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Raymond Carver's Short Story "Cathedral Essay

… This is evident in the ways the narrator describes the cathedrals on television purely in terms of their architectural forms and functions, and also in the way the blind man unapologetically states that he does not know what the difference is between a Catholic cathedral and a protestant church. The narrator tries to explain, and states, "n those olden days, when they built cathedrals, men wanted to be close to God. In those olden days, God was an important part of everyone's life. You could tell this from their cathedral- building," (section 101). Thus, the narrator categorically distances himself from those "olden days" when God was "important." The blind man also agrees tacitly that God and religion are no longer necessary for an individual to…. [read more]

Raymond Carver Term Paper

… Knopf. Lish himself argues that he shaped Carver's earlier work and that the substantive differences in the two parts of his career reflect not his soboriety but the difference between his own hand alone and that guided by Lish.

The details varied from telling to telling, but the basic idea was that he had changed some of the stories so much that they were more his than Carver's.

No one quite knew what to make of his statements. Carver, who died in 1988, never responded in public to them. Basically it was Lish's word against commonsense. Lish had written fiction, too. If he was such a great talent, why did so few people care about his work?

As the years passed, Lish became reluctant to…. [read more]

Raymond Carver's Short Story "The Cathedral Term Paper

… Raymond Carver's short story "The Cathedral" discusses with regard to how the majority of people are inclined to express ignorance concerning other people's experiences. Furthermore, the story emphasizes that it is especially easy for someone to believe that society's perspective is the correct perspective. The narrator constantly tries to justify his behavior and his thinking by relating to how it is perfectly normal for him to do so. As a consequence, readers are likely to accept that social acceptance can influence some individuals to lose their personal identity and their connection with themselves.

The narrator's wife has a tumultuous background and this makes it difficult for the narrator to host one of her old friends into his house. In spite of the fact that the…. [read more]

Raymond Carver Cathedral Research Paper

… Raymond Carver Cathedral

Raymond Carver was a working class author made famous mostly for his short fiction, which was given the genre title of minimalist. His work is reflective of the lives of everyday people, including communication, miscommunication and connectivity.

Raymond Carver has often been described as a "minimalist" writer, one who renders moments of contemporary American life in a language that is spare in expression and bleak in outlook. Implicit in this labeling is the notion that his stories lack any transformative vision, that they present to us tales of alcoholics and losers as though blind, serf-destructive behaviors were matters of naturalistic fact and not subject to change through the insight stories can provide to their characters and their readers. Carver's early critics, notably…. [read more]

Raymond Carver Was Born Term Paper

… Bibliography

About the Author. Poem. Raymond Carver." The Borzoi Reader Web site. URL:

Byles, Melissa. "Richard Ford on Raymond Carver." The New Yorker. October 5, 1998. Off Course Web site. URL:

Dirda, Michael. "Stylists and Visionaries: 25 Years of American Fiction." Washington Post. June 1, 1997. Washingtonpost Web site. URL:

Houghton, Gerald. "The Edge-Index: Where I'm Calling From." The Edge Online. URL:

Kakutani, Michiko. "Raymond Carver and the Kitchen Sink." The New York Times. January 16, 2001. The New York Times On The Web: Books. URL:

McInerney, Jay. "Raymond Carver: A Still, Small Voice." The New York Times. August 6, 1989. The New York Times On The Web: Books. URL:

Raymond Carver's Double Life." Literature: Contemporary. About Web…. [read more]

Cathedral by Raymond Carver Research Paper

… Raymond Carver's short story "Cathedral" is considered to be one of the writer's best writings and is probably one of the main reasons for which he experienced professional progress. Even with the fact that this particular text ends in a more positive note in comparison to some of his other stories, it is nonetheless filled with elements characteristic to the writer. The writer himself appears to be especially confident that this story is different from his earlier works and involves a lot more hope in writing it. "Cathedral" contains ideas related to the importance of connecting with one another, understanding, and addiction.

