Raymond Carver with “Cathedral” and John Updike with “A&P”
“Cathedral” and A&P both short stories written during the same century. But even though they both introduce stereotypical characters that somehow change their view of the world, they have many more different aspects. The stories differ in atmosphere and the quantity of people involve in each story.
The story “Cathedral” only took place in a family house with only the husband, wife who can be qualified as a static character tried to kill herself in the past, and finally the blind man. Unlike in the short story “A&P” the event took place in a grocery store with Sammy, the three girls and finally the manager who is also a static character, nothing special with him, just the typical manager the “man”. The short story “Cathedral” is protagonist is a married man who have difficulties making connections with people and even his wife, and he seems to have problems maybe a little jealous of the connection his wife is able to make with other people. “A&P” is protagonist is Sammy, an eighteen years old boy who works in a grocery store, and he hates his job. The two stories do not express the same stereotype values, the husband in “Cathedral” is being stereotype against the blinds, and he seems to have his mind made about how all blind people are, so in the short story “Cathedral” the blinds represent the stereotype. In “A&P”, for Sammy it is the young girls. The catalyst change in both stories is unexpected and it is a disturbance of the characters everyday routine. When the girls in bathing suits entered in the store, Sammy was really surprised at the girls’ careless dresscode or behavior: “You know, it’s one thing to have a girl in a bathing suit down on the beach . . . but another thing in the cool of the A & P” (John Updike 14). Sammy then describes the usual patrons of the A&P as “women with six children and varicose veins mapping their legs” (John Updike 14). Sammy has become kind of used to the same “run-of-the-mill”, decent-business dressed patrons who enter the store. This draw the parallel to the husband in “Cathedral” is also taken away from his daily routine when Robert, the blind man comes to visit. He is bothered about the out-of-towner coming because he is only familiar with pleasing himself, and the fact that Robert is blind will most likely complicate his everyday life.
In each stories the people responsible for the change are introduced differently, for instance in “Cathedral” the wife brought the blind man, who was expected by the husband but not wanted, but in “A&P” the girls showed up out of nowhere, they were totally unexpected by Sammy or even the manager, the arrival of these unusual people made Sammy and the husband to take a step back and look at their lives to see what these guests meant to them. Both protagonists lead very ordinary lives, but these unusual visitors open up a pathway to extraordinary or even miracle changes one might say. For Sammy, the girls’ way of...