Raymond Carver, “Cathedral”
- Seen to have rescued the short story
o One of the most successful since Hemingway and Fitzgerald
- Takes us back in some ways to traditional form
- Lived a pretty hard life – marriage and kids at young age
- Heavy drinker and smoker
- Really came into his own in the 80’s
- If communication is an issue, how do you write that?
o Who is speaking and what are we learning?
o Matter-of-fact recounting/plot summary – a way of giving background &
makes present tense
o Why is background so significant?
Demonstrates frame of mind
Gives important ways of thinking about where he’s coming from
His feeling toward blind man they’ve shared a level of intimacy that he
hasn’t shared with his wife
Doesn’t mention name – withholds name as way of withholding identity –
we never get his identity either – the only person named is Robert
- Verb usage – “arrangements were made”
- Why does his wife write poetry?
o Need to turn to aesthetic expression – idea of wanting to hold on to / record
o Another form of communicat