Carver was born in a dysfunctional family in Clatskanie, Oregon, and spent the early part of his life struggling to earn a living…. [read more]

Carver Given Poet and Author Raymond Term Paper

… Carver

Given poet and author Raymond Carver's life's history, it comes as no surprise that his works consist of the raw and often severe existence of the blue collar worker, yet their innate ability to be resilient and find a way to rise above their circumstances. Born in the mill town of Clatskanie on the Columbia River in Oregon in 1938, Carver's alcoholic father had rode the rails from Arkansas to Washington state during the dust-bowl days of the 1930s and then made his living as a sawmill worker. His mother, Ella Casey Carver, who suffered as a victim of domestic violence, supplemented the family income by working as a waitress and retail clerk. Carver's 1986 poem "Shiftless" summarizes the story of his childhood: "The…. [read more]

Raymond Carver Is a Writer Term Paper

… In the story "Popular Mechanics" a husband and wife fight over a baby. This begins as a war of words but ends in a physical tugging match for the baby, one that the wife eventually loses, feeling the baby being torn away from her. This is a good example of how Carver implies a much greater significance to a single event. Clearly, the fight over the baby is an emotional one, but it also represents the pain of losing a child through marital problems. Carver does not have to express this implicitly for the reader to understand the pain and significance wrapped up in this single event. Alcoholism is also a common theme, being part of "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,"…. [read more]

Carver's "Cathedral" an Analysis Essay

… The plot is simple enough -- deceptively simple, in fact (gently luring the reader as well as the character of the host to a sort of revelation). It begins with the blind man -- a friend of the narrator's wife -- coming to stay. The television shows a picture of a cathedral (a symbol itself of old world spirituality); the blind man asks his host to describe it. The host, at a loss of words (personifying the minimalism for which Carver was known and the emptiness and vacuity of the modern Everyman), fails to fully explain to the blind man what the cathedral looks like -- or, rather, what it is. Indeed, after a period of reflection, the host himself asks the blind man, "Do…. [read more]

Symbolism of Raymond Carver's "Cathedral Essay

… Maybe it was just as well. I'd heard all I wanted to. (2)

Again, this seems to mimic the structure of adultery without having the actual content of adultery. The husband finds himself offended by the fact that his wife has told her old friend about her new marriage. There is nothing untoward here, but in some sense the narrator does not need to know the blind man's opinion of him, which is (of course) precisely where the dialogue cuts off in aposiopesis. The narrator "heard all [he] wanted to" presumably because he is jealous -- of his wife's level of intimacy with another man.

As a result, the husband's behavior during the blind man's visit begins with petulant jealousy, which is held at arm's…. [read more]

Compare and Contrast Raymond Carver's Cathedral and Careful Term Paper

… ¶ … Raymond Carver's "Cathedral" and "Careful"

Attention K-Mart Shoppers": Raymond Carver will be chronicling your lives.

Raymond Carver is often called the founder of the so-called K-mart school of realism. Although, geographically, some of Carver's most famous stories like "Cathedral" and "Careful" do not take place in actual K-Marts, his style of writing is given this label because of his spare style, and the socioeconomic class of most of his protagonists. His protagonists are frequently down on their luck, often drink far too much, and have an air of despair about them, for definable or indefinable reasons. Carver's women and men struggle to communicate, and fail in their marriages. They seem to quietly rage with a sense of powerlessness against the world. This frequently…. [read more]

Carver's "Cathedral" When the Narrator of Raymond Term Paper

… Carver's "Cathedral"

When the narrator of Raymond Carver's short story "Cathedral" asks Robert "Do you have any idea what a cathedral is?" he had no idea that the question would transform his perspective and undermine his prejudices and stereotypes. When the blind man first arrives at the narrator's home, he swells with anxiety and lingering jealousy because Robert was his wife's friend. The visit was "not something I looked forward to," the narrator notes. Having never before met a blind man, the narrator remains filled with erroneous stereotypes about the visually impaired until he forces himself into a situation in which he must literally reach out and touch the man. Ultimately the narrator shuts his eyes tightly to become as blind as his new friend.…. [read more]

