raymond carver

Raymond Carver

Source: New York Times

Carrying on from the short stories by Flannery O’Connor which we looked at last week, we have now moved onto another three short stories, this time written by Raymond Carver. The stories we looked at were ‘Cathedral’, ‘Errand’ and ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love’, which are all taken from different collections of his work.

Of all the short stories that we have looked at this semester in American Lit, I would say that these stories, ‘Cathedral’ in particular, are possibly my favourites.  I find Cathedral to be an intriguing narrative as it exposes the misconceptions and stereotypes which people can garner about certain things, such as blindness in the case of this particular story.

The narrator of Cathedral speaks of a blind man for whom his wife used to work, who is visiting them while on the way to see his late wife’s relatives in Connecticut. The narrator does not look forward to his arrival in the slightest, most likely due to the friendly relationship which his wife has kept with this man since her time working for him, and also partly due to the idea the narrator has in his mind of how a blind person behaves. The narrator is likely not looking forward to his home life being altered for a period by someone he has never met before, but who appears to have a very close relationship with his wife. However, as the story progresses the narrator soon realises that the way in which he imagined a blind person to behave does not apply to this particular man. By the end of the story there is a feeling that any animosity or dislike which the narrator held for the blind man has now dissipated, as he realises that there are less differences between the two of them than he first realised.

I enjoyed reading this short story as it was interesting to see how someone’s misconceptions about a particular person or thing can be exposed in such a seemingly small and insignificant way, such as the ending of the story, when the narrator shows the man what a cathedral looks like by drawing it. It is the small details which require analysis in this and the other short stories which I feel make them captivating to read.

The semester is coming to a close now, and It won’t be long before I’m finished for the summer! This is going to be my last blog post as we are now finishing with our assigned texts for American Lit. I’ve really enjoyed writing about all the different authors, novels, short stories and poems which we’ve studied, and I hope that you also enjoyed reading about them! 🙂


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