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Cathedral: Raymond Carver
Transcript of Cathedral: Raymond Carver
Bailey Rossi, Cassie Pressnall,
Jenny Nailling and Sean Romo
The Narrator: The narrator is an unnamed man who serves as the protagonist of the story. He is a dynamic character.
"Cathedral" is a short story about an unnamed man who reaches a discovery
that he has gone through his whole life without actually seeing the world around
him or effectively understanding people for who they are beneath the surface.
The story takes place in the married couple's home in New York during the late 1970's.
The exposition of the story takes place in the beginning, when the narrator explains his wife's
past. The rising action is when Robert arrives at their home to visit. The climax occurs when the narrator and Robert draw the cathedral together. After this, the falling action takes place when the narrator's wife wakes up and questions what they're doing. The narrator keeps his eyes closed although Robert asked him to open them. The denouement is when the narrator reaches his epiphany about sight.
Narrator's Wife: another nameless character, serving as the
antagonist of the story. She suffers from internal struggles
and conflicts in her marriage. She is a static character.
Robert: A blind man who helps the narrator reach his
epiphany in the story. He is also a static character.
Carver writes in a very conversational tone througout the story. His sentences are concise and let the reader know exactly how the narrator is feeling. The simple language he uses, along with the direct descriptions make it easy for the reader
to understand what is going on.
Point Of View
The point of view is first person in the eyes of the narrator. This point of view allows the reader to understand how the narrator is feeling throughout the story and how he ultimately changes in the end.
Born in 1938 in a small town in Oregon
married his high school sweetheart, but divorced her later in life and remarried
his father was an alcoholic, and he suffered from alcoholism himself
published Cathedral after becoming sober
most of his stories are realistic and focus on people's lives; how they face difficulties and revelations.
protagonist vs. protagonist
During the climax of the story, the main
conflict taking place is within the narrator as he is transitioning between his previous blindness and finally being able to see in a new way. This conflict represents the deeper meaning of
sight versus blindness.
The theme of "Cathedral" is that there is a distinct difference between looking and seeing. To just look at something is the same as looking right through it, only at its surface. To truly see something means to understand it on a deeper level.
The cathedral symbolizes true sight and seeing beneath the surface of everything in life
Audiotapes symbolize blindness. The wife and Robert exchange these tapes and are unable to see each other, but they still connect on a deep level.
In "Cathedral" it is ironic that Robert, the blind man, is the only character who can actually see things the correct way. Robert is the one who helps the narrator figuratively open his eyes and come to a realization about sight.
An example of a reoccurring motif in this story is the action of drinking. Alcohol is consumed very regularly in this story: the narrator's wife drank a bottle of gin before she attempted to commit suicide, the narrator sips whiskey as Robert arrives at his house, and the two of them drink Scotch throughout the night as they watch TV.
Method Of Development
Cathedral is developed through a series of dialogues, thoughts, and actions. The characters have many conversations throughout the story. Direct description is used with the narrator and his thoughts. Actions take place and serve as the primary method of development.