The Cathedral Response Paper

1424 words - 6 pages

New criticism uses important elements that factor into its nature when closely examining the texts of different types of literary works. Formal elements like voice, irony, and speaker all have different functions when communicating what’s being read between the lines of poetry, text, and style. In this story, the author uses logical formal fundamentals we use when constructing the many different ideas, the author is trying to tell us. However, in the short story, “Cathedral” by Raymond Carvers, his theories are shown thorough examination of the narrator’s hesitation, of his wife’s blind friend Robert is coming over for a visit. Since Carvers doesn’t give the narrator a specific name, he gives his readers the tools to personalize who that could be. “Cathedral” ends with Robert and the narrator hand in hand, drawing the cathedral. The narrator has his eyes closed as he guides Robert through the process of constructing an image while not being able to see. Both men become equal, giving the reader a different outlook from the fearfulness the narrator succumbed to before the visit.
“Cathedral” starts off with the narrator describing his wife’s past job relationship with a blind man many years before their marriage. “This blind man, an old friend of my wife’s, he was on his way to spend the night. His wife had died. So, he was visiting his wife’s relatives in Connecticut” (32). However, the narrator is worried and not fond of the sleep-over because of Robert’s blindness and his wife’s past relationship. This shows that the narrator has a stigma towards blind people, while also stating that he has never been around a blind person before. His stigma is shown by his attitude and thoughts about Robert. Throughout the night, the narrator’s relations changed and became effortless and uneasy as the wife went off to bed. It became uneasy because he didn’t have to worry about the wife staring or showing signs she still has feelings for Robert. His insecurities went away. The narrator asked Robert if he knew what the cathedral was, when he replied with “no”; however, the narrator decided to describe it for him. Robert then gets a bright idea for them two, to draw it together. Robert and the narrator then proceed to draw, hand in hand. The narrator closes his eyes at the request of Robert. Meanwhile what becomes of the drawing is unknown, but the narrator seems to become spiritually aware of the “sight” Robert possess. Carver’s proposal of the blind man becoming the light-bearer of a closed-minded individual captures a classic ideal: “Never judge a book by its cover”.
The narrator’s point of view is not one of happiness and cheerfulness. For Carver to wants the reader to appreciate and be interested about the narrator’s point of view, he causes the narrator to reflect on his wife’s past marriage, “her too-close-for-comfort” relationship with Robert, and his own dysfunctional reality between himself and his wife, “My wife finally took her eyes off the blind man...

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