The parallel between “Cathedral” and “A&P”
Raymond Carver with “Cathedral” and “A&P” by John Updike are both short stories, even if in facts they are written during the same century, readers can interpret the changes that occurred to be really different. They both introduce characters that are being victim of stereotype by the protagonists, but somehow these characters made a great change into the protagonists’ view of the world and life itself. The stories differ in atmosphere and the quantity of people involve in each story which might be important to understand how changes occur. The audience can understand after analyzing these two stories that change is always possible and based on your action, a lesson is always to be learned the easy or the hard way.
The story “Cathedral” took place in a family house with only the husband, wife, and finally the blind man, the wife in the story can be qualified as a static character who also try to kill herself in the past. 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 dress code 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 (Hendrickson). Both stories can help the audience realize that change does not necessarily happen in a pleasant way, it can also be a disturbance in their every day’s lives.