Robert, an older blind man recently widowed, to come for dinner and stay the night. The husband is resistant to the social occasion, but goes through with it -- although his narration makes us privy to his thoughts (which are occasionally marked by a low-level hostility) or else offers wry and laconic descriptions of his own statements and behavior. Eventually after consuming several scotches and some "dope you can reason with," the wife falls asleep on the sofa leaving the protagonist in conversation with the blind Robert, eventually leading to the muted but bittersweet conclusion of the story. Yet Carver carefully employs the first-person perspective of the narrator to demonstrate -- almost beyond his own self-awareness…… [Read More]
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…… [Read More]
As Bub found out, he cannot verbally convey the concept of cathedral to the blind man. He has to show him; he had no actually get down on his knees and speak the blind man's language. The narrator admits that he had to level with Robert: "my life depended on it."
Prior to his epiphany, Bub remained stubbornly prejudiced, believing such silly notions as "The blind didn't smoke because...they couldn't see the smoke they exhaled." The narrator's narrow world prevented him from viewing Robert as a person. Instead, all he saw was a stereotypical blind man. For example, Bub expected Robert to be wearing sunglasses and when he wasn't he was shocked. Similarly, the narrator seems to think that the blind man's beard is somehow out of place simply because Robert cannot see. The narrator's prejudices remain solidly in place until the conversation about the cathedral.
Bub is not a…… [Read More]
The story "The Bridle," for instance, tells about what could have turned out to be a family tragedy. However, written by Carver it becomes much stronger and more positive. After going bankrupt in agriculture, a family moves with its few belongings packed into a station wagon to a cheap apartment in a hotel somewhere in the Midwest. The narrator, who is the unfriendly and uncaring woman who runs the hotel, relates the story of what happens to the mother, Betty, and the horrible temporary jobs she takes to take care of her family.
One day at a drunken party at the hotel's pool, her husband, Holits, climbs to the roof of one of the units to jump into the water. Betty cries out, "What are you doing?" But he just stands there at the edge. He looks down at the pool, deciding how much he will have to run to…… [Read More]
Cathedral Raymond Carver
In his short story, Cathedral, author Raymond Carver argues that community and connection are an important component of life. The narrator begins the story as an isolated man, with few friends and little connection to the outside world. His insularity is upset by the arrival of his wife's friend, a blind man. Initially highly resistant to the blind man's intrusion into his world, the narrator gradually warms to the man through a meal and describing a television program. However, the narrator is not fully moved out of his insulated world until he and the blind man begin to draw a cathedral together. It is this experience that reinforces the importance of connection and community within Carver's Cathedral.
At the beginning of the story, the narrator is clearly isolated from the rest of the world. He sees the world in a defined, stereotypical way, avoids connections with other…… [Read More]
For instance, in the wife's poem, "she talked about what she had felt at the time, about what went through her mind when the blind man touched her nose and lips." The touching of the nose and lips is juxtaposed against the touching of emotions. Finally, the narrator achieves his epiphany via the sense of touch directly at the end of the story when Robert guides his hand towards a new level of insight. The narrator is literally and figuratively touched.
Finally, the literary elements converge to create irony. After all, the blind man possesses greater insight into the human condition than a sighted man. The blind man intuitively knows that the television is color instead of black and white -- not because he can see it with his eyes but because of what he senses from being around his hosts. The narrator's prejudices about the world are formed in…… [Read More]
Power in Cathedral and Ethics
People in the position of power have the authority to influence the world around them. ith 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" are both short stories which deal with individuals with power and how those people utilize their positions responsibly or shirk their responsibility in favor of personal pleasure.
In Carver's "Cathedral," the story begins with the narrator informing the reader that he is uncomfortable with his impending visitor because the man is blind. This narrator is seemingly dismissive of everything; not only the blind man or his relationship with the man's wife, but dismissive of his wife's first marriage, of…… [Read More]
Cathedral, a story by Raymond Carver, there are three main characters: a husband, a wife, and the wife's blind, male friend. The story is told in the first person, from the point-of-view of the husband, and the mood and tone of the story is austere and tense.
