Cathedral by Raymond Carver implores the reader to examine the true nature of one's existence through the narrator of the story. The metaphor of the cathedral helps the reader understand that the narrator is acting out of metaphorically blind ignorance the revelation of his own significance is the basis of this epiphany. As Henry David Thoreau advocates the ideal of individualism and calls for the triumph of the creativity over the paralyzing influence of past genius, so Carver compels the reader to witness, through Bub, the transformation of blind ignorance into self-awareness.
Symbolism in Cathedral
The blind man's drawing of the cathedral began with a square box, a symbol of the simple and ugly foundation that the narrator begins the story with. Example of this ugly foundation are numerous throughout the beginning of the story, such as:
- Offering to take the blind man bowling;
- Asking which side of the train the blind man wanted to sit on;
- Rude remarks about alcohol inferring the blind man is alcoholic.
However, Bub takes his hand and helps the blind man draw a cathedral. This scene illustrates Carver's use of irony; even though Bub can see and draw the intricacies of the cathedral, the blind man is more self-aware of the world than Bub.
When his wife fell asleep, the narrator engaged himself in getting to know the blind man, setting up the plot. Carver suddenly transforms the narrator into a sympathetic and gradually aware man. The narrator reflects, "He let his fingers touch the suitcase, which was sitting alongside the sofa. He was taking his bearings. I didn't blame him for that." Normally he reacted with a smart remark or quick scorn. This is the beginning of his transcendence, which Carver does in typical Henry David Thoreau style. Thoreau does not wish to set rules for individuals by laying forth these principles; rather, his mission in his works is to provide the discontent with guidelines, so that they may embark on a journey of self-improvement rather than complain of their hardships.
Related Research Paper Topic Suggestions
Ahdaf Soueifs 1964 - In her short story "1964," novelist and political commentator Ahdaf Soueif recounts the journey of Aisha, an Egyptian teen, during her relocation from Egypt to London.
A Problem By Anton Chekhov - A Problem by Anton Chekhov essays summarize the short story by Russian author Anton Chekhov.
Araby James Joyce - Research papers on Araby by James Joyce discuss the world literature work by James Joyce telling the story of North Richmond Street boys, whose imaginative play belies their drab surroundings.
Barn Burning - Barn Burning book reports delve into a short story by William Faulkner which reflects the social conditions of the U.S. during the depression.
Barn Burning Summary - A summary on Barn Burning goes into one of William Faulkner's works about a fictional town in Jefferson Mississippi.
Blue Hotel - Blue Hotel research papers examine one of Stephan Crane's most disturbing short stories.
Herman Melville Bartleby The Scrivener - Herman Melville Bartleby the Scrivener research papers look into the various meanings found in the short story written by Herman Melville.
John Gardner - Research papers on John Gardner discuss the American author most known for his novels and short stories.
Junot Diaz - Junot Diaz Research Papers delve into a collection of short strories that provide a look into the culture of Dominicans in New York City.
Nobody ever dies - Nobody Ever Dies research papers examine the short story by Ernest Hemingway.
Short Stories - Short Stories essays discuss the form of literature that generally encapsulates a single episode or self-contained incident with a smaller cast of characters.
Short Story of Shiloh - Short Story of Shiloh Research Papers look at an example of topics that one can write on when doing research on Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason.
Snows of Kilimanjaro - The Snows of Kilimanjaro essays are custom written on Hemingway's short story. Study the interior monoluge or the characters within the novel to understand one of Hemingway's most well-known stories.
Soy La Avon Lady and Other Short Stories - Soy LA Avon Lady and Other Short Stories Research Papers discuss short stories that deal with race, gender, and sexuality issues.
The Bet By Anton Chekhov - The Bet by Anton Chekhov essays examine a short story written by Russian author Anton Chekhov in 1889.
The Blue Hotel Summary - A summary on The Blue Hotel discuss the short story by Stephen Crane about a young man who gets in trouble during a stay at the Palace Hotel.
The Cask of Amontillado - The Cask of Amontillado research papers analyze Edgar Allen Poe's short story about revenge. Paper Masters is a research paper service like none other.
Tolstoy Short Stories - Essays on Tolstoy's short stories discuss the author examines the human condition in his short stories and major works.
Under African Skies - Under African Skies Research Papers go into a collection of African short stories with a variety of different themes.
Valley of Dead Air - The Valley of Dead Air Research Papers discuss the short story by Gary Pak about a native Hawaiian man dies, and a smell that lingers over the valley.