19 Aug 2022


How to analyze literary elements in "Cathedral"

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Raymond Carver uses blunt and very honest language to write his story, and paragraph 46 is not an exception. The narrator expresses his experience with the blind man right from dinner time. He is not comfortable with the blind man around and he doesn’t hide it. He makes no effort whatsoever to censor himself. Carver’s use of simple words grants him credibility with his various audiences. The narrator describes the blind man as “a regular blind jack-of-all-trades.” The husband’s sense of reluctance is also introduced in his words when he says, “From time to time, he'd turn his blind face toward me, put his hand under his beard, ask me something.” This kind of words is comparable to any persons thinking pattern. The reader is forced to feel sympathy for the blind man regarding how the narrator describes him. The narrator is even surprised that the blind man had worked as a ham radio operator. In the narrator's mind, a blind man is not capable of doing anything even when the blind man talks about his friends in Guam, Philippines and Alaska. The narrator talking about Robert like this, show us that he didn’t believe that blind people could do or work with other things. He also says it to make it sound like the blind man doesn’t deserve to have friends. 

The narrator also uses diction to show how uncomfortable the narrator is with the blind man. He says “We sat as if stunned” even after they had dinner together, the character seems in some kind if the uncomfortable situation as on the word “stunned” means very shocked or surprised. He also always includes the word blind of everything that the blind man does. The author uses diction to show how biased the narrator was about blindness. It paints the narrator as a disrespectful person when he says it seemed, a regular blind jack-of-all-trades" as a “Jack-of-all-trades" means someone who is decent at everything, but not especially adept at any one thing. This sound a little disrespectful. 

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In paragraph 46, the author has used words like “We finished everything, including half a strawberry pie” in line one to indicate that they ate to their fullest. Finishing everything that had been prepared for dinner. The blind man and the narrator’s wife are comfortable around each other. This leaves the narrator somehow uncomfortable. The narrator does not believe how his wife does not even mention his name or call him a “husband” even at one time. Finishing everything at the table including half a strawberry pie could also be a symbol used by the author to show the state of the kind of life the narrator lived with his wife. They were not so well off people and this could be the reason why they prepared little food, food that was hardly enough for everyone, that they had to scramble for everything. 

During their conversations, the blind man and the narrator's wife keep on exchanging audiotapes. The audiotapes represent the kind of sympathy and understanding which has nothing to do with sight. The narrator believes that the blind man’s wife, Beulah, must have suffered since the blind man could not see her, but in the real sense, it is the narrator’s wife who has suffered since the narrator has not been seeing her. Robert’s relationship with the narrator's wife is strong, when the narrator hears the blind man’s tapes, he notes that they sound like harmless chitchats. However, he doesn’t realize that this sort if confidential communication is actually what is missing in his marriage. The narrator later in the story understands the level of understanding his wife had achieved with the blind man during the time when he closed his eyes to finish drawing the cathedral. 


The author also uses syntax so as to show how complicated the relationship between the blind man and the narrator is. For instance where the narrator says “For the most part, I just listened. Now and then I joined in. I didn't want him to think I'd left the room, and I didn't want her to think I was feeling left out.” The author is showing us just how much the narrator is not comfortable with the blind man in his house; he comments only to show the blind man that he is still present in the room, but not because he wants to take part in the conversation. 

The author also uses succinct syntax to accent the various nicknames and familiarity that exists between the various characters in the cathedral story. The blind man and the narrator’s wife often call each other “my dear,” the narrator’s wife calls the narrator “my husband,” this creates a clear separation between the married couple and gives the reader a chance to understand the importance of the real insight of the story. A syntax is also utilized again to bring the new desires of new perspectives. “I got up and turned on the TV.” This last phrase is going to be the most important action of the speaker. He looks tired of Robert, but the truth is that he does not have other topics to talk. His goal is not to leave the blind man uncomfortable, so he makes an effort by turning on the TV to trying to find another topic. 

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