At the beginning of the story, the character of the husband is hostile, and angry that the wife's blind friend is coming to visit. The husbands' anger seems out of proportion, and serves as an interesting foil to the wonder and kindness he exhibits at the end of the story. The husband has a strong prejudice against the blind. hen the two men are alone, the blind man touches the hand of the husband. At the touch, the husband changes, and he is able to empathise with the blind man. In short, the character of the husband grows, and becomes kinder and more…… [Read More]
Character Analysis: Cathedral Narrator
The objective of this study is to present an argument that the narrator in 'Cathedral' is a complex and sympathetic character and to consider the extent to which he seems unaware with his own limitations despite being incapable of articulating that unhappiness. The narrator in the work of Raymond Carver entitled "Cathedral" is a complex and sympathetic character who is unaware of his own limitations and essentially unhappy even though he is incapable of articulating that unhappiness and learns from a blind man that unless one is aware of their limitations that those limitations cease to exist. The work 'Cathedral' is about a visit paid by a blind man to his friend, the wife of the narrator, following the death of the blind man's wife. While the wife greatly anticipates the visit of the blind man, the husband and narrator of 'Cathedral' has a great…… [Read More]
Raymond Carver's "Cathedral"
This is a short story that is told majorly from the eyes of a character referred to here as 'Bub' who is a husband to a woman who had a blind friend, Robert who comes to visit and the visit turns out to be a self search time for Bub and great revelation period for him.
The story employs strong use of symbolism as well as motifs to present the themes and the change of state of the mind of Bub as well as the mental disposition of Bub's wife. There is also exposition of the significance of some styles to the development of themes as well as the flow of the story.
The predominating theme of the story is self-reflection/search and sight verses vision. It is apparent that even though the Bub lives with the wife, he does not understand her needs and emotional state…… [Read More]
"I can hear you...I'm alright," he says, but at the end of the story he resumes his drinking again (Carver, 1989, p.274).
The significance of physicality in both stories is noteworthy, as it seems to reflect a distrust of language, rather than an embrace of language, as the characters communicate primarily though touching. Carver's prose has often been called minimalistic, a charge that he resisted. Yet Inez and Lloyd do not connect when they go for marital counseling, they do connect, if only briefly, when Inez must clean Lloyd's ears. The only time Lloyd can really hear is when his wife tries to reach him through physical rather than verbal gestures. The husband of "Cathedral" rages against blindness, but enters the blind man's world through the medium of touch, even after he has tried to exclude the blind man by turning on the TV.
hat is particularly important for an…… [Read More]
The narrator in "Reunion" has an optimistic understanding of life and feels that it would be impossible for him and his father not to have a good time going out. Even with the fact that he is aware of his father's drinking problem, he feels that their relationship is stronger than his father's need for alcohol and that they are probable to overcome their issues as a result of communicating. Alcohol is actually one of the reasons for which Charlie opens his eyes and sees the horrible truth regarding his father. It is then when he realizes that his father cannot get rid of his alcohol problem and that it would be best for him to avoid ever seeing him again.
Charlie virtually experiences rebirth as he sees his father drinking heavily and behaving aggressively. He realizes that this is who his father is and that this person is never…… [Read More]
This essay is well-written and well-constructed. The writer refers to the primary source material liberally and provides in-text citations as well as a bibliography. However, the writer could use active voice more often. For example, the sentence "The use of different point-of-view for the narration of the story has great influence on how the elements of characterization and setting are presented" could be rewritten and presented in active voice: "...great influence on how the authors present elements of characterization and setting." The sentence that follows is also slightly clumsy and would be improved through using more parallel verb forms. It reads: "The first person narrative can use more direct characterization to establish the people in the story while the objective point-of-view relies on indirect interpretation." It could be changed to read: "The first person narrative uses direct characterization to establish the people in the story, while the objective point-of-view…… [Read More]
Therefore, Johnson weaves clever and poignant paradoxes in the language as well as the overarching themes. The one-eyed man could have died or lost his good eye, as the Nurse points out. He survives unscathed, and sees what his wife forbade him to see. Likewise, Hardie could have faced immanent death in the war but he survives by going AOL. In both cases, subverting social convention is a key to liberation.
The paradox of religion is also conveyed via deft use of language. In "Cathedral," the title image represents the symbol of religious strivings. A cathedral is a house of God; but that house does not necessarily lead to spiritual awakening. On the contrary, the house in which the story takes place does become a zone of spiritual awakening. The blind man and the narrator use the ancient sacrament of cannabis to explore the real meaning of human existence, which…… [Read More]
Individual Knowledge and Power
19th century poet Emily Dickinson is famous for her writing about the sometimes odd quality of being human, or rather the unnatural social norms that humanity has constructed. Dickinson claims that "[m]uch Sense -- the starkest Madness -- / 'Tis the Majority," meaning that most people guide their lives through typical principles of an objective common sense. Despite the best efforts of the philosophers and statesmen who have fostered Western principles of common sense throughout the centuries, people are not mathematical certainties; and while general rules are essential to the well-being of the population, individual lives cannot be dictated by a standardized social formula. True human growth and progress is a journey often taken alone, in which a person has to develop his or her own ideas of right and wrong. This short essay examines three different ways individual knowledge and power is originated, fostered, and…… [Read More]
It is through a horrible act of violence that the grandmother and we understand that things do not always work out as we plan and some stories do not have a happy ending.
