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Raymond Carvers Catherdral - Essay Example

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Raymond Carver’s Cathedral Q. Discuss the nature of the husband’s revelation in Carver’s Cathedral. Introduction Published in 1983, ‘Cathedral’ is probably Raymond Carver’s most famous short story. Carver preferred to write stories about the common man and their lives that could be read in one setting…
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Raymond Carvers Catherdral

Download file to see previous pages... Robert had just lost his wife and was meeting her relatives in Connecticut. The narrator’s wife offers him a place to spend the night. While conversing with Robert, the narrator suddenly realizes that though Robert is blind, he is able to ‘see’ far better than the narrator with his eyesight. Thesis Statement The narrator comes upon the realization that even though Robert is blind, he is a better communicator because he uses his other senses of touch and perception as a means to establish a rapport with not only the narrator’s wife but his own wife Beulah as well. Thus Robert has had a much richer understanding with the narrator’s wife than the narrator himself- in comparison, their own conversational exchanges are few, terse and tensed. Discussion The short story writer Raymond Carver (1938-1988) has been acclaimed as one of the best proponents of this form of literature in the USA. His short but eventful life was tragic and interspersed with poverty and want. In a strange way, this state of affairs mirrors the life of Edgar Allan Poe, another short story writer of Gothic fiction. Both were slaves to the bottle. Born into a blue collar family where his father was a worker at a sawmill and his mother a waitress, Raymond nevertheless harbored a desire to write. This desire was sparked when Raymond attended creative writing classes in 1958 at Chico State College under the tutelage of John Gardner, another short story writer of some repute. Gardner took Carver under his wing and advised him to shorten his words from twenty five to fifteen to have a better effect. If that were not damning enough, the stringent editing of Carver’s editor Gordon Lish resulted in a further admonition and Carver having to condense his stories even further into five words for every fifteen. Of course, this would stifle Carver’s creativity and he ultimately rebelled against Lish (Halpert, 2005, 33). All writers love to have their own poetic license and freedom of expression. They also like the company of comrade souls with similar interests and outlook. This was probably one reason why Carter chose to divorce his longtime wife Maryann who was his childhood sweetheart (they had married when he was 19 and she 18 and had 2 kids by the time they were 20) and married another writer, Tess Gallagher in 1988. Their happiness was short lived though, Carver dying just six months into the marriage due to lung cancer. Carver uses a minimalist style and his stories are often sad and melancholy, yet they usually have a moral or lesson attached. One of more of the characters is likely to have been recovering from a tragedy, or set to become a victim of it. What is important is the reaction to this tragedy or circumstance. In Cathedral, the emphasis is on seeing rather than looking, feelings rather than appearances. The narrator does not seem to have a very good relationship or understanding with his wife. Their conversations are few and terse and strained, as though they are estranged or do not really understand or care for each other. For one, the narrator’s wife seems to recall her working experience with the blind man with pleasant memories. She especially recalls the way he touched her face, her neck, her hands etc. on her last day of work (Carver, 2008, 305). There is no sexual connotation here, it is just the element of feelings that the author wants to highlight. Despite his blindness, Robert seems to be imbued with a deep sense of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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