Raymond Carvers Cathedral Essay

944 words - 4 pages


     As with many short stories, Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” only has a few pages to develop his main character and create a scenario he or she must learn from or achieve something from or change because of. In such a short amount of space, word choice is integral in constructing a solid impression of the characters and their personalities in the reader’s mind. Carver’s simple use of language and sentence structure combined with his choice for point of view creates an intriguing tone and believable character interaction.
     This story, written as the thoughts of the narrator, is about an old blind friend of his wife’s coming to visit for the first time. The story focuses on the narrator’s cynicism toward the blind man and the way his wife seems to look up to him. Through out the visit there is halting interaction between the blind man and the narrator, however in the end the narrator experiences something he never could have imagined. Through the eyes of a blind man, he gains a better understanding of who he could be.
     The most striking aspect of Carver’s “Cathedral” is the fact that the story is written from the point of view of a man not initially involved in the set up of the story at all. The narrator relays to the reader stories he has learned from his wife about her past before relaying what is happening in the present. He tells her history as if he were speaking to himself in an interior monologue. Her story is periodically interrupted with his own thoughts of what happened and he omits items that seem to bother him. “I’m saying that at the end of the summer she let the blind man run his hands over her face, said goodbye to him married her childhood etc., who was now a commissioned officer…”(218). Every time this officer that is his wife’s first husband comes up in the story, the narrator moves on to other subjects quickly. This reveals a jealousy in him that is not plainly written in the story. It allows the reader to learn about the narrator as he sets up the story. Because of this set up, the reader is able to expect and easily see the narrator’s jealousy as he is later introduced to the blind man. He also omits names. The reader never learns the names of the narrator or his wife, though she is frequently involved in the story. This allows the reader to focus on essential characteristics of the character. The wife is merely the wife. The blind man is blind.
     Choice of point of view can change the tone and entire meaning gained from a story. The tone of this story would have been much different if it were written from the wife’s point of view. She would not have been...

Find Another Essay On Raymond Carvers Cathedral

Reality and Illusion in Shakespeare's Hamlet - Reality, Appearance and Deception

896 words - 4 pages Reality and Illusion in Hamlet   Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, begins with the appearance of a ghost, an apparition, possibly a hallucination. Thus, from the beginning, Shakespeare presents the air of uncertainty, of the unnatural, which drives the action of the play and develops in the protagonist as a struggle to clarify what only seems to be absolute and what is actually reality. Hamlet's mind, therefore, becomes the central force of the

Sub-plots in Hamlet Essay

1118 words - 4 pages Sub-plots in Hamlet   There are many things that critics say make Hamlet a "Great Work," one of which is the way that Shakespeare masterfully incorporates so many sub-plots into the story, and ties them all into the main plot of Hamlet’s revenge of his father’s murder. By the end of Act I, not only is the main plot identified, but many other sub-plots are introduced. Among the sub-plots are trust in the Ghost of King Hamlet, Fortinbras, and

Hamlet as Victim and Hero

1301 words - 5 pages Hamlet as Victim and Hero      Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, a Shakespearean tragedy, tells the story of Prince Hamlet, who gained the knowledge of a terrible incident that his kingdom had suffered. Claudius, the king of Denmark and Hamlet's uncle, had killed his own brother, the king, who was also the father of Hamlet, and married his brother's widow. Hamlet suffered these traumas to a severe degree, and his only relief was to defeat his

Essay on Light and Dark in Antigone

1188 words - 5 pages Use of Light and Dark in Antigone   The "Golden Age" of Greece is noted for its many contributions to the creative world, especially in its development of the play. These performances strived to emphasize Greek morals, and were produced principally for this purpose. Antigone, by Sophocles, is typical. The moral focused on in Antigone is the conflict between physis (nature) and nomos (law), with physis ultimately presiding over nomos

charant Creon as the Main Character of Antigone

1231 words - 5 pages Creon as the Main Character of Antigone   Throughout the Greek play Antigone by Sophocles, there exists a dispute as to who should receive the designation of main character. Antigone, the daughter of the cursed King Oedipus, as well as Creon, stately king of Thebes, both appear as the key figures in this historic play. I believe that Creon, king of Thebes, should be considered the main character in this work of Greek theater. Three

