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Analysis of Cathedral

The following story “Cathedral”, written by Raymond Carver, depicts the first-person narrator and represents the unique moments and events within it. This is mainly due to the fact that the author intends to stress these confusing aspects which are primarily described in the story. The point of view, however, cannot be considered as confusing item because the narrator is simply describing a significant event from his life and tells how many things might be changed in one single evening when a special person is met. Therefore, the narrator is important for the recollection of the story. The readers are namely involved in the events of the story; furthermore, they try to put themselves on the narrator’s place. Considering the humorous phrases and jokes used by the narrator, the vividness and the tone of the story’s perception are supposed to be indicated.

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The unnamed and self-absorbed narrator is concerned about Robert’s visit, which affected him greatly. At the same time, he is careless about Robert’s role in his wife’s past. The lack of the narrator’s self-awareness should be also taken into consideration. He, for instance, feels sorry for Beulah, Robert’s wife,as her husband constantly ignores her. The irony is that the narrator does not know his own wife even if he can see her. The lack of transitions and constant interruptions within the context of the story evaluate the narrator as an ineffective storyteller. There is also an aspect of jealousy when it comes to the discussion of his wife’s childhood sweetheart. The deep roots of such a negative feeling might be found in his personality and are shown through the way he negates the name of his wife. It might be also referred to the fact that the narrator’s relationship with his wife is not that strong and stable as it should be.

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The arrival of Robert is an important event from the perspective of the narrator. Here the teller intends to portray himself in the best way.  Therefore, he describes Robert’s appearance by mentioning his eyes, actions, and his fascinating behavior. Not less important are Robert’s daily habits, namely: the way he smokes, eats, etc.  Carver’s usage of a first-person narrator is especially effective in these scenes. Robert is represented as a mystical personality, because the narrator is not able to differentiate what a blind man can do and at the same time what he cannot do.

Later on, however, Robert is depicted more humanly and therefore he starts to have a closer meaning for the reader. The story ends with the description of the cathedral by Robert with his closed eyes and the narrator’s amazement - the experience that makes these special moments more pathetic.Nevertheless, the narrator’s simple description of them is estimated to the level of a human moment.

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Summarizing, it must be stated that the narrator plays an important role in the course of the developing story. Not only does he provide a bit of humor to the story but also brings a personal touch to the whole environment. The reader is related to the narrator and is able to analyze the teller’s character. The narrator plays a significant role in the progress of the story by serving its purpose: to constantly attract the reader. 

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