In "Cathedral," Carver utilizes a less dramatic setting to convey a message to us. In this story, the narrator is uneasy about Robert's visit and does not know how to behave when they first meet. It is only through a conversation about cathedrals that allows the narrator to discover something about Robert and himself. The setting is significant because this is the place where the narrator and Robert meet and where the narrator has his epiphany.
The mood of the home changes from negative to positive.
Sight becomes significant in the story as well because that is what the entire story revolves around and that is what ultimately brings the two men closer. Because the…… [Read More]
The choice cannot be repudiated or duplicated, but one makes the choice without foreknowledge, almost as if blindly. After making the selection, the traveler in Frost's poem says, "Yet knowing how way leads on to way/I doubted if I should ever come back" (14-15). And at the end, as one continues to encounter different forks along the way, the endless paths have slim chance of ever giving the traveler a second choice. One can see this as similar to Mrs. Mallard's change. As she looks out into the future, she sees endless possibilities for choice and nothing feels like she would ever return to the determinate state of marriage.
The final two lines of "The Road Not Taken" say, "I took the one less traveled by / and that has made all the difference" (19-20). Unlike in Chopin, the traveler determines to take the path. In Chopin, the path forces…… [Read More]
Leadership -- Power and Responsibilities / Integrity
hen it comes to the concept of "leadership" there are numerous definitions that can be applied. Every leader uses his or her own approach to leading, and while there are similar aspects to the behaviors of most leaders, how leaders approach their strengths is played out differently. In literature (like the blind man in Cathedral) and in real life (like the way Abraham Lincoln conducted himself in a political situation) leaders provide robust examples of how to get things done and how to influence the actions of others.
This paper uses the leadership styles and behaviors of several individuals to demonstrate their qualities (or, in the case of Jimmy Cross, lack of leadership qualities) as they lead -- and the paper points to the integrity the individuals showed in the process of their leadership.
Leadership and Integrity
Abraham Lincoln -- the subject today…… [Read More]
career - how do his late stories differ from his early stories?
AYMOND CAVE'S WOK
aymond Carver wrote from the time he was a young man until his death at 50 in 1988. He wrote of his own experiences as an alcoholic, young father, and blue-collar worker. His writing was always classified as postmodern, however, as with most authors, his writing changed from his early work to his later works. "The surfaces of Carver's stories look calm and banal, but especially his portrayals of marriage problems are full of emotional tension, hidden memories, wounds, longing, hate, anxiety, and melancholy" (Liukkonen).
One of the contrasts between Carver's earlier works and his later works is in the minute detail of eating. In "The Idea," Carver's characters use eating as a substitute for communication, especially with those who they should be the most intimate. In "Cathedral" the baker tells the couple whose son…… [Read More]
So, in some case, leadership does not necessarily link with responsibility for the men, but rather with the relationship with the persons who are led. Napoleon was able to concentrate the energies of his men in a way that served his best interests.
This links with Raymond Carver's story, in the sense that good leadership is also about good communication, about the ability of passing the appropriate message. The main theme of his story is that of communication (or lack of), namely of finding the right words to pass on to the others. The right words are fundamental, because they help connect individuals and fostering this relationship is perhaps the most important part of good leadership.
The most important point in "Cathedral," from a leadership perspective, is when the husband finds himself at a loss of words when trying to describe the cathedral to Robert. He is, throughout the story…… [Read More]
Feathers" what's so special about the night the narrator describes? hy did everything change afterwards?
The change that starts with at the end of the story is the request from Fran to have a baby. Jack obliges and they end up having a kid. It would seem that Fran made this request as a way to seek better feelings or perhaps a sense of something different as a result. hile things did change, it was not for the better. Fran quit working and became overweight. In addition, she cut her hair. Fran also starts to talk less after the baby comes and the "change" sets in. In short, Fran sought out the baby as a way to change things for the better but there were underlying issues with Fran and Jack that were made worse, not better, by the appearance of the child. This stands in contrast to Bud and…… [Read More]
However, the narrator eventually comes to acknowledge his ignorance after the blind man presents him with matters as seen from his point-of-view. John 14:22 applies perfectly in this situation, considering that it promotes the concept that individuals are probable to express more appreciation toward the world as a whole and toward things that previously seemed uninteresting. James 3:16 also applies in this situation because it emphasizes that jealousy and selfish ambition are probable to disrupt the peace within a family. The narrator has trouble enjoying life to the fullest because he is jealous and envious with regard to his wife's friends.
"The Lottery" shows Mr. Adams as the first persons who draws a ticket during the lottery and it would be absurd for someone to consider that this does not stand as a reference to Adam as the first man that God created. The fact that Tessie Hutchinson refrains from…… [Read More]
In the end, Carver is trying to say that the narrator suddenly feels free, unbound by the confines of his home or his thoughts. His time with the blind man has changed him, and made him feel connected to something for the first time in his life, and it is inspiring to him.