Free Macbeth Essays: Sleep and Sleeplessness

525 words - 2 pages The Sleep and Sleeplessness Motif in Macbeth We have consciences that function to tell us the difference between right and wrong. If we have clear consciences, we usually possess the ability to sleep. But when our consciences are full of guilt, we experience a state of sleeplessness. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the sleep and sleeplessness motif to represent Macbeth's and Lady Macbeth's consciences and the effect Macbeth's conscience has on

Life Outside of Life in Hawthorne’s Wakefield

898 words - 4 pages Life Outside of Life in Hawthorne’s Wakefield   Efficacy lies at the heart of human desires for immortality. Characters throughout literature and art are depicted as wanting to step aside and see what their world would be like without their individual contributions. The literary classic A Christmas Carol and the more recent, but ageless, film It’s Wonderful Life both use outside influences (three ghosts and Clarence the Angel

Essay on Identity in Song of Solomon

2172 words - 9 pages Searching for Identity in Song of Solomon         Abstract: Whether Africans really fly or just escape a monumental burden, perhaps only through death, is a decision Toni Morrison has apparently left to her readers. Never the less, no matter what you believe, within Song of Solomon, the suggestion is, that in order to "fly" you must go back to the beginning, back to your roots. You must learn the "art" from the old messages.   O

The Character of Oedipus in Oedipus and The Infernal Machine

904 words - 4 pages The Character of Oedipus in Oedipus and The Infernal Machine    The stories of Oedipus, as told through Seneca's Oedipus and Cocteau's The Infernal Machine, contain both similarites and differences. Both authors portray the character of Oedipus as being obstinate, ignorant, and inquisitive. Yet Seneca and Cocteau differ on their interpretation of the motives that propelled these characteristics of Oedipus. Seneca portrays Oedipus as a

Okonkwo's Tragic Flaws in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

3121 words - 12 pages        An increasing amount of contemporary literature traces its origins back to the early works of Greece. For ages, humans have fascinated themselves with the impossible notion of perfection. Unrealistic expectations placed on those who were thought to be the noblest or most honorable individuals have repeatedly led to disappointment and frustration, either on the part of those particular individuals or those they influence. Classic

Sophocles' Antigone - Antigone Must Challenge Creon

889 words - 4 pages Antigone Must Challenge Creon in Antigone   In his "Funeral Oration" Pericles, Athens's leader in their war with other city-states, rallies the patriotism of his people by reminding them of the things they value. He encourages a sense of duty to Athens even to the point of self-sacrifice. He glorifies the free and democratic Athenian way of life and extravagantly praises those willing to die for it. In Antigone, Creon, Thebes's leader in

Similar Essays

Cathedral, By Raymond Carvers Essay

1176 words - 5 pages Raymond Carvers “ Cathedral” depicts a scenario where the narrator experiences a inner transformation. This transformation happens when the narrator sketches a cathedral with his eyes closed. Sketching the cathedral, opened his inner eyes to greater things that lie beyond the physical environment of his world. The epiphany occurs when the narrator shuts out the physical environment and focuses solely on drawing the cathedral with his heart. The

Raymond's Develpment Essay

646 words - 3 pages , deliverymen. He dies at the age of fifty due to cancer. One of his bestselling short stories was Cathedral by Raymond Carver. The narrator of this story has a difficult time understanding people's thoughts and feelings. Robert's wife, Beulah had passed away. Therefore, the narrator holds a sense of empathy towards Beulah because Robert could never look at her. However, the narrator doesn't make an effect to actually know his wife. The narrator eventually

Disjunction Vs. Rebellion In Raymond Carvers Short Stories

3826 words - 15 pages drinking. This is when his stories of disjunction become more developed. He published several collections including What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. In May of 1983, Knopf published Cathedral, Carvers third major book of short stories. This is where communion is illustrated in its more explicate form. Unfortunately, due to poor health Carver could not further communion in his writings, he became to sick to write. In the fall of 1987 doctors

Raymond Carver's Cathedral Essay

1392 words - 6 pages The husband in Raymond Carvers “Cathedral” wasn’t enthusiastic about his wife’s old friend, whom was a blind man coming over to spend the night with them. His wife had kept in touch with the blind man since she worked for him in Seattle years ago. He didn’t know the blind man; he only heard tapes and stories about him. The man being blind bothered him, “My idea of blindness came from the movies. In the movies, the blind moved slowly and never