Response Criticism In Raymond Carver's Cathedral

Decent Essays

In the short story, “Cathedral”, Carver uses reader response criticism to let the reader interpret the story by leaving out pieces of information. Carver has been dubbed a “minimalist” for his low-key plots and spare style (34). This approach allows the reader to look deeper into a character without even knowing their name. With the mentioning of alcohol, marijuana, and a suicide attempt, all before the eye-opening moment at the end…it gives the reader a glimpse into Raymond Carver’s own life-long struggle with alcoholism and possible struggles with his life. In “Cathedral”, the narrator seems to be very grumpy, jealous, and ignorant. The narrator fails to mention any names except for Robert’s, but the narrator mostly refers to him as “the blind man”. When the narrator speaks of his wife’s past, he never mentions her name, or her ex-fiancés; and you can sense the bitterness from the narrator about his wife’s past when he says “Her officer- why should he have a name? he was the childhood sweetheart, and what more does he want? (36).” The reader can pick up the vibe that the husband seems to be jealous that this man holds a special place in his wife’s heart because they had the cute Hollywood movie plot where two childhood sweethearts grow up and run off and get married. The narrator never comes out and says these things though, because Carver uses his language and minimalist ways to let the reader piece everything together and to interpret the story in their own way. The

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