Good Country People" contains several themes, including the theme of Christianity and ugliness. Joy is an ugly person, not because she is physically ugly, but because she makes herself ugly inside, which is the truest form of ugliness. She is an unhappy and lonely woman who says she believes in "nothing" but really does hold out hope that she can live a normal life and be loved by someone. She is sucked in by the Bible salesman, who really believes in nothing either, and takes advantage of her in the worst way. He is ugly too, because…… [Read More]
religion-focused works from literature, theatre, music, or art (such as painting and sculpture). How do they call a religion into question?
eligion is a common theme in literature, art, and music. For example, the book The Da Vinci Code is about the Catholic Church. Although the book does not discuss serious theological issues, the author Dan Brown does talk about the political hierarchies in the Church. Therefore, Brown calls into question the legitimacy of the Church due to its being a highly secretive and powerful organization that potentially uses its power as a means of social control. The book also explores the possibility that there are other narratives that can be equally as valid as the dominant narratives people have been taught.
eligion in one way or another has inspired most art throughout history and in cultures around the world. In some cultures, art is inseparable from religion, as with…… [Read More]
Union Dead" by obert Lowell is a historical poem written in free verse style. The poet details several events in American history, mingling the different eras of history as with a montage. The resulting effect is chaotic, as if Lowell means to draw attention to the inherent chaos, disharmony, and discomfort of war. War shapes history, as the poet suggests, and yet war brings with it complete devastation and always entails death.
In "For the Union Dead," Lowell eventually focuses on the Civil War to draw attention to the way racism continues to tear apart the nation. Whereas earlier stanzas mention Boston Common and other evolutionary War era landmarks and symbols, later imagery clearly connotes the graphic and gruesome Civil War, in which an officer "leads his black soldiers to death." People in power possess a "peculiar power to choose life and die," showing how wars are fought by those…… [Read More]
Poem -- Version 1: "next to of course god america i"
"next to of course god america i" E.E. Cummings
A Good Man Is Hard to Find
Short Writing: Paraphrasing a scene from a play
Short Fiction -- John Updike -- "A&P"
Short Writing: Describing a Poem
Short Writing: Paraphrasing a scene from a play
Short Story - Cathedral by Raymond Carver
Short Story - A Good Man Is Hard to Find
In my literary analysis essays, I have endeavored to discover why I thought an author wrote a particular piece, how they think about their work, and why they made the choices they did with regard to theme, character development, and use of literary devices. I have also attempted to make my own perspective transparent in my writing, and through this effort,…… [Read More]
Great leadership, this is a trait most people do not have. Among the many leaders of the world present and past, only a few could be deemed great. That is why the literary world becomes a place to cultivate what an ideal leader is. From Robert the blind man in “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver, to “The Things They Carried” character, Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, these leaders harken back to real leaders of the past like Lincoln and Kennedy. It is with these shining examples in mind that an idea of what a great leader is, takes shape and even provides inspiration for new leaders that break the mold of what is typically expected like Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones. These new leaders will perhaps inspire the greats of tomorrow.
Many consider John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln amazing leaders because of their ability to stand up for what is right…… [Read More]
In this light. Dee represents the most successful fulfillment of the material side of the American Dream (Whitsitt). On the other hand, she is unsuccessful at preserving what is most beautiful about her culture by no longer honoring it in any practical sense. In this, she represents the tragedy of loss in terms of meaning, culture, and heritage in blind pursuit of material gain and social success.
The Red Convertible" by Louise Erdrich
The story by Louise Erdrich similarly demonstrates a dichotomy between the past, the potential of the future, and the scars that cannot be healed as a result of trauma and tragedy. The American Dream and its destruction in this story is represented by two brothers and their initially healthy relationship (boosh). As young men, Henry and Lyman are happy-go-lucky and somewhat irresponsible. Their relationship is healthy and close, represented by a red convertible that they buy restore,…… [Read More]
Good Man is Hard to Find
For the purposes of this essay, I chose Flannery O'Connor's short story "A Good Man is Hard to Find." "A Good Man is Had to Find" is an apt topic for research such as this, because the ambiguity of the story's position regarding a grandmother ultimately responsible for the death of her entire family leads to a wide variety of possible readings, each with its own adherents and defenders. Upon reading this story, I immediately questioned the grandmother's role in the story, and especially whether or not the story portrayed her in a positive or negative light, because although at points in the story she appears positive in contrast to the other characters, she is ultimately shown to be reactive, shortsighted, and altogether incapable of protecting either her family or herself. Using Google Scholar, I searched for academic essays and books discussing "A Good…… [Read More]