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Comparison Essay

1212 words - 5 pages

Cathedral
By Raymond Carver
1981
The readings this week were very diverse and captivating, but the one that I chose was Cathedral by Raymond Carver. In his short story Cathedral, Raymond Carver provides a picture of a man who is self-absorbed and insensitive. The theme of the story is acceptance and self-discovery. The main character in the story doesn’t seem to realize that he is prejudice of the blind. The fact that his wife’s friend is blind bothers him. He has never known anyone blind and has preconceived ideas of how blind people behave, only by virtue of seeing them in movies. I believe that he also shows signs of jealousy of anyone from his wife’s past. The characterization of the ...view middle of the document...

He can’t believe that this blind man has a beard. He thought that the blind did not smoke or laugh. One important character trait that the main character lacks is compassion. This is quite common in a person so self-absorbed. His basic lack of compassion shows when discussing the blind man’s wedding (who would want to go to that kind of wedding) and the pathetic life of the blind man and his wife, who dies knowing that her husband has never seen her face.
We never learn the main character’s name, his wife refers to him only as her husband and the blind man uses the term Bub. We also never hear the wife’s name, only my wife. The main character is also reluctant to see Robert as anything but the blind man. The term “the blind man” occurs over thirty times in this story (Carver, 1981). He reduces Robert’s wife’s name to one that only a “negro” would have. His wife’s first husband has no name, because he was her childhood sweetheart, “what more does he want?”(Carver, 1981). This shows not only his self-centeredness but the jealousy of anything that his wife experienced before him. He contributes to the conversation only because he wants his wife and the blind man to know that he is still in the room. He is waiting and expecting the conversation to turn toward him, but it never does.
The second element that I think contributes to the story, is the use of first person point of view. When using first person point of view it is usually through the narrator as the main character (Clugston, 2010). We hear the main characters thoughts and feelings, and we get a very clear picture of the man. His insensitivity shows in his self-talk, and also quite often in his conversation with his wife and the blind man. The authors use of language helps give the reader more insight into the characters personality (The Writer's Craft, N.D.). Even though Carver uses language that is common and ordinary it expresses the characterization without being noticeable (Boxer & Phillips, 1979). The author uses short one word sentences to express feelings of the main character. This is effective because, not only does it show his feelings, but it also helps the reader to see him in a more realistic way, because we talk, especially in our self-talk, this way. The use of first person point of view gives us a more intimate viewpoint of the main character (Clugston, 2010). We feel as if we are his confidant, and...

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