Raymond Carver Teenage Sexual Frustration Term Paper

… The narrator's victorious struggle for the head was accomplished through the same kind of intimidation he would use on his younger brother George. In fact, sibling antagonism is played out not only at home but also at Bridge Creek, as the younger boy is a "kid about George's size," (12). The narrator's relationship with his brother is typical of siblings their age. Still, the theme of repressed emotions and dysfunctional silence in the family is drawn out through the emotionally distant relationship between the two brothers. The dividing up of the steelhead symbolizes the inevitable dividing up of the parents should the marriage end in divorce. The narrator clearly hopes to retain the upper hand as the older brother and asserts his dominance over both…. [read more]

Carver Raymond Carver's Greater Maturity Term Paper

… Soon it becomes clear that the child will not see another birthday, to the reader if not the mother of the dying boy and the baker. Significantly, the cake depicts a spaceship striking off for the moon, into the outer space and unknown limits that the child's soul, presumably, may or may not head for -- the author does not suggest this one way or the other. What is clear is that the cake takes on significance, symbolically, that is initially grotesque but is rendered meaningful because of the baker's willingness to feed the needy woman Ann at the end of the store.

What is also clear at the end of "A Small, Good Thing," that does not transpire at the end of "The Bath"…. [read more]

Raymond Carver's Short Story Term Paper

… One gets the feeling that Nick, who is so confident of his love and his new marriage, is, through Mel and Terri, glimpsing his future with Laura where things will not be so rosy after a few years. Meyer believes that Nick is relating the story in fondly recollecting better days when "he and Laura shared a fondness that no longer existed." (Meyer, p. 112)

Towards the end of the story, either every body is too drunk or too afraid of the direction the conversation has led them towards. It gets dark. But nobody makes a move to turn the lights on. When Laura says she is hungry, Terri says, "I'll put out some cheese and crackers." (Carver, p. 153) Terri, however, does not move.…. [read more]

Lessons From Short Stories Essay

… III. Michael Winter: "Archibald the Arctic"

The work of Michael Winter entitled "Archibald the Arctic" begins with the main character, Gabriel being awakened by his mother informing him that the police officers were at the door. The story relates that Gabriel walked to the porch in his jeans and barefoot and that he had a headache and was hungry. Snow was falling on the police officer's fur hats and the driveway needed shoveling. The officers informed Gabriel that they had a warrant for his arrest and when asking what the charge was, Gabriel was informed that he would be told that when he arrived at the police station. When Gabriel asked if he was under arrest his father came to the door and asked if…. [read more]

Raymond Carver, "Cathedral Essay

… Then Robert -- who has realized his blindness is clearly a source of fascination (if not disgust) on the narrator's part -- suggests that the narrator draw with his eyes closed. Robert will get some sensation of what a cathedral might look like, and now the narrator will get some sense of what it's like to be blind. And the story ends with Robert's final question to the narrator after they have finished sketching a cathedral blind, and holding hands:

"Well?" he said. "Are you looking?"

My eyes were still closed. I was in my house. I knew that. But I didn't feel like I was inside anything.

"It's really something," I said.

This muted final moment clearly links up to Robert's earlier remark that…. [read more]

Cathedral Raymond Carver Term Paper

… The narrator is not sympathetic to the blind man's loss of his wife, and characterizes their relationship as pathetic. In attempting to talk with the blind man, the narrator is awkward, and struggles to find the right thing to say. He attempts to make small talk, but his wife criticizes his questions.

