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Literary Devices In Carver's Cathedral Essay

1501 words - 6 pages

Upon reading Raymond Carver's short story of the Cathedral one will notice the literary devices used in the short story. When analyzing the story completely, one then understands the themes, motifs, metaphors, and the overall point of the piece. This leaves the reader with an appreciation of the story and a feeling of complete satisfaction.

Carver tells the story in first person of a narrator married to his wife. Problems occur when she wants a friend of hers, an old blind man, to visit for a while because his wife has died. The narrator's wife used to work for the blind man in Seattle when the couple was financial insecure and needed extra money. The setting here is important, because Seattle is associated with rain, and rain symbolically represents a cleansing or change. This alludes to the drastic change in the narrator in the end of the story. The wife and blind man kept in touch over the years by sending each other tape recordings of their voices which the narrator refers it to being his wife's "chief means or recreation" (pg 581).

The narrator does not move chronologically, contrarily, but uses small flashbacks to tell his point, leading up to the actual visit of the blind man where he then tells the story in a present tense. This lets the author seem like he is actually telling the story in person, reflecting on past occurrences of his life when necessary. His tone however, is a cynical, crude, humorous tone that carries throughout the story. The word choice and sentences are constructed with simple, lifelike words, which makes the reader sense the author is really telling the story to them.

The narrator is biased against the blind from the beginning. For instance, he stereotypes all blind people thinking they "moved slowly and never laughed" (pg. 580). He only know blind men from his "idea" from Hollywood "movies" (pg.580). All through the story, he is judgmental of the blind man, which seems to stem from the time "he touched [his wife's] face" running his fingers over her "nose, lips, and even neck!" (pg 580). Likewise, he is the protagonist in the story, and has an internal conflict with the blind man. The narrator is very possessive of his wife, despite their poor, unhealthy relationship and does not like the blind man having anything to so with her. There is evidence of their troublesome relationships through the narrators thoughts and in some of the dialogue. The wife "didn't like that he was part of the whole military-industrial thing." This may be because she feel she is competing with him because she also was in the "air force" (pg 581). Moreover, when discussing the blind man‘s visit, she asks her husband if he could agree to have the blind man stay, and says, "if u don't love me ok" (pg. 581). In fact, this sarcastic remark indicates that the love they may be fake and fabricated and also demonstrates the manipulative characteristics of his wife. Moreover, she even calls her husband by the blind man's name, "Robert"...

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