Analysis Of Raymond Carver Jr.

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Raymond Carver Jr. wrote short stories in settings that many would consider ordinary. His stories could often be described as drab, and many of them were characterized by a “zero-ending” or a cliffhanger. His stories often ended abruptly, leaving the reader with a number of unanswered questions. In his story Cathedral, the story appears to close with a “zero-ending.” However, there are many observations and inferences that can be made at the end of Cathedral that make it anything but a “zero-ending.” Carver was born in Oregon in 1938. He was born into a household that perfectly represented America’s working class. His father worked in a sawmill, while his mother was a waitress. His father was an alcoholic, and Carver would eventually go on to struggle with alcoholism as well. This struggle with drinking eventually played a role in many of Carver’s writings. Carver married and had children very young. He worked many different jobs before taking his first college writing class at Chico State in 1958. Carver published his first works in 1961 and did not publish Cathedral until 1983. Many of Carver’s stories related directly to his own life. He wrote about working class people that were much like himself. His writing style was a sort of realism that many people might find boring. He also was known for writing stories that ended in a “zero ending,” or had no clean ending at all. He wrote Cathedral after he had recovered from his alcoholism, and the story has a brighter ending than most of his other works. Cathedral is narrated in first person by an unnamed man. The only two other characters in the story are the narrator’s wife, and a blind man named Robert. The story begins with the narrator explaining the current situation. A blind m... ... middle of paper ... ...ost unique and special experiences of his life because he was forced to “feel” instead of only see. At the end of this story, the narrator likely has a different feeling towards Robert and all blind people. Experiencing life through vision is the only way the narrator thought life could be lived. The blind man has taught him that it really is possible to “see” without sight. Even though the blind man cannot physically see, he likely experiences life very fully by the way he thinks about things critically and digs deeper into them than he has to. When the narrator says, “I didn’t feel like I was inside anything,” it’s the first time he’s seen anything outside of the small world he used to trap himself in. Though it may be a cliffhanger ending, in the Cathedral we are definitely left with glimpses of a character that is very different than the one we are introduced to.

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