As the night moves on, the narrator becomes more open to the blind man. He is amazed by the man's ability to manipulate his food, and begins to engage the man in conversation about scotch. It is as the narrator and the blind man watch a television show about cathedrals that the blind man and the narrator begin to really connect. The narrator describes the film to the blind man, and is initially…. [read more]

Raymond Carver's "Cathedral Essay

… ¶ … Raymond Carver's "Cathedral," which is written in first person, and Ernest Hemingway's "Hills like White Elephants," which is written in the third person point-of-view. The author quotes appropriately from both stories to illustrate the various points, and the brief essay is well-constructed. The thesis statement is clear and there are good transition sentences between paragraphs. In particular, the writer focuses on the impact of point-of-view on setting and characterization.

For example, the writer asserts that using first person in "Cathedral" enables the reader to get into the head of its protagonist, whereas in "Hills like White Elephants," the reader requires extra descriptive elements to make up for the lack of intimacy of the third person point-of-view. The writer then notes that point-of-view also…. [read more]

Raymond's Run by Toni Cade Term Paper

… This aura of maturity is interesting, but it also drives away friends and family, because she has an air of superiority that goes along with her maturity, and she also is more ready to fight than to talk, as she says and demonstrates often in the story.

The most important lesson Squeaky learns is about friendship and respect, and those two lessons will change her life. Wondering if she's won the race, she realizes anything is possible to her. She thinks, "I can always retire as a runner and begin a whole new career as a coach with Raymond as my champion" (Bambara 26). When she wins, she smiles at Gretchen, and wonders about her as a person for the first time. "I look over…. [read more]

Raymond's Run by Toni Cade Bambara Term Paper

… ¶ … Raymond's Run" by Toni Cade Bambara, and "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan. Specifically, it will discuss how Squeaky and Jing-mei would get along, what their similarities are. The two main characters in these stories would get along very well, because they are both strong and powerful, and they both rebel against adults and authority. They are different, but they could be sisters in another story.

These two girls are very different, but they are very much alike, too. One is Asian and one is Black. However, they are both strong and powerful. Jing-mei thinks when she looks at herself in the mirror, "The girl staring back at me was angry, powerful. This girl and I were the same" (Tan). When Squeaky wins the…. [read more]

Raymond Williams Keyword: Raymond Williams' Definition Term Paper

… ¶ … Raymond Williams

Keyword: Raymond Williams' Definition of Culture

According to Raymond Williams, "culture" has one of the most complicated histories of any word in the English language, with such terms as civilization. The terms 'Ministry of Culture,' 'civilization' and 'cultural anthropology' not far behind. Culture had the notion of cultivation in agriculture in the early French, Latin, and Old English variants. With this came the metaphorical notion of the cultivation of the mind in the writings of Sir Thomas More, Francis Bacon, and other 17th century thinkers. Gradually, in England the process of cultivation acquired definite class associations. There also arose a corresponding German association with 'Kultur' as synonymous with civilization, as in the civilization of a particular people, but also in terms…. [read more]

Shannon Raymond Carver's "Cathedral Essay

… The husband is depicted as one who can only look, but Robert, despite being blind can see and have a clear vision of the wife to Bub

This ability to see rather than just look is again shown at the end of the story when Robert asks Bub to describe a cathedral. Bub strives to describe the cathedral to no positive concrete answer that he could give Robert, yet he had seen a cathedral on TV and he actually was the one who began the cathedral conversation. It is until the blind Robert holds his hands and helps him draw a cathedral that he can clearly see a cathedral and indeed at the end he gets lost into tranquility like no other there before. A…. [read more]

Raymond Carver's "Gazebo Essay

… This is most abundantly demonstrated in "What we talk about..." There, the four characters sit around the kitchen table and, drinking gin, discuss love. Mel, the cardiologist, insists that true love represents spiritual love. Terri, his wife, recalls the physical abuse of her ex-husband and defines that as love. Mel, in turn, confesses his fantasy of murdering his ex-wife due to her financial dependence on him. Nick, the narrator, and Laura, new lovers, believe that nothing can destruct their love. The story concludes by Mel reminiscing about an elderly couple injured in a car crash whom he attended in the hospital. Still in love after many years, their sole wish was to see each other. Affected by this story, the characters muse on the impermanence…. [read more]

Cathedral - Raymond Carver Term Paper

… Thus, his dead hostility was rooted in the blind man's connection in regard to his wife's past and of her independent nature in overall aspects that were threatening to him, which not the least was her former marriage, to which he was always obsessed. At the same time fascinated by and reluctant to hear the blind man's story as he said "my wife filled me in with more details than I cared to know. I made a drink and sat at the kitchen table to listen" (213) he looked for himself indirectly in his wife's relationship with the bind friend (Tom, 1987).

His sense of a secure identity depended upon his bond with a female who was his wife, a bond he seemed to need…. [read more]

-- Or, as Carver Term Paper

… However, the story ends not with movement forward but a recapitulation of the earlier scene. Now Vera threatens Burt and Burt is about to throw something again, in this case an ashtray, at his wife. He does not, but the absences of holidays are again refereed to as he leaves. "Maybe after the holidays were over and things got back to normal," they can talk, he tells himself. But the couple has not expanded their understanding of one another, only the reader has gained in understanding, by observing the lack of talking that has taken place over the course of the story, that nothing ever changes for this couple, regardless of the day on the calendar. (Carver 169) The reference to talking is ironic, rather…. [read more]

Tracing a Theme Through Three Short Stories Essay

… ¶ … Archibald the Arctic," "The Cathedral," "Reunion"

Michael Winter's "Archibald the Arctic," Raymond Carver's "The Cathedral," and John Cheever's "Reunion" all contain an element that makes it possible for readers to think about a journey for self-discovery. Gabriel English, the central character in "Archibald the Arctic" has his brother to help him realize that he is wasting his life living in accordance with false values. The narrator in "The Cathedral" needs to interact with a miserable person who feels happy about who he is in order to acknowledge that it would only be normal for him to enjoy life. Similarly, the narrator in "Reunion" fails to gain a more complex understanding of life until his drunken father forces him to do so. All of…. [read more]

Theme and Narrative Essay

… Carver

A Different Kind of Seeing

In "Cathedral," Raymond Carver explores multiple ways of human seeing through the strained interactions between a prejudiced but sighted man and an open minded but blind man. Carver uses several literary elements to convey the central theme exploring multiple modes of perception and understanding. For example, characterization defines the boundaries and relationships between characters and therefore allows the theme of blindness to emerge. The point-of-view of the story encourages the reader to identify with, and thus understand, the first person narrator. Symbolism also permeates "Cathedral," and enables the irony of blindness to be conveyed to the reader. Each of these literary elements work together to convey the central theme of multiple modes of seeing, knowing, and understanding.

Strong characterization,…. [read more]

Dance, the Short Story by Raymond Carver Term Paper

… ¶ … Dance," the short story by Raymond Carver, the girl at the end of the story discovers the pain of life and the inability to communicate it as a result of the encounter with the drunken man. This short story is eloquent in the words it does not present, such as "divorce," "bankruptcy," and even "alcoholic." That is what the young girl learns from the drunken man, she learns there are many words that go unsaid in our society, and that how things look on the outside might not have anything at all to do with reality.

From the moment the story starts, it is clear there is something terribly wrong with the man and the situation. He arranges all his furniture in his…. [read more]

Fathers Life, by Raymond Carver Term Paper

… Then, as if to help me out, he said, 'Write about stuff you know about. Write about some of those fishing trips we took.' I said I would, but I knew I wouldn't" (Carver). This is such a commonality in the relationships between fathers and sons - they grow together, and then, as the child turns into his own man, they grow apart, and Carver and his father are no different. Carver has his own life, and unlike his father, he has his own dreams, and they are so far apart, they may never come together again. Finally, his father dies, and Carver has regrets of the things he did not say, and the time he never spent, as anyone has when they lose a…. [read more]

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