|Raymond Carver |
(1938 - 1988)
New Critical allows a reader to examine a story based on its elements to express the main idea(s) of an author. This method of literary analysis examines the story only, so the author’s life will be not be examined. For Raymond Carver, the elements he utilized for the story broaden his main idea. Some of these elements include point of view, characterization and symbolism. For Point of View, the husband, referenced as Bub by the blind man, perceives Robert’s visit as an inconvenience. From the moment the husband hears of Robert’s future visit, he’s against the idea. From there on, “Bub” begins judging the blind man based on past experiences that he as seen on television before he actually meets him:
“This blind man, an old friend of my wife’s, he was on his way to spend the night…” “… He was no one I knew. And his being blind bothered me. My idea of blindness came from the movies. In the movies, the blind moved slowly and never laughed…” “…A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to.” (Coursepack, n.d., p.66)
|“Writers will be judged by what they write.” |
— Raymond Carver.
“…the blind didn’t smoke because, as speculation had it, they couldn’t see the smoke they exhaled. I thought I knew that much and that much only about blind people. But this blind man smoked his cigarette down to the nubbin and then lit another one.” (Course pack, n.d., p.69)
|Photo © Raymond Carver|
“So we kept on with it. His fingers rode my fingers as my hand went over the paper. It was like nothing else in my life up to now.” (Course Pack, p.73)Overall, the short story “Cathedral” reflects upon the social interactions of humans and how society shapes what personal image one can make. Carver discusses the fact that people have a tendency to take first impressions into consideration when the personality of a person is what matters most. To this day, the society still shapes the views we have on others, but one always has the choice to judge them by their appearance or their personality.
Carver, Raymond. (1992). Cathedral. Vintage Press.
Hacker, D., & Sommers, N. (n.d.). A writer’s reference with exercises, 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins.