Cathedral Theme Essay Sample

A first glance of Carver’s “Cathedral” gives one the impression that a religious theme is involved in the story. However, this perception is far from the actual content of the story. For instance, no cathedrals are mentioned until in the story’s third section. Even when a cathedral is introduced into the story, it is clear that no single character is actively religious. From this, one can argue that the title does not fit this particular story.

Furthermore, the narrator in Carver’s story uses a conspiratorial tone to present his thoughts and experiences. To the reader, the story appears as if the narrator merely talks to the reader, not to pass any vital message, but rather to keep the reader amused. Additionally, from the narrator’s tone, one gets the feeling that the narrator is attempting to relate certain happenings in terms that are clear as well as precise. In recounting his feelings, the narrator does not get emotional or attempt to persuade the reader to develop a liking for him. A further implication from the narrator’s tone is that the story is about relating the incidents from a particular time, without influencing the reader’s feelings concerning the incidents. However, the reader can detect some sincerity in the narrator’s tone. The narrator does not attempt to hide the desperate situation he is in, nor does he attempt to deceive the reader into thinking that he is highly optimistic about recovering from what befalls him.

Thirdly, Carver’s story has a simple conclusion that leaves the reader highly intrigued. Although the ending is in one way or another predictable, it, nonetheless, gives the reader something to meditate upon long after finishing the story. The reader is left in suspense concerning whether the narrator’s feelings will endure, or whether his and Robert’s relationship will continue after the ending of the story. Furthermore, the reader is left to guess whether there will be significant improvements in the narrator’s bond with his spouse. There is nothing wrong with this suspense, though, since it helps to promote the idea of an intriguing story. The story’s most important theme is to savor the beauty of the moment. In addition to this, other elements in Carver’s story are perfect, such as the plot, setting, and the narrator’s point of view.

Tips on critical essay writing:
Critical essays are very interesting both to read and to write. Specifically, when critiquing the work of another person, it is unacceptable to solely concentrate on the negative aspects of the literary piece. It is impossible that a published work will to adhere to all the desired features of written work.

For this reason, the writer should include a combination of the praiseworthy aspects and the deficient ones when discussing a work. Critical comments must be based on authentic evidence from the literary piece and from other resources as well. The second tip to writing good critical essays is to incorporate one’s own insight or original thoughts so that the reader will find the article interesting.

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Sep 16, 2014

Filed under: Example Papers — Tags: critical essays, english essay — Joan Young @ 8:38 am

The idea of the inherent similarities between human beings, irrespective of their physical differences, is a theme explored by different genres of art. As art reflects the felt experience of life, the experience of human connection has always proved to leave a profound effect. This paper will explore how the author Raymond Carver makes use of the tone and symbolism to make the reader realize the pettiness of enhancing the differences between the people when we can concentrate more on the more beautiful and unifying aspect of the similarities we share. This is the only way we can live in harmony and peace.

The short story “Cathedral”, by Raymond Carver, unfolds the story of an unnamed narrator telling the readers about the expected visit of his wife’s blind friend, Robert. We get to know how the blind man met his wife and how it turned out to a major incident of her life so much so that she actually wrote a poem about the incident when she touched the blind man’s face. This happened when she was saying good bye to him before her first marriage. The bond the narrator’s wife shares with the blind man is something he does not understand and this makes him unhappy about the upcoming visit.

This is a story of one evening with some reminiscence of the past. The narrator is shown as a close minded pessimist who clearly states that he was not very enthusiastic about Robert’s stay. So from the very beginning we feel certain aversion in the narrator’s tone for the Robert. This aversion is more noticeable because it stems from the narrator’s prejudice against blind men. So essentially the narrator has no issues with Robert as a person it is his being blind that bothers him as he says “a blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to” (Carver 98).  He goes on to use the same nasty tone while thinking about Robert, whom he refers as ‘blind man’ only, and his wife Beulah. So basically it is the prejudice against a blind man that the narrator can not overlook. But as night wears off Robert, the physically blind man, makes the intellectually blind man, the narrator, see the world in an entirely new light. This realization comes when Robert asks the narrator to draw the cathedral by guiding his hand with a pencil on a piece of paper.

We see Raymond Carver using many elements of irony of tone and symbolism to depict the theme that life devoid of prejudices makes us accept all members of the society as equals. We see that the early markers of rudeness are dissolved on human touch which the narrator and the blind man shared while making the cathedral together. So Carver is using the narrator's prejudices as a manifestation of the many prejudices inherent in today's society. The symbol of the cathedral helps us understand the theme of the story that human beings share similarities despite the apparent differences, and this feeling is strongest in a cathedral as everyone feels equal and accepted in it. The irony in this story is that it is a blind man to makes a seeing man see things. So the narrator thought the blind man to be at a disadvantage because of the prejudice he had against him but it turned out that it was the narrator himself who was at a greater disadvantage as he could not see the things the blind man could. So the message we get is that all men are equal as everyone is compensated for their lack of some things with other ways.

In the beginning the narrator in Carver’s Cathedral sees the blind man as a being separate from others because of his blindness. He could not comprehend that a blind man can be living a worthwhile life with his wife; his prejudice did not allow him. But the blind man dispelled his false notions by making him realize that all men are equal, they just need to get connected to to know the universality of the human connection. This shows Carver hopes for and believes in the equality of humans and as the narrator in the end sums up the effect of this human touch as a feeling “like nothing else in my life up to now” (Carver 108).


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