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Lecture 13

ENG 208 Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Raymond Carver, Strawberry Pie, Consumerism

Course Code
ENG 208
Thomas Phillips

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Lecture 13: 2/23/2017
“Cathedral” by Raymond Carver
Carver is known as a minimalist
o However, “Cathedral” is much more complicated than its language may make it
out to be
“Cathedral” is very accessible
o There’s a character arc of the husband—but by the end, it’s not very clear what
exactly that arc means
o The husband is very unlikable/problematic
Carver is playing with this for a particular purpose
Carver wants to average reader to be able to relate to this character, or at
least to his situation
o Lots of repetition
o Clipped, simple sentences
o Minimalist quality
o What do these clipped phrases tell us about the husband as a person?
He may be trying to make sense of the situation
It makes him relatable
o He describes his wife’s suicide attempt in just a few sentences. What does this tell
us about how he is as a person, if anything?
Not really a deep thinker
Very concrete, objective
He doesn’t gravitate toward artistic thinking
However, he himself is not emotionless
Narrator and wife’s marriage
o Apathetic
Never go to bed together
“…my wife filled me in with more detail than I cared to know” (Carver)
o Lonely
On both sides
o “‘If you [narrator] love me [wife]…you can do this for me. If you don’t love me,
okay. But if you had a friend, any friend, and the friend came to visit, I’d make
him feel comfortable.’ […] ‘I [narrator] don’t have any blind friends’ […] ‘You
[narrator] don’t have any friends…Period” (Carver)
They’re both lonely
Both cut off from other people, and from each other
o “I waited in vain to hear my name on my wife’s sweet lips: ‘And then my dear
husband came into my life…’” (Carver)
Pretty estranged from each other
He stays up late without her
Don’t interact, don’t do much together
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